Ideale Saddles were often a builder’s or rider’s choice on quality bicycles produced from the early 1900’s to nearly the end of the previous century. The manufacturer,Tron and Berthet, began operations in France way back in 1890. While they made many highly prized saddles, some of the most interesting lightweight models feature these large duralumin rails. Together with the supplied duralumin clamp, these saddles were lighter weight than any competitors’ models, some weighing in at 250 grams less than a standard saddle. This Ladies Model 65 weighs only 15 ounces, or 425 grams. For comparison, the smaller standard Brooks B-17 weighs 540 grams.
It is a lovely saddle, having come equipped on my 1947 Camille Daudon, and was in nice condition for its 70 plus years of age. While the leather was a bit dry, there was no cracking and the leather had not separated from the rivets anywhere on the saddle. The seatpost is alloy also. I am guessing that the seatpost was custom made by Camille Daudon. It has a closed top, is feather weight, and should polish up quite beautifully.
And so, I was looking forward to cleaning and polishing the beautiful alloy Daudon seatpost and Ideale seatpost clamp. The entire Ideale clamp assembly is alloy, except for the axle and bolts, which are steel.
Even the round washers are alloy. However, there is a down side to these lightweight components. As you can see above, one of the alloy clamp pieces has broken apart and the other is cracked. These seatpost clamps require a lot of torque to prevent the saddle from altering its position while cycling over bumps and other surface anomalies. The alloy clamps probably could not withstand the torque needed to keep the saddle in place while riding. That means sourcing some undamaged clamps to fit these wide duralumin rails.
If you are interested in the history of Ideale saddles, you might want to check out this post from Eric Anschutz (ebykr), who recently published an overview of the company’s history.