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Berthoud Open Saddles


A saddle with a cutout that really works! The sophisticated shape of the Berthoud Open saddles ensures that you can’t feel the edges of the cutout. (On saddles with straight-sided openings, the sharp edges can be uncomfortable.) Apart from the opening (and 15 g lighter weight), these saddles are the same as the “standard” versions: Men’s Aspin (steel rails) and Aravis (titanium rails); Women’s Marie-Blanque (steel rails) and Agnel (titanium rails).

Leather saddles have long offered the ultimate in comfort for long-distance cycling, because they shape themselves to your unique anatomy. Gilles Berthoud’s saddles use thoroughly modern materials and construction methods, while maintaining the advantages of a tensioned leather saddle. We’ve been riding these saddles for years, because we find them so comfortable.

The leather is thick and initially firm, but Berthoud saddles are pre-softened to shorten the break-in. They are comfortable after just a few long rides, and then they last many years. If the leather gets dry, we recommend a light treatment with Obenauf’s leather preservative. Berthoud saddles rarely need tensioning. When they do, the tension is easy to adjust with a 5 mm allen key.

Made in France.

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Which Berthoud saddle is best for you? It depends mostly on your riding style, with body type a secondary consideration. With a more upright position on the bike, you sit more on your sitbones, and a slightly wider saddle will be comfortable. For this position, we recommend the Aspin or Aravis. Their medium width is designed for an intermediate riding position that most cyclists prefer for long hours in the saddle. If you prefer a more stretched-out position, you’ll probably find the Galibier supremely comfortable, with a narrower shape perfected for spirited riding. The Marie-Blanque and Agnel are designed for women cyclists who prefer a shorter saddle nose. All Gilles Berthoud saddles (except Galibier) are available in an Open version with a cutout to relieve pressure.

The story behind these saddles: Gilles Berthoud wasn’t satisfied with other leather saddles. Quality had declined over time as companies tried to get as many saddles as possible from each piece of leather, without regard for irregularities and direction of grain. So, he decided to make his own. Berthoud saddles start with the best vegetable-tanned cow hides, which are dyed in-house. Each saddle top is then cut in the direction of the leather grain. While this results in fewer saddles from each hide, it ensures that the saddle doesn’t sag. The remnant leather is used to make fender washers and other small parts, limiting waste. The composite frame is stronger than steel and absorbs shocks better. Berthoud placed the bolts outside the sitting area, sparing your riding clothes from snags and abrasion. Gilles Berthoud saddles (except Galibier model) feature a rear crescent with connection points for Klick-Fix attachments, as well as loops for classic saddle bags.

  • Dimensions:
    • Length: Aravis / Aspin: 278 mm; Agnel / Marie-Blanque: 248 mm
    • Width: 157 mm wide
  • Average weight: 15 g less than "standard" version
  • Stainless Steel or titanium Rails
  • Fully Rebuildable
  • Water resistant leather treatment

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