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Old 05-15-10, 06:23 PM   #1
jeanluc
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Brooks saddles: worth getting a Flyer (with springs) instead of B17 for road touring?

I'm eying purchasing a Brooks but am not sure whether for good roads it makes sense getting a saddle with springs. Price is not an issue, I'm buying it for many years to come so the difference is irrelevant. Nor is the extra weight.

So the only question left is whether the springs are useful for road touring. I don't know how 'springy' they are, i.e. whether the springs are hard and thus smooth serious bumps or they are more for lighter vibrations.

Thanks.
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Old 05-15-10, 07:55 PM   #2
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I road a B-17 for a while and then tried a Conquest (B-17 with springs). The Flyer replaced the discontinued Conquest. Both saddles are shaped the same (you probably already know this). I was told the springs were designed for heavier people. I'm at 150lbs and the springs on the Conquest didn't do any good. The shape of the B-17 didn't fit my sit bones very well. It took a few tries to find a saddle that worked for me. Now I ride a B-72 (discontinued) and really like it. A link to read about Brooks saddles with springs:

http://www.sheldonbrown.com/harris/saddles/springs.html

Hope this helps.

Jerry H.
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Old 05-15-10, 08:09 PM   #3
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I have a B17 and a Flyer special and do not notice much of a difference. The flyer does look nice though. I weigh 170 pounds.
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Old 05-15-10, 08:47 PM   #4
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I ride a Flyer and like it. The springs do help on harsh jolts like expansion cracks, bridges, etc., especially when you don't see them coming. I weigh 150 and do feel the spring action.

However, if I had to do it again I'd go with a B17 and a Thudbuster Short Travel (ST). My wife has one of these on both of her bikes and loves them. I can see it working as she rides along.

Greg
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Old 05-15-10, 08:50 PM   #5
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I also weigh 170 and (other than the weight and price) noticed no difference between the B17 and the Champion. I think you'd have to take quite a hit before getting any benefit. I returned the Champion and continue to be ecstatic about both the B17 on my road tourer and the B17 narrow on my mountain bike - which is narrow enough to get behind on severe descents.
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Old 05-15-10, 08:56 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by gregstandt View Post
I ride a Flyer and like it. The springs do help on harsh jolts like expansion cracks, bridges, etc., especially when you don't see them coming. I weigh 150 and do feel the spring action.

However, if I had to do it again I'd go with a B17 and a Thudbuster Short Travel (ST). My wife has one of these on both of her bikes and loves them. I can see it working as she rides along.

Greg
Funny you'd say that, I was just talking with my wife about Brooks Flyer versus Thudbuster. Can she or you comment on what's different between a Flyer and a Thudbuster in what you feel? Is the Flyer better suited for harsher jolts and the TB for less sudden but more frequent vibrations, such as from a bad road?

Thank you
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Old 05-16-10, 12:24 AM   #7
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I also weigh 170 and (other than the weight and price) noticed no difference between the B17 and the Champion. I think you'd have to take quite a hit before getting any benefit. I returned the Champion and continue to be ecstatic about both the B17 on my road tourer and the B17 narrow on my mountain bike - which is narrow enough to get behind on severe descents.
The spring on the Flyer takes a long time to loosen up (break-in) before it becomes noticeably effective. I ride a lot of forest service road and a little single track in addition to paved roads. I can feel the compression off road but not on. My spring also sqweaks a bit, so it's obvious when it is compressing. If I were riding asphalt 100% of the time like the OP, then I would not buy the Flyer and instead just go with the B-17. The spring adds a lot of weight and would not provide any real benefit on asphalt. I also weigh 170 lbs.
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Old 05-16-10, 12:27 AM   #8
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Also, when riding on road, I think most of us end up standing up out of the saddle when going over bumps, so no need there with the spring on road.
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Old 05-16-10, 12:52 AM   #9
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The spring on the Flyer takes a long time to loosen up (break-in) before it becomes noticeably effective. I ride a lot of forest service road and a little single track in addition to paved roads. I can feel the compression off road but not on. My spring also sqweaks a bit, so it's obvious when it is compressing. If I were riding asphalt 100% of the time like the OP, then I would not buy the Flyer and instead just go with the B-17. The spring adds a lot of weight and would not provide any real benefit on asphalt. I also weigh 170 lbs.
I beg to differ. I find the springs tend to damper some of the road vibration..
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Old 05-16-10, 07:31 AM   #10
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I weigh about 210 pounds. I find that the springs are much more useful when I use my fast wheels with 700cX28 tires pumped up to 120psig. My touring wheels have 700cX37 tires that take 87psig, the springs offer less benefit with the lower tire pressure, but for a long day in the saddle I would still want the springs. On another bike with 26X2.1 tires at 65 psig the tires absorb the small bumps in the road quite well and I could live without the springs. Thus, it becomes a question of the tire pressure you plan to use, if high pressure the springs have greater benefit because the tires do not absorb the bumps as well.

To correct a note above, the Conquest (discontinued model) is not the same shape as the Flyer and B17. The Conquest is much closer to the Brooks Pro in shape. I have three bikes fitted with Conquests and a Brooks Pro on one bike. I also have a B17 that is currently not in use. The Flyer is very similar to the B17 in shape.
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Old 05-16-10, 09:12 AM   #11
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I weigh 195. I have a Champion Flyer on my LHT and a B17 on my Allez. I find the B17 to be just a tad more comfortable. I don't know why. I can't feel the springs working on the Flyer, but that's probably just me being oblivious. The springs used to squeak and creak to the point of being annoying, but that has gone away. I'm seriously considering swapping saddles before this summer's tour. If the springs aren't doing much, why carry the extra weight?

These observations are not based on a carefully controlled study - just seat of the pants (get it?) data.
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Old 05-16-10, 09:49 AM   #12
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I happen to own a Flyer, B-17, and Conquest. They're all on different bikes and their age ranges from 5-9 years old. I don't notice the springs working during my rides but I notice the lack of springiness when I jump on the B-17. It's easy to feel when they're compared side by side. Those spring work like they're supposed to work. It's not meant to feel like four inches of oil damped suspension......Just meant to take the edge off and make for a better day in the saddle.

On my new everyday commuter, I started off with the Flyer saddle but switched out to the B-17 later because the B-17 matched the color of the bike better. The B-17 now felt like I was riding on a cinder block. The shape is perfect and it has just a bit of "give" like it should have but I became aware of how much work the springs on those other saddles were doing. I still ride the B-17 everyday and am happy with it but just want to say those springs on the Flyer and Conquest aren't useless.

I love my B-17 but I don't think I'll buy another one. It'll be a Flyer or whatever the model is when that time comes around.
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