VELO ORANGE TOURING SADDLE
274g Black $45 (about £36 at time of writing)
Seeking a classic look with a smart, retro style? The Velo Orange Touring Saddle looks good – in my opinion, and that of most folk at the café stop. Although, simple-looking, it has a lot of functionality. I’ll be keeping it on my 1976 Carlton Clubman, but probably for day rides or retro weekends, rather than porting it to the tourer for a multi-day camping trip. Having said that, saddles are pretty personal things and cycling rumps comes in many shapes and sizes, so it may well suit others for the big trip.
Pros: very effective microfibre top.
Cons: be nice to have other colour options than black and brown.
Velo Orange proudly proclaim that the Touring saddle is “vegan-friendly.” A thermos-plastic body and chromoly rails provide the rigidity. Comfort comes courtesy of a layer of high-density foam and a microfibre top, glued and stapled on. The last has the look of velour, but is described as weather-resistant.
Shaped to accommodate cyclists who set the saddle and bars at about the same height, the dimensions are similar to numerous other saddles in my collection - Soma Okami, several Brookes Swallow, Bobbin Gents Leather. All those adorn drop-bar bikes with the saddle at around the same height as the bars. Heads-down racers and sit-up-and-beggars, may prefer longer, narrower or wider, shorter designs.
Width, at the widest, is 15.4cm. Length, 26.7cm. Depth at the seat-post, from the bottom of the skirt to the rigid base is around 3.4cm. There’s little there likely to cause any compatibility issues.
Velo Orange are keen to point out that the lack of rivets means that there’s rather more sitting room than on some leather saddles. On the other hand, it won’t shape itself to the rider, once worn in. However, there is a cut-out section in the plastic body (not in the padding or microfibre cover), which should relieve pressure when riding on the drops.
Worth noting, too, is that there are no loops for a saddlebag. However, most seat-packs should fit, given suitable space.
A smooth version, and a heavier wide version, are available. The Touring saddles are also available in Brown.
Easy enough, and, as ever, adjustment is well-worth taking some time over. With a little fettling to height of seat post (previous saddle was slightly deeper) made, it was ready to go.
Not only is saddle comfort a personal thing, but leaving your favoured saddles behind takes a bit of getting used to. Personally, the Touring saddle treats my ischial tuberosities kindly whilst lifting me clear of numb-nut territory, and the cut-out seems to be effective, too..
Initially, things felt a touch too firm for gentle riding. However, pushing a bit harder, there was a good mix of comfort and rigidity to push from. Second and third rides saw me getting used to the Touring saddle and rides of sixty miles or so have seen no soreness or constriction of blood flow.
Security of tenure 4/5
The microfibre finish gives excellent security in the saddle, even when wearing those shiny, well-worn Lycra favourites and on sweeping descents. Don’t get the impression that you’ll stick to the saddle, you won’t. On the other hand, fast riders seeking to make frequent, rapid positional changes may find a marginal deficit.
Water resistance 3.75/5
This is not waterproof. Having said that leaving the bike out in light drizzle has appeared to barely dampened things, leaving just a slight darkening of the fabric. Giving it the full watering-can treatment, most water just poured off, leaving the saddle damp by easily rideable.
A few minutes open to the air and the sun and the fabric was dry.
Needless to say, there’s no time spent applying potions as with leather saddles.
On an associated note, even when dry, but more so when damp, the microfibre seems to attract little bits of hair and dust. A quick wipe with damp lint-free cloth has quickly set things to rights.
There’s been discussion around the coffee-machine about using electric tape to shield edges from scuffing against café walls and such hazards. This may help preserve the look, but others thought that you’d need to be very careful not to spoil the style on pride-and-joy machines.
Once again, the value one places on good looks is very much a matter for the individual. I’ve been pleased the blend of Genetic Heritage II seat post and Velo Orange Touring saddle. In that sense, I’d rate it highly.
It is certainly cheaper than the Bobbin Gents Leather saddle, and a good deal lighter. Of course, it is ready to go, too, without lengthy wearing in. Similar is true of other leather saddles.
The Velo Orange Touring saddle, in some ways, serves the same market as Soma’s Okami Lite; and is about the same weight and price, with the advantage of a sparkly white option.
Much more expensive, along the slightly wider lines of the Brookes B17, is the Brookes Cambium C17. Offering similar security of tenure, and great durability, it will set you back a good deal more.
I must admit to have developed fondness for the Touring saddle. In part that is due to context and looks, but it has proved much more comfortable than I’d expected. Much as I’ve enjoyed lengthy day rides, as well as buzzing about town, on the Touring, I’d go for my Brookes B17 on multi-day trips. That is not so much because there’s anything wrong with the Touring per se, just that I’d prefer to. However, Velo Orange’s Touring saddle is good-looking, functional, and great for general ‘cycling, but not usually racing,’ on you drop-bar machine.