Carlton Corsa – saddle choices

The Carlton Corsa that I have already blogged about has been on my mind a lot lately.

I am still to use this bike to commute to work – but I did use it for a shopping trip yesterday. It was rather a lot of fun but one thing that I did not enjoy has been the rather narrow saddle that adorn this bike:

Big Ben Saddle

The original “Big Ben” saddle on this 1977 Carlton Corsa

The saddle unfortunately seems to be narrow enough to move into the space between my ischial tuberosities/ sitting bones, and a lot of my soft tissues are resting on the saddle. This isn’t too bad for a 10 minute trip to the shops, but won’t do for the 30 minute commute. Now, as you will learn soon – I am a very big fan of leather saddles, namely ones made by Brooks. I have tried various saddles, but none have been as comfortable to me as leather saddles so I stuck with them.

I have two brooks saddles so far, one for each bike, and I plan to get a Brooks saddle for this bike.

I’ve narrowed it down to three choices:

The B17 Special, which comes in a rich, deep green, and copper rivets:

B17 Special with copper rivets

B17 Special with copper rivets – in a rich green colour


The B17 Special is really quite tempting, the copper rivets look good as well as reportedly increasing the longevity of the leather on saddle. These saddles cost in at £90.

The B17 standard, which comes in a choice of colurs, including Apple Green:

B17 Apple Green

Apple Green B17 Standard with Steel Rivets


The B17 Standard is more affordable at £70, and the Apple Green colour (looks more like an acid green to me) will actually match with the colour of the frame a lot better (I think). This is a matter of debate, of course, matching the colour of the saddle to the frame does not necessarily mean to match the colour as closely as possible, but instead a nice clash might be best (this remains open for discussion) The steel rivets are reportedly inferior to copper rivets.

Last but not least, the Brooks Flyer:

Brooks Flyer - black

Brooks Flyer in black, steel rivets and cushioning springs


The Brooks Flyer is an alternative to the green B17 saddles. The leather top is the same as the B17, but it offers the addition of 2 rather handy springs which cushion the ride. Seeing as the bike has no suspension to speak of, the Brooks Flyer seems like the logical, sensible choice – despite the copper rivets. The flyer costs £70, same as the B17 Standard.

Note that the saddles above are essentially the same in terms of size, they all the the B17 leather top on them.

I currently own a Brooks Flyer Select, and can attest to its comfort. As much as I love the Brooks Flyer Select, its light tan colour does stain very easily, and the price is a little prohibitive at £125.

I also own a B73, which contains a lot of springs and I really find these great for my upright bike. The B73 doesn’t come in a select or special option, and so is effectively a standard Brooks saddle in black, with steel rivets, and I certainly haven’t had any issues with it so far. The difference between the Flyer Select and the B73 might show in terms of longevity in a few years time, but at the moment, the steel rivets vs copper rivets issue doesn’t bother me.

Back to the matter at hand – what would you do about getting a saddle for this green vintage bike? Would you go down the fashion route and colour match a green saddle, or would you go the sensible/cautious route and get the sprung saddle for increased comfort and shock absorption.

Thanks for reading, answers on a postcard, or just email me, tweet me, or comment on here.

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