When Brooks England decided to resurrect the legendary B72 saddle ($190), the brand reached out to John to use his 1980 Ritchey as a model to showcase the saddle’s history of being mounted to some of the first mountain bikes. Then, to offer a modern comparison, they built up a stunning Stooge Cycles Speedbomb. The resulting builds are eerily similar in some ways and worlds apart in others, yet the Brooks B72 looks right at home on both bikes. Let’s check out the new B72, including John’s quick review, below.
I’ll admit, it’s a little strange for me to see one of my most precious bicycles in Italy, being photographed by another photographer. Yet, it’s such a treat to see a project that I’ve spent countless hours on come together and be so beautifully documented by the incredibly talented Giovanni De Sandre from Studio GDS.
My 1980 Ritchey is an example that was pre-serial. It’s a 23″ frame, built to 1980 specs. That includes Phil Wood bolt-on hubs, Ukai gold rims, a stub fillet high rise Bullmoose, Suntour Mighty shifters, TA Cranks, a Huret rear derailleur, Comp V front, an SR seatpost and yeah, a late 1970s B72.
In fact, the thing with the most patina on this build is that Brooks B72. It looks like it could tear at any moment and it’s one of the reasons I cringe every time I ride this bike. Sure, I can buy another B72 used with a similar patina off eBay or at a bike swap but that saddle has a story (and one that I’m not sure I want to know) full of butt sweat and tears. ;-)
I never got the chance to update the bike gallery after acquiring a 1980 Bullmoose and subsequently nickel-plating it, but I took a few vogue photos of this shiny sexiness. Shortly after I dialed in the build, Brooks hit me up to ask if they could use it in their project around the re-issuing of the B72! Let me tell you, boxing up a rare bird like this took some courage but I was elated to see it in the media photos.
One of the coolest things about the B72 was the fact that they utilized a seat pillar, found on 3-speed cruisers, city bikes, and commuter bikes. The B72 as it comes from Brooks uses a clamp that ataches to the dual-rails and clamps around a seat pillar.
Because the B72 wouldn’t mount to a standard road bike seatpost that was the norm for framebuilders in the late 1970s and early 1980s, a fella named Joe Breeze made what he calls a “seat sandwich,” a plate of aluminum that spans the double saddle rails and allows for a single-pin road seatpost to be used.
Brooks contacted Joe Breeze and asked for permission to design its own adaptor, which is required when mounting a B72 to a mountain/gravel/touring bike. Since people use micro adjust posts these days, Brooks abandoned Joe Breeze’s plate design and developed individual rail spacers called Seat Sandwich Adapters. These adapters will be on the Brooks website next week.
Let’s look at how to assemble a B72 with the Brooks Seat Sandwich Adapters…
Mounting the B72
The process is actually quite simple, and the gist of it is illustrated in the two photos above. The bolts are where things get tricky: you’ll likely need longer bolts than what your seatpost comes with. Brooks has a kit, offering up a number of different bolts and lengths that should suit your application. See more at Brooks.
The result is a timeless look for your cruiser, klunker, tourer, or singletrack bike. The vintage aesthetic is bigger now than ever—high-rise/wide moto bars, metal cranks, metal pedals, and swoopy frame tubes making a comeback (or, did it ever leave?)—and the B72 is the icing on the klunker cake!
You really can’t go wrong with a 1980s MTB, but a 1980 Ritchey is just something else entirely. The lines, the geometry, and best of all, the ride quality is such a blissful experience. In an era of suspension and carbon chassis, there’s something refreshing about a fork with the right amount of flex and cable-actuated everything. The classic leather B72 on your butt and Magura moto grips in your hands—there’s nothing like it.
Yet, I’ve been enjoying a B72 for the past few months on another vintage-inspired bike, my Rivendell Bombadil.
You remember my Rivendell Bombadil, right? The merry fellow whose jacket is blue and boots are yellow? Well if you recall, the B72 saddle on the Riv was a bit tired. It literally fell apart one day while I was documenting the bike. When the saddle died, I bought another B72 off eBay that was in about the same condition and rode it for a few months. Shortly after that one met its fate, too, when I wrecked on some singletrack one night. Fortunately, Brooks sent over one of their new B72 saddles for me to try out just in time.
Now, saddle shapes are highly subjective. Some butts like wide saddles, others, narrow. If you’re a wide saddle rider, the B72 will provide a lovely ride quality and, after the break-in process, it’ll take on the bespoke shape of your butt like a well-worn baseball glove.
I’ve been enjoying the remake of the classic B72. Tilted slightly up, reflecting my Wald 898 handlebar riding position, I’ve found it to be perfect for the Bombadil, which often finds its way onto some singletrack when I take it out. What I really enjoy about the B72 is the “leaf spring” effect of the dual rails and coil springs.
The B72 is available in black or walnut brown.
As you lean into corners, the saddle follows your hips and quickly springs back. When you’re digging in on a steep climb, the saddle rocks with your hips. One thing you’ve probably noticed about my bike reviews is that I prefer a bit of “sway” in my bikes. Overly stiff race machines aren’t my thing. I want a bike that dances with me up climbs and can be spring-loaded on tight turns. The B72 just accentuates that sensation at one of the most impactful contact points: yer butt!
Unlike other Brooks saddles, like the Swallow or Professional, the B72’s springy ride quality is right at home in the rough stuff and it’s already got me thinking about the next bike I’ll put it on…
- Durable Vegetable Tanned Leather
- Shapes Over Time
- Lasting Comfort & Breathability
- Extended 10-Year Guarantee
- Handcrafted Since 1866
- L 260 x W 205 x H 56 mm
- Weight: 720 g
- Price: $190
Check out more information on the B72 at Brooks.