What about Bell saddles?

hujev
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What about Bell saddles?

Postby hujev » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:08 am

Hello all from far off spooky americaland... Getting interested in AU cycles & touring history, esp. 1920s-80s. Have just found the (excellent!) scans of Freewheeling Magazine, and that got me interested in Bell saddles.
But can't find anything too easy web-search (or searching here)! Is there some secret down-under cycling history website or other place I could find out more? What types did they make? How did they compare to, say, Brooks? When did they stop? Any old catalog or ad scans somewhere? Online museum? Did they make some good ones, some duds? That sort of thing.

Tamiya
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby Tamiya » Thu Oct 04, 2018 9:15 am

Howdy!

Have you found some Bells over your side of the ponds? :)

Seen a few survivors floating around this little town but haven't sighted any NIP NOS units so have no idea how they were retailed.

Previous owner of the one that arrived in my shed said Bells were made locally. Mine is pretty much FUBAR'd though :( frame has collapsed and leather is stretched. Leather is thinner than typical Brooks & the metalwork less substantial.

twowheels
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby twowheels » Thu Oct 04, 2018 5:06 pm


Torana68
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby Torana68 » Thu Oct 04, 2018 10:59 pm

Australian company, probably just as good as any except no one else did a koala or kangaroo saddle :) apparently did colour at one time but I’ve not seen any, the ladies saddle is quite a thing. I know they had an issue with Malvern Star resulting in them no longer fitting them to their bikes ( something about being slow paying Bell), closed down in the sixtees?
Ozpushies! for ALL Australian made bikes.
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hujev
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Re: What about Bell saddles? (and found some for NOSale if inetested)

Postby hujev » Fri Oct 26, 2018 8:20 am

Howdy again! Well I was sort of wondering since I'd just seen their old ads in the Freewheeling mag scans (again, theose are great!).

And figured it's be an exercise in Australian cycling history to simply search the intern(y)et and get the whole story, pix, company catalog scans, etc. - which of course didn't work that way. So next idea was to post this then get either the link I couldn't find or better yet someone replying with The Whole Never Before Written Bell Story!

But I did see some for sale NOS on EB AU (which may be of interest to you all), see: https://www.ebay.com.au/str/toomanygear ... _sacat=888
The prices seem fair and the condition good.

I emailed seller and s/he said this:
"Bell saddles are well known in australia, sydney based company from 50's 60's. Many track racers have used them, they are light robust and last longer than any other examples available from that era."

(I'd add that I saw adverts for Australian Bells late 70s-early 80s in the Freewheeling scans, so lasted in some form or name at least that long)

I decided not to buy one (yet?) because of the shipping (plus was secretly hoping for a tougher than modern brooks, touring model saddle) but sure wouldn't mind getting one of them thar kangaroo-embossed ones, wow!

I have this imagination that the cattle down there would somehow make tougher saddles then the European ones in the Brooks...

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P!N20
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby P!N20 » Fri Oct 26, 2018 7:47 pm

Just spotted on a Speedway in Melbourne:

Image

Tamiya
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby Tamiya » Sat Oct 27, 2018 12:15 am

yep that looks like the usual Bell survivor... frame has collapsed & the leather is sitting on the seatpost nub poking thru... :)

twowheels
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby twowheels » Sat Oct 27, 2018 8:37 am

Aussie ingenuity.
Its a fine line between pleasure & pain. :twisted:

terryc
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Re: What about Bell saddles?

Postby terryc » Sat Oct 27, 2018 3:27 pm

SWMBO'd ride has a two rail D40 Bell in better condition than the one shown above in Melbourne.

It was originally purchased in the early 80's(?) when I was shopping for another Brooks. If I remember correctly, I was shopping for a new Brooks and came across it covered in dust somewhere and the price was right, so it went into our stock. I had seen the brand before, but most were in similar condition to the above one in melbourne or worse.

I think its use for us kicked off in 88 when I'd just had two Brooks quad wire, in succession, each snap a support wire when I had just started doing "Bicycle Australia in 88". Thankfully there were conveniently located roadside phones up Cape York and SWMBO'd could organise a courier to deliver ahead in a few days time. When the second such seat went(grrr), the Bell came to the rescue and I rode it during the rest of the event and for quiet a few years after.

Eventually, it was adjusted(sag taken out) and being well broken in, passed to SWMBO'd, where it has stayed over the decades.

We also have two of the early older models shown in the old newspaper advetisement. Passed on by someone considering building up a real vintage bicycle, but who didn't achieve the task before a life change and a garage clean out.

I've ridden on them. Correct term as you're aware that there is something large under your posterior, plus being very bouncy. YMMV, but I only need a short seat post to fit them. They are probably overdue for a anorther clean up and a coat of dressing.

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