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Brooks mystery...

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Brooks mystery...

Old 10-09-15, 09:48 PM
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Brooks mystery...

I came across this saddle, and am wondering many things about it.

1) First off, can you tell what model it is from the pictures? It is noticeably narrower than my B-17s, but I am not familiar with what the older racing versions might have been. The sides are worn too far to read, and there is no serial number on the underside. Since that cannot possibly be worn off, were there Brooks saddles without underside markings?

2) The rails are perfect, and there are virtually no sit-bone indents - almost like the saddle has never been used. Yet, the logo emblems on both sides seem to be worn right down. How can that be?

3) Another odd thing is the grit on the underside, almost like a combination of wax and rubber dust. It very easily cleaned up on the underside of the frame, you can see this in the Made in England stamp.

The leather thickness is substantial, measuring between 5 and 5.8 mm throughout. The surface is near flawless, the rivets look to be a type of copper, and the tension adjustment appears be untouched.

Anybody venture a guess as to the model, history or usage of this saddle?








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Last edited by 67tony; 10-09-15 at 10:03 PM.
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Old 10-09-15, 09:56 PM
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Old 10-09-15, 10:00 PM
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Maybe a B15 or B17 Champion Narrow? From what I've seen that flat metal badge dates to the '70s.

Last edited by Metacortex; 10-09-15 at 10:13 PM.
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Old 10-09-15, 10:15 PM
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I see sit bone indents and sagging leather.
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Old 10-09-15, 10:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Metacortex
Maybe a B15 or B17 Champion Narrow? From what I've seen that flat metal badge dates to the '70s.
+1, I was going to guess a 70's B17 Narrow as well.
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Old 10-09-15, 10:24 PM
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It looks like my b15 minus the holes.
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Old 10-10-15, 04:51 AM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott
+1, I was going to guess a 70's B17 Narrow as well.
Yeah, I've got a B17N that looks pretty much just like this one.
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Old 10-10-15, 05:48 AM
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In my experience with B15s (from the late '60s and '70s) the side stamp easily wore off. Below is a B15.



I have had a B15N that had a drilled skirt like a B5N, but I also have a B15N that does not have the drilled skirt (no pictures of the undrilled at the moment). Below a B5N (Left) and B15N (Right).



To my eye, this Brooks looks like what eventually morphed into the Modern B15 or the Swallow. Just my two cents.



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Last edited by pastorbobnlnh; 10-10-15 at 06:08 AM.
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Old 10-10-15, 06:08 AM
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I'm certain I was wrong in my post above, but I'll leave the pictures up for comparisons in the future. I found this B17 Narrow from a completed ebay listing. Great work @Metacortex, @AZORCH, and @ThermionicScott

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Old 10-10-15, 12:02 PM
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B.17 and B.15 were not specific models, but rather different price points. B.15 was cheaper, and may have used cheaper leather, but it is hard to tell the difference, especially 45 years later. Brooks made even cheaper models (Brooks B5N, and the whole Wrights line that included Standard, Narrow and Swallow models) where the difference in quality is really obvious. There was a whole line of saddles at each price point: B.15 Standard, Narrow and Swallow models, and B.17 Standard, Narrow and Swallow models. In some cases it's easy to tell the difference (the B.15 Swallow is distinctly different from the B.17 Swallow). In other cases it's not so easy.

What you have is a Narrow, but I can't tell whether it's a B.15 or a B.17. It doesn't really matter.
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Old 10-10-15, 12:33 PM
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That looks exactly like a B-17 I used to have (~1970).
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Old 10-10-15, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lord_athlon
I see sit bone indents and sagging leather.
Looking only at the pics, I might be able to see what you mean. Probably the coloring, or surface sheen, is leading to some shadowing. Holding the saddle in my hands, though, I assure you it has virtually no sagging, indents, or even soft spots.

Strange, I know, but true.
My theory is that the original owner was a featherweight, with a high cadence!

Here are a couple of pics of the underside, after cleaning it up some:





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Old 10-10-15, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
B.17 and B.15 were not specific models, but rather different price points. B.15 was cheaper, and may have used cheaper leather, but it is hard to tell the difference, especially 45 years later. Brooks made even cheaper models (Brooks B5N, and the whole Wrights line that included Standard, Narrow and Swallow models) where the difference in quality is really obvious. There was a whole line of saddles at each price point: B.15 Standard, Narrow and Swallow models, and B.17 Standard, Narrow and Swallow models. In some cases it's easy to tell the difference (the B.15 Swallow is distinctly different from the B.17 Swallow). In other cases it's not so easy.

What you have is a Narrow, but I can't tell whether it's a B.15 or a B.17. It doesn't really matter.
Great stuff! I always wondered what the difference was between the B15 and B17. I even had it in my mind that perhaps the number corresponded to the rear width in cm, since what is now sold as the Swallow is narrower. Glad to be set straight.
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Old 10-11-15, 03:12 AM
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@rhm, thanks for that piece of information. Very helpful. BTW, I run a B5N on my '71 Paramount, and I actually like it as well as any of my Brooks. When comparing it to the Wrights W3N, it is quite obvious the difference in the leather, especially the thickness. In other respects, they look and measure about the same.



I had a chance to take a look at what I thought was the B15 Champion Narrow, and it turned out to be a B17 Champion Narrow, and looks just like Brooks that @67tony has pictured, except it is not as dark brown. I didn't bother to take any pictures, since they look the same.
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Old 10-11-15, 06:58 PM
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Here is the (probable) B17 Narrow next to a pretty new B17 Imperial.
There is a very noticeable difference in leather thickness between the two.
Also...it is amazing to me how well this saddle looks at 45 years old!









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Old 10-13-15, 01:10 PM
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Saddle ended up on fleabay.
It was not mine, and I offered to help a buddy flip it.
I was bummed out I didn't need it...
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Old 10-13-15, 01:16 PM
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I love that shape, and for being a lesser model, I'm surprised at how thick the leather looks. (The leather on my B5N is pretty thin!) Hope your buddy gets a good price for it.
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Old 10-13-15, 02:37 PM
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Originally Posted by 67tony
I came across this saddle, and am wondering many things about it.
Originally Posted by 67tony
Saddle ended up on fleabay.
It was not mine, and I offered to help a buddy flip it.
I was bummed out I didn't need it...
Nice.

I realize you never asked for an appraisal, but this kind of ship has a way of making me feel I've been used. This thread should have been in the flippers forum.
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Old 10-13-15, 02:44 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm

What you have is a Narrow, but I can't tell whether it's a B.15 or a B.17. It doesn't really matter.
The 15's got a plastic name plate at some point while the 17's retained the metal plate.....so we know it's not a plastic plated 15.

That's all I got.
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Old 10-13-15, 06:33 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm
Nice.

I realize you never asked for an appraisal, but this kind of ship has a way of making me feel I've been used. This thread should have been in the flippers forum.
Sorry you feel that way. The primary intent of my post was help with identification. I placed it in C&V since it is a 35 year old saddle, this is where the ID experts reside, plus I figured many would appreciate the condition it's in.

The decision to sell came way later, thus post #16 . I work with a buddy who fixes recreational bikes in our small town, churning out hundreds and selling/trading to families and kids for very little profit. When he runs into anything nicer, bikes or parts, he consults with me and we decide what to do.

Is the "flipper forum" referred to the What's It Worth? Appraisals and Inquiries forum?
If so...I am familiar with that and have used it in the past.
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