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Forgive me, but another Brooks saddle thread..

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Forgive me, but another Brooks saddle thread..

Old 08-14-08, 10:06 PM
  #1  
PurpleK
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Forgive me, but another Brooks saddle thread..

I need a new saddle and based on the rave reviews Brooks saddles receive here and on other sites, I've decided to give Brooks a go. But there are more models of Brooks saddles than I anticipated. I am having trouble deciding between the the B-17 or the Champion Flyer, which is essentially the B-17 with springs. The B-17 is nice, but it seems the springs on the CF would absorb more road shock and increase comfort. I would appreciate any comments and suggestions.
Thanks
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Old 08-14-08, 11:42 PM
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I love the comfort of the flyer with the springs. Really makes a difference. I have been frustrated with limited aft adjustment and the touchy height and angle adjustments. Seems I just can't get it dialed in. I'll keep trying.

Rivendel Bicycles came out with a Nitto Way Back seat post at about $ 185 to give an additional 15mm of setback, which would just about do it. Way to expensive for me.
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Old 08-15-08, 01:21 AM
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I have both, but I've just bought another B17 to replace the Flyer. The Flyer is heaver, and to be honest I can't discern any really helpful shock-absorption that it provides in addition to the 'give' in the leather of a properly broken-in B17. I guess it must do something, but it's certainly not like riding with suspension! In practical terms, you're still going to have to lift your weight off the saddle on really bumpy tracks. I've also found it difficult to find exactly the right seat angle for the Flyer - maybe because there *is* a bit of up/down movement at the back end.

In short, I don't think the shock-absorption benefit outweighs the weight cost and the squeaky noises. Get the B17.
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Old 08-15-08, 04:57 AM
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I use a Team Pro on my road bike and the Champion Flyer on my touring/commuting bike. I find the springs do indeed help with the jarring hits, especially if you ride in a more up right stance. I have also noticed, while riding behind a Flyer user, that the Flyer saddle flows up and down as you peddle. I have had no problems with adjustments on mine.
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Old 08-15-08, 09:30 AM
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I have no experience with the Flyer, but the B-17 is a beautiful seat. I almost went with the Flyer, but then realized that I did not necessarily need springs, I had never felt 'jarred' from my old Specialized BG saddle, only chaffed. It was very comfortable from the box in my opinion. I just bought a Swift for my CF bike (again to replace another Specialized BG, Toupe this time) and am again having no break in period. I love unsprung Brooks and recommend to everyone who will listen.
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Old 08-15-08, 09:51 AM
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You may want to wait for this one.
Its the B17 Imperial that some of us have been testing.
It is easily the best saddle I've ever had on any touring bike.
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Old 08-15-08, 10:16 AM
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As usual, I defer to the late, great Sheldon Brown. Below is what he says on the issue. I have a B17 on my road bike and a champion Flyer on my tourer. I can't really tell a whole lot of difference at this point, but the Flyer is only 1 month old and hasn't been sufficiently tested or fully broken in, yet. It was incredibly comfortable out of the box, however and I didn't have any problems getting it adjusted correctly. I think the main question is whether you are willing to absorb the almost 1 lb. weight penalty.

Until the 1970s bike boom, virtually all bicycle saddles had springs. The only cyclists who rode un-sprung saddles were hard-core, high-intensity riders. These cyclists carried such a large proportion of their body weight on their legs that they didn't need springs in their saddles, and they were weight-concious enough to begrudge the weight of the springs. Sporty cylcists also preferred unsprung saddles because they made it easier to pedal rapid cadences without bouncing.
When the bike boom struck, and everybody in America bought a racing-style drop-bar ten speed, the unsprung saddle was part of the deal. Unfortunately, neither the un-sprung saddle, the drop handlebars, nor the narrow tires suited the needs of the more casual, "recreational" cyclist.

The mountain bike revolution was a movement away from the drop bar and the narrow tire, but the unsprung saddle remained. Since the mountain bike came with big fat squishy tires, the tire was able to provide enough shock-absorbency to make the bikes reasonably comfortable to ride. Unfortunately, those same tires also made the bikes slow and hard to pedal.

Despite fashion, I believe that saddles with built-in springs make a great deal of sense for most cyclists, who favor a fairly upright riding position which puts more of the rider's weight on the saddle.

Last edited by CardiacKid; 08-16-08 at 05:48 PM.
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Old 08-15-08, 11:23 AM
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I have a B17 and a Flyer. While I like both there is a problem I've encountered with the Flyer. On 2 occasions I have broken the bolt that connects the saddle to the seatpost. This has occurred with bolts from 2 manufacturers and at the same place (the bolt head has sheared off). My theory is that motion is transferred from me, to the springs, and then to the bolt with every pedal stroke. This constant up and down motion eventually causes the bolt to fail.

I am quite a bit heavier than the average rider and it is probably a combination of rider, bolt, seatpost, saddle, and saddle position that results in this failure. It seems to occur about every 5000 miles and I now carry a spare seatpost bolt with me.
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Old 08-15-08, 03:32 PM
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wallbikes says the b17 has the lowest return ratio of all the brooks saddle they sell (5:1). I dont have one but I think this speaks to the versitility of the b17. They have a 6 month return policy too. Im thinking about trying one, just worried it might not be the best for me in that I ride very hard and agressively and move my ass position alot, and my saddle is usually a inch or so above my bars. Anyone else ride like this and like the brooks b17? I dont want to start another brooks post (ive already exceeded my limit by starting two since joining).
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Old 08-16-08, 03:42 AM
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We use the Champion Flyer and the Champion Flyer "S", and they are very comfortable. Mine took a couple hundred kms to break in, my wifes was perfect from day one.
Like someone said earlyer springs for the tourer and B17 for....
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Old 08-16-08, 09:52 AM
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I have both, I don't notice any big benefit from the springs. Plus the flyer is really heavy, and it creaks a lot. I'd go with the B17.
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Old 08-16-08, 10:28 AM
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On smooth roads you might not notice much difference, but on rough sections the Champion Flyer will absorb the big hits you'd otherwise feel. When you get it set up right, the sprung saddle is really comfortable. It is heavier though, so you have to get your head around that if you use one. I have two!

Interestingly, in the olden days (as per the Brooks catalogs from the early 1900s), the B.17 was a racing saddle!
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Old 08-16-08, 10:46 AM
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Originally Posted by fthomas View Post
I love the comfort of the flyer with the springs. Really makes a difference. I have been frustrated with limited aft adjustment and the touchy height and angle adjustments. Seems I just can't get it dialed in. I'll keep trying.

Rivendel Bicycles came out with a Nitto Way Back seat post at about $ 185 to give an additional 15mm of setback, which would just about do it. Way to expensive for me.
I have a Thomson setback seatpost with a Brooks B67 and it works out great
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Old 08-16-08, 11:51 AM
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If your riding is all on pavement then the B17 makes the most sense. I ride on a lot of rail trails and rougher surfaces and I definitely feel the springs working to take a lot of shock out of the ride and so I am glad I have the Flyer.
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Old 08-25-08, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by ricohman View Post
You may want to wait for this one.
Its the B17 Imperial that some of us have been testing.
It is easily the best saddle I've ever had on any touring bike.
I sold my B17 after using it for 2k+ miles, it was extremely comfortable but had developed a ridge in the middle that put pressure. I would love to give the Imperial a try, does anyone know when they will be released for sale?
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Old 08-25-08, 01:16 PM
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I was out at Velo orange on friday, and he has a very well priced version of a 15mm setback post. i think its around thirty or so.

damn near as nice as thompson elite for less than half the cost (for you who want a bit more adjustability backwards...)
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Old 08-25-08, 01:17 PM
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I have been wondering when (if ever) the Imperial is going to be released, it has been in testing for quite some time now; which is not necessarily a bad thing I guess, just frustrating.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:10 PM
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I've got a B-17S on a suspension seatpost. I'm not in love with the seatpost, but the saddle is great. No pain from the saddle after the first 30 miles. That's not a normal break in tho, and most people take considerably longer. My rear end likes a hard surface, and not everyone's does. If you look at crazyguyonabike gear reviews, it's clear that some folks just prefer something else.

If I had a rigid seatpost, I'd be using a Flyer S. The suspension seatpost I have is *too* bouncy, and is prone to wiggling if I shift my weight. Very disconcerting. A Flyer isn't supposed to do that.
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Old 08-25-08, 03:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Navy_Chief View Post
I have been wondering when (if ever) the Imperial is going to be released, it has been in testing for quite some time now; which is not necessarily a bad thing I guess, just frustrating.
Check out Wallingford Bikes new blog. They are hoping for it to come out before Christmas.
On a side note, it was interesting that it says Bike Forums members are their biggest customer base on the Internet.
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Old 08-25-08, 04:36 PM
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I have both and the Flyer was very comfortable right out of the box, no break in required for me. I have the Flyer on my touring bike now and the B17 Imperial on my everyday bike.
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Old 08-25-08, 05:16 PM
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Originally Posted by pasopia View Post
I have both, I don't notice any big benefit from the springs. Plus the flyer is really heavy, and it creaks a lot. I'd go with the B17.

Basically what I was going to say. I do feel the springs doing their job occasionally, but most of the time I can tell no difference. The B-17 is heavy, but it isn't any heavier than it looks. The Flyer is surprisingly heavy. The first time you pick one up you'll think "How is that possible?" I still think it's a great saddle, just not really necessary for me. (I weigh 190 pounds, btw)
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Old 08-25-08, 08:09 PM
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I've been looking into getting a B-17 for both me and the girlfriend, and I first noticed the "S" version. What's the difference, and is it worth getting the "S" version specifically for her and a standard for myself?

The "S" version appears to be sold out most everywhere.
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Old 08-26-08, 02:17 PM
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So what do you guys do with your Brooks' when it rains? I'm assuming prior treatment would help, but is the Brooks Proofide enough, or is it better to use something else?
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Old 08-26-08, 02:40 PM
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Its really not a problem. Don't let it get absolutely soaked and then ride for hours on it wet or it will stretch. put a bag on it if its sitting around in the rain.

If you're riding on it, a bit of wetness isn't going to hurt it, since your body mostly covers the saddle. Really. Its been known to rain in England.
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