Saturday, August 30, 2008

Cardiff Saddles

I'll be receiving a shipment of Cardiff Gull saddles late next week in both brown and black. Those who prefer traditional leather saddles have little choice outside of Brooks, and Brooks prices continue to rise (they just went up again) so it's nice to see another manufacturer of leather saddles. The company producing the Cardiff saddles has been in the furniture business for some time and the saddles are a new venture. My concern with leather saddles is how much and often they'll sag, which directly corresponds to how long they'll last. My inside info on the Cardiffs in that after and initial break-in the saddle needs to be tensioned a little, after which they're fine. Tensioning on the Cardiff is done with a common tool, so no need to buy a special spanner.

The Gull model is roughly the same width and shape as the Brooks Swallow (153mm wide) so it isn't right for a bike with the handlebars and saddle even . But for bikes with a fair amount of drop the saddles will work well. There are plans to make a B17-ish saddle in the future, which would be wise. I'm thinking that the Gull will end up on a lot of fixed wheel bikes, whose younger riders often pine after a Swallow but can't afford the price tag.

These saddles have been tested and the reports I have sound promising. At $100 vs. $265 for a Swallow the appeal of the Gull is basic. Here's a picture.
I made a relatively small order and am holding off on placing a large order until I can test the saddles myself. I've been told by the distributor that Grant Petersen at Rivendell has been testing one for some time, so I'll try to get his input as soon as I can. I expect the stock of these to go fast. If all goes well and I'm confident in the quality I'll order as many as I can afford. I'll try to find out some more information about the company making the saddles and post an update when they arrive.

As mentioned, Cardiff Gull saddles will be $100.

10 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi,

nice and promising saddles! Any update about them? I'm thinking on to buy one but it's hard to find reviews or feedback from actual users...

Thanks!

Longleaf Bicycles said...

Anonymous,

I used one of these for about one hundred miles. It was as comfortable as the Brooks Swallow that I've tried. The problem is that both the Swallow and the Cardiff model are shaped for a riding position (lots of handlebar drop) that I don't regularly use. So I haven't been able to put extensive miles on the saddle. If your regular riding position is racy then the saddle is worth a try. If you ride in a more upright position I'd hold off. The company that makes these saddles will soon have some their models shaped like the Brooks B17 and B66 imported to the US. Feel free to call the shop to talk to me if you have any more questions.

Anthony

Anonymous said...

Hi,

thanks for your quick answer Anthony.

Definitively it's not for me... at least, not for the bike in what I had thought to put it on. It's a comfy bike, instead a racing one. :)

I'll wait to the new models.

Thanks again and best regards from Spain!

Toni

Leon said...

Regarding the Cardiff Gull Saddle 'If your regular riding position is racy then the saddle is worth a try. If you ride in a more upright position I'd hold off.'....I have to have my bars and seat level due to injury...but i use a racy bike.....Why should i not use this saddle or a Brooks Swallow saddle?.....Would it not be comfortable.....I do not want a B-17 style saddle...Cheers....Leon

Longleaf Bicycles said...

Leon,

Everyone's anatomy is different, but most people who ride with their bars level find 135mm width saddles like the Cardiff too narrow.

Anthony

Leon said...

ler

Longleaf Bicycles said...

My last comment should read "ride with their bars at the same level as the saddle".

Michael said...

Hello,

Is this the same saddle (different badging) as the Velo-Orange model 6?

Thanks!

Leon said...

HI Anthony, my last comment does not seem to have come up...so i will try again....in the original post the saddle width is quoted as 153mm and not 135mm...is that significant....I have had problems with 135mm and 143mm width saddles but not 160mm as found on the Brooks Professional saddle....assuming that the Cardiff Gull/VO Model 6 and the Brooks Swallow are all 153mm will 7mm make a lot of difference where the bars and saddle are level.

Anonymous said...

I've had two Brooks saddles (B17 and Swift) before trying a Cardiff. It was simply the most miserable, uncomfortable cycling experience of my life. It looks exactly like a Brooks but is awful. Neither the store nor Cardiff would take it back, so that's a hundred bucks down the drain. I ran out and bought a trusty Brooks B17 and I'm comfortable again.