Following a short forum exchange about saddles last night, I got to thinking about the diversity of seats that are boxed up and stored in my studio workshop, many of which will probably never grace the seatpost on one of my bikes. For one thing, I’ve somehow accumulated far more saddles than bikes. For another, many of these saddles incongruously topped one of the frames I’ve rescued. Like the mattress saddle illustrated here, they were never intended to be coupled with a road bike.
Some feel pretty good but – like the French Ideale 2002 illustrated below – have just seen better days. Aesthetically this one seems to be a better candidate for a photographic still life, sad as that makes me.
Saddle comfort is a vital part of the ride, of course, and I’ve had the French Ideale model 80 (below) mounted to a couple of bikes. The ride “fit” is a bit more upright than I prefer, so I removed it from my Follis and tried it on the Centurion Super LeMans, where it matched the ride better, but just didn’t really match the bike era at all. So it, too, is sitting on a shelf, awaiting a better match for a steed.
Several of the saddles on my shelves are interesting examples of total crap! I’m rather vague about how and where I even managed to pick the following vinyl-padded ass hatchets…
I rather like the casual feel of some touring saddles (below), but except for my Brooks B-17 Flyer, most have the look of a lumpy loaf of bread. It’s still getting broken in, but about 100 miles in I am beginning to feel the comfort and support, and the Brooks is one classy looking seat. I especially like the honey color.
I tell people, when they ask, that this saddle (below) is made from the skin of dead baby whales – it’s a politically incorrect thing to say, and it pisses off some people, makes others chuckle, and still others look at me with a look that says, “does your wife know you’re out of doors?” Nevertheless – and as hard as this thing actually is (very) – it’s actually quite comfortable, and the greenish-brown, quasi-ostrich/crocodile leather skin is unusual enough that I find it cool to look at.
When all is said and done, though, I’ve found two saddles that fit my “sit bones” better than any other, a beautiful red Flite that I have mounted to my PX-10…
…and my personal favorite, the Regal, a saddle that – if I could afford to do so – would be mounted onto all of my regular riders.