Selle Italia Flite TransAm saddle

There have been lots of discussions about this subject. Is it a benefit to have a "saddle with a hole". Or, as the saddle manufacturers call it: an anatomical cut-out.
Well, for me it doesn't work. At least not with a Flite TransAm. I've spent several years on this type of saddle and some rides were really long. Road, CX, MTB: I've tried it all with this saddle. But for me, it just doesn't feel right. Not so bad either, otherwise I wouldn't have kept it so long. But the one without hole was just more comfortable.
This TransAm, as Selle Italia used to call the model with the cut-out, is one of the many versions of the classic Selle Italia Flite. That saddle, from the early 1990s, was a break through. A very slim, lightweight, minimalist saddle. When it first came out, your balls already hurt by seeing the saddle. But to be honest, that classic Flite turned out to be quite comfy. I've had 1 like that and I used it on a cross bike and a hardtail MTB. Unfortunately, I've lost it during an MTB marathon race, after I broke my seat post. My most impressive saddle experience is the race I had to ride without a saddle. Or nearly 50 km, offroad.
As mentioned, the standard Flite was fine for me. The TransAm felt a bit weird at the edges of the cut-out. Some hard edges or areas of a saddle where it shouldn't be hard.
This particular Flite TransAm, in yellow and black, must have been from the Spanish ONCE road racing team, riding Giant bikes during the years I worked there. Either a team saddle or one of the team replica bikes. Similar saddles in black and red were used by the Giant Global MTB team.
Since saddles are the most personal item on a bike, I cannot speak for other riders. And not all the saddles with a hole will feel like this Flite.
So, I can't say if it's right or wrong. Everybody has to make his or her own decision.

Fi'zi:k Pavé High Performance saddle

A saddle offered by Fi'zi:k as a high end ladies saddle. I'm nor really sure if it was designed like that and sold as a ladies saddle from the beginning.
Anyway, it's a good looking saddle and has a big popularity in the womens' peloton.
It reminds me of my long time favourite, Fi'zi:k Pavé, but a bit wider and thicker padding.
Titanium rails and a Microtex cover.
Let the ladies tell how it rides.
Or the men, who rode this saddle for a longer time.

Look PP56 pedals

Just like on my Look PP75 pedals, also no production date, year or code on these. And no type indication either.
These pedals could be Look PP56 Touring from 1988, but I'm not really sure.
They look a bit more modern, because the design is less bulky, better finish and big Look logos on the back clips. The clips are a bit smaller and pivot around an axle / Allen key bolt, that can be removed. Also different from the PP75, these pedals have no preload adjustment.
The bearing system is the same, despite the different dust caps. The hexagon design of the PP75 caps/nuts has been replaced by a sleeker, flat and round shape. Instead of a bench vice, open end wrench or adjustable wrench, a special tool has to be used to remove and install the dimpled caps. Circlip or needle-nosed pliers work very well.

NOTE: I hope the type indication is correct, because I see some strange things on The Web. Please let me know if you think that this is right or wrong. Thanks a lot.

Reydel GTi saddle

Reydel is a well known name for cycling freaks. The french bike saddles are pretty rare, but mainly because the Reydel name was on the jersey of Sean Kelly and his teams (SEM, Skil), people may remember it.
The same goes for me. I've never owned a Reydel saddle, even haven't seen one, as far as I can remember. But as a real equipment lover, I'm familiar with the name since the 1980s and know that they supply the saddles to the teams.
Well, Sean Kelly is a cycling hero and thanks to the efforts of the marketing people at Reydel, his name is related to the saddle brand forever.
So, I just needed to buy a Reydel racing saddle. This GTi I found on Ebay is a nice saddle that reminds me of a Selle Italia Turbo. Searching on the web a bit more resulted into a small disappointment. Suddenly I saw a picture of a Reydel Pro and at that moment I realized that that was the model Kelly used.
The 1980s GTi is nice and a real Reydel, but a Pro will be a new target. I know that it will be very hard to find and get one, but isn't that the fun of it?

San Marco Concor Junior saddle

I have 2 of these saddles in the "light" version, but to my surprise I could pick up a genuine "Junior" saddle in mint condition. That saddle is a real junior version of the Concor Supercorsa. And because I needed an extra kid saddle for the Giant track bike, I rushed to get this sample. One of the lights will go to the Giant and this junior will find a place on the Benotto 24" for the time being.
This saddle really looks like a vintage Concor Supercorsa with its soft, suede, velvet like cover and the yellow Concor sticker on the back. You know, the black and yellow sticker that always comes loose.
A quick rub with a suede brush will make the fingerprints disappear and make the saddle as new.

Shimano Dura Ace PD-7300 pedals

The first road bike I purchased was a second hand Batavus Professional team bike, equipped with Shimano Dura Ace.
Dura Ace was (and is) Shimano’s top end component group, but especially in the late 1970s, early 1980s, Campagnolo was considered to be the absolute No. 1.
Besides this subjective image thing, it was also what I experienced myself. Campagnolo Record had better surface quality, better bearings and sealing, higher quality hardware, better materials and design details like cast components instead of pressed sheet steel (e.g. brake lever brackets). So, it lasted longer, was easier to maintain, less rattling, better appearance.
So, bit by bit, I was replacing the Dura Ace components by Record.
When Shimano entered the pro road scene at the end of the 1970s, the company, the people around it and the teams using the stuff were not taken seriously. Flandria, IJsboerke and Cilo must have suffered from it.
With this background, it may be easy to understand why the market didn’t embrace the new AX series, when introduced it in 1980. The reputation of Shimano was not that good (“bad, cheap Japanese stuff”) and the difference with traditional bike components was too big. The traditional bike world was not ready to understand the benefits of new technologies. AX series offered many new things: one key release (everything with a 5mm Allen key), cassette hub, Uniglide, Dyna-Drive, aerodynamics and several others.
When it comes to Shimano AX parts, I cannot speak from my own experience. I understood what Shimano claimed and admitted that there could be some advantages, but didn’t believe that the differences were deciding. And soon, rumours were spread, that the new Shimano gruppos were having serious quality issues. Parapull brakes were not powerful enough, rear mechs weren’t working well or snapped and “there was also something with Dyna-Drive cranks and pedals.
I ‘m still not sure what the problems were, despite my 9 years experience at Shimano. Broken cranks, broken pedals, worn bearings: I don’t know.
A fact is, that especially tall people, thus heavy, were using DD pedals. One of the benefits was, that the base of the riders’ foot was level with the pedal axle and the saddle could be lowered by approx. 1.5 cm. Koga Miyata even changed the geometry of their road race frames by keeping the length and the angles, but lowering the top tube.
Anyway, Shimano AX series died soon and so did some of its features like Dyna-Drive and the whole aero thing. What remained were the brake cables with internal cable routing and freehub and cassette.
What were Shimano’s objectives with Dyna-Drive?
In the first place, by bringing the riders foot closer to the pedal axle, the biomechanics were improved. Less energy was wasted to keep the feet stable on the pedals. Like Shimano said, a bit like walking of flat shoes instead of high heels.
Besides that, the whole low profile design of pedal and crank fitted nicely in the total picture of aerodynamics of the AX series.
Because of the low centre of gravity, the pedals should always hang in the right position with the toe clips up and the pedals body down, so no hassle to get the foot into the clips.
Instead of an axle that supported the whole pedal body, Shimano used a very short axle with a very large diameter. The axle and bearings wear completely at the side of the pedal and partly in the crank arms. Instead of the standard 9/16” fitting, Shimano used 1” to offer enough strength, stiffness and bearing durability. But somewhere they failed…
In each pedal I counted 30 pcs 3/32” balls. I think the correct placement is 14 pcs on the inside and 16 pcs at the outside, near the pedal body. On one side the balls must be placed on the axle stubble and not in the bearing cup, otherwise it cannot be assembled.
The bearing cannot be countered in the normal way. There’s a screw for a 5 mm Allen key that can be reached from the side of the pedal body. That screw counters the bearing.
Shimano DD pedals are not the first with this “drop-spindle” design. Similar constructions were used in the 19th century and in the 1950s .

See also: Speedplay Bicycle Pedal History Museum

Look PP75 pedals

I've got to be honest. I've never used a pair of Look pedals. And now, all of a sudden, I have 2 pairs of earlier (?) PP75 and 1 pair of another type.
Already at young(er) age I was a lover of classic components and a late adept.
Around 1984, when Look introduced their clipless bike pedals, I though it was a gimmick and an unnecessary, funny item. They looked bulky too. I had no urge to try a pair. How wrong I was. These pedals caused a real revolution in bicycle development. Look was certainly not the first company that made clipless pedals, but technically it was okay and marketing wise, they made a brilliant move. First, Bernard Hinault and later, Greg Lemond used and promoted Look clipless pedals and due to their enormous successes in the Tour de France and other races, it became a commercial hit.
When I joined Shimano in 1990, I got my 1st pair of "Look patent" pedals, a set of Shimano 105 pedals PD-1056, assembled by Look in Nevers, France. These pedals were better than the SGR and Systeme 3 pedals I had tried and rejected before.
The Look pedals were the 1st commercially successful pedals and racers performed well with them. As mentioned earlier, they looked bulky and from what I heard from other riders, there were some quality issues, too (noise, wear, bearing quality, cleat quality), but overall, it turned out to be a pedals system that was going to stay for a long, long time.
These early Look PP75 pedals have an adjustable preload (just a few turns). The bearings are kept in place by the dust caps. Needle bearing on the inside and (industrial) ball bearing at the outside.

NOTE: I hope the type indication is correct, because I see some strange things on The Web. Please let me know if you think that this is right or wrong. Thanks a lot.

Selle Bassano Vuelta saddles

My long time favourite: Selle Bassano Vuelta. I have used this type of saddle far many year. I absolutely loved them. Gazelle sold these with their own logo.
The saddles tended to weaken and showed deformation, a more curved shape. Despite that, it was still pleasant to ride. Maybe because the shape became curvy, a bit like Concor saddles.
I don't think that the first series had it, but at a certain point, the Vualta saddles came with Reynolds 531 manganese tubular steel rails. Not that someone noticed the difference, but still.
I've worn down a reasonable quantity of these saddle, so, for my collection I certainly needed one. I got 2 pieces at the same time from the same Ebay seller, both with Reynolds rails. One with yellow plastic parts and a glued leather cover, the other cheaper variant (?) with orange and a fabric (?), stapled cover.
Too bad. The later Bassano saddles were all terrible. And so are the current ones.

Chain ring Campagnolo 48 teeth, BCD 144 mm, 3/32"

Bargain of the week: a brand new chain ring for my Campagnolo equipped track bikes.
This extends my collection a bit.
I need at least an extra Campagnolo 50T and 52T, as well as a rare Campagnolo BCD 151 mm BCD ring.
Note that the price on the tag is not what I paid for it.
Good news: some extra pieces still available!

Selle Italia Turbo Special

A less successful spin-off of the Turbo saddle. Following the big hit of the early 1980s, San Marco's Rolls, it got some brass pieces at the nose and the backside of the saddle to make it stand out from the standard Turbo. Nothing more, nothing less. A nice "facelift" of the genuine Turbo saddle with some added "bling bling". I never had one till last week. So, I can't tell (yet) how it rides, but I'm pretty sure that it's exactly the same as the normal Turbo.
Besides that, it doesn't help you if you know if it suits my bum, yes or no. Every person is different and saddles are personal.

Selle Italia Turbo "Bernard Hinault"

A real classic saddle: Selle Italia's Turbo.
I wasn't an early adept and I haven't used it for a long time either.
But it used to be a very fine saddle in the beginning and still lots of people (bike lovers and pro riders) like it. The first generation of Turbo was just good and perhaps all later generations failed to make improvements on the original design.
This was one of the products that became famous/popular, because it was the choice of Bernard Hinault. Of course, he was paid to use this saddle. But throughout the years he hardly changed his equipment and for sure he wouldn't have used a certain saddle that long if he didn't really like it.
Well, Hinault won the Tour de France 5 times and lots of other races, too, so the saddle became an icon.
Still some work to be done to let it shine "as new" again.
The pictures below show the saddle how I got it, second hand.
The Turbo saddle was introduced in 1990 and I got my first a couple of years later. I bought it when I got my first Colnago Super frame and it looked lovely on that bike. Until that moment, I used San Marco Concor. After a while, when I joined Gazelle, so it must have been around 1984 or 1985, I switched to the newly introduced San Marco Rolls. Gazelle had better ties with San Marco than with Selle Italia.
Much later, first half of the 1990s, I rode a Turbo Matic 2 for a while. That may have been another successful type of Turbo. Less iconic than the genuine Turbo though.