|My Commute Bike Saddle, After Four Years of Steady Use. It Is/Was a "Specialized Phenom"|
The two saddles are very similar in some respects. One is a Brooks Swallow and the other is a Berthoud Aspin. As you can see, the shapes and sizes of the two saddles are VERY similar. Shown beside them is the third saddle; a Specialized "Toupe" that's made of modern materials
|At Left is the Brooks, With the Berthoud in the Middle and the Specialized at Right|
Comparing the two leather saddles, I'm surprised at how similar they are in some respects while still being entirely different. As you can see, there's not a whole lot of shape difference between the Brooks and the Berthoud saddles.
Both saddles are leather with steel rails. That being the case, there are more differences in the construction details than you'd expect. The Brooks leather is thinner than the Berthoud, and is riveted to the steel frame. The Berthoud uses Allen screws that attach to a plastic frame.
|The "Swallow" Rails Are Well Below the Saddle and are Set Up for a Saddle "Nose Up and Back" Position Compared to Berthoud|
In addition to the attachment and construction differences, the makers used different rail approaches. The Brooks saddle rails are entirely well beneath the saddle while the Berthoud rails are tucked up higher. In addition, the Brooks rails intend for the saddle to be placed further back on the seat post and in a "nose up" position compared to the Berthoud. The rails are clearly different relative to the otherwise similar saddle shape in that regard. Even easier to spot are the different philosophies of the saddle frame design. Brooks is a "steel is real" outfit while Berthoud is NOT. Which is better? Personally, I sort of like the notion that I can replace the leather and polycarbonate is a pretty good material, but how often do you replace leather anyway?
|Brooks Above and Berthoud Below. Note How the Rails and Frames Differ. And Yes, the Leather on the Berthoud IS Thicker|
Comparing weight of the two saddles, the Brooks is a touch heavier than the Berthoud, tipping the scales at 499g compared to 484g for the French entry. IMO, the Brooks steel frame more than offsets the thicker leather and threaded fasteners used on the Berthoud saddle.
|Brooks is 499g, Berthoud is 484g|
|"Modern" Specialized Saddle is Much Lighter, Though it'll Also Wear Out Quicker|
Conveniently, the new "official" saddle cover for rainy weather storage that I got will work on all three saddles. Of course, when it is used, it'll reside underneath one of those cheap, plastic shopping bags that "green" types want to ban. My favorite cheapies are bags from Wally World.
|Saddle Cover of Heavy Duty Latex. Suitable as the Lower Layer Underneath a Cheap Plastic "Disposable" Bag|