Belt Saddle From Fujita Mfg. Co. Ltd (Tokyo)

I love bicycle saddles made out of leather.  No other saddles are as comfortable or pretty.  Some think a hard leather saddle would be uncomfortable, but I like to put my sit bones on a hard but flexible surface so that soft tissue isn’t supporting weight (as is the case when you sit on a pillowy saddle).  Many profess the importance of breaking them i, but I disagree.  I find leather saddles of all shapes and sizes to be comfortable right away, provided you select a shape which is appropriate for your riding position.  Narrow ones are better for riding in a forward leaning seating position.  Wider ones are better for sitting upright.

Until today, the ones I owned arrived on used bicycles I bought on eBay.  This seemed to sit well with me, despite my effort to live a vegan lifestyle, but now I see I am standing on a slope with some measure of slipperiness.  Today I received the first leather saddle I bought separately.  It is used, sure, but now the next bidder in line, from whom I took this seat, might head out and buy a new one.  Or if she doesn’t, she’ll buy some other used one and then a different buyer will head to the bicycle store to get a new one.  My point is, there are only so many used leather bicycle saddles out there, and I probably should not be the one buying them.  Throw a verbal stone if you’d like or just revel in my weakness.  Either way, I can’t unring this particular bell.  

The subject of my most recent hypocrisy was made in Japan by Fujita Mfg. Co. Ltd.  Velobase suggests these came on Fuji S10s in early 1970s, but a casual search of Google images turns up Belt saddles on a couple of different models.  Maybe they migrated from S10 bicycles to others.  Tough to say.  I love the stitching.

I will either try it on one of my current bicycles or save it for a future project.  In any event, it will be cared for and enjoyed for decades to come.

Update:  Looking at the pictures I see the joke may be on me.  The nose is starting to spread.  I have never ridden on a saddle in this condition, but I can see that if it goes to far it would cause chaffing.  If need be, it can be fixed by drilling holes along the bottom edges of the nose and pulling the edges together with laces, but I certainly didn’t mean to buy a saddle in need of this fix.  Only thing to do is put it on a bike and give it a try.

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10 responses to “Belt Saddle From Fujita Mfg. Co. Ltd (Tokyo)

  1. shhhh: this week I bought three pairs of used leather shoes from etsy.

    Sigh.

    I SO understand your dilemma!

  2. Don’t worry, your secret is safe here. My readers are few and mostly discreet.

    It should be so easy to say no, but we say yes. What is behind our behavior? [Insert joke involving introspection with play on sitting, as in meditation, on leather saddles here.]

  3. I purchased a new Fuji S10S in 1972-73 with a Fujita Belt Saddle. Excellent bike, great components, and excellent saddle. I sold it several years later but the person I sold it to still has the bike and I’m sure the same saddle. The bike is still in service and the guy is still happy with the bike.

  4. We desire to have such things because we are instinctively drawn to thoughtful design and fine craftsmanship. This is intensified by living in an age where products are turned out by mass-production robots with the aim of shedding a few more pennies off the lowest-possible-price war between outsourcing corporations.
    Most new bikes today — even expensive ones — come with throw-away saddles and their owners case Ebay and bike classifieds for saddles like this one. It’s hard to believe these saddles once came stock on entry-level Japanese ten speeds where they were generally considered inferior imitations of the English Brooks Professional. Time does change our perspective on some things.

  5. I have this saddle on my bike too. I bought it from a guy for $50. Mine is in very comparable condition and I LOVE it.
    I did notice right away that if I didn’t have the saddle in just the right position (fore/aft/tilt) that it seemed very stiff and uncomfortable, but once I hit the sweet spot it was perfect. I tilt it back about 1 degree and make sure it’s far enough forward to put my weight right in the soft spot of the saddle (pretty much the center). this is a very hard and stiff saddle compared to other leather bike saddles, but if you get it angled right for your bum, it will treat you well for the very longest of rides. The furthest I’ve ridden on this saddle in one “sitting” is 95 miles, and by the end my bum was doing much better than my fellow cyclists with their foam/plastic/hi-tech/lightweight/”comfort”/racing saddles. This saddle is narrow, but I do have a skinny rear-end so maybe this saddle is just right for me (my sit bones are right in the softest part of the saddle when properly adjusted).
    As for the bulge at the nose, I wouldn’t worry about it too much. My saddle has a bit more bulge than yours and it seems to get more comfortable as the bulge widens (no chaffing either). I did try tying mine together when i first bought it and again after about a year (over 1200 miles later) and found that pulling the sides together made the saddle too stiff where I needed it to be soft.
    I encourage you to work with this saddle, and over time I think you’ll find it to be very much worth the $30+moral/social obligation tax.

    Grea

  6. My “Belt” saddle from a 1977 S10S that I bought in high school has recently joined the wall of vintage equipment at 718 Cycles in Brooklyn. I have to confess that the shape never suited me the way a B-17 does. One unique feature of the saddle is the hard plastic shell under the center of the saddle. I believe that it was intended to keep the saddle from spreading too far. I found it too stiff (at least 30+ years after manufacture) for my aging bum.

  7. Pingback: Solved | Randal Putnam Loves to Pedal

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