If you have been reading this weblog for a while, you might remember that I had purchased a Brooks B18 "Lady" saddle some time ago, thinking that I would put it on my Pashley. However, the Pashley ended up staying with her native B66S, while the special edition "Lady" remained in its pretty box.
I had tried to fit the B18 on other bicycles as well, but it was not a success. Only now has it finally found a home, upon the Raleigh DL-1 Lady's Tourist. They are a perfect match.
Here is how it looks with the vintage Tourist saddlebag.
View from the back.
The problem I had with the B18 on other bicycles, was that the shape of the saddle conflicted with their frame geometries. I will try to explain the problem: The B18 is a very wide saddle. So wide, that my derriere (which is by no means small) does not cover it sufficiently for unrestricted pedaling on most types of bicycles. As I bring a leg down to pedal, the back of my upper thigh/ lower butt area presses painfully against the stiff side of the saddle, causing extreme discomfort. It's not a matter of the saddle being broken in or not broken in; its very structure causes this problem. Basically, a bicycle frame needs to have a very slack seat tube angle - so that the pedals are positioned considerably forward of the saddle - in order for it to be humanly possible to pedal while sitting on the B18.
On the above photo you can see that the Raleigh DL-1 Lady's Tourist has a very slack seat tube angle. See how the saddle is practically lying back over the rear wheel as opposed to standing straight up above the pedals? That's basically what needs to happen for the B18 to be suitable. With the legs moving down and forward, as opposed to straight down, the butt/thigh area is not in contact with the wide part of the saddle and pedaling does not cause pain. Both my Pashley Princess and my Raleigh Lady's Sports have considerably steeper seat tubes, which is why the B18 did not work with them. However, the Raleigh DL-1 and the "Lady" are a match made in heaven. With the appropriate frame geometry, the width and softness of the B18 are extremely comfortable.
The B18's maiden voyage upon the DL-1 Lady's Tourist. It has stood the test of a 2-hour tour of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, so I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship. The B18 is truly a gorgeous saddle and can be a dream on the right bicycle.