[CR]OTTUSI modified Brooks B.17 Was: "Butchering" Brooks saddles


Example: Events:Eroica

Date: Mon, 02 Jan 2006 15:55:44 -0800
From: Chuck Schmidt <chuckschmidt@earthlink.net>
To: classicrendezvous@bikelist.org
References: <585ED8E8-7BBC-11DA-B421-000A95E5928E@earthlink.net>
Subject: [CR]OTTUSI modified Brooks B.17 Was: "Butchering" Brooks saddles

Michael Allison wrote:
>
> Chuck,
>
> You left out the most important part of "tuning" a Brooks saddle. I had
> quite a few Ottusi saddles back in the 1960s. Oddly enough sold to me
> by Cino Cinelli when I complained that I didn't like the Unicanitor
> saddles on his bikes.
>
> The primary feature of the Ottusi saddles was the cantle plate. Brooks
> saddles are very flat across the back and about 18 cm wide. Ottusi
> reshaped the cantle plate, giving it a gentle arch. This narrowed it
> down to about 15 cm. The rails were also cut shorter by about 3-4 cm
> where they joined the cantle plate. This effectively lowered the
> leather top relative to the rails. (It was a pain to adjust a twin bolt
> Campagnolo seat post in that tight space.) The edges of the saddle
> could then be tucked inside the rails when not in use to help keep its
> narrowed shape. (cut)

Michael,

Since you've had quite a few Ottusi saddles back in the sixties, I thought you might be amused by this pithy email I got this morning from a infamous, ex-CR list member banned-for-life: "Otussi (sic) saddles are NOT butchered Brooks saddles. KD"

Amusing in that I've seen seven Ottusi saddles (two currently in my possession) and all seven were clearly stamped "BROOKS" in the leather flaps and "MADE IN ENGLAND" on the frame!

Yes you are correct Michael, I left out of my little description of Ottusi butchered Brooks saddles a few important details, so here is a more detailed description of the two I have. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 1st OTTUSI modified Brooks B.17 Leather top: - BROOKS logo on flaps is post 1955 "keystone" version. - Three holes in saddle top. - Nose leather not trimmed, rear leather trimmed. - Top finish has been scraped off for oiling. Frame hardware: - Cantle plate hammered in middle to arch it upwards. - Bag loops cut off. - No date stamp, but stamped "MADE IN ENGLAND" on cantle plate. - Frame rails 6cm high measured at cantle plate (rail bottom to where it enters cantle plate.) - Frame rail height unmodified as evidenced by distinctive Brooks Pat. arc welded rail ends at cantle plate. - Frame painted black and all chrome plated nose hardware. - Threaded tension pin unmodified. - Threaded tension pin nut with holes drilled in flats for small tommy bar. - Nine 16mm copper rivets with three rivets (front and two rear center rivets) stamped "Ottusi" in distinctive back slanted script logo. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ 2nd OTTUSI modified Brooks B.17 Leather top: - BROOKS logo on flaps is post 1955 "keystone" version. - No holes in saddle top. - Nose leather not trimmed, rear leather trimmed. - Top finish has been scraped off for oiling. Frame hardware: - Cantle plate hammered in middle to arch it upwards. - Bag loops cut off. - No date stamp, but stamped "MADE IN ENGLAND" on cantle plate. - Frame rails 5cm high measured at cantle plate (rail bottom to where it enters cantle plate.) - Frame rail height unmodified as evidenced by distinctive Brooks Pat. arc welded rail ends at cantle plate. - Frame painted black and all chrome plated nose hardware. - Threaded tension pin has a screw driver slot in the front and rear of the pin. - Threaded tension pin nut unmodified. - Ten 16mm copper rivets (additonal rivet in center of cantle) with four rivets (front and three rear center rivets) stamped "OTTUSI" in small, all cap, sans serif letters. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Michael, I hope you'll notice in the descriptions above that these two Ottusi saddles have different height frames but that both are _unmodified_ Brooks B.17 frames. I have stock Brooks B.17 saddles that have the these two different height frames (5cm and 6cm). I'd also note that the two frames look much different from each other than the small 1cm difference in height would lead you to believe.

By the way, I have four vintage B.17's (not Ottusi) that had the cantle plate arched by hitting it with a hammer and drift and feel that this was a fairly common modification made by bike enthusiasts back in the day... not limited to Ottusi modified Brooks saddles in other words.

I applaud your efforts to recreate those elegant Ottusi saddles as I've been doing the same for the past thrity years.

Chuck Schmidt South Pasadena, Southern California

.