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Affordable leather saddles?

Old 03-22-21, 04:41 AM
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Krov9
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Affordable leather saddles?

I'm building a late seventies - early eighties French touring bike to serve as my day to day commuter. I really want to have a Brooks-style leather saddle on it, but 70+ is just a bit much - it would be the most expensive component on the bike!
So I've been looking for more affordable alternatives. There are plenty of old saddles for cheap, but most of them are have rusty frames and cracked leathers.

I came across Lepper, which has a good pedigree, at least for what I read on this forum, but then I read a very disappointed review of their 40 (sale price) touring model on YACF. For the reviewer it only lasted months with modest use.

I also stumbled upon this company called Gusti Leather, but I haven't found a single review on their products yet.

What saddles would you suggest in the <70 price range?

(Sorry, this is my first post so I can't give links)
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Old 03-22-21, 04:53 AM
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You might want to try bicycle swap meets or something like Craig List. You can find many good bicycle gear for not a lot of money.

Scott
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Old 03-22-21, 05:16 AM
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Been restoring vintage bicycles for many years now and have yet to find affordable suspended leather saddles. So, best of luck with that quest.

As for Ebay, or any other on-line un-seen purchase of a leather saddle, not a chance for me. Tried it a time or two and did not like what came in the post.

These days, I accept the fact that a decent suspended leather saddle will costalota (fake Italian for not affordable). Additionally, I want new because my old butt wants to be the saddle's break-in buddy.

In closing, I have found that patience, as often as not, will reward the patient person. Sooner or late, if you keep your eyes open for the right deal, the right deal just might come along.
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Old 03-22-21, 05:30 AM
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Gyes, on ebay and other such places. Made very well in Taiwan.
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Old 03-22-21, 06:46 AM
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Like randyjawa said patience is important: I will provide a slightly different perspective on buying from ebay though - while my experience is not extensive I have purchased 4 saddles through ebay and all were satisfactory: two were practically brand new when I got them (though I did pay close to $80 CAD for those), and the last one I bought was amazing and only cost me $45CAD - it had a couple of scuffs but was otherwise ideal (no pun intended) - I actually don't want my saddles to look too new as most of my bikes (like the OP's) are not high end and brand new would look out of place.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:31 AM
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Thanks for your comments. I've found a couple more alternatives: Selle Monte Grappa and BLB Mosquito. Anyone have experience with either? Prices on basic models are between 65 - 75 €.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:42 AM
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Buy a donor bike. Snag the saddle and flip the bike for more than you paid for it.
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Old 03-22-21, 07:43 AM
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Your problem is fit, not affordability. Comfort doesn't come from a leather saddle, it's about it's shape. A person who adores a B-17 may hate a Brooks Pro. Maybe you could try someone else's saddles (bike shop?) to get an inkling of what works for you and then spend the few extra dollars to get the one you'll like. There's no greater waste of money than buying an untested saddle because it looks like something you would want.

imo, the two Brooks I mentioned are likely the most popular suspended leather road saddles. Ideale 80 and 90 models are close as well. It looks like you're in Europe so a low mileage saddle shouldn't be that hard to find.
SurferRosa suggests a great way of doing it. I've bought more than a few bikes for the saddles.
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Old 03-22-21, 08:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Trevtassie View Post
Gyes, on ebay and other such places. Made very well in Taiwan.
This!!!

The Gyes are quality built, have longer rails than Brooks, and much cheaper. I've been using them for years and have had no problems with them. Highly recommend if you can find them.






Even though they don't cost much, when I sell a bike I was running a Gyes on I always swap out the saddle. They are too good to let go!
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Old 03-22-21, 08:31 AM
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I've been through 10 or so countries so far on the Gyes I bought for US$20 off ebay. Still comfortable and still looks like new. Waterproofed with Nikwax Water Based liquid Wax, waterproof, doesn't soften leather and doesn't have any animal products to go mouldy. Paint on, leave to dry and then polish. Keep doing it enough times over the years and eventually you end up with a pretty well waterproof saddle. https://www.nikwax.com/en-gb/product...eather-liquid/
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Old 03-22-21, 03:11 PM
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Check around for Selle Italia Storica, Mitica and Epoca saddles, made briefly a few years ago. Lots of unsold old stock available. Prices are usually around $100 but occasionally dip lower. I put a few in my Amazon cart a year or so ago and the prices often dropped to around $50, but that was before the pandemic. Over the past year the prices have stayed around $100+. I'm in no hurry so I'm waiting for notification of a price drop again.

Check reviews the Selle Italia website for specs -- some of those saddles were full leather, others were leather stretched over plastic shells.
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Old 03-24-21, 01:58 AM
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Actually, PlanetX has Selle Italia Mitica and Storica for 50 at the moment, BUT now after the Brexit, import customs from UK plus shipping would put the total price around 100 €.

I'm in Finland if that matters. Haggling for some barely used Brooks B17 titanium at the moment
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Old 03-24-21, 02:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Krov9 View Post
I'm building a late seventies - early eighties French touring bike to serve as my day to day commuter. I really want to have a Brooks-style leather saddle on it, but 70+ is just a bit much - it would be the most expensive component on the bike!
So I've been looking for more affordable alternatives. There are plenty of old saddles for cheap, but most of them are have rusty frames and cracked leathers.

I came across Lepper, which has a good pedigree, at least for what I read on this forum, but then I read a very disappointed review of their 40 (sale price) touring model on YACF. For the reviewer it only lasted months with modest use.

I also stumbled upon this company called Gusti Leather, but I haven't found a single review on their products yet.

What saddles would you suggest in the <70 price range?

(Sorry, this is my first post so I can't give links)
I would strongly encourage you to step up and go with Brooks. With reasonable care and unless you are under 20 yrs. old, you will likely have it the rest of your life.

Well worth it in the long run and if it doesn't work out, they have good resale value, somebody here may have one they will part with for a good deal,

You can find B17's for about $100+ USD so not that far off if you really shop around.

https://www.jensonusa.com/Brooks-B17...ey-Black-Steel
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Old 03-24-21, 02:44 AM
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Spa Cycles have an own-brand line that may be worth a look. But located in UK, so maybe not.
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Old 03-24-21, 08:41 AM
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I have a professional I'll sell for cheap once my new Berthoud gets here, hit me up in a couple weeks if you're still on the look out.
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Old 03-24-21, 09:08 AM
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Originally Posted by Krov9 View Post
I'm building a late seventies - early eighties French touring bike to serve as my day to day commuter. I really want to have a Brooks-style leather saddle on it, but 70+ is just a bit much - it would be the most expensive component on the bike!
So I've been looking for more affordable alternatives. There are plenty of old saddles for cheap, but most of them are have rusty frames and cracked leathers.

I came across Lepper, which has a good pedigree, at least for what I read on this forum, but then I read a very disappointed review of their 40 (sale price) touring model on YACF. For the reviewer it only lasted months with modest use.

I also stumbled upon this company called Gusti Leather, but I haven't found a single review on their products yet.

What saddles would you suggest in the <70 price range?

(Sorry, this is my first post so I can't give links)
Given how important a saddle is, as the only thing between your butt and the seatpost, and how long a Brooks saddle can last (decades if you take care of it), the $100 or 70 euros is a bargain. You will likely pay more for tires which are equally important, the difference being you will wear the tires out in a couple of years.

There are cheaper alternatives, but IMO, if you want a real leather saddle, don't go cheap.
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Old 03-24-21, 09:19 AM
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For the sake of comparison. Here's a Brooks and a Gyes side by side. I took the calipers to them and the leather and rails are thicker on the Gyes by about a 10th or two of a mm. The other difference is the Gyes have a fabric bonded to the underside of the leather. And of course this clearly shows the real advantage of the Gyes, longer useable rail mounting space. I really see nothing that would make me think a Gyes will not last as long as a Brooks. This Gyes was sold as a Velo Orange model by basically they are all the same. GS-06 model mimics a Brooks Swallow.



So the Gyes does have a plate on the bottom side of those leather tabs to strengthen it. Just like the Brooks, you just can't see it.

Shape pretty much the same

Gyes

Brooks

Gyes, this shows that bonded fabric better.

Brooks
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Old 03-24-21, 11:19 AM
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There's also Tabor of Portugal.

In the US we can get wonderful, inexpensive Persons Deluxe #77 saddles. I'm pretty sure these are made in India by Nasiruddin & Sons out of water buffalo hide, so you might check your local market for those.

Fun fact: leather tanning seems to have been invented around 9000 years ago in what is now modern Pakistan.
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Old 03-24-21, 12:02 PM
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Originally Posted by jamesdak View Post
For the sake of comparison. Here's a Brooks and a Gyes side by side. I took the calipers to them and the leather and rails are thicker on the Gyes by about a 10th or two of a mm. The other difference is the Gyes have a fabric bonded to the underside of the leather. And of course this clearly shows the real advantage of the Gyes, longer useable rail mounting space. I really see nothing that would make me think a Gyes will not last as long as a Brooks. This Gyes was sold as a Velo Orange model by basically they are all the same. GS-06 model mimics a Brooks Swift.



So the Gyes does have a plate on the bottom side of those leather tabs to strengthen it. Just like the Brooks, you just can't see it.

Shape pretty much the same

Gyes

Brooks

Gyes, this shows that bonded fabric better.

Brooks
Excellent comparison! I think you meant to say the Gyes GS-06 is comparable to the Brooks Swallow. The Swift has saddle wings that come down further to the rails.

I searched and found Gyes saddles with titanium rails for a fraction of the Brooks titanium saddles........Hmmmm.

Also, beautiful bikes in your other post above!
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Old 03-24-21, 12:16 PM
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I agree with @merziac, there is no substitute for a Brooks. Most people who have tried the cheaper ones are not satisfied. Besides, the Brooks saddles are a good value when you count the years per dollar. I've bought a bunch of used Brooks saddles, and there is some risk involved, but overall, they have worked out.
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Old 03-24-21, 12:35 PM
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I'll just add to the commentary that it's not a stretch to say that the saddle is sometimes the most expensive part of the bike. If it fits, you'll keep the saddle for a long time, and if you sell the bike, you'll want to put a cheap saddle on it and keep your Brooks/Gyes/whatever you decide for the next bike. A good leather saddle keeps its resale value, too, as others have said.

Also, you can look up how to measure your sit bone width to figure out which saddle width you should get. I am very happy on my Brooks B-17, but when I tried out a B-17 Narrow a few years ago, it was a very poor fit for me (whereas other people swear by their B-17 Narrows).
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Old 03-24-21, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I agree with @merziac, there is no substitute for a Brooks. Most people who have tried the cheaper ones are not satisfied. Besides, the Brooks saddles are a good value when you count the years per dollar. I've bought a bunch of used Brooks saddles, and there is some risk involved, but overall, they have worked out.
Yep, same here, new, old, used, old, new, broken in, not broken in and many in between, Pro, Team Pro, B17, Imperial, B17 Special, always works out for me.
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Old 03-24-21, 12:40 PM
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Those Gyes saddles look really nice. And their saddlebags! Since there's no purchasing option on the website, I gather they sell on eBay/Aliexpress only?
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Old 03-24-21, 12:40 PM
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Originally Posted by momoman View Post
Excellent comparison! I think you meant to say the Gyes GS-06 is comparable to the Brooks Swallow. The Swift has saddle wings that come down further to the rails.

I searched and found Gyes saddles with titanium rails for a fraction of the Brooks titanium saddles........Hmmmm.

Also, beautiful bikes in your other post above!
See, that's how bad my brain is getting. I literally stopped typing that sentence to google both models since I don't trust my own memory. Then I come right back to the thread and type in the wrong model. Augh! Oh and thanks for pointing that out, I fixed the post.
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Old 03-24-21, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I agree with @merziac, there is no substitute for a Brooks. Most people who have tried the cheaper ones are not satisfied. Besides, the Brooks saddles are a good value when you count the years per dollar. I've bought a bunch of used Brooks saddles, and there is some risk involved, but overall, they have worked out.
I used to believe this too until the Gyes. Now having running both brands amongst the bikes for many years I just don't believe this anymore. With my 33" bike inseam on a 68" body I need a lot of setback on most of my bikes to keep the old knees happy. The short rails on the Brooks always caused me problems with normal setback seatpost which is why I originally went looking for a solution. If Brooks would lengthen their rails I bet they get more customers.
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