width of the Brooks B17 on my roadbike, I received many excellent suggestions from readers. I also received a suggestion from several staff members at Harris Cyclery: a Gilles Berthoud. Bethoud saddles and luggage are made in France and are associated with exquisite randonneuring bicycles. It is generally agreed that their handlebar bags are the finest one can get, and several respected members of the industry describe the saddles as being "even better" than Brooks. However, I was both skeptical of that description and weary of the high price tag. When I returned to Harris Cyclery the following week, I still had not decided what saddle to get, and they suggested that I try the Berthoud and see what I think. So I now have the saddle on loan, and have ridden with it on my Bianchi roadbike.
here. The woman's model is called the "Marie Blanque"- after a short, steep climb in the French Pyrenees.
The Berthoud differs from Brooks and the other leather saddles available today in several ways. The leather is stretched using a different method - a modular system involving bolts instead of rivets. This system allows for the saddle to be taken a part and also for more control over tension adjustment. The leather is somewhat thicker than that of other brands.
here). Despite being classified as a touring saddle, the leather on the Berthoud is closely trimmed along the sides - typical of a much more aggressive saddle in the Brooks range.
I have to admit that I am "emotionally biased" towards Brooks, which is an obstacle to recognising that the Berthoud suits me better - at least on roadbikes with considerable forward lean. The Berthoud basically gives me the width of a touring saddle with the side cut-outs of a racing saddle - plus the shape does not interfere with my "lady areas". In that sense, it is also more versatile, and I can see myself using it both on a touring bike and on a more aggressive roadbike. All this is exactly what I need. But... a $200+ saddle? I suppose that if I sell my spare Brooks B17S and the titanium-rail Brooks Finesse that I received in a trade but find unridable, that would give me the funds. But it still feels like an overindulgence and I need to think about it. Regardless of whether I keep the saddle or not, I hope this write-up was helpful to those considering a Berthoud.