1947 Ideale Model 65 Saddle

1947 “Hawk Nose” Ideale Model 65 with duralumin rails

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.

1947 C. Daudon

1947 C. Daudon I have had this 1947 Camille Daudon for a few years now, and have done nothing to it since first acquiring it from the prior owner who had done some of his own restoration work, including re-chroming the Vitus frame.  In fact, the bike is so lovely in its current form, that I am reconsidering my plans to bring it back to its original state by adding period correct hammered fenders, front rack, lighting, and a chain guard, which is what it would have originally been equipped with.  This Daudon was custom made for Irene Faberge Gunst, granddaughter of the famous creator of Faberge eggs, a special birthday gift from her husband.  In 2006, this bike won the award for best French bike at the Cirque du Cyclisme show.  As pictured, it weighs a mere 20 lbs.

The wing nuts were drilled to save weight. Double eyelets in the front, single in the rear. Designed to carry a front load.

The head tube shows a slight loss of lug detail due to re-chroming of the frame. Lam side pull brakes with plenty of clearance for fenders.

650b aluminum box style rims with surface pattern to improve braking.

Pelissier hubs.

Daudon’s customized shifter – everything bespoke on this bicycle. Shifter cable not properly set up – a one piece system is required.

Beautiful Stronglight crankset in very good condition.

Cyclo rear derailleur with wrap around cable.

Gorgeous Ideale Saddle – a bit dry and in need of conditioning.

The color matched crank arms are only still visible on the left side. Threading for all left side components is reverse, including the crank bolt, lock ring and bottom bracket cup.

You can see the slight loss of lug detail mostly on the head tube.

Perfect fork rake – a lovely bend close to the drop outs makes for a nice ride.

Re-chromed stem which is bolted to the steerer tube. All bolts are 8 mm heads.

Unbranded pedals – possibly also crafted by Daudon.

Irene Gunst’s engraved steerer tube cover. Beneath this lies the hidden tool kit.

8 mm nut heads on the seat tube clamp, simple but pretty stays.

Tool kit hidden inside the head tube.

Prior to re-chroming the frame looked like this:

c daudon framec daudon head tube03082014_0000

As you can see, the chrome was seriously compromised.  The prior owner decided that it would be worth it to re-chrome the frame and risk the loss of lug detail, rather than sanding it down and re-painting it.  While disappointing in some ways, I think the overall impact of the new chrome outweighs the downsides.  It’s nice to have these photos which will help me re-create the head badge and logos. There are other examples of Camille Daudon bicycles which can also help.  Jan Heine’s The Golden Age of Handbuilt Bicycles features two Daudons, and the latest Bicycle Quarterly features a Daudon that is somewhat similar to mine. As far as restoration goes, I still need to make the bike mechanically sound and rideable.  The Cyclo derailleur uses a one piece shifter cable, and although I could have soldered a cable to work with this derailleur, I have finally located one that will work for this bike:

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And, I am still in a quandary about whether to make this bike appear as it once did – as a touring bike with fenders, lighting and front rack.  While I contemplate that, here are some of the parts I have put together – aluminum fenders, front rack which bolts to the fenders, and Simplex chain guard.  I still need to source appropriate lights for the front and rear fenders, and a dynamo.

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I welcome your thoughts and ideas about this amazing piece of cycling history.