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  1. #1
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    Changing my saddle?

    Hello everyone!

    Please forgive my complete and total ignorance, but the saddle on my 78 Motobecane GT mixte (the original Selle Royal that came with it) has a nasty gash in it and I would like to replace it. All I hear about old French bikes is "French bikes! Hard to repair! Different threading on everything! Different parts!" My question is: can I buy any old saddle or will I run into compatibility problems? Like I said, the saddle and the seatpost appear to be original to the bike. And then, once I have a new saddle: how do I actually swap them out? It is easy enough for someone who isn't at all handy to manage? (If this is a question better suited for C&V, let me know, too!)

    Thanks!

  2. #2
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    The absolute majority of saddles use the same standard of saddle rails, so you're probably OK. But there are some options, basically either a seat post w/integrated saddle clamp, or separate post and clamp (and some real rarities). If the seat post swells to a kind of knob at the top it's the former. If the seat post is simply basically cylindrical it's the latter.
    With integrated, look at the post from below and you should see a screw with an Allen head. Undo this one and the clamp will open.
    With separate, look just in line with the edge of the saddle and you'll see a bolt sitting sideways. Loosen this bolt and the saddle will come off.
    Otherwise it's entirely possible to reskin a saddle. It's readily doable w/o special skills or tools.

  3. #3
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    Thanks for your help! When I get home from work, I'll investigate my setup further. I had also never thought of nor heard about reskinning a saddle, so I'm off to Google that, since the saddle itself is pretty comfortable.

  4. #4
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    True, you can have it recovered if it is a saddle you cannot live without. Otherwise, get to a shop and start trying out saddles.

    BTW, great screen name.

  5. #5
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    @Socal Thanks! The problem with Brooklyn, actually, is the over-abundance of LBSs. I don't know where to go to find consistently good, friendly service, and Yelp is really no help since for every stellar review a shop gets, it also gets a review like, "I brought my bike here and when they returned it, everything fell off!!" Anyway, I just have to bite the bullet.

  6. #6
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Hi Legs,

    There are a ton of great shops in Brooklyn, that's for sure. If you're looking for something leather, Bespoke Bicycles in Fort Greene always has a bunch of Brooks saddles hanging on the wall. Ride Brooklyn on Bergen is also good but they focus on newer bikes. There is a new shop called Red Lantern in Clinton Hill on Myrtle that I think has good potential. The guys in there are really nice and they seem to focus on older stuff. Their selection is limited right now--they just opened--but they will order things. I think I am going to try to give them business as they are new and friendly. (edit: plus they have a coffee shop in the front, and they are supposed to get beer soon too.)

    What hood are you in?
    Last edited by lostarchitect; 08-24-11 at 02:19 PM.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  7. #7
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    any saddle should fit. I have used my old peugeot saddle on a couple of different bikes (non-french) without problem.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/bustercrb/sets/72157623483647522/

  8. #8
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    @lostarchitect I live in Crown Heights and work in Brooklyn Heights or Park Slope depending on the day. One of my friends who lives in Clinton Hill mentioned that there was a new bike shop that had just opened up! I'm sure it's Red Lantern. Friendly, with coffee on hand, is a sure way to my heart, so maybe I will check them out this weekend (assuming Irene doesn't wash us all away). Re: leather saddles, I'm not sure if that's the route I should go? The collective wisdom seems to be that they are so comfortable when broken in, but they're also so much more expensive and you have to maintain them/protect them from the elements/be okay with possibly staining your paints, right? Any opinions on that? (I am taking this far away from bicycle mechanics, sorry folks!)

  9. #9
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Well, personally I only ride leather, and it's true that they are great when broken in. Which for me is usually pretty fast--but I may have a "Brooks Butt".

    They are expensive, it's true. But they last forever and they're not nearly so fragile as some people seem to think. A soaking now and then is really not a big deal. Brooks also come with a rain cover that I keep with my bike, just in case. I've never had any issues with stains, myself. But almost all my pants are black, so maybe that's why.

    Also, you could try a non-Brooks brand. Velo-Orange has some decent looking saddles. Although Brooks are generally considered the best (or close to it), there are other makes out there. But if you can, I'd go Brooks. You can often find almost new saddles on craigslist for a lot cheaper than list. Also there is a user here named Septacycles who sells them new for cheaper than I have seen elsewhere. He posts in the sales section on the classic & vintage forum, you could try him. I bought a Brooks Pro from him and saved something like $25 over most other retailers.

    A B-72 or B-17 would probably look very cool on your mixte.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  10. #10
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the advice! I guess I will look into finding a cheaper Brooks (although this Velo Orange saddle, on sale, seems like a good deal and, in brown, would look awesome on my bike). Who am I to spit in the face of the collective wisdom, anyway?

  11. #11
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    Do you have a sprung saddle now? They're comfy but heavy. If you're cool with that tradeoff the VO saddle might be right for you. I have heard they're good saddles, but that the leather isn't as thick as on a Brooks. I'm sure they're fine, however. VO is a good company, IMO.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  12. #12
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    I don't have a sprung saddle right now. The SR saddle on my bike is pretty padded, though, and not that light. I don't really have a sense of what the extra weight of a sprung saddle would translate to in terms of effort/speed? I just started carrying my giant Krypto U-lock on my back rack (thanks bungie net!!) instead of my backpack, which adds a bunch of weight to the back of the bike obviously, and that's going okay so far. I mean, I feel like I'm never going to be the fastest cyclist anyway.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    French period saddles for your bike are not hard to find!
    You can keep it period correct and still mostly French if you replace it with an Ideale brand 2001 or 2002 model saddles (They can be found NOS at eBay for as low as $75 bucks for the most basic versions). You can also get Ideale leather "suspension" type saddles that are similar to Brooks leather saddles in design with some sprung versions too, but they are generally much more expensive than the 2000 series model with the padded plastic base and leather covers.

    Chombi
    Last edited by Chombi; 08-24-11 at 06:45 PM.

  14. #14
    Junior Member LegsBenedict's Avatar
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    Thanks for the information, Chombi! I am honestly not that concerned with keeping it all-French and period correct because this is just a commuter bike for me (albeit one that I love and cherish and think is gorgeous). I just took a quick look around eBay and those models, with shipping, aren't going to come to less than a hundred bones, while that VO sprung saddle is $65, free shipping. Luckily, the good thing about the saddle is I can swap it out for one of the lovely swoopy Ideale saddles later if I change my mind without having ruined the bike as a whole.

  15. #15
    incazzare. lostarchitect's Avatar
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    If it's a commuter and you're carrying some stuff, including a big lock, I doubt you'll be bothered by the weight. I'm not setting any speed records either, so I know how it is.
    1964 JRJ (Bob Jackson), 1973 Wes Mason, 2000ish Colian (Colin Laing), 2013 Velo Orange Pass Hunter

  16. #16
    Ghost Ryding 24/7 Ghost Ryder's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cyclist2000 View Post
    any saddle should fit. I have used my old peugeot saddle on a couple of different bikes (non-french) without problem.
    Same here!!!
    My Peugeot saddle is from 77 & still look pretty good.
    It was my dads & never got much use, I use it on my Japanese bikes too.
    I just had to change out the bracket on the bottom to work with my stems, it's really easy, 5-10 mins tops.
    13mm wrench/socket/ratchet is all I need.

    I have to lock it to my frame because people think it's a Brooks all the time.
    This is the most comfortable saddle I have yet to find.
    I'm tempted to get a Brooks, but the "crooks" love to snatch them from the bike around here.

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