i believe it is incumbent on uk members of parliament to declare any business or personal interests they may have that could conceivably compromise their position with regard to parliamentary business. in a corollary to that, i feel it only right and proper that i declare what you might call a personal disinterest in that which follows. do not mistake my purpose in so doing; this is not because i find the subject of this review to be trivial, but more that its intended purpose is rather unnecessary in this neck of the woods.
it would be foolish to pretend that no-one on islay has had a bicycle stolen at sometime in the past, though more often than not, said bicycle has been discovered the following morning in someone's front garden. when exiting the pub on a friday or saturday night, a random bicycle has apparently often seemed the ideal way to make it home in timely manner.
however, though the local police force may be able to advise otherwise, i am unaware of anyone who has had bits of their bicycle stolen. such as a saddle for instance.
this appears to be the principal thrust of selle royal's ta+too interchangeable saddle. available in three distinct flavours, the ta+too consists of a top and bottom that are not permanently affixed to each other. while the saddle rails clamp to a standard seatpost in the regular manner, under the plastic base is a removable clip which, when let loose from its place of residence, allows a round panel to be twisted, thus loosening the saddle top from its base. the next part of the deal is that you take it with you.
the circular panel incorporates a triangular key which, when removed, prevents anyone else from nipping off with the best bit of the saddle. unfortunately, all the above has need of taking place under the saddle which, while far from impossible, can become a bit of a faff at times.
even loosened from its bottom part, the interchangeable section is not the smallest of items; handbags need not apply. however, the seatpost with the base will still be in situ in the seat tube and i believe that the usual means of making off with a saddle is to remove the entire assembly from the bike. i'm surely not the only chap to have seen seatpost-less bicycles padlocked to bike racks in the big city. therefore, with the greatest of respect to the folks at selle royal, the ta+too would seem to me to be a solution searching for a problem.
selle royal commissioned three artists to create limited edition saddle tops, my review sample featuring an original design by italian illustrator roberto hikimi blefari, who apparently goes by the more user-friendly moniker of hikimi. each design has been produced in a limited edition of 100, the specific number relating to each being marked on the underside of the comfy bit. once more, i find myself somewhat mystified, for while riding, rather obviously, no-one can view the original, limited edition design and when you park the bike, you're probably going to take the top with you.
a bit like a picasso hidden away in a private collection.
however, aside from the ability to to remove the top and presumably swap it with others in the series, no saddle is worth any amount of money unless it functions in the manner you'd rather hope it would. and in this aspect, selle royal's many years of saddle making ensure that it is not found wanting.
the ta+too is not the style of saddle i would usually fit to any of my bicycles. overall, it's just a bit on the tubby side, with a squishier constitution than is generally found on the average ten-speed racer. appearances, however, can be miselading. at the point of writing, i've ridden over two hundred kilometres on the ta+too and my bum has personally thanked me for it. granted, its form factor is not ideal for extended riding in the drops, but i think it more than likely that this is not its intended purpose. i found it just a smidgeon too soft for my liking.
as mentioned above, the ta+too is available in three models, ranging from €70 up to €80 for the limited edition reviewed. at the current rate of exchange that's roughly between £55 and £65, hardly an onerous amount to pay for any saddle in my opinion. therefore, even if i would still question the whole point of the exercise, whether or not you feel the need to take your saddle with you when off the bike, it's actually rather a good saddle with a nice design on the top.
sunday 10 july 2016..........................................................................................................................................................................................................