Two of the bikes in my collection one a Wabi Classic is sporting a Rivet Independance and originally was what Rivet calls chestnut color . The other bike a Mission Bicycles Sutro has a Gilles Berthoud Aspin installed that originally was what is referred to as natural color. Now hundreds of miles and many Obenauf’s smears later I would say they each are a variation of brown. I am not complaining they are aging beautifully in my opinion from the finishes to the way the leather is softening meeting perhaps even exceeding my expectations if they last long enough.
To illustrate the the wearing slash breaking in effects I’ve included some pictures that can put it across much better than I can explain it. the two pictures below are the Gilles Berthoud Aspin. One picture a new unit picture ripped straight from the Gilles Berthoud website showing what is meant by “Natural” and mine was exactly as the picture when I received it. The other showing mine as it looks today. I really like the way an uncolored saddle finish changes. The finish wears uniquely on every saddle no two are alike! Also notice the slight differences in the shape between the pictures as this is the leather softening slash breaking in to fit my anatomy. The shiny effect well that’s all from using Obenauf’s on it. The Aspin has become a really comfortable perch in my opinion.
The Rivet Independence has about 300 miles on it so the change is not quiet as dramatic yet but the pictures do show it is definitely changing. The color they refer to as chestnut is sort of a slight tan color when it is new and so far seems to be darkening more uniformly than the Aspin. As with the Aspin slight changes in shape are beginning to become noticeable on the Independence. It is also already pretty darn comfortable. Rivet includes a small container of Obenauf’s with their saddles. I however was a fan of the product before I ever purchased a Rivet saddle.
Final notes I avoid getting these saddles wet if possible if/when it does happen I let them dry completely without any additional means being applied like heating or placing in direct sunlight to speed the drying process. Both saddles when they were new I completely covered with Obenauf’s top, bottom, and edges. Since then I reapply Obenauf’s to the top and edges about every 30-90 days (sometimes even longer) depending on what level of use/abuse they receive.
In closing I would like to say that these are two very well crafted saddles and neither really outshines the other overwhelmingly in my opinion. I prefer the natural finish that the Aspin has because of the unique way it changes but on the other hand I like the more minimal sculpting of the Rivet because of the more streamlined look it has. I could go on and on about the differences between these saddles but the bottom line is each ones riding performance and comfort is spot on. Both of them are pricey but worth it in my opinion.