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Which Brooks Saddle?

Old 10-23-21, 04:09 PM
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Colorado Kid
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Which Brooks Saddle?

I have a bad back. (From the Cancer that destroyed my back.) i have a B-17 on my 81' Schwinn Voyageur 11.8. Someone at LBS said I should switch to spring model such as B66 or other such models. My back feels fine on a B-17 but on long or rough roads it's something else. Does anyone use a Brooks B-66 or other such model on their touring bike and if so, does it make a difference?
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Old 10-23-21, 05:21 PM
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The Flyer is the same as a B17, but it has springs in the rear. But before you run out and buy one, the springs are very stiff. I use a Conquest which has the same springs as the B17, when I put my weight on the saddle it only depresses the springs maybe 5mm, so you are not getting a much smoother ride. I think they are best on a rough pavement like chip seal that can give you almost a vibration type of ride. So, if you are on a smooth road, I think the springs on a Flyer would not feel any different than what you already have.

I know nothing about the B66.

I wonder if a suspension seatpost might work better? Sometimes I use a cheap telescoping type one on gravel, the one I use is like the cheap ones that are common on some hybrids, but it does not do much.

These might work better: They are similar to the Thudbuster. But I have never used one like these.



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Old 10-24-21, 06:04 AM
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Like tourist, I regularly ride a sprung flyer (a b17 with springs) on my commuter, and I'd have to agree with tourists assessment. If I whack into a pothole it absorbs a certain amount, but because I'm a lightweight, I'd say the overall effect is limited.
I think it is more flexible or springy than when I got it years back, but just be aware that the springs are indeed pretty stiff.

you'd really have to do a back to back trial with your existing seat to get a proper idea.
I bought mine used just because it looks cool as an object with the springs and copper rivets, but I suspect for you and your specific serious back issue, a good suspension seatpost would be more effective.

if you were here I'd let you ride on mine, but to buy one, go through the leather break in period, only to find it doesn't help, would be a drag.
But maybe it would help, how much do you weigh?

oh, I'd seriously look at wider tires, the effect of a nice tire with volume and proper psi makes a huge difference in ride comfort. I've ridden a lot on 2inch tires that have fantastic suspension at the right pressures for my weight
what type of bike do you use? What's the widest tire it can take?
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Old 10-24-21, 08:04 AM
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I run 2 inch tires (Schwalbe Big Bens, about 45-50psi, depending on load) and a B17 Flyer on my touring (dropbar converted mtn) bike. The ride is much softer than than a B17 Imperial equipped CX bike that I run 700 x 38s (Panaracer Gtravelking slicks, 65ish psi) on, which has a much softer ride than B17 Imperial equipped road bike with Gravelking 28mm slicks(85-90ish psi). Tires will be the biggest bang for your buck.

I can feel the springs in the flyer working, though they are stiff. I rode the touring bike with a B17 Imperial before I got the Flyer. I definitely felt a ride improvement with with the Flyer.

A combo of good(fast, easy rolling) 2 inch road tires, a Flyer (or 66), and a good quality suspension seatpost would help quite a bit, I'd think. The only additional thing might be to ride with a suspension fork. All this could be done and still have a bike with excellent performance. My touring bike is a fun(!) bike to ride, with or without a touring load. With a touring load is probably the best.
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Old 10-24-21, 12:37 PM
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Good advice! I think I can get 700+28 on the bike which I going to switching to. ( I have 700+23 on it now.) My commuter/Mt. bike both have some type of Brooks saddle with Springs. They feels super. As to witch Brooks to switch to, I'm not sure as of yet. I ride 80% road to 20% off road. Any other advice to might led me to one seat or another?
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Old 10-24-21, 02:35 PM
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It's hard to beat a standard B17. I don't think you would get much change adding springs. The biggest change for back comfort on my rides has been a bike I installed Kenda K184 27x1-3/8 tires on. At first the change seemed dramatic going from 27x28 to a wider tire and lower pressure. There was really not much change in speed as change in ridding comfort. It's not such a bad thing us making changes to accommodate bad backs. We raise our bars, lower our seats, and go to fatter tiers tires... Ha

Of course I still miss flying down the road on my 22 tubulars with my stem slammed and my butt of the seat with my toe clips tight... but then again there's allot of things I miss...
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Old 10-24-21, 08:31 PM
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Only you know what your specific back situation is, but I can't emphasize how wider and wider tires make such a difference to more comfort for hands and bum/back.
I've ridden on 28, 32,35, 40, 50, 55 and it's been very interesting noticing the changes and appreciating the increasing cush. Of course some tires are more supple so they h have a nicer feel and "give" , which your n back would really appreciate.

anyway, some thought to a bike that could take much wider than 28, it could very well make all the difference for your comfort.
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Old 10-24-21, 08:35 PM
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I have both the B17 and the Flyer on different bikes. For a long while I thought the springs in the flyer were so stiff to make them almost redudant.. so I did some reading and fould that they are basically set for larger riders, and meant to take the shock out of holes in the road. As with any brooks you have to persivere and break it in properlly, as you already have the B17, you'll know that well. I have not tried the B66, but I understand that has softer springs.. whould be worth checking the specs for that from Brooks or their agent..

Know that I know the springs in the flyer are stiff and understand whats going on and as its slowly breaking in, I do see a difference over the B17, but it does take time.
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Old 10-24-21, 09:47 PM
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I bought a bike and it came with the brooks with the springs. My first thought was, "well, that's gotta go". I've tried a couple of brooks in the past and to put it bluntly, they were a pain in they a**. But this one? Don't ask me why, but it's great. The only thing I can think of is the bike is pretty upright, and I've angled the saddle to be a bit nose up. I love it, I don't care that it weighs ** whatever grams more. And I love the bit of suspension I get from it as I also have back issues. And it just looks cool IMO. The only difference between this brooks and other I've tried is that it is brown leather instead of
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Old 10-24-21, 09:58 PM
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And to add to the theme here - given my back issues I've found nothing beats high volume "supple" (yes, there it is) tires. I changed my bike from 700 to 650b and run 47mm WTB byways, tubeless, at around 30psi for on road and a bit lower off road. On my commuter, its 650 x 48mm gravel kings, also tubeless.
This has made a huge difference. I mean night and day. Feels like floating on air... because you are
I bought some decent lightweight wheels so there's not a big weight penalty. They're a bit slower, but that's OK by me. If your bike won't accommodate fat meats, there are now a lot of 'affordable' all-road type bikes out there. Marin and Breezer on the lower priced side, Surly and All City on the heavier side, Salsa and Ritchey have good options, and a lot of carbon bikes from the big bike co's that have now jumped on the bandwagon.
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Old 10-25-21, 04:25 AM
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I agree with everyone that suggested wider tires. My road bike has 28mm tires, those are the narrowest tires I run on any of my bikes. If you have 23mm tires, go shopping for tires first. This being the touring forum, I assumed you were on tires that were at least 30mm wide when I read your first post. It had not occurred to me that you were on some rock hard skinny tires.

Someone above suggested suspension fork, I do not agree on that. Your problem is your saddle, not your hands on the handlebars.

If you have a physical therapist for your back, perhaps you should have that conversation with your PT, as they have the X rays they can look at and give it some thought. I told my back PT that I have my bike saddle turned slightly to the left (a straight line through my saddle would be about an inch to the left of my stem bolt, not directly through that bolt). When she was looking at the X rays of my back she said she was not surprised that I had my saddle turned slightly to one side. She is a spine specialist in a spinal clinic.
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Old 10-25-21, 05:05 AM
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Originally Posted by Tourist in MSN View Post
...
Someone above suggested suspension fork, I do not agree on that. Your problem is your saddle, not your hands on the handlebars.
...
...in addition to 2 inch tires, a B66(67), and a suspension seat post..thought being that your hands & arms are bolted directly to your shoulders & thereby your back. Reducing long term(long ride) jolts to your shoulders(in spite of slightly bent arms..) may help back issues. Odd movements can trigger back issues...particularly those that continue for hours. A suspension fork may or may not help(I'd try the other paths first), but it's an option that does help smooth out rough surfaces.
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Old 10-25-21, 06:23 AM
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The other thing Colorado is how much riding experience you have and how much you ride.
Are you a beginner who bought a used 23mm shod road bike and ride once a month or a long time rider who loves riding?
I bring this up because only you and you doctor know your back specifics, but if riding is important to you, really do consider a new bike that can take tires up to 40, 45mm, because
1-its been pretty much proven that on some really good tires, fatter tires are just as fast at real life speeds (non pro peleton) yet TONS more comfortable
2-life is too damn short to be riding an uncomfortable bike, especially for your affected back and who has dealt with a crappy medical situation.

serious suggestion, test ride a relaxed shaped frame (ie not a pro peleton slammed low headset racer) that numerous gravel bikes are, or a tourer with tall front end, but can take wide tires. Bring a pressure gauge and you'll see how large volume low pressure tires are a game changer BUT DO NOT listen to your 23mm experience of what "feels" fast, ie no sharp hard road vibrations actually can be as fast.....ya ya no one believes this at first, but it's true--and it'll save your back!
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Old 10-25-21, 06:30 AM
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Something to read to back this up
https://www.renehersecycles.com/what-makes-a-bike-fast/
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Old 10-25-21, 07:45 AM
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Originally Posted by zandoval View Post
We raise our bars, lower our seats, and go to fatter tiers tires... Ha
Definitely agree with this. Going to a very upright riding style will probably do much more to save your back than anything else. Think cruiser bars, adjustable or long stem, lower saddle, etc.
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Old 10-25-21, 07:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Thulsadoom View Post
Definitely agree with this. Going to a very upright riding style will probably do much more to save your back than anything else. Think cruiser bars, adjustable or long stem, lower saddle, etc.
in my case, an upright seating style can be harder on back, but really, only this guy or lady will know what feels best for their back.
re lowering seat, other than for people with limited cycling skills, lowering seat too much is just harder on the knees and back, but again, a walking pace doodle for 20 mins on a beach bike is different than really riding.....but only this person knows......
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Old 10-25-21, 08:25 AM
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Originally Posted by djb View Post
in my case, an upright seating style can be harder on back, but really, only this guy or lady will know what feels best for their back.
.....
Agree. More upright puts more weight on the lower back, that is less weight on shoulders. If I tried to sit too upright on a bike for a long ride, my lower spine would really protest.

I think a good physical therapist would be able to help. Doctors have a few minutes per visit and don't have time to get into details on how to set up a bike. PTs often have more visits and longer visits and their job is to help with recovery so they are accustomed to patients that want to do certain activities.

A friend of mine was losing his abilty to balance. He bought a trike two years ago. He loves it, but there are serious shortages of those things right now. And my friend is 85, so he is not getting any younger. My point is that if a bike won't work, there are other options, and a recumbant would be one of those options too.
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Old 10-25-21, 08:43 AM
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Good discussion.

I have a Velo Orange touring saddle, very similar to the Brooks Flyer (a knock off I think) and it is comfortable for what we would used to call 10 speed type riding (aero). I think the springs add a little to the comfort.
I also have a Brooks B67, which is a sprung wider saddle meant for more upright riding, similar to what one would do on a converted mtb type touring bike. I have to say, that is perhaps my most comfortable saddle. But it isn't meant for the aero position.

Also spot on about the tires. The minimum I ride on my road bike is 28mm. I had 23's and could feel all of the road buzz. On my touring bike I aim for 32mm for a bit more cushion.

That would be the first and cheapest step I think, seeing how wide a tire can fit in the frame/fork. At most it will cost one tire for trial (although you may find a shop/friend that already has a tire that size).

Switching to 650b can also be done but it costs a lot more than a saddle. I did this with my endurance bike and needed: Wheels, tires, rotors (disc) tubes, cassette. If you don't have disc it becomes a harder to mate 650b into a 700c brake caliper. Not impossible perhaps but probably requires some adapting.
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Old 10-25-21, 10:17 AM
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One more quick note, if you upsize the tires, check both front and rear. Often the front fork is the limiting factor. You might be able to put a wider rear tire in than the front. That is not always the case, my road bike, the seat stay brake bridge in the rear is where the limiting factor is, not the front fork.

My road bike as 28mm tires, my rando bike with fenders has 32mm, my light touring bike with fenders has 37mm tires. Each step up is a different ride.
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Old 10-25-21, 04:05 PM
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I went to a PT and they said there was nothing they could do for me. (My bad back.) The back doctor said the same thing. It was funny, at the back doctor they took X-rays of my back. The X-Ray nurse said, "Boy, I've just looked at your X-Ray and your back really mess up". No kidding Dick Tracy. Anyway, I went to my LBS today and bought a Brooks B-67 ( a B-17 with springs.).I hope it works. Thanks again everyone for their advice. Later on in the week, I will look into the 700+28s. I was in too muck pain to look at them when I was at the shop for the seat.
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Old 10-25-21, 04:28 PM
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just so you know, the B67 is wider than the B17.
Its the Flyer thats a B17 with springs.

really look into the 28s, the difference is very very noticeable, especially if you go with some tires that have a nice flexible sidewall, like a Schwalbe Supreme that is supple but also a good wearing tire (as opposed to some very thin and light racing tires)

how much do you weigh btw?
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Old 10-25-21, 04:42 PM
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So, there was nothing at all worthwhile in any of the 6 other Brooks saddle threads you've started?

Worn Brooks Saddle

Lets See Your Old Brooks Saddle

Brooks Saddles

Rough feeling Brooks

Brooks Flyer Saddle

Brooks Flyer
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Old 10-25-21, 07:34 PM
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so you do already have a Flyer Mr Co.
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