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Small rant about saddles...(25 posts)

Small rant about saddles...DINOSAUR
Nov 19, 2002 10:19 AM
My Selle Italia Filte Gel that is only 6 months old (3,800 miles) is half shot, the cover is wearing very thin on the nose portion. I ordered a Selle Italia Max Flite on sale (01 model) and it arrived yesterday. I was cleaning up my Klein (second bike) and noticed that one of the "elastomers" (another word for a small plastic tube) was coming out where rail attaches to the rear of the saddle. I pounded it back in using a hammer and screwdriver finished off using super glue. Then I eyed the new saddle very carefully. Just a plastic shell with light padding and a thin leather cover. The mark up on saddles must be incredible. I pulled out my barely used Brooks Team Pro and dusted it off, I'm about ready to slap it on my main ride and ride it for the next ten years or so... what started me thinking is I came across an old '90 addition of Sports Illustrated with a pic of Greg LeMond on the cover riding a time trial funny-bike and sporting a Brooks Team Pro, very noticeable by it's large copper rivets.

Funny how technology has changed over the past ten years. When it comes to durability are we moving forward or backward? Just a thought...
re: Small rant about saddles...mainframe
Nov 19, 2002 10:50 AM
Dino, its planned obsolescence.
My 2 centsJon Billheimer
Nov 19, 2002 10:52 AM
In terms of durability, comfort, and function we're definitely moving backward. The only thing these "high tech" saddles have to offer is weight savings...and profits for their manufacturers!
Go Regal, Royal, or Brooks: 150g more for a lifetime. (nm)Spunout
Nov 19, 2002 11:12 AM
I can' think of anything that lasts longer nowtrekkie1
Nov 19, 2002 11:12 AM
I can't think of a single component that lasts longer now than those of 20 years ago. Light weight and more complexity is certainly the trend.

I suppose carbon soled shoes might last longer than the old leather soled shoes with cleats nailed on. There's something.
I can' think of anything that lasts longer nowAllez Rouge
Nov 19, 2002 12:13 PM
I can't think of a single component that lasts longer now than those of 20 years ago

This may be stretching the definition of "component," but titanium frames would certainly qualify. And maybe carbon frames, too, although it's too early to tell.

Other than that, I got nothin'.
Nov 19, 2002 12:44 PM
You may be right about titanium, but then if a steel frame is taken care of, rust is not an issue, nor is fatigue. Of course the same is true of carbon, but if you factor in crash survivability/repairability, carbon probably loses out. Under the worst of circumstances, ti probably wins, but under most circumstances, I'd guess that ti and steel are equal in durability. Not sure about repairs of ti compared to braised/lugged steel, though.
I think modern rims are a lot better...MB1
Nov 19, 2002 12:46 PM
And perhaps tires depending on what you want out of a tire.

A lot of things are much easier to use. Shifters, brakes, pedals and shoes for instance. Big advances in outer wear too.
SLR EvolutionNo_sprint
Nov 19, 2002 11:16 AM
Ultimate simplicity. A piece of carbon mated to two Ti rails. Nothing coming apart there. I think this one will last me decades.
We use Brooks mostly but I am not sure about Greg LemondMB1
Nov 19, 2002 11:19 AM
I think Sella Italia made one of their normal (the "Regal" I'm thinking) saddles with big brass rivets that Greg Lemond and a lot of pros used. It was a pretty nice saddle as I recall but not a Brooks.
think that's a selle san marco regal.(nm)rufus
Nov 19, 2002 4:11 PM
You are probably correct..DINOSAUR
Nov 20, 2002 7:39 AM
I compared the photo of Greg LeMond riding his funny-bike and my Brooks Team Pro and they appear different. I wish I could get my hands on one of the San Marco Regals...
re: Small rant about saddles...PEDDLEFOOT
Nov 19, 2002 11:58 AM
I suppose if the demand for lightweight components by the weight conscious (bike weight) among us wasn't so high that the manufacturers would stop designing the lighter and less durable products.
very truelaffeaux
Nov 19, 2002 12:40 PM
The number of people who buy products based solely on weight is incredible. Few ask, "is it functionally the best product?" But many ask, "is it the lightest product in it's class?" Is it because we demand the lightest, or are we conditioned by the marketing departments of these companies? I'm not sure.
re: Small rant about saddles...tmguy
Nov 19, 2002 1:05 PM
Recently retired a Selle Italia Turbo (Bernard Hinault Signature model, Buffalo hide.) I got 19 years! out of that saddle with the first rip when it was only year old. That saddle was on two road bikes and eventually my commuter. The Seattle rains and UV finally started to break down the foam particulaly where the tear was, and the leather on the edges and nose was finally wearing through.

Fortunately I found used and in beautiful condition the same saddle (branded as an Avocet racing III). If you remember these saddles when they were new and the "best," then you must be an old guy like me. I also recently found a preforated Rolls, with gold plate, for my mt. bike.

Don't get me wrong, my current favorite saddle is the Flite Ti. But, there was something to say about those gorgeous "lightweights" from the 80's. They sure were nice and built to last.
re: Small rant about saddles...mapei boy
Nov 19, 2002 3:38 PM
Whether they last longer or not, I have to say that modern saddles (at least most of them) are considerably more comfortable and ergonomic than the ones from the old days. I had a Brooks in the early '70's and hated it every single moment. I replaced it with a Cinelli Unicanitor. More comfortable than the Brooks but still a torture rack. My Selle San Marco was comfortable, but can you say Numbness? My Selle Italia Turbo (by far the most comfortable saddle I had through the '80's and early '90's) was a pretty numbing piece of equipment, too. It's only when I went to things like the Flite and my current saddle, the Giro Fizik Vitesse that other parts of my anatomy finally started to complain first. Let's hear it for the Modern Era!
i'm with yourufus
Nov 19, 2002 4:18 PM
i've got a turbo on my road bike that's 13 years old, and the buffalo hide or whatever it was has been worn shiney smooth by my butt.

before they stopped making them, i picked up another turbo, and an avocet racingII(same thing). used the avocet on my mountain bike for awhile, took it off when i bought a new mtb and stuck with the stock specialized it came with. uncomfortable as hell, and i'll probably put a flite on it.

the turbo will go on the lugged steel italian frame i'll get soon, and the avocet is marked for a rivendell whenever i get one(bridgestone used to spec avocets)

i haven't ridden on too many different saddles, but the turbo always felt good to my butt.
I have an old TurboMatic ...Allez Rouge
Nov 20, 2002 5:00 AM
... with Ti rails, one of the original (I think) models to use that name, from circa 1992. The cover is starting to show a little wear on the bottom edges but otherwise it's holding up superbly. I just wish I'd bought half-a-dozen more before they were discontinued; given the way my first is holding up, that'd be a lifetime supply for two or three bikes.
Original Turbo saddlesFez
Nov 20, 2002 10:42 AM
Had these in the early 90s. Probably not weight weenie approved, mainly due to the steel rails, but boy were they comfortable. I think they were Selle Italia and said turbo on the back left and right. No stitching or embroidery back then.

Had one in a lycra fabric (not a cover) and had another "special edition" one in perforated leather with brass trim on the back.

Could ride all day in them, had just enough padding, and felt great without any of those nonsense cutouts or gel fillings.

Today I just use the Flite Gel Ti with all the ugly embroidery.
re: Small rant about saddles...bcm119
Nov 19, 2002 1:10 PM
I think cyclists should consider their weight and riding style much more when buying products. I've found that alot of products seem to be built for someone about my weight (155 lbs), as I've never broken anything and I ride around 5000 miles/year. Alot of my heavier, stronger friends break or wear out things all the time. If you are over 170 lbs, you really shouldn't buy the weight -weenie things. Beefier products are out there, people just don't like to buy them.
all saddles were not created equalTig
Nov 19, 2002 6:18 PM
I still have the original basic Flite Ti from 1989 which now resides upon my fixte. Although I don't think it is as comfy as my San Marco Era, it is still holding its own and will continue to live past the newer saddles available. It has survived several MTB and road crashes and even a fire! I wouldn't bother with the newer stitched gel models.
all saddles were not created equalDINOSAUR
Nov 19, 2002 9:00 PM
I just replaced the Flite Gel with a Max Flite. The Max Flite is a softer saddle ,smooth leather, a tad wider, with no emroidery, no ti rails, no gel. The Flite Gel was a harder saddle I don't think the gel does anything at all.

On the other hand I do notice the difference between the ti rails on the Flite Gel and the vanadium rails on the Max Flite. The ti rails offer that slight buzzing vibration and I kind of miss it. I don't have a big problem with saddles, just as long as they are not too narrow. You'd think replacing a saddle would be easy, but not as easy as I thought. Even duplicating the setting caused for some minor adjustments while on the ride. But once I got it dialed in I did not think of the saddle at all and I guess that means it works for me.

The Era is a good saddle for me (San Marco also makes Fizik) it's held up well, I just can't see forking over that much money for a saddle. The Era is on my other bike.

I am going to have a friend who is in the custom horse saddle business replace the cover on the Flite Gel. I think a better cover that is more durable should make the Flite Gel last many more moons.

I wonder why someone hasn't come out with custom saddles? I would think there would be a market for those things...
Custom Saddles= Fizik? Closest there is. (nm)Spunout
Nov 20, 2002 5:05 AM
wear and tear shows you use it at leastpeloton
Nov 20, 2002 8:20 AM
I built up a new bike in the middle of the summer, and threw my now 4 year old saddle on it. The saddle is worn through on the side by the nose, and the color is faded. My friends gave me a hard time about not getting a new one. No reason for me to replace it though. A worn saddle is one that has miles on it, and I look at it as a badge of honor.

As long as it doesn't have anything that compromises the structural safety or comfort of the saddle I ride it. I don't care if it looks bad because it's only my butt that has to be okay with it. A well worn saddle and bar tape on a clean, well kept up bike somehow just looks right to me.
I never thought about it that way before...DINOSAUR
Nov 20, 2002 9:25 PM
Guess I'm just neurotic about my bike. I pulled off the Flite Gel and replaced it with a Max Flite and I like the Max Flite a lot better. Best of all I found it on sale for $19.98 and it matches the color scheme of my bike. I took a look at the Flite Gel and it's not in as bad as shape as I thought, maybe I'll slap it on my other bike if the elastomer on the San Marco Era works itself out again....I just think a saddle should not start to fall apart at least a couple of seasons for the money they charge for them...the San Marco is holding up a lot better after almost 1 1/2 years of use.....just the elastomer problem...good thing I noticed it while working on my bike in the garage....