Monday, May 14, 2012

Thoughts On My Cardiff Cornwall Saddle

When I was putting together my Peugeot over the winter, I decided that a leather saddle would be the way to go.  I eyed a few Brooks models, and also considered going with VeloOrange.  But in the end, I decided to save 30 bones by going with a Cardiff Cornwall (as I noted previously).  I did some research on this saddle before buying and I was a little concerned by the number of online reviews that ranged from tepid to scathing.  I forged ahead anyways, though, since it's so often only the people who are dissatisfied with their product who are motivated to write a review.  Since clamping this saddle onto my bike earlier this year, I've put a few hundred miles on it and I feel that I'm ready to share a few thoughts about it.

My first thought is that the saddle looks pretty cherry.  It ended up matching my Salsa bar tape perfectly, which is always a plus.  The color maybe isn't as rich as I would have liked, but it looks pretty superb on my old Peugeot nonetheless; and a couple applications of leather conditioner have made it look a lot better.  I've recently noticed the emergence of light-colored lateral striations running across the saddle that have really been enhanced by the conditioner.  This may be some sort of defect.  Most likely it's evidence that the leather was not cut with the grain running along the length of the saddle, which is not a good thing.  Either way, it's probably an indication that this is not the highest quality saddle and that you get what you pay for.  I have to admit, though, that I think the striations look pretty cool - like tiger stripes - and add a bit of character to the saddle.

I should also point out a few things about how this saddle feels.  A disclaimer:  I rarely put more than 10 miles on this bike at a time, so if you're a touring cyclist who's considering buying a Cornwall, I can't speak to the comfort of this saddle for long distance riding.  With that said, when I first rode this saddle, I couldn't believe how hard it was.  After a couple weeks of arriving at work with sore spots at my sit bones and numbness in my nether regions, I decided that drastic measures were needed.  So I loosened the tensioner by about a half turn, which gave the top of the saddle a very slight give when I pushed down on it with all my weight.  The next morning I no longer had soreness or numbness at the end of my ride.  And despite loosening the tensioner a bit, I haven't noticed any observable depressions in the saddle.  In fact, the saddle is quickly becoming more comfortable than any other saddle I've ridden.  So in the end, while the Cornwall may not give me the total mileage that a Brooks might, I've been very pleased with it for the first few hundred miles.  And not only would I recommend this saddle to a friend, but I would also very likely buy another.

1 comment:

  1. You're braver than I for seeking out, choosing, and enjoying a comparable saddle despite the reviews. Good on ya!

    I was one to think that Brooks' saddles were overpriced, overrated, and a racket for saps. Yet, after consulting a couple of Stringers, bike mechanics, other cyclists, some hipsters, and my own inflated ideals of looking cool on a bicycle, I decided to take the plunge and buy one. "An investment", I told myself. And others agreed (Cody). 900 miles later and it has proven itself as a suitable saddle and has met the highest standard for such a brand.