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Idéale Bicycle Saddles

Idéale bicycle saddles on this page: 80 Record | Model 99

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Saddle brand Idéale is one of the most storied and oldest marques in cycling.

Back in 1890, Jean-François Tron started a metal stamping shop that was soon making the frames for a bicycle saddle maker. Tron was soon producing his own saddles, under the "Idéale" name.

As his business grew, his daughter Jeanne married French professional racer Marcel Berthet. Berthet had held the World Hour Record, rode the 1908 Tour de France and won the 1921 Brussels 6-Day, among other accomplishments.

After Tron died, his children took over the firm and renamed it "Tron & Berthet".

By 1936, Tron & Berthet was producing 500,000 saddles a year.

The firm worked to stay competitive and in 1966, its top-of-the-line Idéale 90 saddle was available with aluminum rails. It was still a leather saddle; this was after all 1966.

Famously, Peugeot equipped even its lower range bikes with Idéale leather saddles.

In 1969 the saddle was available already broken-in by hand in the Tron & Berthet factory according to the method developed by cycling journalist and technical illustrator Daniel Rebour. Those saddles have Rodée main selon DRebour (hand broken-in, according to DRebour) stamped on the saddles, near the back. This was a long, hard piece of work that earned each factory worker an extra five francs for each saddle that he manually broke-in. The leather was treated before being mounted on the saddle frame. These particular saddles are very rare.

Equipment was changing, and by the 1970s racers wanted lighter and more advanced saddles. In 1973 Idéale began producing Rilsan (a kind of nylon) based saddles covered with foam and leather. These first Rilsan saddles were called the 2000, 2001, 2002, & 2003. Bernard Thévenet won his two Tours de France (1975 & 1977) on Idéale 2002 saddles.

Unable to compete with lower-cost saddles, especially from Asia, Tron & Berthet closed the factory in 1984, ending production of the nearly one-hundred year old brand.

But, the brand and its tradition of making fine hand-made saddles wasn't finished. In 2011, former workers at the saddle factory got together and re-started the company. As of this writing in late 2020, the firm is still making beautiful hand-made leather saddles.

Idéale 80 Record leather saddle. Used, $90.00

Produced in the 1970s

Ideal 80 saddle

A beautiful, hand-made leather saddle

Ideale 80 saddle

And here's the other side.

Ideale 80 saddle

From behind

Ideal 80



And the underside

Idéale Model 99 leather saddle with alloy rails. Used, $225.00

Ideale model 99

Classic, beautifully hand-made Idéale saddle

Idealer model 99

Here is it turned around so you can see the other side.

Ideale 99 saddle

The Model 99 is so rare, some vintage parts discussion groups debate whether Idéale ever made a Model 99. You can see that indeed, this is a Model 99

Ideale Model 99 saddle

Here's the other side.

Ideale saddle

Here it is seen from behind, showing the alloy rails.

Ideale 99 saddle

The seat post clamp has a nice system for holding the angle adjustment.

Ideale 99 saddle

Close-up of the rails. The stamping is "Alliage Leger Traite Fortal", French for Light Alloy Treated Fortal. Fortal is a high-strength heat-treated aluminum alloy.