Monday 10 June 2019

Brooks B17 Standard vs Special...difference in comfort?

When I bought my Orange Special Edition Brompton last year, one of the first things I did was to replace the standard Brompton saddle with a Brooks B17 Standard. It is a great saddle but after an over night ride to Whitstable, I was left wondering walking like John Wayne after he had been on a different saddle for too long! This got be wondering about the differences between the Standard and the Special Edition versions.

B17 Standard in black

Many people report that their new Brooks saddle is a labour of love, requiring some time to break it in. In fact occasionally you can see them on eBay with people selling them as they cannot get on with them. All of the standard B17 saddles I have owned have required some time to break them in with lashings of proofide being applied.

My first Brooks saddle was on my Original Orange Brompton, a B17 Special in brown, This was comfortable straight away, requiring no breaking in at all.

B17 Special Edition in brown

The same could be said of the B17 Special - again in brown - that I bought as an option when buying my Orange P-Type. One of my first rides on this was a 50 miler and again totally comfortable.

B17 Special Edition in brown with copper rails

Zoom forward to a few weeks ago and on my new Flame Lacquer I changed the standard saddle for a B17 Titanium Special in black. It is a really good saddle and had required no breaking in and like the other special edition saddles very comfortable from the word go.

B17 Titanium Special Edition in black

I have had a few other B17 standard saddles and none have had the same levels of instant comfort. If I were to describe them, rock hard might be an apt description.

So, is there a difference between  the standard and the special edition B17s? From my experience I would have to conclude that there is? I don't know what this is thought? Could it be the leather used is different? Are the larger copper rivets factor?

What had been your experience of this? I would love to know, so please leave a comment.


  1. I have a B17 titanium, just like your last, which has seen many bikes now over about 15 years. And as you describe, it was firm but comfortable from the start. I just assumed I had a Brooks shaped bottom!

    1. The saddle molds to your bum over time.
      Keep the proofide on regularly & tension as required.
      I have ridden a B17 Special Titanium saddle on 600 k Rando rides.
      Comfortable all the way. People mention that the saddle is hard & how do you ride on it. The great thing about a Brooks saddle is it is suspended. Held up by the back bracket & nose piece. Soaks up a lot of the rough road.

  2. Thickness of the leather ?

    1. Might be? I remember visiting the Brooks factory a few years ago with some Brompton peeps but they seemed to used the same leather for both saddles.


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