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Surprised at seat weights

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Surprised at seat weights

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Old 08-08-18, 09:11 AM
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tiger1964
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Surprised at seat weights

No idea if the seat on my 1980 Palo Alto was original or not, having bought the bike (on eBay in 1998), it was Vetta branded but that's all I could read. Anyway, in addition to scuffs from leaning the bike against walls, the "leather" was wearing off on one side, down low, so I presumed it was on borrowed time.

I looked on eBay and saw an Avocet "Racing I" in really nice shape for a mere $29, so I bought it. It arrived yesterday so just now I installed it. Once I had the old seat off, I could really notice a weight difference for two otherwise similar-looking seats (the Avocet is a wee bit wider at the back). According to my wife's kitchen scale, the Vetta was 213 grams, the Avocet is 402! That's half a pound difference. Well, it gets a shakedown ride tomorrow, let's see if I notice the difference while riding. I thought when you replaced parts on a bike, you are supposed to strive for lighter, not heavier.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:00 AM
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Might the old Vetta have aluminum rails??
the Avocet does seem to be on the surprisingly heavy side, but similar steel railed saddles like the Turbo do usually come in at the high 300's. Anytime you go under 300 grams with these saddles from 80's and early 90's, it usually means it does not have steel rails, unless the padding was really minimized in it.

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Old 08-08-18, 11:16 AM
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One of the places that Classic and Vintage rider don't go for the lightest available solution is the saddle. That is because comfort is so important. One good thing about your Avocet saddle is that it is the right vintage for your bike. Many also find it comfortable.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:25 AM
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I have a Selle Italia 'Turbo' , Bernard Hinault signature one , with Aluminum rails ,

and an Avocet Racing 2, made by Selle Italia, same Turbo shape, with steel rails..
(They patented a nylon shell which, was made a little thinner , to flex
(a bit like a Brooks might) under the sit bone contact spots)

The weight difference is noticeable, off the bike, both held in your hand..

which apparently matters a lot to some of you..





...

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Old 08-08-18, 11:39 AM
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Leave your cell phone at home when you ride and you will have compensated for the extra weight.
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Old 08-08-18, 12:23 PM
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Vetta was more of a late 80s and early 90s thing. I am pretty sure it could not be original. Palo Altos were sold as frames anyway, IIRC. Oh, and Palo Alto owned Avocet, more or less.

400g wasn't untypical for saddles of the time. I agree if the Vetta is 213g, it must have aluminum rails. Aluminum rail saddles break. I remember a friend of mine breaking a Mod III like 40 miles from home on a ride. Funny, to me...

The Avocet Mod I was the entry level saddle with the thickest padding. Supposedly aimed at beginners and intermediates. Mod II was their standard racing saddle. Firmer and I believe a touch lighter. Mod III was the same but with aluminum rails. Top model was the Avocet RS, which was a rebranded Sella Italia RS, a precursor to the Turbo and very similar.

At some point in the early 80s, all of the Avocet saddles kept the same model names, but they changed. My recollection of this period is a bit vague. Most were rebadged Turbos, more or less.

That may be more than anyone wanted to know about Avocet. For some reason they seem to be largely forgotten. At one time they really did loom large. Almost everyone rode Avocet saddles.
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Old 08-08-18, 01:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Chombi1 View Post
Might the old Vetta have aluminum rails? (snip) Anytime you go under 300 grams with these saddles from 80's and early 90's, it usually means it does not have steel rails, unless the padding was really minimized in it.
Pretty sure the Vetta has non-steel rails.

Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
One of the places that Classic and Vintage rider don't go for the lightest available solution is the saddle. That is because comfort is so important.
Makes sense, although my cycling shorts have so much padding they are like a loaded diaper, cannot feel much back there. No discomfort on any rides. But I am already behind-the-curve on weight; tomorrow I go on a ride where I think I'll be the only one not on a carbon-fiber bike. At least it's not rotating weight.

Originally Posted by Salamandrine View Post
Palo Altos were sold as frames anyway, IIRC. Oh, and Palo Alto owned Avocet, more or less.
Hence I went searching specifically for an Avocet -- without thinking to ask about weight. I've been in contact with Palo Alto but they do not seem to know much about their bikes from that era.
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Old 08-08-18, 01:44 PM
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I still see a lot of Avocet saddles on this forum under Classic and Vintage. I still have, and use mine. It is on my Traveler now. I see them posted on Ebay often. They were good saddles as far as I am concerned. At least for my butt.
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Old 08-08-18, 02:01 PM
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IMHO a weight difference of a couple of pounds on a bike is something that only newbies and racers worry about and is almost irrelevant to anybody except racers when they are hillclimbing or accelerating during a sprint. There's no way on earth that you'll be able to detect a 1/2 lb difference while riding. Saddles especially are where comfort is by far the most important attribute, so worrying about saddle weight is pointless. Think about it, would you rather be 10 seconds faster but have a sore butt on the next big climb you do or 10 seconds slower and totally comfortable?
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Old 08-08-18, 02:01 PM
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Avocet are great for Touring or commuter/rigid. IMO they don't look very racey for a road bike but are perfect for the others.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
Leave your cell phone at home when you ride and you will have compensated for the extra weight.
I've got a better idea: I'm going to leave my beer gut at home and that would make my Schwinn weigh, like, negative 11 pounds!

Saddle weight is pretty much an afterthought for me, I guess.
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Old 08-08-18, 11:12 PM
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The very last thing I think is, "Does this seat make my 60 year old/60 lb. Rollfast look fat"?
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Old 08-09-18, 03:40 AM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
IMHO a weight difference of a couple of pounds on a bike is something that only newbies and racers worry about and is almost irrelevant to anybody except racers when they are hillclimbing or accelerating during a sprint. There's no way on earth that you'll be able to detect a 1/2 lb difference while riding. Saddles especially are where comfort is by far the most important attribute, so worrying about saddle weight is pointless. Think about it, would you rather be 10 seconds faster but have a sore butt on the next big climb you do or 10 seconds slower and totally comfortable?
I definitely agree with this. I ride the saddles that are comfortable for the bike's use - some with steel rails and some with titanium or aluminum. From Avocet Touring to Turbo, Avocet O2 Air 40R or Vetta TT Tri Shock. I'm at a stage where the bike being between 19-22 lbs is fine. A few years back I was on a group ride with a professor who raced in the 90's and he made a comment he was really interested in a new bike that was 3 lbs lighter than his current one but also cost $3500. My comment back to him was "why don't you just lose 3 lbs". I ride for enjoyment and saddle weight is not something I'm that concerned with. Now, that said the heaviest saddles are also on the heavier, slow bikes.
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Old 08-09-18, 05:01 AM
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Heading out this morning for a 40 mile group ride; will report back.

Originally Posted by Hoopdriver View Post
Leave your cell phone at home when you ride and you will have compensated for the extra weight.
I'd like too, I hate the thing, but I promised my wife I'd carry it, for emergencies. I guess there's no such thing as cellphone drillium? It's her old iPhone Type 5, hmm, it never occurred to me to weigh it.

Originally Posted by scozim View Post
My comment back to him was "why don't you just lose 3 lbs".
Well, I have been losing weight since I retired and started riding again -- much more than 3LB. That said, for whatever weight I am, the weight of the bike is what it is. I presume most eBay/CL sellers are not going to bother weighing items before I buy. Perhaps I could have researched online but I just did not think saddle weights varied that much. In the end, if it bothers me, I can get yet another -- lighter -- saddle and retire this one to a different bike.
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Old 08-09-18, 05:24 AM
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My wallet is lighter than the choice of saddles except I have a preference for Brooks. Comfort on the back side trumps weight.
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Old 08-09-18, 05:31 AM
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Risking derision here, I'll toss in some actual data (how drole). I also plucked a kitchen scale from the township tip and found it was surprisingly accurate. I wanted to check the weight of my Wrights W3N vs one of my Vetta TriShock saddles. Then went on the measure others. So for no more than a sense of perspective:

Wrights W3N 508gr
Selle San Marco Regal Girardi, mag rails. 390gr
Selle San Marco Anatomic suede. 426gr
Cannondale, fairly recent racing saddle, Titanium rails. 214gr
Cannondale Coda racing saddle from ~ 2000, 'alloy' rails. 320gr
Vetta TriShock, 'mag rails' IOW steel with a dash of mag. 292gr
Avocet Touring WI 356gr

BTW, as the Wrights was no more comfortable for me than the Vetta or the Cannondale TI and weighted so much more, I'm riding the lighter ones. All day comfortable for me.
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Old 08-09-18, 03:05 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964 View Post
Heading out this morning for a 40 mile group ride; will report back.
Well, 40 miles turned into 61 miles, in 86-93 degree heat. Ugh. After the first +/- 10 miles, at a quick stop I felt the seat was pushing me forward, so I raised the noes. Probably too much, but better.

Originally Posted by Prowler View Post
Risking derision here, I'll toss in some actual data (how drole).
Wrights W3N 508gr
I shudder to think how much the Ideale weighs that I recently bought for my Gitane project. Regardless, I'll still use it.

Last edited by tiger1964; 08-09-18 at 06:34 PM. Reason: I should know how to spell "Ideale".
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Old 08-09-18, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
IMHO a weight difference of a couple of pounds on a bike is something that only newbies and racers worry about and is almost irrelevant to anybody except racers when they are hillclimbing or accelerating during a sprint. There's no way on earth that you'll be able to detect a 1/2 lb difference while riding. Saddles especially are where comfort is by far the most important attribute, so worrying about saddle weight is pointless. Think about it, would you rather be 10 seconds faster but have a sore butt on the next big climb you do or 10 seconds slower and totally comfortable?
Counterpoint: Light bikes are fun, and you don't have to be a "newbie" or a "racer" to appreciate them.
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Old 08-09-18, 05:16 PM
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Counter-counterpoint: Fat, heavy bikes with good gearing, wide fenders, a tank and rack are not chopped liver either.
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Old 08-09-18, 06:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ThermionicScott View Post
Counterpoint:
Originally Posted by Rollfast View Post
Counter-counterpoint:
Hence N+1 bike collections.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:06 PM
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I'm a big proponent of riding whatever makes you happy. The "Only racers need ____" bit just strikes me as dumb and tired, that's all.
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Old 08-09-18, 08:29 PM
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Originally Posted by davester View Post
IMHO a weight difference of a couple of pounds on a bike is something that only newbies and racers worry about and is almost irrelevant to anybody except racers when they are hillclimbing or accelerating during a sprint. There's no way on earth that you'll be able to detect a 1/2 lb difference while riding. Saddles especially are where comfort is by far the most important attribute, so worrying about saddle weight is pointless. Think about it, would you rather be 10 seconds faster but have a sore butt on the next big climb you do or 10 seconds slower and totally comfortable?
Only newbies and racers eh? I haven't found that to be the case at all, but whenever someone says something like that i take it with a huge grain of salt.

in general i agree its not worth it in a lot cases to count grams, depending on where they are, but i 100% disagree you can't tell the different of even a half pound, especially in a saddle. For example, i recently switched from a heavy brooks b17 imperial narrow to a ti railed Fabric Scoop on my Litespeed, and you can feel the difference while standing up climbing when the top end of the bike is all over the place. I'm not saying it makes me faster, or it matters that much, but you can absolutely feel it. Perhaps if you never stand up in the saddle you wouldn't.

Other areas where weight can be felt and appreciated are in the wheels/tires.
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Old 08-09-18, 11:12 PM
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-holiday76 is right: you can feel a heavier saddle, at least when you are out of the saddle swaying the bike back and forth. Like him, I am not saying it makes a difference in speed or anything else, just that you can feel it in those circumstances if you're paying attention. Fell the diff when seated? Not so much.

The heaviest saddle I've had is a Brooks Pro, somewhere north of a 453gms (i.e., a pound). The lightest saddle I've had was a Flite Titanium, roughly 190gms. Both worked for my butt. That isn't the only thing I care about (looks matter, too), but it is absolutely the most important.

I now run San Marcos Rolls on all my bikes (except the Brooks Pro on my Eroica ride). Mostly Titantios, at least one steel-railed, I use 'em because my backside rarely notices them (and what more could you ask for from a saddle?).

I think saddle rails is a good application for titanium, mainly for the vibration absorbtion, only secondarily for the slight weight savings. Okay, they shock absorbtion thing may be just a placebo effect, but it's my placebo and I like it.
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Old 08-10-18, 01:32 AM
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As a Regular (tall) Joe who finds himself staring at decently steep hills everywhere he goes, it's nice to have lighter components. Well, that and gears. Sometimes the gram game is fun to see if I can get a fully-rideable, lugged-frame bike of mine under a certain weight (like 20.0 lb). I can feel a B17 out back as opposed to something much lighter--the pendulum motion--when out of the saddle. I should note that a B17 currently resides on a touring frame and not a race frame, so out-of-the-saddle movement characteristics between touring and race play into the feel as well.

I do like some vintage saddles, and some of their weights are surprising. I run Prologo Scratch Pro's almost exclusively, and they're 280g. Comfortable with a good profile. They also go with a lot of (speedy) vintage bikes, so that's a plus.
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Old 08-10-18, 04:01 AM
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I ride with Brooks Pro saddles and I have not weighed them , but they are probably heavy like Rich(bikingsearer) says . I go with comfort although I appreciate a bike that can be made of steel and still be in the low 20's weight range. The butt needs not to be sore while riding ! Joe
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