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There’s no doubt the Gran Compe is a fine saddle designed to capture the imaginations of the traditionalist and hipster alike thanks to the selection of flamboyant and more conservative colours coupled with sharp detailing including embossed logos and brass rivets at the rear. However, giving a penny change from £80 beauty comes at a price and there’s a weight penalty too thanks to steel rails.
Memories are designed to fade and it’d been 20 years since I last broke-in a traditional leather saddle. Having mounted it to the Univega, in preparation for those long steady miles I treated the hide to a generous helping of Nikwax on the grounds it would protect the leather from the elements and hopefully accelerate its moulding to my posterior. Deep mirror chrome rails should, with a bit of care stand the test of time, although you’d hardly put it aboard the hack. The long nose and fractionally wider 150mm base required some initial movement along the rails to prevent annoying slippage-especially wearing mtb trousers.
Surprisingly comfortable around the crotch, the initial twenty miles saw my Ischial Tuberosity (sit bones) screaming a very different tune so, if the opportunity presents itself, I’d be inclined to do some serious miles on the turbo trainer so you can just hop off should things become too harsh on the tush. Maintaining the hide’s tension is simple courtesy of the 4mm Allen bolt located under the nose-our test model has required a few quick tweaks over the test period but after 220 miles much of the moulding seems to have taken place. For all its retro beauty, 540g is quite a weight penalty and it will require more care than common or garden leather topped, Cro-moly perches, although possibly one worth paying for that most personal of contact points.
Lovely classic saddle but allow for plenty of bedding in
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Make and model: Diatech Gran Compe saddle
Size tested: Brown
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
The Gran Compe is a cutaway leather saddle aimed at those who like the classic lines and comfort of a traditional leather perch. However, cro-moly rails mean it tips the scales 200g heavier than modern lightweights so it's not for bikes on a diet.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Cutaway embossed leather hide with copper rivets mounted atop thick chromium plated cro-moly rails.
With care and regular re-proofing should last a lifetime.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Once broken in, the saddle marries style and day long comfort but this is a slow and steady process. Even with regular application of proofide and other leather treatments, it took 220 miles for it to mould to my shape so resist the urge to complete a century straight from the box.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Classic lines, quality of manufacture and attention to detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing, only it's a touch hefty and a Ti version would be nice.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)