New Berthoud, Cardiff and Brooks Leather Saddles

TDR is a big fan of Brooks saddles, though they are not for everyone and have their drawbacks. Plus, they have gotten very expensive. The street price has doubled across the line since I started riding them six years ago. Remember when B17s were about $50?

Now two new makers are seeking to get into the leather saddle game. Bill Laine of Wallingford Bicycle Parts reports from Eurobike that venerable bag, fender and rack maker Gilles Berthoud has rolled out his line.

Gilles Berthoud Saddle at Eurobike
Gilles Berthoud saddles at Eurobike from Wallingford Bicycle Parts blog

The price will be in the premium range of…$250. See more at Bill’s Wallblog.

Meanwhile, a new Taiwan make called Cardiff Saddles is out and about. Anthony at Longleaf Bicycles posted late last month about the Cardiff Gull, which is similar in shape to the narrow racing Brooks Swallow but at less than half the price.

Chris at Velo Orange appears to have the same or a very similar model on sale right now for $75. See it Here.

I’m not yet optimistic that anyone can compete with Brooks on consistency and overall quality. There is a reason they are still going after other makers faded away (and can get away with annual price hikes). The short rails remain a problem and sometimes the leather is not very durable. But they have decades of experience and most of my Brooks saddles have held up well.

Brooks is also set to introduce the Imperial cutout versions of the B17, B17-Narrow, and ladies B17S, no doubt to compete with the Selle Anatomica line. There is an opening here for Brooks, as the Selle Anatomica have found only limited success among local randonneurs. See more about the Imperial lineup at the Brooks site.

Of course, you may remember that I posted awhile back about MG and I having worn out the Brooks saddles on our tandem. I’ve reconsidered mine at least and will give it another try. I’ve found that after I get some good size dents in the saddle, lowering the nose seems to bring back the comfort. That one has gone back into the Brooks bullpen for future use.


6 thoughts on “New Berthoud, Cardiff and Brooks Leather Saddles

  1. the finish on that berthound saddle is pretty hot. not sure what i would look good on though…
    the rivet placement makes the whole saddle look sort of bulbous and pudgy.

  2. Regarding your old post on the brooks sit-bones sagging problem, I have managed the same problem on my b17 by punching holes in the side walls (local cobbler) and tying across with a shoe string + tensioning up the bolt. It has worked quite well for the last 2,000 miles or so. In fact, I’d actually say that it is more comfortable than the previous 5,000 (fully broken in). I’m due for another tension now, but tensioning the bolt DOES bring up the sit bones sags, esp with the skirt tied. hope that helps.

  3. I’ll have to show you my 35-year old (and still usable) Brooks Pro sometime. The leather on the Brooks saddles has gotten much thinner over the years. The 35-year old saddle has conformed itself to my anatomy, but not too much. I have never, ever had to use the tightening bolt at the nose.

    On the other hand, I rode a B-17 at PBP five years ago, and it was badly stretched by the end of that ride alone. Riding it in the rain afterwards almost undid it.

    Brooks is now owned by one of the Italian saddlemakers (Selle San Marco, I believe). So expect even less British offerings in the future (that is, more style, less substance).

  4. The Berthoud saddle looks very nice. It has screws instead of rivets. I just talked about the possibility of screws coming loose. Final analysis, the Berthoud saddle is grossly overpriced and it seems like there are more saddles than butts or cell phones. This can not be impacting our state of affairs on this planet very positively.

  5. So happy! These saddles are now available in the UK and have just received mine – got the Mercia in white. Look forward to getting her worn in! Have attached the link to Velodrama who are bringing these in.

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