Cycle Saddle Care
How do you take the best care of your Brooks Cycle Saddle and make it last?
Your Brooks Saddle is a key part of your bike - so it should be handled right; including fitting it correctly.
Here you will find useful tips about how to take care of leather cycle saddles and how to fit them.
Leather is a natural material, which will provide lasting comfort, coolness in hot weather, style and durability.
If you follow these simple instructions your saddle will adapt itself to you and retain its support and comfort. A new saddle should be treated with the Proofide to help assist the 'breaking - in' process. Proofide helps keep the leather supple as it is specially formulated from natural ingredients to condition, preserve and shower proof your saddle. Proofide is the only substance that should be used to care for your saddle.
Apply a little Proofide to the finished side of the leather. Allow the Proofide to permeate until dry and then polish off. Proofide should be used several times during the 'breaking - in' period and every 3 - 6 months thereafter. On bicycles not fitted with mudguards, an initial application to the underside of the saddle will be beneficial. This need not be polished off. The leather gets its color during the tanning process and it is possible, therefore, that some color residues will remain. It is recommended to polish the saddle with a soft cloth before first use.
You should protect your leather saddle from moisture with a saddle cover. If a wet saddle is ridden the color may stain your clothing. Allow wet saddles to dry naturally. Never tension or Proofide a wet saddle.
Correct leather tension will ensure your saddle retains its shape and comfort. To tension, turn the nose bolt nut 90° at a time, check tension. You can use the tension spanner or allen key to do this. Over - tensioning a saddle will overstretch the leather fibres and may destroy their structure. Little and not very often is the key. Remember, once the end of the nose bolt is reached, the saddle can no longer be tensioned.
Brooks produces a range of saddles varying from race saddles to heavy duty saddles in various colors with single, double and even triple wires. Whilst single rail saddles can be used with a micro - adjust seat pin, remember that with double and triple railed saddles, the clip provided should always be used as this supports the saddle / rider correctly preventing premature breakage to the rails.
Brooks supply a range of spare parts for your saddle to ensure it is always in a good state of repair.
Your Brooks saddle is guaranteed for two years from the date of purchase against defects in manufacture or materials. If you believe you have a claim under this guarantee, you should return the saddle to the place of purchase along with your proof of purchase.
How it's done
- First thing is cleaning. Take a brush and give the saddle a thorough clean. Greasing over existing dirt is not a good idea
- The underside of the saddle should be cleaned once in a while too
- Let your saddle dry thoroughly. Preferably in the shade, but still in a warm place
- As a natural material leather needs nurturing
Don't do it this way
- High pressure cleaners may be practical and in fashion, but they are deadly for sensitive leather! The surface will just break up eventually
- A washing machine is definitely not good for leather. The heat makes the leather brittle
- You should dry your saddle neither against a heater, nor beside an open fire, nor near an oven, not even in the sun. The leather will start to crack and will eventually break up
- Don't store your saddle in plastic bags. The leather needs to breathe
- Don't store your bike and saddle in a damp place, such as in a cellar. It will develop mould
- Don't clean stubborn stains with chemicals or other abrasive substances. A mild soap will do
Before attempting the tip hereunder, some sites recommended break-in procedures that used to be prohibited by the Geneva Convention: water torture by soaking the saddle in water to soften the leather; dipping in molten wax; motor oil baths and the like.
We opt for a more conservative approach. Put a heavy coating of Proofide, the Brooks recommended treatment, on the underside of the saddle to protect it from water thrown up from underneath. Then, for several days, lovingly caress the top of the saddle with Proofide, more has to be better, right? (read more)
You can also...
Wrap the outside in aluminum foil, set it upside down, and pour oil inside. Then let it sit overnight and allow the oil to soak in.
Neatsfoot oil is what is commonly used, but you can also us mink oil (commonly found at a boot store). Mink oil is another natural leather softener and preservative and works just as well.
Don't apply the oil to the top of the saddle as this makes such a mess of the clothing. If anything, you can also use a clear shoe cream on the top side. The oil soaks in better from the unfinished underside, and adds protection if water from the road should spray up underneath.
In England, where the saddle is used in the rain many times, and a Brooks saddle would get soaked. We found if it was kept well oiled and was allowed to dry out naturally, it came to no harm. No more harm than a good pair of leather boots or shoes would come to on getting wet.
Fitting of your Brooks
Correct fitment of any saddle is essential to achieve the most advantageous coupling with your body. In the same way that your seat-post and handlebars require adjustment, precise positioning of your saddle will ensure a comfortable ride requiring less effort, whilst providing greater efficiency.
Once you have selected the correct saddle pertinent to your style of riding, you must adjust it properly on the bike. The saddle should be set parallel to the ground so that its tip is not pointed up or down to any great extent. In case of slight pressure problems the tip of the saddle can be tilted forward a little.
In order to avoid overstraining the knee, the seat height should be adjusted so that you can still just reach the ground with the tips of your toes, whilst sitting on the saddle. If you feel unstable, the saddle can be set slightly lower.