Brooks saddles

Discussion in 'Cycling Equipment' started by drcobol, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. drcobol

    drcobol New Member

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    I just recently replaced my butt-splitting Selle Italia saddle :eek: with a Brooks B17 standard and the difference is great :p. I find it a lot more comfortable even though there is no padding except what my bibs offer. How about you folks out there :confused: ? Do you have any stories to share about yours? Good or bad...Tell your story here.
     
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  2. threaded

    threaded New Member

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    My cyclo-cross bike is from the 1970s and still has it's original Brooks saddle. Wonderful thing. Probably the only thing made for a bike that can be said to have a lifetime guarentee.
     
  3. kk4df

    kk4df New Member

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    I love mine. It has about 4000 miles on it, and now has a really soft but supportive feel. My butt just doesn't get sore any more.

    Plus, I really like the way it looks. Others might think it looks out-of-place on a carbon frame bike. It is quite heavy, but the comfort far exceeds the weight penalty.
     
  4. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    FWIW. I use SnoSeal (vs. Proofide) for maintenance ...

    It probably seems contrary to logic, but I think maintenance of the leather saddles is better if you rub the tanning shine off with FINE/(0000) steel wool OR wet-and-dry sandpaper and then "treat"/(rub & buff) the leather with SnoSeal ... and subsequently, on a periodic basis.

    DON'T use Neatsfoot/Mink/whatever oil on the saddle!
     
  5. drcobol

    drcobol New Member

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    Thanks for the helpful info! Have you had any problems with staining using the SnoSeal product? :confused: I've seen on some forums that various products cause stains to occur on some fabrics. I have mink oil (not sure what your objection would be) but I'm holding off due to questions about its effectiveness on conditioning the leather. I find it somewhat difficult to understand using steel wool to help with conditioning a saddle, but I suppose there is some validity in abrading the surface to allow for products to penetrate better. Have you ever had to adjust the tension of your saddle?

     
  6. alfeng

    alfeng Well-Known Member

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    Others may disagree with what I am about to say ... and, they may be correct since there is more than one school of thought as to how a leather saddle should look & feel ...

    One school of thought promulgates what I refer to as "the hammock" (softened leather) ... which I don't believe is correct. Both Mink & Neatsfoot oil will soften the leather to the point where you will eventually have something as soft as the leather on a suede shoe. Is that a good thing? I don't think so AND I don't know how soft a "pre-softened" Brooks saddle is or will become ... so, someone at Brooks may thinik that a softer platform is what the user should eventually achieve with his/her saddle OR someone was too clever & Brooks was responding to a demand in the marketplace!?!

    While you want SOME give in the saddle, the leather platform should be fairly firm (IMO).

    Anyway, my understanding is that Proofide is a lanolin based "paste" (the contents are listed on the top of the tin) which can be absorbed through the tanned (shiny) surface because Proofide is pretty much an emusified oil.

    Just as oil can be absorbed through the initially shiny surface of a new leather saddle, I believe that an oiled saddle will eventually leach that oil despite having been absorbed-and/or-rubbed-in ... and, this could certainly/subsequently cause a "stain" on anything that is in contact with it for a short-or-prolonged period of time.

    My recollection is that SnoSeal (the contents are not marked on the "early" can I have) is primarily Bees Wax that has been softened to a "paste" with a silicon (?) compound ... and, it is preferred (by me, at least) because it will NOT soften the leather. Because SnoSeal is a wax compound, it will not penetrate the glossy surface of a new saddle, and would simply sit on the surface ... hence, the need to remove the shiny surface & "expose" the leather.

    When you/(i.e., I) buff a SnoSeal'd saddle with a WHITE rag you will/may see some "color" on the rag. What is that? Since the SnoSeal has no color, it could be a bit of the saddle's surface being rubbed off OR it could be some (?) residual dye OR __?__.

    You can either dry buff or spit-shine a SnoSeal'd saddle according to your preference.

    As far as I have been able to ascertain, despite the fact that Brooks sells a kit with a wrench, the adjusting bolt is REALLY for the factory to use to allow for the slight imprecision of the location of the nose's anchor piece when anchoring the nose to the rails during assembly. It does not need to be AND probably should not be adjusted UNLESS you were to remove the saddle from the rails to re-rivet it ...

    I've never seen a tomahawked saddle, but it has been described to me -- that is, a WET saddle whose tensioning bolt has been tweaked, which results in a taut ridge down the center of the saddle after the leather has dried -- kids, don't try this at home!

    The only saddles that one might eventually try to tension are those that have been softened after many years of repeated oiling (hey, it's not a baseball glove). If that should happen, you can use ANY appropriately sized, "open" wrench in your toolbox as the means to preclude-or-eliminate a swayback appearence to the saddle.
     
  7. oldbobcat

    oldbobcat Well-Known Member

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    I just sold an old B17 on eBay. They're a fine piece of work, but not my cuppa tea--heavy, and the side skirts chafe my thighs.

    In the old days I used a Brooks B5N (for narrow) and Pro that came on my Ralieghs. When the side skirts started to spread I pulled them in with rawhide lacing. The 5N came pre-punched with holes for this purpose, and I punched 3 or 4 holes on each side of the Pro. I also filed down the rivet heads, to make "riding the rivet" more comfortable. The Pro was a really nice saddle, but since I was racing I saw no reason not to switch to plastic. It went to a nice home with the Charles Roberts that I sold to a friend in New Hampshire.
     
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