Cinelli Unicanitor #2 saddle

This famous Cinelli is the first saddle of its kind: plastic shell with a leather cover and some foam padding in between. Nowadays, almost every saddle is constructed like this. Before the Unicanitor was introduced, there were basically 2 kinds of saddles: the full leather Brooks and Ideales and the full plastic crap.
For many years, Cinelli Unicanitor was more or less the one and only saddle for racing bikes. All other saddles (including Arius from Spain and 3ttt from Italy) were copies.
Cinelli introduced the Unicanitor in 1962, after the acquisition of saddle manufacturer Unica.
Unicanitor was available in different versions. A very fance one has a lightweight, aluminium frame (rails).
My first Unicanitor was on my first road bike, a second hand Batavus Professional team bike that I got in 1979. I ruined the saddle in my first year in a crash.
Recently I got my second one. A suede Nr. 2 that I found on auction site Marktplaats. A second hand saddle with a mouse grey / brownish cover, but not torn or scratched. The cover was a bit loose on one side, but I glued it with 2 layers of Bison Kit adhesive. After cleaning the cover with acetone, I coloured it black with "VG indringverf", some kind of penetrating dye. I did the same with a San Marco Rolls and it worked perfectly. The good thing is that it paints the old leather beautifully black, but the silver logo's don't become black.

Mod. 50 black (uncovered plastic)
Mod. 55 black perforated type (uncovered plastic)
Mod. 65 "CAMPIONE DEL MONDO" leather covered (no padding)
Mod. 65/C covered with chamois leather (no padding)
Mod. 65/N covered with buffalo leather (no padding)
Mod. 70 "CAMPIONE DEL MONDO" leather covered, quilted type
Mod. 75 #1 "Tour de France", covered with chamois leather, and cross-stitched
Mod. 75 #2 "Tour de France", covered with chamois leather, softened type (padded)
Mod. 75 #3 "Tour de France", covered with buffalo leather, softened type (padded)
Mod. 75 #4 "Tour de France", covered with smooth leather, softened type (padded)

The oldest/rarest Unicanitors (other than the uncovered ones that don't say "Cinelli") are covered in plain leather and have labels in aluminum foil on the underside of the saddle.
Next come the saddles with no name on the back but with the logo on the side like all the others.
Also ultra desirable are the Unicanitors which have the legend "Cinelli" on the rear end in block letters. More recent (80's) have the legend with the flying C logo in the spelling and have a flying C at the nose of the saddle. Most (but not all) saddles are covered in smooth leather, Pakistani buffalo hide or suede. Also the old foil label models are just a tad wider.



Lyotard Berthet No. 23 pedals

When I was looking for a pair of pedals for my son's road bike, I thought about Shimano PD-T100 triathlon pedals and Lyotard Berthet No. 23 platform pedals. Because the kid is only 8 years old and his feet grow by 1 or 2 sizes per year, I don't want to buy him real cycling shoes yet. Because regular rat trap pedals and quill pedals are not nice to your feet when you wear regular shoes or sneakers, I had to find a nice pair of platform pedals that could hold toe clips. Shimano's T100 are excellent and I found a pair. But when I got the Benotto kid bike, a real vintage bike, I though that I really needed a pair of Berthet pedals.
When I started cycling in 1979, several youth (also adult) racers used these Lyotard pedals. I remember people called these "bootjes", little boats, probably because of their shape. They looked simple, were quite cheap and not of superior quality. But almost every pair of pedals except Campagnolo Record would have to be replaced within 6 or 12 months of use. The Berthet pedals were especially well-known because of the ease to get in. Thanks to the large tongue design, the pedals could be flipped easily and a quick entry (thus: start of the race) was more or less guaranteed). For the rest I really don't know, because I've never owned or raced these pedals. It's up to my kids to find out. It's up to them to experience the easy entry option and the feel of the large platform. Also not unimportant: these pedals are real classics.

Some quotes from other web sites:

( Given the long history of Lyotard (over 70 years) and their importance in the development of pedals it is surprising that virtually nothing has been written about them. The purpose of this article to right this and provide information on a company who produced a solid range used by many racers and tourists. They may not have been top of the range but they were extremely widely used.
Throughout much of the post-war period this French firm held a dominant position in the lightweight pedal market. Being fitted both as original equipment by most of the major British manufacturers and sold as accessories via the two major importers Ron Kitching and Holdsworthy.
Pierre Lyotard founded the company in the early 1920’s. During that decade they produced the first versions of the pedal, which I would argue, was their most innovative contribution to cycle development, the “Marcel Berthet“ platform pedal (left). The foot rested on a wide platform, by its nature it was extremely comfortable especially for riders with broad feet. It needed to be used with toe clips as it was single sided.
It was named after Marcet Berthet, a French racing cyclist who held the hour record three times twice in 1907 and once in 1913, he was the principal rival of Oscar Egg the Swiss rider who later invented the Osgear.
The Marcel Berthet became known as the MB23 and remained in production until the mid 1980’s. Just before the war the shoe pickup plate ceased to be one piece (later examples are illustrated in both fig 2 and fig 3). The earliest reference I can find to this pedal in Britain is in an advert in the CTC Gazette in 1939 when it is referred to as the ‘Continental’. For a component with such a long history there were remarkably few variants. However in common with other Lyotard pedals there were different thread lengths for steel or alloy cranks and the MB23 TF which had threaded holes for toe clips. It was very popular with cycletourists due to the high degree of comfort. During the bike boom years of the 70’s Shimano, MKS and SR produced copies. One MKS copy, the 505, was counter weighed so the platform side always faced upwards-facing toe clip entry easy. Earlier in the 50’s Constrictor copied the design with their Asp model. A very high quality copy was produced by the British firm Barelli based near Cambridge in the late 70’s . This featured a range of detachable plates and is now extremely collectable.

( Love these - I actually rode them for years, even touring for a month. They are very easy to get into, and extremely comfortable, as well as having excellent ground clearance. The most amusing part is that if you step on them upside down too much or too hard, the top plate works off the swedged tabs on the upright plates. I remember having to pull over on the other side of an intersection several times to reinstall a top plate, and swedge it in place as well as possible with a pair of Vise Grips. It is also worth noting that the dust cap is structural, holding the outer vertical plate in place. At one point I had lost one dust cap, and managed to push the top plate off, thus nearly disassemblling the whole pedal in the road. Good times...these days I prefer the SR aluminum copy - one piece cast body; what's not to love?
I'm not at all surprised to hear that tale. I think that Lyotard pedals in general were always plagued with... shall we say "inconsistent" quality control issues. I never personally had problems with any of the Lyotard pedals I have used over the years (decades, really), but other serious cyclists who's opinions I truly respect have also related their own horror stories.
No Lyotard pedals ever approached "Campagnolo quality". And even today when I buy any new-old-stock Lyotard pedals I always immediately disassemble, re-lubricate and make a count of the ball bearings. More often than not they have absolutely the WRONG number of balls in at least one bearing race out of a pedal set. With some amusement, I imagine an assembler at the factory simply grabbing a random handful of bearings and hastily tossing them into a pedal... Perhaps it was even considered proper for veteran worker to KNOW that in his seasoned fingers a little "pinch" of ball bearings would be just the right quantity... just as some old time frame builders might eschew ever using a proper jig for aligning a frame.

( The best known platform pedal was the French Lyotard "Marcel Berthet" model 23, one of the most elegantly designed bicycle parts ever.

Christophe toe straps

What I wrote before about Christophe toe clips, is certainly not the case for their toe straps. Christophe straps (and many others, maybe from the same factory) simply didn't work well. I've always used Alfredo Binda straps. Christophe may be fine for kid bikes, touring, fixing spare tubulars underneath a saddle or a bike on a bike rack, but not to race with.
Anyway, the straps are nice enough for a vintage bike and always better than nameless nylon straps or other crap that is sold nowadays.

Christophe toe clips

Nowadays, every bike rider with common sense rides regular (plastic) platform pedals of clipless "click" pedals with an integrated binding system. But a few decades ago, all road, track and cyclocross bikes were equipped with cage or quill pedals with toe clips and straps.
For us in The Netherlands, there was basically one kind of toe clips: steel Christophe toe clips. Single version for road and track, double version for CX.
Okay, there were some strange products like plastic/nylon Asian or French (Zefal) clips and aluminium ones. The plastic clips didn't work because somehow the material was too soft and getting into the clips wasn't always that easy. I also tried some aluminium clips (Cinelli?), but these snapped after a short while. Christophe clips were made out of chrome plated spring steel. Simple, functional, durable, good. Just as reliable as T.A. steel bottle cages.
Other brands were ALE, Georges Sorel, ... Later, Shimano and Campagnolo had their own toe clips and these were also okay. The steel ones, I don't want to mention the plastic and aluminium clips.
But why bother about other brands if there's Christophe? For many years, this brand was synonymous for toe clips.
The Benotto kid bike I have has a nice pair (okay, a bit rusty) of very small Christophe toe clips. Nowadays very hard or impossible to get a new pair in a regular bike shop. If you're lucky, you're still able to find some in web shops or on Ebay. And on old, used bikes.

3ttt Pista stem

I've got to start a new project!
Yesterday, I got myself a nice (assembled, never used) 3ttt Pista stem. 12 cm, 26.0 mm clamp, Mod.3, 58 degrees. Such a nice track stem is absolutely a must-have and this was a nice opportunity. Not cheap, but the price wasn't ridiculously high. Surprisingly, I won it.
I will be a very, very long lasting track project. Earlier this year I was about to buy a nice Campagnolo wheel set, but finally the seller decided to keep the wheels. Such a shame. Now I have to start all over again and the only thing I have is a stem!
Possibly, I will get myself another 3ttt Gimondi or Pista handlebar to match with this stem and put it on the ALAN for the time being. Nicer and more track-like than the Cinelli assembly that is currently on that bike.
Certainly, the new set-up is not as practical as the current Cinelli combo and it will increase the poseur value. The handlebar will be lower than the current comfortable position. But my riding style will shift to "poseur" bit by bit, so I don't care that much.

3ttt catalogue 1975