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Old 01-11-13, 04:36 AM   #1
budopo
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Help Me Decide Between a Gilles Berthoud Galibier and Aravis Saddle

I posted this question in the Road Riding forum, but I thought I'd post here, too.

I'm planning to get a Gilles Berthoud leather saddle, but I'm having trouble deciding between the racing Galibier and the touring Aravis models. I'd really appreciate any opinions/info I can get.

Pertinent info:
I'm 5'10", 150 lbs, ischial tuberosity width 100mm (center-to-center)
Bike is a 1990 Davidson Impulse. Handlebars are 8 cm below the saddle, but I'll raise them to a 6.5cm drop once I install a longer stem. I'm riding a Fizik Arione, which is pretty good for me (up to an hour or two ride), but it's too firm in the sit bone and perineum areas (raising the bars might help the perineum issue, even though it's not terribly bad, so long as I relieve the pressure every so often by standing or sliding back on the saddle to rest my thighs on the saddle for a minute).

So, with my sit bone width and handlebar drop, I kind of fall between a racing posture and a touring posture. I was thinking of getting the Galibier, since it's narrower (less chance of rubbing my thighs), and it's lighter, but I now I'm looking at the Aravis, but I don't know if it'd be too wide. This is also my first leather saddle, so I don't have any experience with how wide a saddle I need.

I know I'm over-thinking this, but I'd really appreciate any input you can give me!
Thanks in advance.
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Old 01-11-13, 08:22 AM   #2
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Gilles Berthoud Galiber vs Aravis Saddle

[QUOTE=budopo;15144323]I posted this question in the Road Riding forum, but I thought I'd post here, too.

I'm planning to get a Gilles Berthoud leather saddle, but I'm having trouble deciding between the racing Galibier and the touring Aravis models. I'd really appreciate any opinions/info I can get.

--------------------
I am going through the same dilema right now. I have been using a Fizik Arione Wing Flex for years. Saddle broke after a 24 hour fleche ride last year. Replaced with another Arione but it has not been as comfortable and has been a bit hard on the sitz bones.

I have a touring model Aravis on demo from Distance Biker. See his info on saddles. http://www.randorichard.com/hints-helps/saddles-2

So far I have 4 trainer rides, with a long ride of two hours and it seems fine. My sitz bones are narrow and I too am 5'10" and around 160 lbs. It has been fairly comfortable though I wonder if the narrower saddle would be better. I will be returning the saddle in another week. The demo program only costs $20 (including shipping back and forth) and allows you to try the saddle for 14 days, though Richard did not currently have any of the racing models in stock to try.

I followed Richard's instructions to heat saddle in 150 degree oven for 10-15 minutes and then put on mink oil both on top and bottom and then do a 15-30 minute ride.

Some observations:

rails are very short compared to the Arione. I have a Velo Orange setback seatpost and I have the saddle as far back as I can get it. On the Arione I have another 2+ cm. to play with. I am using a Litespeed Arenberg with 73 degree seat tube angle. Need to have saddle slightly nose up but pretty close to level. Not as flat as the Arione.

Good luck.

Jim

Had hoped to do a long ride this weekend but am visiting relatives so that is not going to happen.
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Old 01-11-13, 10:26 AM   #3
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Wow, someone my size/shape who's trying out the same saddles I'm looking to get! Let me know how the Galibier compares.

My Fizik (the old style, before they had the different versions) is a nice width for me, but I've heard leather saddles need to be a bit wider (so you're not sitting on the rear crescent piece). Have you had any trouble with the Aravis' width (chaffing/rubbing you thighs, etc)? How was the sit bone and perineum areas? These are my issues with most saddles. I'm typically in a fairly aggressive posture (not really racing, but not touring, either), but I'll sit up and grind it out up hills.

I've got my Fizik Arione mounted almost all the way forward on a Thomson setback seatpost. I did see that the rails are farther back on one saddle than the other, so I'll have to see which would have more room to mount forward on the seatpost.

If the two are about the same in comfort, I might go with the Aravis. It's heavier, but a little more versatile for mounting saddle bags (I rarely need anything more than spare tubes and a few tools, but it's nice to have the option when I do need to carry more).
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Old 01-11-13, 11:12 AM   #4
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Aravis saddle

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Originally Posted by budopo View Post
Wow, someone my size/shape who's trying out the same saddles I'm looking to get! Let me know how the Galibier compares.

My Fizik (the old style, before they had the different versions) is a nice width for me, but I've heard leather saddles need to be a bit wider (so you're not sitting on the rear crescent piece). Have you had any trouble with the Aravis' width (chaffing/rubbing you thighs, etc)? How was the sit bone and perineum areas? These are my issues with most saddles. I'm typically in a fairly aggressive posture (not really racing, but not touring, either), but I'll sit up and grind it out up hills.

I've got my Fizik Arione mounted almost all the way forward on a Thomson setback seatpost. I did see that the rails are farther back on one saddle than the other, so I'll have to see which would have more room to mount forward on the seatpost.

If the two are about the same in comfort, I might go with the Aravis. It's heavier, but a little more versatile for mounting saddle bags (I rarely need anything more than spare tubes and a few tools, but it's nice to have the option when I do need to carry more).
The width is OK. Does not chafe but I am aware that it is there. I have around a 4cm drop between my saddle and bar tops and it feels fine on both perineum and sitz bone areas so far, but only a long ride which I may not get to do in the next week will really tell. It would be best if I could do at least a 200k on in, but with freezing temperatures except for this coming weekend, that will probably not happen. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York state.
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Old 01-11-13, 11:22 AM   #5
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The width is OK. Does not chafe but I am aware that it is there. I have around a 4cm drop between my saddle and bar tops and it feels fine on both perineum and sitz bone areas so far, but only a long ride which I may not get to do in the next week will really tell. It would be best if I could do at least a 200k on in, but with freezing temperatures except for this coming weekend, that will probably not happen. I live in the Finger Lakes region of New York state.
I have zip tied a double clip bolt snap to the rear of the rails on my Arione so I can take my Carradice Low Saddle Longflap bag on and off easily. I put D-rings on the Carradice bag. You would be able to do that with either of the Gilles Berthoud saddles.
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Old 01-11-13, 12:07 PM   #6
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I'm farther south than you (southern Maryland, though I'm from NY City originally), so it's not as cold, but, yeah, winter is not the time to do this kind of equipment evaluation. I'm also in the middle of putting on new handlebars and raising the stem about 1.5cm (from an 8cm drop to 6.5cm), so that'll complicate things.

One thing I'm curious about is the width of the nose of each saddle (maybe 1/2 way along the nose or so) and the width of the space between the rear crescent piece (that is, the width between the inside edges of the crescent, which would be how much width your sit bones have before sitting on top of that plastic). I've been doing a lot of look at photos, and the nose sections look pretty much the same (Aravis' leather comes down farther, but doesn't really look wider), and the rear plastic piece looks like that open space between the inner edges might be about the same, too. (hard to tell from photos, though). Do you have the weights of your particular saddles?
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Old 01-11-13, 02:16 PM   #7
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Dimensions of saddles.

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I'm farther south than you (southern Maryland, though I'm from NY City originally), so it's not as cold, but, yeah, winter is not the time to do this kind of equipment evaluation. I'm also in the middle of putting on new handlebars and raising the stem about 1.5cm (from an 8cm drop to 6.5cm), so that'll complicate things.

One thing I'm curious about is the width of the nose of each saddle (maybe 1/2 way along the nose or so) and the width of the space between the rear crescent piece (that is, the width between the inside edges of the crescent, which would be how much width your sit bones have before sitting on top of that plastic). I've been doing a lot of look at photos, and the nose sections look pretty much the same (Aravis' leather comes down farther, but doesn't really look wider), and the rear plastic piece looks like that open space between the inner edges might be about the same, too. (hard to tell from photos, though). Do you have the weights of your particular saddles?
---------------------------

You might want to look at this http://www.distancebiker.com/store/i...s/saddles.html and I would contact Richard. He and I have emailed back and forth a bit. You might want to look at his evaluations. He was very helpful in answering questions.
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Old 01-21-13, 09:59 AM   #8
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Thoughts on the Aravis/Aspin saddle

Test rode the Aspin for 2 weeks. Due to weather and family travel the longest rides I did were 3 rides of 2 hours. The last two rides were outdoors. One being a slow flat ride with my daughter. The ride yesterday was hillier with an extended 3 mile climb. It was fairly comfortable and would probably be more comfortable after a longer break in period. I did feel the skirting on the back of my thighs, though it did not cause irritation. Riding in the drops did not bother my perineum. Saddle was best almost level. I had ridden with the saddle nose slightly up and then yesterday which was my last ride before sending the demo back, I leveled it a bit more. That ride was the most comfortable. I think the saddle was starting to conform a bit more to my sitz bones.

My saddle to handlebar drop is almost 4.5 cm.

I would have liked to demo a Galiber/Solour to determine if the seat area was wide enough without sitting on the plastic frame at the back. Nose width on the Aspin was OK but I prefer a narrower nose.

Wish the rails were longer as it is slammed back as far as it can go even with a setback post.

Has anyone ridden a Galiber/Solour? What has been your experience?
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Old 01-29-13, 07:22 AM   #9
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Nice review, jbithaca. Glad to hear that riding in the drops was ok, I was concerned about that. I've a fairly narrow sit bone width (100mm), so I'd like to give the Galibier a try, but I was also thinking that on long climbs, when I sit up, hands on the bar tops, grinding out a 5-mile climb, the wider Aravis might be better (even considering the extra 100g weight).
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Old 01-31-13, 08:12 AM   #10
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Galiber vs Aravis

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Nice review, jbithaca. Glad to hear that riding in the drops was ok, I was concerned about that. I've a fairly narrow sit bone width (100mm), so I'd like to give the Galibier a try, but I was also thinking that on long climbs, when I sit up, hands on the bar tops, grinding out a 5-mile climb, the wider Aravis might be better (even considering the extra 100g weight).
This email was sent to me.

The plastic crescent piece at the rear of the saddles is not the same. The Tour saddle is wider, has more rivets, and also has two threaded holes for mounting Berthoud's quick release attachment for their bags (such as the model 786).
I measured both Berthoud Tour and Race saddles today. The specific examples I inspected gave these numbers:

At the widest part of the saddle: Tour - 155mm, Race - 144mm
Width of the side skirt area (bottom edge), at about the middle of the straight section of the rails: Tour - 90mm, Race: 75mm

So, the Tour model begins to widen out sooner than the Race model (heading back from the nose). The overall length of the two was about the same and the width of the front of the nose on both was almost identical.

I hope this info is helpful.
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Old 02-13-13, 09:48 AM   #11
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Galiber/Soulor saddle

Just took the plunge and ordered the Soulor racing saddle with the steel rails. I liked the demo Aspin/Aravis saddle that I tried out a few weeks ago, but was concerned about the skirting on the back of my thighs. The racing models have about another 1+ cm before they start to widen. I'll post after I have received it and ridden it a bit. If it does not work out, Wallingford Bike says that I can send it back
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Old 02-13-13, 07:44 PM   #12
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Nice! Do post how the Soulor is and how it compares with the Aspin after you have a few rides in.
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Old 03-18-13, 06:35 AM   #13
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Soulor/Galiber trial continues

I have been riding the Soulor and it is finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable. Did a 65 mile ride last week on it. During that ride, it felt very hard and unforgiving. I lowered the nose to about 1-2 degrees up and loosened the tension a turn. Definitely feels much better. There is not a lot a wiggle room as there was on the Aravis but I no longer have the skirting brushing the back of my thighs. The real test will be on the first 200k of the season this coming weekend.
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Old 07-11-15, 05:57 AM   #14
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I have been riding the Soulor and it is finally starting to feel a bit more comfortable. Did a 65 mile ride last week on it. During that ride, it felt very hard and unforgiving. I lowered the nose to about 1-2 degrees up and loosened the tension a turn. Definitely feels much better. There is not a lot a wiggle room as there was on the Aravis but I no longer have the skirting brushing the back of my thighs. The real test will be on the first 200k of the season this coming weekend.
Two years later, what are your thoughts on the Soulor?
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Old 07-12-15, 08:23 PM   #15
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Go to Demo Saddle Program and "rent" the Aspin and Soulor (the steel rail versions of the two you're asking about). Ride the.. ahem... "daylights" out of both of 'em. That'll make you decision real easy.

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Old 07-12-15, 08:50 PM   #16
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2 years later.

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Two years later, what are your thoughts on the Soulor?
The saddle has been comfortable. I have probably put about 10,000 miles on it. I have done 2-600k's, 2, 400k's,3x300k,a 24 hour fleche. The Aravis gave a lot more saddle area but the skirting was annoying.
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Old 07-12-15, 10:54 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbithaca View Post
The saddle has been comfortable. I have probably put about 10,000 miles on it. I have done 2-600k's, 2, 400k's,3x300k,a 24 hour fleche. The Aravis gave a lot more saddle area but the skirting was annoying.
To me, the GB saddle lineup messes with my aesthetic sensibilities. I find it hard to stomach the large slab of plastic on the rear of the Aravis. The Soulor, on the other hand, looks prettier but also very looks uncomfortable to my eyes. I guess your butt sits mostly on the wider rear end of the saddle?
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Old 07-13-15, 05:00 AM   #18
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Bethoud leather is the best by far. Extreme comfort BUT very short rail. Holds up to rain much better than Brooks....no contest.
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Old 07-20-15, 06:18 PM   #19
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Well, I went with the Aravis. I figured having a wider cantle plate would let me sit on the leather and not the plastic, so I thought it'd be more comfortable. Also, the extra real estate is nice when shifting around. The side skirts that annoy jbithica don't bother me at all, so I guess I'm lucky.

It's very comfortable. It took a while to dial it in just right. The short rails weren't a problem. I do have it kind of nose-up, though (3 degrees), but that's how it seems to work best for me.

I do like how you can completely disassemble it, so it's pretty easy to wax the underside.

I still wonder how the narrow Glibber would be (mainly because it'd save 100 grams), but I'm happy with the Aravis.
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Old 10-08-15, 08:31 AM   #20
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I am 5'9'', 77 kg, I have both the Gilles Berthoud Soulor and the Aspin and I like the Aspin much more. The Soulor is giving me the feeling that I am almost sitting on the frame. I have only about 1800 km on it, but I don't notice any improvement. I am considering to sell it. The Aspin is great, though, comfortable from the beginning.
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