Test saddles at Branford


At Branford Bike, you can find a well-stocked line of saddles to test ride. We offer free installation and a 30 day trial period for each model. We feel that this is the only way to truly shop for such an intimate component. Our current selection is highlighted in the list below.

Some of the following models may not be currently offered from the manufacturer, but they likely have just been re-named, and offer a similar model that we can help match up. In general, saddles are designed with either a wide or narrow body, when viewed from the top, as well as flat or curved when viewed from the side. For example, the Selle Italia pictured is flat and narrow. The Fizik Curve has a curved rear and is also narrow. The Terry pictured is an example of a wide saddle.

Got a favorite brand that’s missing from the list? We’d love to hear your suggestion for brands to carry, please leave us a comment at the bottom of the page! Please also visit us at branfordbike.com.



Selle Italia (Italy)

  • SLR Flow Team Edition (pictured)
  • SLR Flow
  • Flite Team Edition
  • Nekkar Plus
  • SLK Gel Plus

Selle Italia is one of the oldest saddle manufactures around. Since 1897, they have been the trend setters, and still make some of the most comfortable saddles out there.


Selle SMP (Italy)

  • Dynamic (pictured)
  • Lite 209
  • Avant

Don’t be scared by our bent nose friend there. Selle SMP makes an extremely well-fitting saddle for those brave enough. We have three models currently, but the company offers a dozen more for every body type.


Terry (USA)

  • Butterfly Century (pictured)
  • Butterfly Chromoly
  • Liberator Y Gel
  • FLX

Terry offers a wide range of comfortable saddles for both men and women. Based in Burlington, VT.


Brooks (UK)

  • Cambium C15 (pictured)
  • C17

Brooks, famous for their tough leather saddles that take hundreds of miles to break in, have begun producing the vegan, waterproof Cambium saddle to get back onto the mainstream, recreational cyclist’s radar. Offered in two widths, 15cm and 17cm.


Fizik (Italy)

  • Kurve Bull Carbon (pictured)
  • Arione CX
  • Aliante δ (delta)
  • Aliante XM
  • Antares
  • Gobi XM

Fizik made a splash in the pro peloton, sponsoring many race teams and make some very comfortable saddles. Owned by the Selle Royal corporation.


Astute (Italy)

  • Skyline SR (pictured)
  • Skyline VT

Handmade in Italy!

Off Road Campy drivetrains

Building a STEEP hill climbing bike? Interested in creating a modern gravel bike but love your Italian shifters? We’ve been playing with ways to fit larger cassettes onto our Campagnolo equipped bikes, to get those ultra-low gears desirable for eye-watering grades. Here are a few tricks needed to convert your road group into a do-it-all drivetrain.

  1. 11-speed cassettes are brand interchangeable, so an 11-speed 11-40 Shimano XT cassette will share nearly identical cog spacing to an 11-speed 12-25 Campy Chorus cassette. This was not the case for 10-, 9- or 8-speed cassettes, as cog spacing was different enough to cause shifting issues when mixing cassettes. The cassette will have to match the freehub body, which has its own particularities: 11-speed Shimano Dynasys mountain cassettes fit on SRAM/Shimano 9/10-speed freehubs, or 11-speed freehubs with a spacer. 11-speed SRAM wide-range road cassettes only fit on 11-speed SRAM/Shimano road freehubs. 11-speed SRAM XD mountain cassettes only fit on SRAM’s new XD hub body.
  2. You’ll likely need a long cage rear derailleur. Cage length is important when gear ranges are large, as extra chain length needs to be taken up by the derailleur. See our write up of chain wrap here: http://branfordbike.com/articles/rear-derailleurs-pg62.htm. Early 11-speed Campagnolo derailleurs used the exact same derailleur geometry as 10-speed, and the older 10-speed derailleurs handle 11-speed chains just fine. Thus, you’d be able to choose from pre-2008 Record and Chorus 10-speed medium and long cage rear derailleurs. We’ve found that the medium length cages work well up to 32 tooth cogs, and we’ve successfully tested long-cage derailleurs up to 40 tooth.
  3. In 2015, Campagnolo derailleur geometry and cable pull ratios changed for the Ultra-Torque line (SR, Record, Chorus), so if you own 2015+ UT shifters, your only option is to use concurrent short cage derailleurs, while being mindful of chain wrap requirements of desired gear combination. The Power-torque family has a compatible Athena triple rear derailleur still in production. 2015 is the same year Campy introduced the conspicuous four arm Ultra-torque cranksets (see here).
  4. In order to clear the larger cog sizes, the upper derailleur pulley wheel must be lowered beyond the capacity of the b-screw. Wolf Tooth Components makes an elegant solution for lowering the derailleur past large mountain cogs. The Road Link is seen here: http://branfordbike.com/product/wolf-tooth-components-road-link-1359.htm.

To recap, the specs you’ll need are:

  • 11-speed wide-range cassette, with compatible hub.
  • Medium- or long-cage rear derailleur.
  • Wolf Tooth Road Link.

With this, we can take our Campy-equipped bikes further than ever before. Maybe we’re getting tired of riding the same old roads, or just like having a bike capable of climbing that driveway without a knee-breaking grunt session. Versatility is a characteristic some may scoff at, but we are embracing it with open arms. See you on the trails!

’72 Masi Restoration

Restoration of a 1972 Italy-built Masi Gran Criterium. Very low original mileage. Chipped paint is the most obvious sign of age, and consistent with Italian paint jobs. However, all bearings and races are nearly flawless. This bike is being overhauled for a customer riding L’Eroica in April. New grease in all the right places, cables/housing, and some fresh rims around original Campy Record hubs.



Winterize your road bike

Jerry’s repurposed Look 585

Given a blank sheet of paper, our ideal winter bike would along the lines of the bikes described in our previous post. However, a whole new bike is not always possible, be it financial and space constraints or objections from a significant other. This post covers a solution for converting any older road bike sitting in the corner of your garage, gathering dust.

This is shop co-owner Jerry’s Look 585, which was given the “winter” treatment. Jerry started out by shrinking his wheels from 700C down to 650B. The actual rim diameter changed by about 40mm, providing room for larger tires in the frame as well as all-important fenders. SKS full fenders do the job nicely, held in place with Portland Design Works’ quick release fender mounts and zip ties at the bottom bracket.

Standard road caliper brakes are not compatible with the smaller wheels, so they were replaced with Paul Component’s Racer center pull brakes. Jerry didn’t stop there. Swapping in a Winwood cyclocross fork, he was able to squeeze a front disc brake into the picture for even better braking.

Lights are a must for the sunshine-limited months, so a set of NiteRider lamps keeps Jerry from getting caught out in the dark.

We’ll admit it is not the cleanest build to roll out our door. The true beauty lies in its capacity to withstand anything mother nature serves up.

Ultimate Winter Machines

Ah, yes. Winter in Seattle. While it is tempting to trade helmet for car keys, we like to think that riding can STILL be fun this time of year with the proper equipment. Below are three of our favorite Lynskey bikes, built especially for all-weather riding and incredible comfort. Just click on the images to bring up a full sized gallery.

Sportive Disc – Singlespeed build

Forgoing the convenience of gears, this bike was made to reduce the wear of winter on drive train parts, and provide the rider with a bit of workout on Seattle’s hills. Starting with Lynskey’s Sportive Disc frame, the manufacturer was asked to leave off all cable stops, leaving a very clean looking frame.

Drivetrain courtesy of White Industries’ ENO line: crank, BB, freewheel and eccentric rear hub. Wheels built with HED Belgium rims, with stopping power provided by TRP Spyre carbon-armed mechanical disc brakes. 28mm Compass tires are shielded by PDW’s beautiful alloy fenders.

The build is completed with ENVE bits, a Chris King headset, and gutted Campy Ergo brake levers (we are Branford Bike, after all). The road stays illuminated at night thanks to NiteRider’s MiNewt X2 and CherryBomb lights.

Pro Cross custom

Here is another custom Lynskey from our friends in Chattanooga, TN. This Pro Cross features asymmetrical chain stays with a “yoke” plate to offer additional tire clearance, as well as traditional cable routing.

With disc brakes, 650B wheels are an easy option and allow the use of wider, more comfortable tires. Here, Compass Babyshoe Pass 42mm tires are mounted onto HED Belgiums and covered by beautiful Hanjo fenders. The rear wheel is built around a DT Swiss 240 hub, while the front is a SON 28 dynamo hub. This generator hub powers a SON Edelux II headlight, mounted on a custom built steel Igleheart fork and rack with very slick light wire mounts.

Campy Chorus 10 speed drivetrain, White Industries road crankset and ENVE cockpit complete the build.

Lynskey Urbanskey disc, fenders, Chorus, 650b

Titanium is king for long, endurance rides to prevent body fatigue, while still serving as a light, responsive frame material. This stock Lynskey Urbanskey was built up with Campagnolo’s fabulous 2015 Chorus groupset. With updated shift mechs and a crankset that is compatible with both standard and compact chainrings, this group offers some of the best performance in Campy’s history, without breaking the bank.

Rolf Prima’s hand built wheels from Eugene, OR are outfitted with plush 650Bx38 Panaracer tires. Braking is done with TRP’s Spyre mechanical brakes. Disc brakes are unfazed by the wet conditions which render rim brakes hopeless, and are a priority for winter riding. With Spyres,the cable actuates both pads simultaneously, providing better power, even pad wear and preventing rotor deflection compared to other mechanical brakes on the market. SKS full fenders protect the rider from wheel spray throughout the winter.

Bigger is Better

Because this is America and because we’re talking about riding dirt (and gravel) we hold the following to be unquestionably true: Bigger is better. With that truth in mind, I recently acquired a pair of WTB Nano 40c tires.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, I plan on riding the Oregon Outback in May.  My current theory is that the Nano 40s with their rounded tread profile will be the optimal tire choice for the Outback.  Not a full on mud tire-, not a file tread, but somewhere in the middle.  And big. A 40c monster that I plan on running in the neighborhood of 35-50 psi (depending on conditions, naturally).  A tire that will do as told if you happen to get rained on in the middle of your back-country and the going gets muddy. A tire that will roll obediently along on certain obligatory stretches of pavement en route to your next fire or gravel road.  Or so these are my expectations, given the specifications of the tire. I will be testing the tire on a comprehensive pavement, trail and gravel route to see how it performs through the terrain spectrum.  Until then, I wait eagerly.

PS – To those curious about the test route:

I’ll start in Seattle’s Central District and ride out East to Issaquah, where I will pick up the Grand Ridge trail from the Duthie side, ride the gravel path to its end, then turn around, returning via Grand Ridge, then through Issaquah, meandering back West till I get back to the CD.

The Best Rig for the 2015 Oregon Outback

For a ride such as the Oregon Outback you’re gonna want a bike that can take a beating (and not pass the beating back to you), brakes that will give you control through the rough stuff, and fat tires.  Like really fat tires.  But you don’t want a mountain bike, ’cause you wanna go fast (they don’t call it a race, but let’s face it, it’s a race).  So this means something with drop bars.  And as any alpine climber worth his salt will tell you ‘speed is safety,’ so forget the fully loaded bike with front and rear racks and panniers.  For portage, a handlebar bag, seat pack (something like this or this) and maybe a frame bag. Maybe. Enough room for a jacket, an extra layer, chain lube, food, etc.

The bike which I am describing is of course, the Lynskey Cooper with disc brakes and 650b tires (the Compass Babyshoe Pass 42c’s, to be exact).  The ti frame and Whiskey carbon fork lightens things up a bit, while also providing a balance of comfort and stiffness ideal for covering a lot of ground in a little time while not doling out extra wear and tear on your body.  The chainstay clearance on the Cooper allows for fat tires, or slightly less-fat tires with fenders. Which brings me to my next gear choice: no fenders.  I’m sure there are those who would lament my decision to forgo the ol’ mudflaps on such a ride, to whom I would reply simply, “Ira Ryan“.

Disc brakes for a gravel/dirt road ride (read: race) seem like a no-brainer and the Lynskey Cooper is specced just so.  Jerry (the bike’s owner) built his up with the TRP HyRd’s.  There were issues in the past with the HyRd which TRP has since resolved in a later model of the brake.  The pull is a little long with Campagnolo levers but when it bites, it really bites.  If you can get used to the feel of the brake, it’s a great option for drop bar levers.  Their reliability and increased strength as compared to a linear-pull or cantilever brake make disc brakes a definite go-to for the Outback.

This is hands down my ideal setup for tackling the 360 miles of Oregon backcountry come next spring. To sum it up: Lynskey Cooper, 650b, disc, Compass Babyshoe Pass 42s.  The backbone of the perfect gravel-grinder-monster-cross-drop-bar-mountain-bike, whatever you choose to call it. My perfect tool for the job.  And after all that to-do I’ll be detailing what I’ll actually be riding as we get closer to the ride!

(Planning) on Going Down Under in the 2015 Oregon Outback!

I may be a little late on this one but info on the 2015 Oregon Outback is up! I first heard about the ride from Jan Heine’s account of the ride in Bicycle Quarterly earlier this year.  I was immediately determined to do the ride this coming year.  Why do a 360 mile rando-style ride on the road when you could do it (mostly, 75% to be exact) on gravel and fire roads!?  I’m all for getting on dirt whenever possible and the route sounds like too much of an adventure to pass up.

For those who haven’t heard of the ride before, the Oregon Outback is a 360 mile ride in the backcountry of the Beaver state, starting in Klamath Falls in the south and ending up north above the Deschutes River.  The route links up dirt and gravel roads, with the recommended tire width being about 2″ knobbies.  Upon first hearing about the ride I thought to myself, “But damn, I bet registration’s pricey.”  This is one of my favorite parts about the event; because there is absolutely no support whatsoever – no sag wagon, no assistance with injury or mechanicals, nothing – it’s totally free.  There isn’t even registration.  Just a start time and an awesome route.  All you’ve gotta do is show up with a bike and turn the cranks over (and then ride 360 miles). Which brings me to the next issue: what kinda rig do I whip for a ride like this?? And how to tackle the distance? One big push? Take it easy and camp? Everyone’s got their ideal tool and strategy for a job like this; post your ideal ride and approach in the comments!

There’s a bicycle I believe would be perfect for the application that occasionally lives in the shop that is begging to be ridden in the Oregon Outback.  Expect a profile of the bike and why I think it’d be the best for the task later!  To be followed by a reality check and what I will actually be riding (to be clear, a bike I’m equally in love with).

Stay tuned!

For My Fellow ‘Cross Junkies…

…there’s a new CX Hairs video out! This time it’s not Sven but Marianne Vos we get to watch put on a clinic on ‘How You Should be Riding Your ‘Cross Bike’. And for those that don’t know, CX Hairs has been keeping us here in the ‘States up to date on the ‘cross scene across the pond and providing excellent commentary and race breakdowns since 2008.  So for those of you who plan on racin’ into January (I’ll see you out there!), enjoy the video and get stoked for the weekend! PS — For those planning on puttin’ the CX machine away ’til next season stay tuned for a walkthrough of some simple things you can do to make sure you don’t pull your ‘cross bike back out only to find the headset is crunchy, your bottom bracket is seized and hub bearings shot.