New Saddles and Bags and Bottles

In the middle of a global pandemic, delays in shipments from suppliers are not a big concern with everything else that is going on. And yet we’re happy that the situation has improved to the point where deliveries are arriving again – because this means that things are getting better for our suppliers, who are also our friends.

Over the winter, we’ve worked with Berthoud Cycles in France to design a new, bigger handlebar bag, the GB 31. It’s useful for tall riders and those who like their handlebars high – the bag spans the distance from the bars to the front rack, so it’s sized to fit your bike. We’ve not just increased the height of the bag; we’ve also adjusted the size of the pockets: a bit larger so they are proportionate with the bag, but not so large that it becomes difficult to retrieve their contents.

You can see the new GB31 in the photo above, together with the three existing models. All Berthoud bags are available in the classic blue-gray (shown) and in black with leather trim, or in all-black versions. We offer them with and without side pockets. They all include a shoulder strap for easy carrying when you’re off the bike. They’re waterproof, because the cotton fabric swells when it gets wet, and they last almost forever. I’ve used my current Berthoud bag for 9 years, 2 Paris-Brest-Paris, many wet winter rides, countless tours… and it’s still as good as new.

The new GB31 bags were ready in early March, but they never made it out of France… Now they’re finally here. Since there is no tooling for these bags, Berthoud made a one-off production run for us. We hope this will become a standard bag in the Berthoud program, but the decision hasn’t been made yet, and quantities are limited for now.

We’re also introducing the Aubisque saddle. At 180 mm wide, it’s Berthoud’s widest model – ideal for riding with a more upright position.

All other Berthoud saddles are back in stock, too: the superlight Galibier (above), the Open models with a cutout to relieve pressure, and my favorite, the oh-so-comfortable Aravis.

Berthoud saddles are fully rebuildable with just two tools – a 5 mm Allen and a T20 Torx wrench. We’ve got all parts in stock, including tops in every size and color.

We also have the neat Berthoud saddle bags back in stock. Often nick-named ‘banana bags,’ they are surprisingly voluminous – perfect for carrying extra clothes (or bananas) – yet they tuck neatly under the saddle. It’s one of my favorite bags, and it doubles to protect the saddle’s underside on bikes without fenders.

We also received a new shipment of FMB’s wonderful tubular tires, with cotton and silk casings. These don’t need any introduction – they are the tires pro racers buy with their own money for truly important races.

We’ve added a 34 mm-wide version of the SSC Sprint tubulars to our program. They are great not just for ‘cross, but also for gravel riding.

We’ve also received our new water bottles. They are made in California, and they also were ready in early March… Like all our bottles, the new design is limited to 500 bottles. The white map pattern doesn’t just look nice, it also shields the bottle from the summer sun and keeps your liquids a little cooler. On cold mornings, you can turn the blue panel to face the sun instead…

With these shipments, our entire program is back in stock, with the exception of a few small items. We are working on those, too. Click on the images for more information. Now we just need a socially distant photoshoot to get better images of the new products!

During the coming weeks and months, we hope you stay healthy and safe – and enjoy some great riding!

16 Responses to New Saddles and Bags and Bottles

  1. Allen Potter June 21, 2020 at 2:56 pm #

    Do you have a confident recommendation for a decaleur for my ahead-style (IRD) stem (already got a Nitto front rack supporting my small Berthoud bag, which has been awesome over the years)?

    • Jan Heine June 21, 2020 at 4:07 pm #

      Unfortunately, I don’t know of any good decaleurs for 4-bolt stems. We’ve tried every model that’s available in the U.S., and none of them worked reliably. The best solution may be to swap the stem for a model that supports a decaleur.

  2. Bob Conlen June 21, 2020 at 4:13 pm #

    Jan: What would be the closest Berthoud saddle model that would match my favorite Brooks B17? I love those saddles, but I’m always willing to try something new…thanks!

    • Jan Heine June 21, 2020 at 4:54 pm #

      I’d start with the Aspin/Aravis. It’s a tad narrower than the B17, but most find it more comfortable.

  3. Mark Brands June 21, 2020 at 4:26 pm #

    Do the Berthoud panniers fit Tubus Duo racks?

    • Jan Heine June 21, 2020 at 4:58 pm #

      In theory, the Berthoud panniers fit almost any rack – the leather straps adjust to any rack diameter, and the springs can also hook on almost any rack. (And since the pannier mounting tensioned by the spring, it doesn’t rattle.)

      The Tubus Duo is a special case, though, as the bottom part is quite short. It’s possible that the spring will slide off that part when riding fast on rough terrain. The pannier will still be attached at the top, but it can flop around without anything holding it against the rack at the bottom. We’d have to try it before we can be sure.

      • Mark Brands June 22, 2020 at 10:32 am #

        Where can I try it before I purchase them? And maybe I should consider another rack. What do you have on the Firefly?

        • Jan Heine June 22, 2020 at 11:26 am #

          My Firefly has an older Tubus rack, but looking at the photos, I realize that the bottom section is the same shape as on the Duo. The Berthoud panniers work well on that, so there should be no problem at all on the Duo.

  4. Eric June 21, 2020 at 11:52 pm #

    Is the Aubisque saddle the same size/shape as the titanium-railed Vars that was available in Europe?

    • Jan Heine June 22, 2020 at 8:52 am #

      Yes, the Aubisque is the same basic saddle as the Vars, only with more affordable stainless steel rails. We may offer the ti-railed Vars in the future if there is demand – not so much for the weight savings, but for the improved comfort of the more flexible titanium rails.

  5. Derek June 22, 2020 at 8:31 am #

    Bags are very useful for many things, but don’t put any actual bananas in the “banana bag” or handlebar bag either. Even with soft tires, the vibrations turn them to soup. This does not happen in a jersey pocket (further proof that our bodies absorb vibrations while riding).

    • Jan Heine June 22, 2020 at 8:49 am #

      Yes, that comment wasn’t entirely serious. That said, I have carried bananas in my handlebar bag at the beginning of long rides, well-cushioned by layers of clothes below.

    • Michael Morrison June 22, 2020 at 5:54 pm #

      I can confirm the effect of a bicycle ride on bananas, even a short ride, and one equipped with Rat Trap Pass tires. I’ve learned to pack them at the top of the pannier, preferably cushioned by a bag of chips/crisps or a loaf of bread, on my grocery runs. I don’t even consider bringing them on longer rides.

      • Mitch Hull June 23, 2020 at 7:46 am #

        I almost aways take bananas on rides from home—and eat them within 2 hours, because they go soft so fast! Plus they’re heavy and bulky, but such excellent fuel.

  6. Gunther June 22, 2020 at 9:47 am #

    Similar question as before. Being comfortable with the Brooks Professional first try would be Aravis/Aspen, I guess?

    • Jan Heine June 22, 2020 at 11:28 am #

      Yes, I think the Aravis/Aspin will be best. If you want to try a slightly narrower saddle, the Galibier/Soulor is also a good choice. I used to ride the Brooks Pro (still have one on my Mule), and I am comfortable on both the Aravis and the Galibier.