Re: [CR] Weight of Leather vs Plastic saddle tops

(Example: Framebuilding:Brazing Technique)

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From: "Mike Schmidt" <>
To: "" <>
In-Reply-To: <>
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2009 17:17:25 -0500
Cc: "" <>
Subject: Re: [CR] Weight of Leather vs Plastic saddle tops

Concor Supercorsa = 351 grams Condor Superleggera = 261 grams Brooks ti railed limited edition swallow = 361 grams

Mike Schmidt Millington, New Jersey Sent from my iPhone

On Feb 13, 2009, at 4:49 PM, Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <
   > wrote:
> Late night I was examining a recently acquired Brooks Ti Swallow and
> was again struck by how light it is. I don't have an appropriate
> scale handy, but it feels to me lighter than a classic plastic
> saddle, like a Turbo or a Concors. Anyone actually weighed these
> who can say which is lighter? It occurs to me that many people have
> an exaggerated idea of how heavy the actual leather is in a
> traditional leather saddle. Never really thought about it this way,
> but I'd wager the leather top is actually quite light, while the
> vast majority of the weight of a traditional saddle is in the steel
> rails, and most especially in the cantle plate and the nose bolt
> assembly.
> In fact I suspect the actual leather top weighs less than the
> plastic shell of a plastic saddle plus its thin leather cover and
> the padding in between. I'd even guess that you can add the rivets
> on a Brooks to the weight of the leather and it will stiil come in
> at less than the weight of a selle Turbo less the Turbo's rails.
> After all, a plastic saddle shell has to be relatively thick to
> support the weight, especially at the rear, where it must provide
> the support provided by the cantle plate on a leather saddle. The
> plastic saddle does, of course, have the advantage of not needing
> the relatively heavy nose bolt, since it does not stretch and
> therefore need not be adjusted to compensate. Anyone ever weighed
> the components of a traditional leather saddle versus those of a
> lightly padded leather covered plastic saddle?
> So the rails, cantle plate and nose assembly of a leather saddle is
> one place on a bicycle where titanium actually makes sense,
> especially since it actually produces a better ride in addition to a
> lower weight. Now I would doubt that the titanium rails, cantle
> plate and nose assembly of a Ti Brooks can actually be lighter than
> the steel rails of a Turbo, which need no cantle plate or nose
> bolt. But probably they don't need to be, but only need to reduce
> the weight enough to preserve some of the advantage of the leather
> cover (plus rivets) over the plastic shell with cover and padding.
> Now there was a version of the Turbo with alloy rails and I believe
> even a realtively rare version of the Ideale 2000 series plastic
> saddles with Ti rails, both of these very close to the end of the CR
> era. But of course since it was only rails, with no cantle plate or
> nose bolt, that were made of lighter material, the savings were not
> as greats as with an alloy or Ti frame on a leather saddle. Anyone
> know of any traditional leather saddles that used aluminum rails of
> the same diameter and shape as traditional steel rails, as the alloy
> rail Turbo did? Ideale evidently thought that such alloy rails
> would be too weak, as they used alloy "I beams" on their alloy
> saddles. But I don't know that such conventional size alloy rails
> on a leather saddle would be any more likely to fail than on the
> alloy Turbo. I know there were traditional leather saddles that
> used alloy cantle plates and steel rails. In fact I have one, an
> Ideale model 134, the saddle that
> was also made as the Ideale "Columbia" honoring the American space
> shuttle. I suppose the next logical step in weight reduction might
> have been to make the rails as well of alloy, but of conventional
> size, like on the plastic Turbo. But I don't know if anyone ever
> actually did this on a leather saddle.
> BTW, as a bit of trivia, only the original T&B French made Ideale
> Columbia had the allow cantle plate. The later Leppers-made (though
> still bearing the ideale name) Columbia had an all-steel frame. I
> have one such Leppers-made Columbia. The rails and cantle plate are
> also a slightly different shape, which is noticeable from the fact
> that the stamping of the space shuttle Columbia on the side is much
> closer to the forward-most rear rivet on thhe Leppers version than
> on the original T&B version. It appears that Leppers must have cut
> the Columbia top to the original T&B pattern, but then fit it to a
> not-quite-matching frame from some other Leppers model. It also has
> the Rebour stamp at the rear, but those more expert than I in these
> matters do not believe the Leppers version actually received the
> Rebour treatment. I do not know if Leppers ever made the regular
> Ideale model 134, without the Columbia stampings.
> Regards,
> Jerry Moos
> Big Spring, Texas, USA