[CR] Ideale Alloy Rail saddles

(Example: Component Manufacturers)

Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 06:52:02 -0800
From: Jerome & Elizabeth Moos <jerrymoos@sbcglobal.net>
To: <classicrendezvous@bikelist.org>, <edvintage63@aol.com>
In-Reply-To: <363032.35824.qm@web82206.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
Subject: [CR] Ideale Alloy Rail saddles

Just received yesterday from a French eBay seller the first alloy-railed Ideale saddle I've ever owned. This one was not cheap, but a little more reasonable than some examples have gone for of late. I blame Jan Heine in part for the recent escalation of alloy Ideale prices. His wonderful book The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles, although not exactly on the New York Times Best Seller list, I think has enormous influence in collector circles, and it seems about half the bikes pictured have alloy railed Ideale saddles. I think this has spurred interest in those saddles and driven up the price.

This one was slightly more than $250 and certainly not NOS - the stampings on the side are worn down so far ot is hard to tell the model number, which is claimed to be a model 90, which is consistent with other details. But the Rebour stamp on the top rear is still very clear, and the saddle is still supple,with no cracking and retains its original shape quite nicely.

I have a question for those who have used these extensively. How is the ride? Some have said that the ride is very harsh and uncomfortable due to what is essentially an I-beam undercarriage. If so, I'd think these would be very tiring on a long event. Now I get the impression that the Technical Trials and some other similar events may have been of moderate length, but bikes like those pictured in Jan's book were also extensively used in the long events we usually associate with randonneuring, culminating in PBP. I know at least a couple of CR members have done PBP and probably a lot more have done randonneur events of several hundred Km. Are these alloy rail saddles very tiring in those long events? Does anyone feel compelled to switch to steel rail saddles for long distances?

One other question I've long pondered but never asked. I note this model 90 has copper rivets for all but the two rivets on either side of the nose, which appear to be steel, although the rivet on top of the nose is copper like those in the cantle plate. I believe every other high end Ideale I've seen is the same way - all copper except on either side of the nose. Why did Ideale do this? I doubt they were trying to save a couple of Francs (espeically the old Francs worth only a few US cents) on their top models. Did they judge that the rivets on either side of the nose needed to be stronger than the others? Presumably steel ones would be stronger than copper. If this was the reason, Brooks seem not to have shared their concern.


Jerry Moos
Big Spring, Texas, USA