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Selle Anatomica or Berthoud Saddle?

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Selle Anatomica or Berthoud Saddle?

Old 06-08-19, 01:04 PM
  #1  
smoore
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Selle Anatomica or Berthoud Saddle?

After many decades of riding discomfort I stumbled across the heavy but OH SO COMFORTABLE Selle Anatomica. I have two and they are nirvana to me. However, the Berthoud saddles have my interest with their gorgeous looks.

Just wondering if anyone has ridden both and can compare? Because my SA has the cutout I would probably try the Berthoud with the cutout first, but I'm not averse to trying a Berthoud without a cutout as well. If they were similar in feel and comfort then weight would be next concern as none of these can be considered light.

Thanks.
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Old 06-08-19, 02:06 PM
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LesG
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My input isn't going to be very helpful for your comparison so, hopefully, someone else will know more and be able to give you a comparison for the saddles you mentioned. I can speak a little about the Berthoud though. I have both a Brooks B17 and a Berthoud (no cutout). I'm currently "breaking in" the Berthoud on a stationery bike and have the equivalent of around 150 miles on it. It's still hard as a rock but beginning to break in. The B17 was hard as a rock too and took about 300 miles to break in before it was comfortable. I figure the Berthoud with the thicker leather (compared to the Brooks) is going to take even longer to break in. Like everyone always says, saddles are a very personal preference thing but the Brooks, after the break in, is very comfortable to me. Having said that in the end and after break in I think, for me, the Berthoud is going to edge out the Brooks with regard to comfort.

The reason(s) I think the Berthoud is going to end up being better/more comfortable for me is, compared to the Brooks, it has a flatter design from the nose to the rear of the saddle. That just felt more comfortable to me the moment I sat on it. The Brooks rises more in the back and that's the one nitpick I have with it. Also the Berthoud uses a polymer (plastic) rear support to stretch the leather on the back of the saddle.... the rails are, of course, metal and not plastic. Berthoud touts that polymer as being more forgiving than metal and therefore more comfortable but just as durable. The question is how durable is that polymer. I haven't read anywhere that folks were ending up with cracked frames so maybe it's as durable as they say. I must say I do feel a very slight "give" to it with that polymer support compared to the more rigid Brooks. The other thing to note is Berthoud uses flush mount allen screws to hold the leather down and not rivets (like Brooks does). AND those screws are located on the back of the saddle and below where you sit. That's also different from Brooks. One final thing, if you ever wear out the leather, Berthoud sells a replacement so you don't have to buy the whole thing.
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Old 06-08-19, 05:01 PM
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Maybe look at River saddles as well.
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Old 06-08-19, 11:54 PM
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You realize those two saddles are completely different designs, yes? I don’t know of any other saddle that works in the same way as the Anatomica. Sure, there are plenty of saddles with cut-outs and relief channels but the Anatomica has an exceptionally long cut-out to create independence between the sit bones.

The cut-out design of Berthoud as well as Brooks and pretty much every cut-out saddle is just to remove or reduce pressure on the soft tissues, not create independence of movement between the two sides. SQLabs has a styrofoam based saddle that’s supposed to provide some level of independence but without firsthand experience I don’t know if it delivers on the promise.

I would guess that if the SA is your grail saddle you’ll likely be uncomfortable on the Berthoud. The Berthoud saddles are beautiful, no doubt, but Jade408 suggestion to check out Rivet is sound. The founder/owner of Rivet was one of the principals of Selle Anatomica from the start, and after the unfortunate death of her partner she struck out on her own to form Rivet. She brought with her a tremendous amount of knowledge as a designer and manufacturer but also as a rider. Her ultra long distance riding informs her designs.

IMO, Rivet saddles are better designed and better built than SA. Although they share a similarly long cut-out, the two sides of the Rivet saddles are connected on the underside which eliminates flaring at the outer edges of the saddle but also ties both sides together, somewhat reducing the sensation of independence. One thing Rivet doesn’t do is... look like a Berthoud.


-Kedosto
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Old 06-09-19, 05:52 AM
  #5  
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Originally Posted by Kedosto View Post
You realize those two saddles are completely different designs, yes? I don’t know of any other saddle that works in the same way as the Anatomica. Sure, there are plenty of saddles with cut-outs and relief channels but the Anatomica has an exceptionally long cut-out to create independence between the sit bones.

The cut-out design of Berthoud as well as Brooks and pretty much every cut-out saddle is just to remove or reduce pressure on the soft tissues, not create independence of movement between the two sides. SQLabs has a styrofoam based saddle that’s supposed to provide some level of independence but without firsthand experience I don’t know if it delivers on the promise.

I would guess that if the SA is your grail saddle you’ll likely be uncomfortable on the Berthoud. The Berthoud saddles are beautiful, no doubt, but Jade408 suggestion to check out Rivet is sound. The founder/owner of Rivet was one of the principals of Selle Anatomica from the start, and after the unfortunate death of her partner she struck out on her own to form Rivet. She brought with her a tremendous amount of knowledge as a designer and manufacturer but also as a rider. Her ultra long distance riding informs her designs.

IMO, Rivet saddles are better designed and better built than SA. Although they share a similarly long cut-out, the two sides of the Rivet saddles are connected on the underside which eliminates flaring at the outer edges of the saddle but also ties both sides together, somewhat reducing the sensation of independence. One thing Rivet doesn’t do is... look like a Berthoud.


-Kedosto
Yes, they are different and teh S-As are unique in a few ways, but so what? One can always ask, "which one works better for me?" and in more detail compare the riding experiences. You can even throw a design that is radically different from both S-A and Berthoud into that mix, such as the Toupe Gel, and ask the same questions.
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Old 06-09-19, 05:56 AM
  #6  
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I had a Selle and liked it; however a friend who is much smaller had one and the rails bent on it.
I ride on Rivet saddles and also have Brooks B17 Imperials on our tandems.
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Old 06-09-19, 06:07 AM
  #7  
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FYI for tensioned leather saddle neophytes & troglodytes: we're spoiled for choice in 2019.

Berthoud - France
Brooks - UK
Gyes (Cardiff, Dia Compe, Fyxation, Lekker, Origin8, Papillionaire, Shinola, Spa, Torelli, Velo Orange, Zimbale, etc.) - Taiwan
Ideale - France
Lepper - Netherlands
Nasiruddin (Persons) - India
Rivet - AFAIK manufactured in Taiwan by Gyes but to their own proprietary designs
Sella Italia - Italy
Selle Anatomica - USA
Selle Monte Grappa - Italy
Tabor - Portugal

Last edited by tcs; 06-09-19 at 08:16 AM.
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Old 06-09-19, 06:21 AM
  #8  
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Selle Italia makes its own leather saddles, other than Brooks?
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Old 06-09-19, 08:12 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Selle Italia makes its own leather saddles, other than Brooks?
https://www.bikeradar.com/news/selle...er-saddle-yet/

https://www.velonews.com/2016/06/bik...le-line_407688

Here's my Sella Italia Invincible Epoca, marked 'Handcrafted in Italy':

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Old 06-09-19, 08:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
Yes, they are different and teh S-As are unique in a few ways, but so what? One can always ask, "which one works better for me?" and in more detail compare the riding experiences. You can even throw a design that is radically different from both S-A and Berthoud into that mix, such as the Toupe Gel, and ask the same questions.
You are correct, but he's not asking "which one works better for me?" He said he spent "decades" riding uncomfortable saddles and stumbled upon his "nirvana" saddle with the SA. Then he says the Berthoud saddles piqued his interest based on their looks alone. Later he questions "if they were similar in feel..."

So yes, he can throw any saddle into the mix and give it a try, but my point (which I guess I made poorly) is that the Berthoud or pretty much any other saddle with a simple cut-out won't perform anything like the SA. The Rivet comes closest, but still won't be the same as his "nirvana" saddle.

He certainly won't be the first to buy a saddle based on looks alone. I know I'm guilty. But Berthoud saddles aren't cheap and just because they come with a cut-out doesn't mean they function the same as the SA. Of course there's also vanity to consider -- maybe he can buy the Berthoud and ride it uncomfortably but stick with it just because he likes the way it looks. That happens.

But you're right. If he were asking "which one is better for me," then all designs should be on the table. Saddle fitting is a tricky business and sometimes the solutions are found in the strangest of places.


-Kedosto
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Old 06-09-19, 09:02 AM
  #11  
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After stretching , which they seem to do often , so, after punching new holes, I'm helping a friend re rivet the nose of a Selle Anatomica ,


I have the pop rivet tool..


I have a Brooks team Professional I bought back in the mid 70's.. it's still good..
they only made them in one colour back then ..



I've used it on several quite long bike tours.
Had a decade of riding on it, before the 1st European trip







..

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Old 06-09-19, 08:05 PM
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The saddles are not a direct comparison, have the SA on a fairly up right commuter. Have a GB Aravis on a road bike with touring geometry. Tried several saddles on the road bike, in this application, the Aravis is the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden on. Can go for hours with no saddle discomfort, part due to the saddle, part due to the custom geometry of the road bike.
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Old 06-10-19, 05:07 AM
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I've also never owned a SA but I've got a pair of well-loved Brooks B17s (in navy and green) that I really thought were as good as it got for a saddle. But... When I got my Norther I opted to splurge a bit on a GB saddle and it's, for me at least, in another league. It took longer to break in and was absolutely hard as a rock for several hundred miles, but after more than a year of good riding it's as comfortable as my Brooks ever were and, aside from some darkening (my "natural" is now definitely a "brown") it still looks new, it just has some give. I've done probably 2-300 miles of gravel/dirt/mountain-bikey stuff on it and I can confidently say that the polymer is quite durable.
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Old 06-10-19, 12:25 PM
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I can't speak to the comfort of the GB saddles, but to my eye they are the most beautiful bike saddle I've ever seen. 2nd most beautiful are Brooks/Belt/Wright/Ideale/etc./etc./etc. That's what my eyes like. My butt and soft tissues like something different.
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Old 06-10-19, 06:58 PM
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Other experiences:

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...nk-design.html

https://www.bikeforums.net/general-c...d-saddles.html

https://www.bikeforums.net/long-dist...is-saddle.html
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