MG and I have had very good experience with leather Brooks saddles on our single bikes. I have just one bike left without a Brooks, and that one is an older Selle Italia Flite XP. It was one of my last stops, along with the Avocet Men’s O2, on the brevet saddle trail before going all Brooks, all the time. Both are about as wide as a Brooks B17, at least in usable area. I left the Flite XP on the Cannondale tandem that I ride around town with my daughter Super D.
(By the way, this last weekend Super D started riding her single bike all by herself. It was fun to watch the light bulb turn on. We all “got it” that first time and I still remember the feeling — so very nice. I’ll post about her bike soon — a refurbished 90s-era kids Specialized Rockhopper with 24″ wheels and single-speed drivetrain.)
Back to the saddle story. MG and I have worn out antique brown sprung Champion Flyer saddles this spring. We have about 1,500 miles on them and hers is badly sagged, mine is not so bad but is no longer comfortable. We used only Brooks Proofide on them and kept them covered in the rain, save for about 20 miles this last Saturday when we used the Brooks saddle covers that are not waterproof. We put grocery store bags under the Brooks covers when we got to a rest stop.
Here are some photos.
The Flyer’s springs are stiff but work well for us. We use them on our Bike Fridays, which have some kick to them due to the small wheels. MG found hers so good that she had me remove the Thudbuster suspension post and unsprung B17 from the tandem and install the Flyer alone.
We know at least one other tandem team that uses Brooks saddles and has had mixed results, so they are not for everyone. Our dealer is going to send ours back to Brooks for inspection. Leather is a natural product and we’re not complaining too much here. Maybe the cows did not produce tandem-suitable hides. We’ll let you know how it works out.