This Space for Rent

Things fall apart

It’s one week and a day before the summer 400 workers ride, and the midlifecrisismobile has the following things that need to be fixed:

I can leave the chain and cassette be for now; they both need to go into the trash, but are wearing equally enough so that shifting still works. I can probably ride the saddle for another week or so (I’ve got the 400k, a 200k, and, if I can carve out enough time, either a second 200k or a 160k that I’m going to ride on the mlcm. In the worst case – if the leather sags to the point where there’s an uncomfortable edge on the cantle plate – I can pull the saddle off the project bike, punch and lace it, and use that for the 400k.

I need to wire a taillight somehow, and the effing pedals have to go. In the worst case, I’ll put the clipped and strapped Silvan pedals back on and ride in my regular shoes.

The most annoying thing about this is that the saddle (a Brooks Professional) is collapsing after no more than about 15,000 miles (and the other one has only about 10k miles, and it’s starting to develop an unhappy sag in the middle.) I’ve grown accustomed to burning through 2-3 sets of tires a year now, but I was hoping that the saddles would last at least a decade before having to resort to desperate measures.

I guess I should be happy that I won’t have to build a new set of wheels for the thing until this winter (that’s about when the front rim will finally wear out,) but, damn, if it’s not one thing it’s another.


The centre cannot hold…

Have you considered a Berthoud saddle?

The comments I’ve got from folks experienced with Brooks saddles is that the leather on the Berthouds is about twice as thick. What I can add from my own experience is that they don’t dent in the first couple thousand kilometres.

(the recent ones do have the annoying habit of using T20 fasteners, rather than hex heads, for the attach-leather-to-structure bolts.)

And, yeah, twice the price, but possibly better value? Especially if that one slumps into an asymmetric shape of pain on you in the middle of nowhere.

Graydon Sat Jul 21 07:00:45 2012

Berthoud saddles are narrower than the Brooks Professional is (153mm vs 160mm); I have one Brooks Swift (150mm) that is basically unusable (I still use it because I’ve been unable to sell it, but it’s now on the xtracycle, which has been relegated to city-only use and only rarely sees a >30 mile loop) because it’s too narrow (if you look at the top view of my saddle, you can see the dimples are basically right up next to the sides of the cantle plate) and I don’t think 3mm is likely to make that much of a difference. If I could EP a Berthoud, I might be able to justify it, but US$210 is a lot of money to spend on what would just be an experimental saddle.

David Parsons Sat Jul 21 08:42:05 2012

Berthoud has a 180mm wide commuter model, the Mente.

a little cheaper, and rivets instead of bolts. If the 160 of the Brooks is a bit on the narrow side it might be worth trying?

Graydon Sat Jul 21 09:40:49 2012

180mm? Ye gods, that’s insanely wide; I don’t even think I could comfortably sit on that.

David Parsons Sat Jul 21 10:57:24 2012

Well, that leaves me back at “Where did you get the 153 width?”?

So far as I can tell, the Berthoud options (other than the commuter) are 146 for the racing sadles and 157 for the touring saddles. Measuring the available examples supports the 157.

Which is narrower than 160, admittedly, but not hugely much so.

Graydon Sat Jul 21 16:58:01 2012

I’ve seen both widths; I don’t remember where I saw 153, but perhaps that was a measurement from the inside of the cantle plate.

In either case, I’d need to find it at EP pricing (alas, Berthoud is sensibly restricting who they distribute their saddles to, so it’s hard to find ‘em at places like wiggle or xxcycle) so it comes down to spending twice as much as I’d normally spend for a “will this slightly narrower saddle work or not?” test.

Sadly, I don’t think I can justify that amount of money, so I’ll be soaking and reblocking the existing saddle :-(

David Parsons Sat Jul 21 17:14:47 2012

I feel your pain. Sweetpea has gone through a run of parts replacement. I’ve gone through a run of shoe and clothing replacement.

Lynne Thu Jul 26 07:53:15 2012

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