17 July, 2008

Darn Nice Saddles


Velo Orange saddles are made of the finest Australian cowhide. The frames are sturdy chrome plated steel with rails that allow more adjustment than Brooks saddles. The nose adjustment bolt takes a regular Allen wrench (included) rather than a proprietary spanner. A special anti-stretch material is laminated to the underside to increase life. The midsection of all the aprons are is riveted together underneath so the saddle won't splay out over time. Darn nice!

All models are available in black and natural; some are also available in brown. Note that the natural color is lighter than Brooks honey and allows the natural color variations of the hide to show through. But like all leather it will darken with age and lighter leathers tend to darken more.

Our standard touring saddle is the model VS-2. It's 310mm x 170mm and has a top with a traditional apron.

The VS-6 is a narrow racing saddle. It has a fully trimmed apron. It's about 285mm x 150mm. It's a bit like the Brooks Swallow.

The VS-5 is a single rail sprung saddle. the top is 310mm x 175mm. It has two chrome coil springs.

We also have a narrower 295mm x 150mm VS-1 with a skirted top. This is the one model I'm not sure about. The shape is not exactly what I wanted and it is the one model I ordered without a seeing a production sample (the others looked great so I thought...). We'll sell just a few of them at first to folks who ride a lot, hundreds of miles a week, and are willing to give us some feedback. E-mail if you fit that description and want a good deal on a saddle.

The only flaw we've noted in testing is that you might need to put a drop of Locktite on the nose bolt so it doesn't loosen. Compared to Brooks saddles, I think VO saddles will change shape more as they are broken-in and take longer to break-in. I hope they will also last longer. In the future we plan to have models with oversize copper rivets, skived skirts, and other aesthetic features.

37 comments:

C said...

Finally a leather saddle that will fit my bike!! Yeah. Hopefully it will wear better than the Selle Anatomica. That was a great saddle but the leather stretch way too much. I like the riveted underside to keep the sides from splaying out.

John Mark said...

WOW! Prices?

Anonymous said...

How much do these saddles weigh?

fred said...

Looks nice. Can you post a photo on a seatpost taken from the side?

Chris Kulczycki said...

I'll post more photos soon.

They weigh about what the Brooks equivalents weigh, or maybe a touch more due to the thick leather.

Anonymous said...

Chris any chance of a larger photo of the underside of the saddle, an odd request I know but while I love my Brooks my sit bones land on the two flanges that Brooks uses on their frame. I know of 2 other people this happens to. Your saddle could be the answer. (it's also slightly longer) Maybe a picture of the Brooks side by side with yours.

robatsu said...

Very nice, like the riveted underside to prevent splaying.

Another nice touch to consider for future saddle releases - on the old Fujita saddles (and perhaps others?), the center section of the bag loops was cut on three sides then rolled down rather than cut out completely. This creates a much less sharp bottom edge of the bag loop and reduces wear and tear on saddlebag straps.

bonechilling said...

These look nice, but for $125, the VS-6 (the one I'd be most likely to buy) should be titanium railed.

Anonymous said...

bonechilling, You honestly think for $125 you are going to get Ti Rails? Take a look at Ti prices right now and what Ti bike parts are going for.
Travis

Mitch said...

Great offering.

What does is the difference between the skirts that is mentioned for the VS-1 and 5?

Mitch said...

Um...meant to say apron. What's the difference between the traditional apron and the trimmed apron.

Is it like the trimming on the Brooks pro and B-17 special compared to the regular blunt edge of the B-17?

BTW, thanks for including bag loops across the line.

Anonymous said...

I have a question about a non-related item:
Where can a get a full size TT frame pump ?

MitchK said...

Bravo! Do you import the cowhide and have them made locally?

Greg said...

What a fantastic week for products. Well, maybe not so much for my wallet.

Will there ever be a completely V-O branded bike? Seems to me you just need a few more parts.

Joseph said...

Bonjour, Chris K,

I must say, I really like the way the new VO branded stuff looks, any of it I'd be happy to have on my bike. The headset and adjustable brake shoes are especially nice.

Are there any plans to make any of these components in the ever-hard -to-find French sizing? I know I had a devil of a time getting a French threaded bottom bracket for my Peugeot -thanks btw for the Edcos- but I'd love to have spent $40 on it instead of $80. Also, I don't know how much longer the headset on my Peugeot is going to hold out, and I'd love to put in something as light and lovely as a Tange alloy headset, or the VO brand. I'd hope that Velo-Orange would be looking into helping out the fellow who's trying to keep his Pug, Motobecane, or Gitane from becoming wall art.

Beautiful stuff, though.

jOe

Anonymous said...

Will there be women's versions of the saddles?

hal said...

They look great. Can't wait to try one.

Lesli L said...

Great looking saddles. I second the down the line request for a women's performance/road/brevet version with more of a snub nose (and ti rails??). Still struggling to find the most comfortable leather long distance cycling for brevets. Have had success with selle an-atomica but find that I need something with more firm leather for rides longer than 2 days. I'm running the pre-aged finish B-68 on the VO mixte but would consider a VS-5 as a future replacement (like the light color).

Chris Kulczycki said...

Mitch, the leather is cut back on the racing saddle. On the touring saddles it extends downward further.

There will be VO complete bikes in about a year if all goes according to plan.

I'll look into French thread parts after we establish some history with the manufacturer and see how the current models sell.

I'm not sure about a woman's version of the saddle; probably. But in all honesty I'm not totally convinced that woman's versions of leather saddles are actually that different. They are better for riding in a skirt , or kilt, because they are shorter. But the width seems to be the only other difference. Input is welcome.

Lesli L said...

Chris--

You might be right to question the necessity of the "women's specific" saddle. I just prefer the shorter snub nose and recommend it for gents as well. I always sort of snag on the long snout of the men's brooks saddles and prefer the visual aesthetic of a short nosed leather saddle.

Amy said...

Longer Rails are a good thing - I've tried riding Brooks saddles and ride a smaller bike with too steep of angles for Brooks to work even with a set back seatpost. Brooks don't work for lots of women due to that issue. I'd be interested in riding one of these to see how they go.

Anonymous said...

VS-6 looks good to me.
B-17 and all the 170mm are toooo wide for me.
And the price! 70$ less than the Swallow steel - impressive.

Steve said...

Anonyme asks:

I have a question about a non-related item:
Where can a get a full size TT frame pump ?


Bruce Gordon makes one. You'll find it here (scroll down):
http://bgcycles.com/accessories.html

Anonymous said...

thanks, they'll look great with the $400 dollar carbon fibre fenders I am gonna buy from bgcycles !!!!

yeah, right.

john k novack said...

darned fine of grant p. to plug your saddles and yourself on his site.

Joel said...

"thanks, they'll look great with the $400 dollar carbon fibre fenders I am gonna buy from bgcycles !!!!

yeah, right."

Bruce Gordon, one of the great frame makers of all time, and pushing 70, does not spend a lot of effort updating his web site. Those carbon fenders have not been available for a long time. When they were, carbon manufacturing had not progressed to where it is now. As with most other tech products, people who bought the fenders then paid the price for being first.

BG's main products, his frames and racks, are screaming deals when one considers their well deserved reputation for quality. BG racks, legendary for their rugged usefulness, are also among the lightest loaded touring racks available.

TomCat said...

I am test riding the VS-1 Narrow racing saddle. I have only a few miles on it so this is more of a poking at and measuring type observation. The VO saddle rails have about 30mm more fore-aft adjustment (90mm) than a brooks (60mm). The tension adjust bolt is MUCH easier to access and dial in the comfort and take up stretch. This model saddle sits about 10-15mm higher than a B-17.
At 150mm width, it's very narrow. But, for comparison, a brooks B17 champion special at 170-175mm has an actual usable sitting width of around 140mm. The VS-1 usable width is 120-125mm. It rests a little high due to the leather shape and design- when you sit on it, it compresses that 10mm or so, giving you more of a hammok effect than a brooks.
It definitely feels different than a brooks when you are on it. Not sure if that's due to it being a new saddle (a new brooks always feels funny) or it's the shape itself. I'll put some more miles on it and see how it goes.

Tom

K Matthias said...

Hey Chris, can we get saddle pictures from a few different angles? I'm trying to decide on a purchase now and the aesthetic is important to me, as I'm sure it is to others. The quality looks outstanding!

Karl

keithwwalker said...

Any chance for a suede version?

In my experience springs like that on the VS5 and my current Brooks don't serve any functional purpose, being too stiff.

Emily said...

They are better for riding in a skirt , or kilt, because they are shorter.

For those of us with a generously proportioned rear end, the snub nose makes stopping easier too. I didn't *expect* that when I got a B-17S, but I'm not complaining... since otherwise I'd have basically no cockpit space at stoplights. Instead, stops are fairly comfortable, and I have a bit of wiggle room.

lee.watkins said...

Fantastic! All that's missing now are the heavy-duty saddles, for those of us using tall stems and "promenade" bars, hauling home groceries in the city. This is, after all, the part of the cycling market that is growing. Having tried all the brooks saddles, I still consider the B.135 to be the best for city living. Broken pavement, old rail tracks, brick streets, cobble stones, with two and a half bags of groceries. Hey, I live in down-town Baltimore (Canton/Highlandtown)! My wife uses a B.190 because she has wide hips and the dampeners add a kind of stability control to the bike when it's loaded-down. I'd love to see a VO saddle that can do that.

Anonymous said...

I am interested to see what these saddles look like on a bike, and broken in. A new Brooks looks quite a lot different from a well-used one, and I wonder if these saddles will be the same. I am not bowled over with the looks of these, but I have changed my mindin the past; it is possible I may do so again.
mb

Chris Kulczycki said...

We plan to have wide VO saddles for city bikes in about 2-3 months. There will be a man's and a woman's version with springs. There may also be an un-sprung version, still thinking about that.

I will try to post an album of additional saddle photos later today.

XO-1.ORG said...

Chris: Do us all a favor and shape the rails the same for all saddles you make. I say this because all the different Brooks saddles allow a different amount of sliding the saddle back on the post. Perhaps not coincidentally, the more expensive the Brooks saddle, the further back it can be pushed!

End result: to get back where I want to be, I can only ride the most expensive Brooks saddle: that's $400 just to get in the right position! Why they shape their rails differently on the different models, I don't know. Pretty stupid. I know you're a smart guy, but wanted to be sure this detail doesn't slip through the VO cracks. If it doesn't, this, plus your extremely low prices relative to Brooks, will no doubt make me a permanent VO saddle convert! - Chris Kostman

PS Ti rails would be nice, but I will certainly understand if it adds $100 to the steel rail price.

Anonymous said...

A bit late, but thought I'd chime in on a women's version. I'm a woman, and I can't stand the women's brooks. It's far too short and really limits fore/aft adjustment. I know a few other women who feel this way as well. So I'd definitely pass on a woman's version.

By the way, when are the saddles that are currently out of stock going to be back in?

rockandrollcannibal said...

I too have been wondering if you're going to get the touring model in stock sometime. I don't have many upright posture bikes and would feel silly putting a $100 saddle (including shipping) on my huffy 3-speed. Maybe the Bianchi folder... and I'm not the racing type.

cincicycles said...

I was considering picking up a Model 6 and was wondering how these are holding up. Sag issues? I want to put one on my cyclocross bike. Thanks!!!