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World’s Lightest Saddle

Words/image: Brett Horton (Horton Collection)

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Carbon wonder saddle? No. This is from the 1930s French saddle maker, Continentale. Tagged “Bauriat” on the back, this saddle was quite popular in its day. However, improved technology and changing fashions ultimately shifted saddles away from steel and leather to synthetic materials, space-age metals and aerodynamics.

This saddle’s showcased weight of 43 grams (just 1.5 ounces!) is not an error. But it would be a very small rider who would be able to use it. It’s all of 14cm long and 9cm wide (5.5 by 3.5 inches). In fact, the saddle is a salesman’s sample. As was common at the time with nearly every conceivable hard good that was sold, from furniture to bicycle saddles, samples were rendered in a diminutive scale so the buyer could see a scaled-down version of the salesman’s offering.

For more than 20 years, I kept an eye out for a vintage bicycle component salesman’s sample. I think I gave up at least a decade ago assuming if such a thing ever existed it had been absorbed into other collections or simply thrown away. Then, in mid-November, while visiting a friend in Belgium during the Ghent 6, on a side table at his home, there stood this saddle. After some discussion, the saddle went out the front door with me….

It’s great when such a small, relatively inconsequential item can bring such a sense of joy!

From issue 91, get your copy at the Peloton Shop