Perforated saddles in cyclocross according to Stammie

I've been asked by several people, why these cyclocross saddles were perforated. Was it for weight saving reasons, to shed mud and water, or maybe something else?
Since these saddles are from the period before I started a racing career or got jobs in the bike business and because the concept phased out and never actually came back, I cannot speak from own experience of knowledge.
So, what else could I do than asking one of the people who played an important role in the cyclocross scene in the 1970s and 1980, ex pro and ex world champion cyclocross Hennie Stamsnijder?
I've asked him if he knew what the idea behind the perforated saddles was and why these saddles were not popular and discontinued so quickly.
Hennie was so kind to share his opinion and experience with me:

Quote:
"The first thing we did was pulling the saddle cover and foam padding off from the hard shell and then drill holes into the hard shell ourselves.
The bonding was not as good as nowadays and when you rode longer time in rain and bad weather, the glue dissolved and cover and padding were coming loose.
We were still riding in our fabulous woollen racing shorts with natural chamois reason and always had to make smooth with chamois grease. Because of that, the shorts and saddles were so slippery that you could sit well on the hard shell. Hence the solution with the holes to get a more rough surface. Besides that, a drilled hard shell saddle was much lighter than a saddle with a wet leather cover with wet foam padding."


So, a clear answer from the master, why they used perforated saddles. To get a better grip and to avoid a serious weight increase in wet conditions.
It's no immediate answer why the saddle manufacturers made perforated saddles with leather cover and foam padding, but it seems that they didn't understand exactly what the racers' problems were and came up with the wrong product. They may have tried to keep the comfort of a padded saddle and to shed water, grease and dirt via the perforations. Unfortunately, the saddles were still heavy and because of the additional (approx.) 50 entry ports, were getting even heavier in the wet. Besides that, the bonding technique was still shitty.
The problem of heavy and slippery saddles was solved in the 1980s thanks to lycra skin suits, synthetic chamois and lighter, skinnier saddles with better bonding. And by the different race courses. Wet and muddy races like Saccolongo, Hägendorf and Lembeek don't happen that often anymore.

Soffatti Professionale perforated saddle

Okay, I'll be honest with you. Until 2 weeks ago, I'd never heard about Soffatti saddles. The brand name was used by one of the larger dealers / wholesalers in our area for frames, helmets, clothing and maybe some other stuff. I thought it was another private label.
Then I saw this perforated saddle on Ebay and I started searching.
It is pretty sure, that Soffatti saddles were made by Arius, the Spanish saddle manufacturer.
These Soffatti saddles were distributed with Zeus group sets, either under Soffatti or Zeus label.
I was aware of perforated saddles (for cyclocross) by Arius and Assos from the 1970s and early 1980s. Now Soffatti as added to that short list. But it is almost sure that all these saddles came from Arius and that just the labels were different. The hole patterns are exactly or nearly the same and also the plastic shells (look at the bottom of the saddle) have the same typical shape as the Arius Special Gran Carrera saddles.
The saddle says "Soffatti Professionale" on the sides and "Prestige" on the back. So, I can't say what the official model name is.

As I wrote a couple of months ago, I didn't succeed to drill my own Arius saddle. But I found this Soffatti saddle on Ebay and I managed to buy it.
In the meantime, I dyed the leather black again and it became nice and shiny with some shoe cream.
For sure, it will look nice on my Alan cyclocross bike.
Mission accomplished.

I can't tell why people ever made these perforated saddles for cyclocross. Since the saddles are very race, it must not have been an enormous success. Even in more recent years, saddle manufacturers haven't come up with perforated saddles.
Perhaps the basic idea was to get rid of water, mud and other dirt that got in and on to the riders shorts. Water and dirt could escape better and faster via the small holes in the saddle.

EDIT 25. April 2013: click here fo a comment from Hennie Stamsnijder, cyclocross ace.

Iscaselle Tornado saddle

Another legendary saddle added to my collection: Iscaselle Tornado. Nice? Oh yes, I think so. Good, comfortable? No idea. I've never had such a saddle before and never heard anyone's opinion about it.
Then, what's so legendary about it? Well, simple. Peter Post's famous pro teams used it! As far as I could trace it back, the T.I. Raleigh - Campagnolo squad used Isca saddle in 1982 and 1983 and Panasonic - Raleigh in 1984 and maybe in 1985.
Despite the good results of the riders, the saddle company Iscaselle got very little publicity and even less extra sales. I never saw a Tornado saddle in a bike shop and also never in the peloton. Today you can notice that, because Iscaselle saddles from that age are quite rare. On Ebay you may see some Giro d'Italia's or newer production Tornados (not that typical Tornado standing out on the backside); this saddle I found at the recent "Stalen Ros" bike show and jumble in Neerkant.
So, you can say that Iscaselle made a big marketing, sales or distribution blooper: sponsoring a pro team for at least 4 years and hardly any presence in the market. How different was the situation for Selle San Marco (Concor) and Selle Italia (Turbo), but they supplied saddles to a multitude of teams. Very well possible, that the Tornado is a much better saddle that the two others, but I have to find out.

Superia Gemini Cross ready

It's done! The bike is completely ready, even the second pair of wheels.
Absolutely ready? No, not really. There is something to be done, but that may take another year. Maybe even two.
The handlebars and the stem are not completely "period correct". But they fit and that's the most important.
When I've replaced these 2 parts, I will also drill the stem to guide front brake cable and to act as an outer cable stop. It's a waste to do that with good components (especially if these are brand new) that certainly will be replaced.
Besides the bars and the stem, also another multiple freewheel may be assembled. I've found a 7 speed Maillard 14-28 T, but it's a bit too wide, so I have to look for a 6 speed.

Frame and fork: Superia Gemini Cross, Ishiwata 022, 57 cm centre - top.

Head set: Tange Falcon

Cranks: Ofmega Competizione Cyclocross, 170 mm, 46 T.

Bottom Bracket set: Ofmega Axec, Italian thread, 119 mm axle length

Rear derailleur: Sun Tour Vx GT

Shifting lever: Sun Tour Power Ratchet bar end shifter

Brakes: Dia Compe 960 cantilever

Hubs: Mavic 500, 36 H, for scew-on freewheel

Rims: Wolber Super Champion Arc-en-ciel, 36 H

Tubulars: Wolber Wolber Cross 28 Extra

Sprockets: Shimano MF-xxxx  14-28 T

Chain: KMC Z8S

Pedals: Lyotard 460D

Toe clips: Christophe double, size L

Toe straps: no name

Saddle: Arius Special Gran Carrera

Seat Post: SR Sakae, 26.6 mm

Stem: 3ttt Record 84, 14 cm

Handlebars: 3ttt Super Competizione 46 cm outside - outside

Brake levers: Dia Compe SVX

Bar tape: Bike Ribbon BTGR Grip tape

Spare wheels:
Hubs: Shimano 600 (HB-6207, FH-6207, converted with 7 speed HG freewheelbody)
Rims: Wolber Super Champion Gentleman (front: 81; rear: GTA), 36 H
Tyres: Challenge Grifo Open 32 mm (clincher)
Sprockets: Shimano 13 - 15 - 17 - 19 - 21 - 24 - 28 T.

This bike on Velospace


T.A. Ref. 41 cleats on Adidas cyclocross shoes

Although cyclocross shoes have a treaded outsole, for cycling performance it's the best to have some cleats attached to the shoes. Even when (or should I say especially because?) the toe straps all almost never pulled tight. Maybe only for a final sprint.
Cyclocrossers tend to shape, modify and tune everything they can and so they do with shoe cleats. The goal is to get the best entry into the pedals and clips as possible and to shed mud and other dirt.
I've cut of the front part of the cleat, so I could leave as much as possible from the original shoe tread. Only at the sides I had to cut away something with a utility knife. I've removed the centre parts (a bit over 1 cm, a bit more than the width of a metal file) with a hack saw and a file. This way, the cleats become lighter and mud has less chance to clog up in the cleat's grooves. Now, pedal entry is more or less ensured.
I've shortened the nails than come in the thinnest parts of the cleats and soles (centre), to avoid that these would go completely through the sole.
Then I've nailed the cleats to the soles (after I've determined, checked and double checked the exact location and angle) and secured with superglue (Loctite, Pattex or similar).