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  1. #1
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Berthoud saddle initial impressions

    I received and mounted my new Berthoud Touring Saddle (Aspin) today.
    Overall, the construction is very good. The leather is quite thick (thicker than my B17).

    The seat rails adjustment range are even shorter than the B17. I set mine at the farthest position on my Velo Orange seatpost that I had purchased specifically for use with the B17 and I could barely get it to give me the desired seat to handlebar center position. I don't know how anyone can fit this on a bike with a reasonable handlebar drop.

    Despite the "hand softening", the leather is quite hard and I can see it taking me a good time to break this saddle in. I did take it out for a short ride and it felt OK with my cycling shorts. Riding with just a pair of normal shorts, it feels rock hard.

    The natural finish looks cool and I think over time it will be unique. I do have the change the handlebar tape to match the color since I switched from a black saddle to the natural/tan color. More than likely, I am going to go with Cinelli Cork gel tape again even though it is a dirt magnet.

    One last word. The seating range on the backside of the saddle is limited due to the fairly significant width of the composite support piece. If you sit too far back, you can definitely feel the support piece and the rails coming through. I did not have this issue with the B17.

    Based on the reviews, I have to say, I am a bit disheartened by the lack of seat rail adjustment length and the composite piece coming through and getting felt reducing the "sittable" range by about 10mm. I figure I may (yet again) need to get a seatpost with more setback than the velo orange which already has a significant setback (in the 30-35mm range if I recall).

  2. #2
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    The short rails are worrisome. Why don't saddle makers realize we don't all have a boxful of seatposts? On my C&V bikes, the 25.0mm seatpost means I'm lucky to find a seatpost, much less a whole range of them.

  3. #3
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    The short rails are worrisome. Why don't saddle makers realize we don't all have a boxful of seatposts? On my C&V bikes, the 25.0mm seatpost means I'm lucky to find a seatpost, much less a whole range of them.
    Exactly. I can't believe I did not read about this in any of the online reviews.

  4. #4
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    It's just a guess, but maybe the manufacturers make the rails short to cut down on weight. Not saying that's a smart way to reduce weight.

    Shimano removed barrel adjusters from the Deore XT derailleurs because of weight, now that is stupid!
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  5. #5
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    It's just a guess, but maybe the manufacturers make the rails short to cut down on weight. Not saying that's a smart way to reduce weight.

    Shimano removed barrel adjusters from the Deore XT derailleurs because of weight, now that is stupid!
    I think the overall rail length would be quite similar (and hence the weight) since the saddle is not getting any longer, what would change is the shape of the rails. There are about 3.5 inches of rail
    on the Berthoud in the front that are tucked in and not usable.
    Last edited by fstshrk; 02-05-12 at 09:14 AM.

  6. #6
    Cisalpinist Italuminium's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    The short rails are worrisome. Why don't saddle makers realize we don't all have a boxful of seatposts? On my C&V bikes, the 25.0mm seatpost means I'm lucky to find a seatpost, much less a whole range of them.
    dept. store mountainbikes often have 25mm seat posts Last resort measure though, now way I want something else then NR on my ALAN.
    Pass the Dutchie on the non-drive side.
    Rather a 100$ bike with 1000$ wheels than a 1000$ bike with 100$ wheels.

  7. #7
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    My Jamis has a 27.X mm seatpost. The problem is finding a seatpost with 40mm or so setback.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    I also looked into the fore/aft adjustability of the Berthoud saddle as some noted the plastic cantle piece seems to be bigger than what is on other leather saddles. I looked around and found this though:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallblo...n/photostream/
    They are saying that the rails on the Berthoud seems to be longer than the one one used on Brooks saddles. From the pics, it looks very similar, but at lease they don't look shorter than the Brooks rails....

    Chombi

  9. #9
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Here is a comparison from Ocean Air Cycles (c) 2011. The one on the left is a Berthoud Aspin, the one in the middle is a B17 and the one on the right is a Swift.
    You can see how much the composite base support juts out compared to the brooks. It is almost tempting to unbolt the saddle leather and dremel some of the base away.
    I also note that my saddle (2012 serial #) came with a rail clamp that clamps onto the rails when they start narrowing down. I presume this is to prevent the rails from deforming.



    As far as the rails go, the length looks identical to the brooks B17, but the berthoud rails are offset slightly towards the back.
    I adjusted mine a bit more today but since it has been below 32F all morning, I could not take it outside for a ride.
    I am going to try it for two weeks, if not, it's going on ebay or looking for a trade on a Team Pro Alpe D'Huez in black or antique brown.
    Last edited by fstshrk; 02-05-12 at 02:25 PM.

  10. #10
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    I think the difference with the Brooks cantle plate is with how the edges of the plate pull away from the leather at the perimeter of the plate, maybe giving the leather more of a chance to flex downwards when the rider sits on it. Why Berthoud did not copy that, is puzzling as it would have also helped to stiffen the cantle. But I have seen a lot of positive reviews of the Berthoud already to think that it should generally give as good or better ride than the Brooks. I'll find out this srping when I get to ride my Berthoud equipped bike some real miles too.

    Chombi

  11. #11
    Senior Member fstshrk's Avatar
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    Hi Chombi,

    I got lazy today after riding yesterday. I know that the reviews on the berthoud are all good, but if my b*tt doesn't agree, what am I supposed to do

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by jyl View Post
    The short rails are worrisome. Why don't saddle makers realize we don't all have a boxful of seatposts? On my C&V bikes, the 25.0mm seatpost means I'm lucky to find a seatpost, much less a whole range of them.
    NOS 25.0 mm posts always seem to be in excellent supply on feeBay.

  13. #13
    Senior Member Chombi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 753proguy View Post
    NOS 25.0 mm posts always seem to be in excellent supply on feeBay.
    Yup, Check out "Vitus/Sporting Goods" any day, and there's at least a couple for sale from different makers...

    Chombi

  14. #14
    johnliu@earthlink.net jyl's Avatar
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    Ha ha, now tell me where all those 24.0 mm seatposts are hiding.

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