Thanks for the great information. I was thinking late 1976 too.
Avocet was run by the people at Palo Alto Bike Shop. They published a great mail order catalog in the mid 70s. I seem to remember that they had Avocet saddles in their catalog way before the saddles were available for sale.
It was a common practice for some bike component manufacturers to advertise products long before they were available (Suntour Cyclone derailluers for example). They measured the response to the ads to figure their initial production quantities.
Avocet saddles were some of the first anatomically designed seats to come onto the US market. They were made in Italy so I assume that they were sold in Europe under a different name before they came to the US.
Before Avocet saddles hit the US market there weren't a lot of choices for a comfortable seat: Brooks and Ideale leather saddles, Cinelli Unicanitor (and knockoffs) plus the Ideale 2000 series of plastic saddles.
The some of the Avocet women's models were available before the men's versions. I rode one of the low end women's saddles on my offroad bike for quite some time before the men's Touring models were available.
Jobst Brandt was involved with Avocet for a while and I think that he helped design the Avocet computers.
Most of Avocet's metal components such as hubs and cranks were built in Italy by Ofmega but designed here in the US.
A friend worked at Avocet's CNC model shop in Redwood City, CA. He still has some of the prototype samples that he made back in the early 80s.
Chas. Colerich Oakland, CA USA
<< December of 1976 (...how's that for enough specificity)....
As you likely already know, I have SLOWLY been digitizing all of the various vintage cycling catalogs, brochures, and technical manuals I have on hand and posting same as time allows to WoolJersey. In addition to those particular types of literature, I also have a modest collection of vintage magazines and newsletters including Bicycling, Bike World, Bicycle Guide, Bike Tech, Winning, American Bicyclist, Cycling, Shimano World, SunTour Flash News, and Campagnolo Record News. In the process of mining those resources for information, I have been dutifully digitizing much of the advertising content within those various issues for eventual inclusion within their appropriately respective WoolJersey sub-albums. This is because I am of the belief that there is much historical information to be gleaned from said advertisements and that their appearance within a manufacturer specific collection of literature enhances the overall archival value of the informational grouping.
With respect to magazine advertising, I have tried to take a somewhat "strict constructionist" approach to the type of materials being digitized. This is to say that I have only attempted to select durable bicycle related componentry - no clothing, camping gear, handlebar bags, panniers, bike locks, indoor trainers, tools, lubricants, unicycles, etc.). As a general rule of thumb, if the item in question is intended to mount directly onto a bicycle, then I digitize the material - otherwise, I do not. Therefore, I have seen fit to include references for items such as fenders, lighting (...mounted illumination only - no leg lights), racks (...but not packs - so Blackburn, yes - Kirtland, no), handlebar tape, frame pumps (...but not floor pumps - unless the company in question also manufactures frame pumps, like Silca or Zefal), tires, water bottle cages and the bottles themselves, etc. Of course, there always seem to be exceptions to any set of arbitrary rules one might care to establish. For example, companies such as Avocet, Cool Gear, Lambertini, Rhode Gear, and Weyless all marketed durable cycling components as well as less durable goods in the form of jerseys, shorts, gloves, etc. In these instances, I have gone ahead and digitized ALL forms of advertising from those companies without regard to specific content. It is important to realize that I have made no attempt to digitize EVERY instance of advertising that falls within the scope of the aforementioned guidelines. Rather, I have tried to document only the FIRST OCCURRENCE of each example (...a repeat is a repeat, is a repeat, etc.).
So with all of that lengthy preamble having been stated, the very first occurrence of advertising I have been able to find for Avocet appeared in the December 1976 issue of Bike World, and then again in January of 1977 within the pages of Bicycling. In both instances, the ad copy itself cites no specific product - touting only a "revolutionary new concept" and saying that "...there is so much room for improvement in present cycling components that AVOCET will develop the future" (...a pretty bold statement, I might add). In April of 1977, Avocet began product specific forms of advertising featuring first their seat post, and quickly followed that up with mention on their various saddles. Advertising for Avocet Models I, II, and III hubs subsequently appeared in April of 1978, cycling shoes in May of 1978, sealed bearing bottom bracket in May of 1979, first edition headset in June of 1979, Campy / Sugino compatible cranksets in June of 1980, and so on.
I also have a few Avocet catalogs and brochures dating from 1977 through 1985. Taking a quick peek at those, I might mention that their April 1978 dealer catalog and price list itemizes various configurations of Racing I, Racing II, Racing III, Touring I, Touring II, and Touring III saddles (...both men's and women's versions available having either buffalo or smooth leather covering), their seat post, Model I high and low flange hubs, Model II sealed bearing high and low flange hubs, Model III magnesium hubs, standard or alloy quick release mechanisms, a standard steel or titanium bottom bracket assembly, Models I, II, and II toe straps, leather touring shoes, and an Avocet logo racing cap. The 1979 catalog includes an upgrade in the Model III hubset from magnesium to titanium, their new double and triple cranksets, two models of headsets, Model I chrome steel toe clips, Model II Teflon coated toe clips, Model III alloy toe clips, saddle bag holders, an alloy water bottle cage, and an Avocet logo water bottle. It was not until late 1979 for the 1980 model year that Avocet began offering an extensive line of BMX specific products as well (...and I will NOT say anything further about those in this forum). By 1981, Avocet had added a Model I traditional quill pedal, Model II quill pedal with detachable alloy cage, and a Model III platform style racing pedal. It was between the years 1981 and 1985 that Avocet truly proliferated their product offerings to include a complete line of tires, cyclometers, jerseys, tees, shorts, tights, gloves, yet more saddles and shoes, and various tools, in addition to iterative refinements to all of those aforementioned items as one might well expect.
Robert "long legged himself, just like the avian avocet" Broderick ..the "Frozen Flatlands" of South Dakota Sioux Falls, USA
< When did the Avocet name first appear? Anyone remember exactly?
Malta, NY NEUSA