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Experience with Gilles Berthoud saddles?

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Experience with Gilles Berthoud saddles?

Old 10-26-13, 08:10 AM
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Henry III
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Experience with Gilles Berthoud saddles?

I'm looking to get a new saddle from my 650c frame I built two years ago. It currently has a newer repop Regal saddle on it now. Though its not working or has ever worked for me and just want something comfy yet classy. Ive had my fair share of Brooks and don't have anything against them but would like to try aomething else.

The Gilles Berthouds have always caught my eye and wondering if any folks here one or experience with them?
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Old 10-26-13, 09:08 AM
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I bought a Soulor a few weeks ago, haven't ridden it enough to break it in completely but it feels pretty good so far. The Soulor is similar to the Swallow or the VO #6 in shape but the rivets are on the sides of the saddle rather than the top so there's a little more usable surface area. The leather is thicker than Brooks but also softer out of the box than say a Brooks Pro. The cantle is strong plastic rather than metal and that seems to give the saddle a bit more flex. The workmanship is really good and torx bolts are used insted of rivets so the whole saddle can be disassembled and Berthoud sells replacment parts if they're ever needed. The Soulor is quite narrow 143cm I think but everything i've read about the wider touring model (Aspin) has been very positive too.
Last time I looked Planet X had the best prices.
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Old 10-26-13, 09:22 AM
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I have one Gilles Berthoud saddle, on my Rawland. I bought it earlier this summer when the 1973 Brooks Pro on my Shogun finally "bit the rivet" and split. So I rode on this saddle on my Shogun for the first half of the summer until building up my Rawland, and have been riding the Berthoud on the Rawland ever since. The Berthoud is the touring model with titanium rails (called the Aravis; the non-Ti version is called the Aspin; the narrower racing version is called the Galibier).

I like it a lot, it works very well for me, although the shape is different from any Brooks I've used, somewhere in between a B17 and a Swallow, sort of like a Swift. I like a firm saddle, not a soft one, and the Berthoud is definitely on the hard side. The leather is thicker than you'll find on even the high end Brooks models. The cantle plate and nose are plastic, a detail about which a few people have complained, but I've had absolutely no problems. I've ridden the saddle on rides between 20-80 miles and it's been comfy throughout.

Here's a picture of it--


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Old 10-26-13, 02:08 PM
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What's been the experience regarding saddle tilt with Berthoud saddles compared to Brooks, and the resulting pressure on the sensitive bits?

Both my B17 and Swift need to be nose-up about 9mm so that I stay planted on the rear, and that resulted in the need for slotting the B17 (now quite comfy), but it's not working out with with Swift., which I'd rather not experiment with slotting to get the necessary relief. I read one review regarding Berthoud that suggested that level works great. Is that typical?

BTW, the B17 is on the Rambouillet with bars at saddle height, while the Swift was on the Marinoni with bars lower about an inch, about like southpawboston's beautiful Rawland. So my question is directed to those with lower bars.

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Old 10-26-13, 02:59 PM
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Originally Posted by southpawboston
I have one Gilles Berthoud saddle, on my Rawland. I bought it earlier this summer when the 1973 Brooks Pro on my Shogun finally "bit the rivet" and split. So I rode on this saddle on my Shogun for the first half of the summer until building up my Rawland, and have been riding the Berthoud on the Rawland ever since. The Berthoud is the touring model with titanium rails (called the Aravis; the non-Ti version is called the Aspin; the narrower racing version is called the Galibier).

I like it a lot, it works very well for me, although the shape is different from any Brooks I've used, somewhere in between a B17 and a Swallow, sort of like a Swift. I like a firm saddle, not a soft one, and the Berthoud is definitely on the hard side. The leather is thicker than you'll find on even the high end Brooks models. The cantle plate and nose are plastic, a detail about which a few people have complained, but I've had absolutely no problems. I've ridden the saddle on rides between 20-80 miles and it's been comfy throughout.

Here's a picture of it--

+1 - not much else to add, this really hits the nail. I have the same model - ti touring - and it's like a professional but firmer with a great shape and more real estate.
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Old 10-26-13, 03:44 PM
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You're spot on, Dfrost, my bars are about an inch below saddle height. The Berthoud is just about horizontal, maybe even tilted nose down a degree or so. I have heard they work best when horizontal. By contrast, the Brooks pro that it replaced, on my Shogun, is tilted nose up a couple of degrees (bars on this bike are also about an inch lower, and the saddle to bar distance is the same as the Rawland:

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