Care and feeding of a leather saddle

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Care and feeding of a leather saddle

Postby uMP2k » Sun Nov 02, 2008 5:00 pm

Well, after much umming and ahhhing I have decided to put down the cash and see how leather saddle I have discussed elsewhere (HEREin fact) goes on my steel roadie.


Image

Now my question, while I wait for it to arrive, is what sort of preventative and in use care it needs. Going off the information for Brooks saddles (and I guess this will be pretty much the same) then a wax based treatment is the way to go. Some sites seem to say that Proofide is the only one to use, while others seem suggest everything from dubbin, to common shoe polish.

Any leather saddle owners here (Graeme, Andrew... :D ) with any suggestions?
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by BNA » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:11 pm

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Postby Kalgrm » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:11 pm

Assuming it's a suspended leather saddle (ie not plastic with a leather cover), Proofide is what Brooks want us to use, and they claim magical properties for it. I reckon Dubbin might do the same thing.

I use Snoseal now that my saddle has broken in. Andrew told me Snoseal keeps the water out without encouraging the leather to mould further.

I don't think I'd want to use boot polish.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby uMP2k » Sun Nov 02, 2008 6:45 pm

Kalgrm wrote:Assuming it's a suspended leather saddle (ie not plastic with a leather cover), Proofide is what Brooks want us to use, and they claim magical properties for it. I reckon Dubbin might do the same thing.

I use Snoseal now that my saddle has broken in. Andrew told me Snoseal keeps the water out without encouraging the leather to mould further.

I don't think I'd want to use boot polish.

Cheers,
Graeme


Yeh - thought the shoe/boot polish was a bit of a stretch!

This saddle, like the Brooks, is a tensioned suspended saddle and is, suppossedly made of real leather, although what grade etc who knows, so I guess that what is good for the Brooks will be good for this.

Stephen
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Postby kukamunga » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:31 pm

Rivers make a leather boot cream that has a couple of similar ingredients to Proofide, but doesn't smell as nice!
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Postby il padrone » Sun Nov 02, 2008 8:59 pm

Most advice on leather saddles recommends not to use Dubbin. It is an animal-fat extract designed to soften leather horse gear. Leather horse saddles are not tensioned hammock saddles, but supported by a structure of leather and kapok that sits on the horse. It needs to be softend up for suppleness and comfort.

Bike saddles need to shape while maintaining tension.

Do not use Dubbin, and only use neatsfoot oil very sparingly, never near rivets, if you want your saddle to last many years.

I have used Snoseal on my saddles to waterproof. Shaping is best done by riding the saddle. Appropriately coloured boot polish is fine on any saddle to shine it up. On a couple of saddles I have used some neatsfoot oil as they were very hard and had not shaped after a lengthy time (>2000kms). I suspect it may have been the reason for the cracking around rivets on my old saddle from the 80s :(
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Postby Kalgrm » Sun Nov 02, 2008 9:58 pm

il padrone wrote:Do not use Dubbin, and only use neatsfoot oil very sparingly, never near rivets, if you want your saddle to last many years.

Steve - go with what Pete said. I've only used the Proofide until it ran out, by which time I was pleased to use Snoseal.

Cheers,
Graeme
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Postby uMP2k » Sun Nov 02, 2008 10:25 pm

Kalgrm wrote:
il padrone wrote:Do not use Dubbin, and only use neatsfoot oil very sparingly, never near rivets, if you want your saddle to last many years.

Steve - go with what Pete said. I've only used the Proofide until it ran out, by which time I was pleased to use Snoseal.

Cheers,
Graeme


Sounds like a plan - I will definately be staying away from Dubbin and its like.

BTW - I have been wondering how leather saddles stand up to water coming from beneath. I do not really commute too much in the drenching wet, but you never know when you are going to get caught in a shower and there is often water on the roads even if it is not actually raining. No plans to fit fenders on this bike, so wondering what extra precautions I might need to take.
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Postby il padrone » Mon Nov 03, 2008 8:30 am

uMP2k wrote:BTW - I have been wondering how leather saddles stand up to water coming from beneath. I do not really commute too much in the drenching wet, but you never know when you are going to get caught in a shower and there is often water on the roads even if it is not actually raining. No plans to fit fenders on this bike, so wondering what extra precautions I might need to take.

A few options:
1. Treat with Proofide on the underside - a must with no mudguards

2. Use a seat bag, especially one that has a plastic waterproof, crud-resistant underside
Image

3. Use a seatpost mounted rear mudflap a la Zefal Flamingo
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Postby uMP2k » Thu Nov 06, 2008 11:50 am

il padrone wrote:
uMP2k wrote:BTW - I have been wondering how leather saddles stand up to water coming from beneath. I do not really commute too much in the drenching wet, but you never know when you are going to get caught in a shower and there is often water on the roads even if it is not actually raining. No plans to fit fenders on this bike, so wondering what extra precautions I might need to take.

A few options:
1. Treat with Proofide on the underside - a must with no mudguards

2. Use a seat bag, especially one that has a plastic waterproof, crud-resistant underside
3. Use a seatpost mounted rear mudflap a la Zefal Flamingo


Good sound advice that I will definately follow.

I particularly like the idea of a saddle bag - so simple that I did not think of it!

Stephen
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Postby fixie » Sat Nov 08, 2008 8:27 pm

Brooks used to sell a thin shaped plastic protector for this very purpose. You could make your own. Try an icecream container for the raw material. The other useful material for the underside is "Coacholine" which is a good water protectant. Do not put it on the top though. Keep the "Proofide" for that.
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