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Berthoud Saddle=junk design

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Berthoud Saddle=junk design

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Old 07-20-11, 10:59 AM
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SoreFeet
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Berthoud Saddle=junk design

I got my Berthoud from ebay...seller claimed like new, 30 miles of use. To my dismay the hide was very dried out. I treated with Obenhaufs. It's better now. The saddle rail design is greatly inferior to Brooks.

The Berthoud saddle has rails that simply press fit into a plastic rear shell. This allows the rails to easily twist and flex. In fact I was curious to see how far I could twist it by hand...And guess what folks? The rail popped out of the saddle. I had to loosen the tension bolt to be able to pop the rail back in place.

Berthoud saddles allow replaceable rails, but what good is this design if it flawed in the first place? The rails are not secure...unless you put tension bolt under higher pressure the rails will be sloppy and have oodles of play.

So the saddle has basically has to be under full tension for the rails to be secure and tight. But even under increased tension the rails are still sloppy.

Scouring the net I found a similar complaint. As angry as I am with my current Brooks saddle, this Berthoud is even worse.

I'm going to be the first to give Berthoud bad press. The saddle flat out sucks. The hide is not all that thicker compared to a Brooks pro. The saddle nose design that claims to be improved over other leather saddle makers is not true. The tension bolt of the Berthoud must be extremely tight or else the rails will be flexy and twist.

The Berthoud saddle is not a tensioned leather saddle, it is simple a slab of leather bolted to a half plastic shell. By not tensioning the leather saddle directly to a frame, you lose the benefit of riding a tensioned leather saddle.

Another design flaw I see in the Berthoud saddle is that they don't leave enough hide for lacing. So when the saddle gets to be a little supple, it can go straight into the trash heap where it belongs.

This is a real warning to those considering a Berthoud. I'm wondering if Berthoud will offer any service. We'll wait and see.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:04 AM
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You seem to have a lot of bad luck with saddles.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:13 AM
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I have had bad luck with saddles lately but this Berthoud really takes the cake. I can't believe how crappy this design is and the positive press surrounding it is astounding. I'm hoping the seat will returned for a full refund.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:18 AM
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If it was recent, eBay will back you over the seller. The buyer is almost always safe.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:26 AM
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You did buy a used saddle, right? How do you know the history? That it wasn't ridden by a 300-lb rider? I wouldn't put all blame on the mfr for an apparent defect that may only have happened from abuse. And you only found one other complaint on the 'net that echos the problem you're having?
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Old 07-20-11, 11:35 AM
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I'm having a local leather worker named Fred Eisen make me a saddle with an existing Brooks rail. I'll let you know how it goes, but it sounds like a potential solution.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:37 AM
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Hey Southpaw...I'm going to place all blame on the manufacture. The design is flawed. If you don't believe me go buy a 250$ Berthoud saddle and see for yourself. It really is a bad design. The rails flex,the rails are loose.

Yes it was a recent ebay purchase roughly a week ago. I hope I sill have time. I contacted the seller demanding a refund or else negative feedback. I'm not happy how the seller took a photo of the saddle and did not show the crazing type cracks on the nose of the saddle. I know buying used is a gamble but something simple as a saddle shouldn't be too hard.

I was not expecting the rails to flexy as a noodle.
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Old 07-20-11, 11:48 AM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston View Post
You did buy a used saddle, right? How do you know the history? That it wasn't ridden by a 300-lb rider? I wouldn't put all blame on the mfr for an apparent defect that may only have happened from abuse. And you only found one other complaint on the 'net that echos the problem you're having?
+1 - calling all modern Brooks "junk" and now this commentary on the Berthouds make me wonder if the OP has reasonable standards.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by KonAaron Snake View Post
+1 - calling all modern Brooks "junk" and now this commentary on the Berthouds make me wonder if the OP has reasonable standards.
One does have to wonder.
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Old 07-20-11, 12:49 PM
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I have a brand new Brooks B-67. The leather appears to be of reasonably high quality but is a bit thinner than I thought it would be. My frame of reference for this thickness expectation is my decades old Brooks Team Professional.

The thickness is comparable to what you get with a B-17 or other less expensive Brooks saddles, which I have owned in the past. When I first saw the saddle for real, I realized it was the latter, not the former.

The benefit of the slightly thinner leather is that it has broken in very quickly. In just a few hundred miles and it has become quite springy and flexible rather than being stiff as a brick. It is already very comfortable saddle.

"Mikey likes it."

I suspect the OP may also have expected Team Pro-ish leather and gotten B-17-ish. This is what happens when you try to "go cheap". It is what happens when you "try something different". If you want a Pro, buy a Pro. There is no other saddle quite like it.

Consider this a learning experience. We all have them. They are "uncomfortable" but it's not all bad,... if you learn from them.






P.S. - Post pics or it didn't happen!
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Old 07-20-11, 12:49 PM
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FYI my standards are high...I want a saddle that claims to have a better tension design to actually be better. Berthoud saddles are not tensioned leather saddles they are simply a hide bolted to a crappy piece of plastic. Yes folks, the Berthoud saddles are junk...if you folks really don't believe me I will post a video demonstrating how sloppy the saddle is...
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Old 07-20-11, 12:56 PM
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I've put about 1,000 miles on my Berthoud and haven't had any of the problems you describe. I bought mine new from Mike Kone, and I weigh about 160 lbs. Then again, I haven't had any of the problems you've had with Brooks saddles either. I'm not saying you're making things up, but just that in this case one's mileage will definitely vary.

Neal
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Old 07-20-11, 12:59 PM
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I am curious: are the rails sloppy when the rider is on the saddle? One would think that the rider weight would increase the tension a lot more than the tension screw on a Brooks. My Selle An-Atomica saddle is quite loose (by design), but feels fine when I am sitting on it.
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Old 07-20-11, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by SoreFeet View Post
...if you folks really don't believe me I will post a video demonstrating how sloppy the saddle is...
I'll take you up on that.

Scott
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Old 07-20-11, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Scottryder View Post
I'll take you up on that.

Scott
+1
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Old 07-20-11, 02:36 PM
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i just got a brand-new Berthoud Aspin saddle a few weeks ago. It took about 300 miles or so to break in, and now I looooove it! I've owned a lot of Brooks saddles before, B-17, Swift, and Team Pro, but the Berthoud has so far shown to be superior in comfort and build quality.

sorry yours didn't work out. i generally avoid buying used leather saddles after I had an old Brooks rip in half on me after a few days of riding.
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Old 07-20-11, 02:37 PM
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For reference: ebay link.

The saddle does not appear to be dried out in the ebay photos. You say, "In fact I was curious to see how far I could twist it by hand...And guess what folks? The rail popped out of the saddle." Maybe that wasn't such a good idea?
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Old 07-20-11, 02:44 PM
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This sure looks like tensioned leather to me. I don't know what else you could call it.
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Old 07-20-11, 02:45 PM
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I want to see photos of the "crazing type cracks" on the nose also.

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Old 07-20-11, 02:50 PM
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What does how far you can twist a saddle by hand have to do with how well it will perform when used as intended?

Companies sometimes design products to accommodate or withstand misuse. If that design greatly increases the cost or compromises performance, I think they would draw the line at that point, and attempt to tell teh buyer of a new saddle, "do not misuse this product."
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Old 07-20-11, 02:51 PM
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I did a mini-review of the Berthoud Aspin. Is that the model you are concerned with, Sorefeet?

When you sit on that seat, those rails aren't going anywhere. Your weight on the seat will compress the nose and crescent onto the rails. Any residual tensile stress in the leather will ensure the rails stay put when you're not seated. I think your test, removing the rails while off the bike, is an unrealistic condition, relative to the functionality as a saddle.

I think your test is probably a better representation of a desireable feature from a manufacturing perspective rather how it's it's to be ridden.

The leather does, indeed, look to be very thick. Is yours as thick? Look at the right side of this photo, where the leather meets th ecrescent, to appreciate the thickness of the leather.



This also shows how thick it is.



It does not appear to be a leather cover stretched over a plastic saddle. It appears to be a leather saddle stretched between two plastic pieces - a nose and a crescent. As such, I'd say it is a leather saddle.



No matter the thickness of the leather, what determines how stiff the seating area is is the modulus of the leather. If the leather is low modulus, you have a soft seat. If it is high modulus, you have a stiff seat. You can adjust the stiffness by adding preload to the leather but this has limits. If the leather is too soft, it will just stretch and stretch as you add tension. If it's too hard, you will likely need to reduce preload.

One thing I learned about leather (learned the hard way) is NEVER use oil on the leather, especially Neat's Foot Oil. Oils destroy the leather in very short ordder. If the leather looks dry, it is. This means it will soak up oil like a sponge! At that point, you can kiss the leather goodbye.




P.S. - I just looked up Obenhauf's. It is an oil not saddle soap, not lanolin, not Proofhide, not even the material Berthoud provides for their saddles.

P.P.S. - Ah!, Obenhauf's also makes a paste. Which did you use?

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Old 07-20-11, 07:50 PM
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i'm confused. Did I miss where the OP talks about how it rides and if it's comfortable? I'm serious. I didnt see anything about that, which is really the main thing I'd be interesting in knowing.

So you can man handle the saddle off the bike and make the rails come out. I don't get what that proves?
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Old 07-20-11, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by -holiday76 View Post
i'm confused. Did I miss where the OP talks about how it rides and if it's comfortable? I'm serious. I didnt see anything about that, which is really the main thing I'd be interesting in knowing.

So you can man handle the saddle off the bike and make the rails come out. I don't get what that proves?
It proves that the parts have been designed to facilitate assembly during manufacturing. It proves nothing about the functionality during riding.




I suspect what we really have here is someone who needs to VENT! Vent on!
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Old 07-20-11, 07:57 PM
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This forum is always a hoot.
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Old 07-20-11, 08:00 PM
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Unless I missed something, the OP passed judgement on this saddle without actually mounting it or riding it.
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