I have just brought back from France a frame, set of bars and stem and an Ideale saddle...all of which purport to have been on the bike of Rene Vietto, during his epic ride in the 1934 or the 35 Tour fe France - the year in which he is supposed to have given his team-leader Magne his own rear wheel.in order to help the latter win the Tour, but sacrificing his own chances in doing so.
The provenance of the material is pretty impeccable..bought from the mechanic of one of Vietto's team mates, possibly Pierre Brambilla..just forgot..no it was the other one..the one hwom he asked to cut off his big toe.
Anyway I am working on trying to get proof positive about this stuff but I know very little about the time or model line of Ideale saddles. I met up with Rocvale, one of the French Ebay sellers who produces excellent quality merchandise for sale..and he is thinking of writing a book about the company..tyhe Throns and the Berthets..or whateve,r are still living.
I have serious doubts about my "Vietto" Ideale..although it looks as though it has had some creative butchery on it to reduce chaffing of the inner thigh. Not quite a Brooks Swallow..And we all know that Vietto was a great climber and probably climbed better and faster when his inner thighs were not being chafed.
The saddle is very short front back to front, has had its Nos rubbed off by use... the "B" and the "T" are just about legible. It is of medium width..looks the part,... the leather is quite thick..there is no slumping of the seat, and it has brass rivets stamped with "ideale" It looks old...
The only feature that might help to identify it is the single clamp, at the rear of the saddle that holds the wire frame onto the framework attached to the leather. At that point the wire is a continuous length from front curving round the back and returning to the fron. Unlike many saddles the two wires are not rivetted into the saddle plate, just clamped onto it.
I think it is probably a lower range model..but it does look the part. Can anyone out there help me out with a recognition of this model - "The Rene Vietto Speciale" perhaps?
Norris Lockley, Settle UK