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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009 edited
     
    I just picked up a Brooks B17 Narrow saddle from VC. The shop has many Brooks' on the shelf, but needed to order this one: Delivery was less than one week, and the price was very competitive compared to online pricing. And zero shipping and handling can't be beat!

    It took me a few tries to get the positioning of the saddle right; Started at level but - ouch - that was much to high. Dipped it to -2 degrees - still a bit too high. Rode a 20 mile trip today (round-trip to the Cabrillo Nat'l Monument), and I think I found an overall good angle whether I ride in the drops, coats or top: I run a good amount of seat post - the top of the seat is some 2-3" above the top of the stem, and at the current -4 deg angle the seat more or less "points" to the top of the stem.

    After having read many comments that the Brooks requires 100s of hours of break-in time before they are soft enough to be comfortable, I was concerned that the maiden voyage with the new saddle would be painful. I got some of that wax that Brooks recommends for running in (and cleaning and protecting) their saddles, and applied it to the bottom and top of the seat as per instructions. Clearly, the saddle is very hard (some would say hard as a rock!) - much harder than the cheesy gel saddle it replaces. However, not uncomfortably hard - it seems "just right" pretty much from Day One. My bike is a bone-jarring aluminum touring bike designed to carry loads of 300lbs. or more on the frame - still, the hard saddle was not a problem at all.

    I stepped off the bike after 20 miles and could not feel any pain caused by the hard seat. Now, two hours later, still no signs of any pain, soreness or other irritation.

    Another benefit of the B17 Narrow: My bike has a seat tube length (24" c-c) that suits me, but I consider the top tube to be about 1" too short. The Narrow has extra long rails, however, and having pushed the seat all the way back, I can now stretch out and the riding position is much more natural than with my old seat with shorter rails.

    All in all a very positive experience from Day One, and a huge improvement over my last saddle! :face-smile:
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    great to hear that you like it. after a month or two you're really really going to love it.

    as you found out the angle of the saddle on a leather saddle has to be perfect so that you don't feel like you're sliding forward or off the back.

    just so that people know, the more bent over over riding position the narrower you want your saddle. if you have a normal road bike body position a narrower saddle is best. the more upright your position the wider the saddle.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    here's a photo of a B-17 Standard

    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    Sigurd, I'm totally hijacking this thread to ask about how people condition their Brooks saddles. I had this conversation with Sky over email last week, and I'm curious to get others' take on it. I bought my B66 from VC the same week you bought yours, and although I haven't put as many miles on mine yet, I'm also not experiencing the supposedly torturous discomfort of a new Brooks. I think some people are just wusses. :)

    But seriously. So, this thread over at BikeForums says that neatsfoot oil is the *last* thing you want to use on leather supposedly because it's an animal-based compound that will get into your leather (another animal product) and basically just rot and decay in there until your saddle falls apart from the inside. Now, I've used neatsfoot oil and glycerine-based saddle soap on horse tack for *years* and never had any problem with it. Sheldon Brown swears by it, although I don't think I would try his method, personally. So far, I've just applied Proofide (the Brooks-branded stuff) twice to the riding surface, not the underside. I've ridden it only a few miles so far, so it's way to early to notice any breaking-in.

    So what do other folks do, or what *don't* you do, to a new Brooks?
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      CommentAuthortawnya
    • CommentTimeJun 22nd 2009
     
    I treated it the same way I did my horse saddles. I over-conditioned it a few times in the first few months, and just hit it lightly with the proof ride about every six weeks.

    My only initial problem with my ladies B18 was the flaps catching my inner thigh. To combat that I used an ace bandage while my bike wasn't in use to curl those edges inward. After a couple weeks, it wasn't a problem anymore.

    All in all, that saddle is one of the best Christmas gifts I've ever recieved, especially since I know I'll have it for years to come.
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
     
    The neatsfoot oil discussion seems to be one of Specialists vs. Users: The Specialists (incl. Brooks and leather makers) recommend against it, whereas the Users (incl. Sheldon) tend to like it: Having the seat break in faster would certainly be a huge benefit, but who would like to see their precious saddle break down prematurely after a measly 300,000 miles! :face-devil-grin:

    The water method referred to in the article seems appealing to me - I might try it (undoubtedly, I have an ample supply of old shorts that should have been retired years ago that I can use for this experiment!).
    • CommentAuthorProtorio
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009 edited
     
    This is a much debated topic. Here's what I do. Ride it for what's equal to about a month of daily riding. Then apply Obenauf's to the top and bottom. Do the top again a year later and annually after. Don't leave it in the sun, and don't ride it wet (I did that recently on the climb up Mt. Palomar on a Champion Flyer Special, not anticipating the sopping mist on the drive up).

    The B66, with the textured top (or B67) seems to be pretty darn bullet proof.

    If the sides begin to flare up, you can drill holes and stitch them up, ala the new Imperial model.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    i think drilling the sides and stiching the saddle is a nice custom thing to do and really stiffens up the leather.

    Brooks sells a cover thats great for keeping it out of the sun and away from moisture. it's pretty cheap too. they are at the shop.
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      CommentAuthortawnya
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    I never thought of stitching it! Customization, here I come!
    • CommentAuthorTom@VC
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    Such a classy discussion.
    :face-smile:
    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeJun 23rd 2009
     
    Mmm, rather.

    :)

    Here's a link to a blog post about lacing an old B72.
    • CommentAuthorHMeins
    • CommentTimeJun 30th 2009
     
    I have four Brooks saddles and one Ideale in various stages of softness. The most comfortable road saddle I have is a Brooks Professional I bought in 1987. It is the obvious choice for any road ride over 50 miles.

    For long distance touring I have a Brooks Conquest I bought in 1990. It is a sprung MTB saddle with at least 30,000 miles on it: Easy Boy recliner comfort, but weighs a ton. I also have a newer Brooks Conqueror that is very similar, but without the hammered brass rivets. It will still need a few more thousand miles to achieve total break-in.

    The Ideale is a rock-hard French saddle that I took off a broken Motobecane Grand Jubilee. It dates from the early '80s but is still rock hard. It is a very beautiful saddle, but I'll probably never live long enough to break it in.

    Lastly, the Neon Monster, the fabled Frankenbike is now finished. It came from England with a "pre-softened" Brooks Professional, which is really plush. It seems a little like getting something for nothing; I've always taken pride in breaking in my own saddles. It does have the lovely large diameter hammered brass rivets.

    As far as care is concerned, just continue to apply Proof-Hide top and bottom as recommended and keep riding it. Any short cuts may shorten the life of the saddle. Apply Proof-Hide regularly to avoid drying and cracking. Try to keep it out of the weather and avoid U-V exposure.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    Are there any tricks to riding a well conditioned saddle without getting a stained bottom (in the breaking in, conditioning like crazy period)? I'm a bit concerned about this as I have to ride to work in dress clothes. Sam told me a shower cap on the seat worked for her. Any other ideas to add to the pot for when I slide off my shower cap?
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      CommentAuthoril Pirati
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    .

    Wear dark pants? I've had to sacrifice a pair of shorts (very cheap ones, luckily). There is a very unattractive brown stain on the seat. Tough to explain to the uninitiated.
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    I have had my Brooks B17N Brown for about three weeks now and ridden it perhaps a few hundred miles. I treated it once (top and bottom with Proofide as per Brooks' recommendation - some folks only do the top) when I got it and since left it alone. I have not experienced any stainage (is that a word?) at all: Mind you, I haven't exactly been wearing bright white pants with it, but "nice enough" khaki trousers that some guys might be wearing to work.

    Now, if you decide to use the neatsfoot oil method (not recommended by Brooks and many saddle makers, but sworn by by many users, including Sheldon Brown) to accelerate the breaking in period, all bets are off - you are likely to have to expect stainage.

    Search Bikeforums.net for Brooks and neatsfoot oil and you will get more methods and opinions on breaking in a Brooks than you can throw a stick at.

    _
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    There IS hope! And yes, stainage is a very good word!! Thanks.
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      CommentAuthortawnya
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    You can always tie a handkerchief on your saddle. No sliding like with plastic and it will pull the color off onto itself as opposed to the unfortunate positioning on your pants. If you're really worried, you can use two.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009 edited
     
    I have some bandanas that could use a job. Now all I need is the saddle!

    I'm situated quite upright so I want wide. There's the B66S which seems to be pretty wide 210mm, but then there's some B33 at 235mm wide. Is wider better? BTW, why would a woman's saddle benefit from being shorter than a man's? As the B33 doesn't come in a woman's model, just super long. There is also the B190 at a whopping 250mm wide, but that is 323mm long (considerably longer than the B66S at 260mm.)
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      CommentAuthorShapps
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    I currently have a a Selle Italia Flite Titanium saddle for my commute to work bike. Its an older classic of saddle of theirs but has worked great. Over the forth I did something to it and peeled off the covering/foam on the nose.

    Need a recommendation on what to replace this with. I love the looks of the Brooks saddles but I am not sure of the comfort level on the distance rides I do. I have a 20 mile commute each way to work and put around 100 a week on my bike. a 50 mile ride on the weekend is not out of the norm for me either. I am on a road bike but almost never am low on my drop bars. Farthest down I ride is when I ride on my breaks. Any recommendation for durability and more important comfort is appreciated. Also, money isn't too big an object but would like to sty under 150 if not under 100 if possible.

    Thanks in advance all =)
    • CommentAuthorProtorio
    • CommentTimeJul 7th 2009
     
    I did 160 miles weekend before last on my Brooks B17. Never even thought about my saddle.
    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeJul 10th 2009
     
    Bryan, I would agree on the breaking-in aspect not really being a big deal, especially if you ride a lot on a daily basis, your break-in time will be faster, and once that happens, you'll never want to ride another saddle again. My new B66 is faaar from being "broken in" and I don't ride terribly long distances, but I don't notice any discomfort whatsoever. Brooks is the best for a reason--they just make a great product that you'll probably be riding for another 20 years or so.
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      CommentAuthormissler
    • CommentTimeJul 29th 2009
     
    just got the boy a black Flyer for his new bike. he adores it, and i'd get one myself if only it wasn't made of animal bits. the proofhide is even made of tallow and such. . ew. but we got him some and he's starting the breaking in process. he's completely jazzed with it now, i told him wait til it's broken in! i'll be sure to share these tips with him so he can enjoy his saddle for years and years to come. here's what his fancy new bum pedestal looks like:

    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeAug 4th 2009
     
    Holy Florking Shnit, Don from the very excellent blog Three-Speed Touring in Japan just re-covered his 1950s Brooks Champion Narrow himself:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/27102950@N06/sets/72157621776947963/

    and

    http://3speedtouringinjapan.blogspot.com/2009/08/re-covering-brooks-saddle.html
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      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeAug 4th 2009
     
    That Brooks recover is excellently done, Thom - I bet you are itching to do this to your Brooks saddle that broke during the Townie ride!
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      CommentAuthorsemsd
    • CommentTimeSep 12th 2009
     
    I have three brooks pros (if you count the one on my leg) I use A&D ointment of all things. A&D is made of Lanolin, mineral oil and petrolatum. I have found A&D works on any leather including my skin, keeps it soft and I don't have any cracks.
    One of my saddles is over 30 years old and my skin is 51.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     
    Title: When they say couch they don't mean lazyboy.

    I have a B67 and it now has my ass dents quite nicely done in. I originally bought it because various random people on the innernets said it was the best for riding that it felt like a couch, etc.

    Well I originally hated it on my tour as it took forever to break in (big ass is not equal to heavy ass). But then this week I needed new handlebar tape and borrowed a bike from VC while my bike with the B67 was in the shop.

    The borrowed bike was nice...for someone else. It probably weighed 2 oz and had a seat the size of a thimble. So uncomfortable to ride with. I got my bike back on Saturday and it felt like home. The seat was nice and comfy, the bike was nice and sturdy. Love the saddle now. And in comparison with the other seats out there, the B67 is certainly a couch on the road.
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      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     
    yeah, im OK with narrow racing seats on racing bikes with lycra and padding but Brooks are the only saddles i can ride with no padding at all.
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      CommentAuthorBev
    • CommentTimeNov 2nd 2009
     
    Ok, first ride on my new B67S. I was very concerned last night trying to adjust it. I couldn't get it to feel just right in the garage. I'd hop on and sit whie holding the counter to keep myself upright. Tilted too high, too low, too this, too that. I got to the point where my OCD was winning, so I left it for the evening. Rode to work today and I must say no pain, no chaffing, no rubs, seat bones actually sat where they were supposed to (riding position is different to my sitting position - duh!) All in all a very comfortable ride. Granted it was only a 5 mile ride. Looking forward to a couple sizeable rides this month to see how I hold up.
  1.  
    EDIT: i found my paper work from the saddle. DO NOT PROOFIDE AGED SADDLES! although you can proofide the underside of the leather. theyre pretreated so im stoked because i didnt know that:face-smile:

    i have an aged b17 and it was very dry from the start, i do have a&d laying around but im not sure if i should pick up some specific proofide or not. also how often do you all treat your saddle. mines on my ss road bike that i dont ride as often and im going to swap it to my mtb. also what do you go off of as for seat angle with brooks. i previously had a b17 special and it was quite slippery and i tilted it up a bit but mostly i keep my saddles level flat.
    thanks in advance.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2010
     
    Took out a brand, spanking new Brooks B17 for the Cleveland Nat. Forest ride yesterday: 38 miles, 5,000 elev. gain, mixed pavement and very rough truck trails: I am happy to report that I experienced no saddle soreness whatsoever from this maiden ride. As far as I am concerned, the B17 saddle needs very little, if any at all, break-in to get comfortable.

    I broke in another brand new B17N about six months ago - same experience with it; it was comfortable pretty much from Day 1.
    •  
      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2010
     
    Thank you for all of this info. When I finally get a Brompton, I will need a good saddle to ride with street clothes. I'm thinking a sprung Brooks.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2010
     
    bikingbill:Thank you for all of this info. When I finally get a Brompton, I will need a good saddle to ride with street clothes. I'm thinking a sprung Brooks.


    the Flyer Special is the best saddle for a Brompton i think.
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      CommentAuthorbikingbill
    • CommentTimeMar 1st 2010
     
    Velo Cult:
    bikingbill:Thank you for all of this info. When I finally get a Brompton, I will need a good saddle to ride with street clothes. I'm thinking a sprung Brooks.


    the Flyer Special is the best saddle for a Brompton i think.


    Yep. I need to be kind to my behind, given the fact that 99% of my miles since 1994 have been on a recliner.

    The Brompton is the next bike so I can gate-check it on flights and ride to business meetings. Maybe even take it to exotic locals this year.
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    Fine. This summer I'm going to break down and get one for the yellow bike and try it. Last time I tried one it felt like someone was kicking me, repeatedly, in the taint. Perhaps I was doing it wrong. So, I'm going to try one, since I'm the "emporer is naked" guy about these.
    • CommentAuthorthom
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    William:Fine. This summer I'm going to break down and get one for the yellow bike and try it. Last time I tried one it felt like someone was kicking me, repeatedly, in the taint. Perhaps I was doing it wrong. So, I'm going to try one, since I'm the "emporer is naked" guy about these.

    I'll kick you repeatedly in the taint for half as much as a new Brooks would cost.:face-devil-grin:

    But seriously, it probably was a saddle adjustment issue. What model are you looking at?
    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    <blockquote><cite> thom:</cite>I'll kick you repeatedly in the taint for half as much as a new Brooks would cost.:face-devil-grin:
    But seriously, it probably was a saddle adjustment issue. What model are you looking at?</blockquote>

    Dude. It seems like today is one of the days that I'd pay to get kicked in the taint repeatedly as an option to dealing wth this stuff. Or pass a kidney stone.

    I don't know. I've crossed off brooks from my "ever curious to try" list for many reasons, but people I know keep saying it, so I've got to try. It'd be for the yellow bike, so it'll have to be something modern-ish looking. The yellow bike doesn't see rain or rough treatment.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010 edited
     
    the yellow bike has a very bent over position and a contemporary look so i would say a Brooks Swallow would do the trick. they come in titanium too.

    •  
      CommentAuthorWilliam
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    The Swallow (or looking at thier website) the copper version. I think the swallow looks best.

    I might craigslist for a used one to try for a while and see how it feels, and then sport up to swallow. The redbike's seat is almost dead again, so finding a used one cheap to try out might be an option since I do a lot of short rides with the red bike. I don't know. It's on the summer project list for bikes:

    - finishing the nishiki into a local stuff errond runner
    - more MTB riding on weekends..
    - a few longer rides with folks..
    - and just plane riding back and forth to work...
    • CommentAuthorburnsadam
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010 edited
     
    ^^that thing aint cheap. really nice, though. the swallow is too narrow for my butt. i like the regular ol' b17. man, mine sure is comfortable...no taint issues whatsoever, even aero in the drops.
  2.  
    ^^^
    ive ridden the swallow on a road bike and it was too narrow for me also. but i also wasnt a fan of the b17 on a road bike either for some reason. the b17 is the most comfortable seat ive ever ridden but only on bikes where im a bit more upright(mt mtb) id like to try out other brooks on a mtb as the b17 is a bit of an eyesore on a mtb(i own 2 ha)
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    the swallow is a lot stiffer than other saddles. that might be the issue.
    •  
      CommentAuthoril Pirati
    • CommentTimeMar 4th 2010
     
    .

    I ride the Swift; slightly wider than the Swallow but without the low sides of the B17. It's longer than the B17 also. My seat is about 2 inches higher than my bars and the Swift is a great fit.
    • CommentAuthormfutch
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2010
     
    Hey everyone,

    I've been riding a B17 for a couple months now and finding it pretty comfy. Rode it 50 miles a day for a week when I first got it to speed up the process and haven't had any issues since then. My question is probably more of an aesthetic one...The saddle seems to be slanting to the side a bit...has this happened to any of you? should I be concerned? Take a look at the picture below.

    -Futch

    Photobucket
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2010
     
    I've had that happen to one of my B17 saddles as well. I never noticed any change in the comfort though. I hear it's because the leather was taken from a side of the cow and sometimes it can twist a little with time. Apparently the Brooks Professional and other more expensive models are taken from the center of the cow down the spine area to minimize this happening. It's a shame all the saddles aren't center cut like that.
    • CommentAuthormfutch
    • CommentTimeNov 16th 2010
     
    Ah...cool thanks! It's still comfortable, I just wanted to make sure I wasn't doing anything detrimental to the saddle by continuing to ride it.
    •  
      CommentAuthorSigurd
    • CommentTimeNov 17th 2010 edited
     
    mfutch:The saddle seems to be slanting to the side a bit...has this happened to any of you?
    My B17N is now off-center like a sideways banana:

    Photobucket

    I had been thinking that I caused it by riding it once for about four hours in torrential rains (and no fenders!) because it was after that I first noticed it - but perhaps the hide was not a "center cut" to start with?

    At any rate, I cannot feel that the saddle is off center when I ride it, so I am not bothered by it one bit: And riding it is still every bit as comfortable as sitting on the sofa in front of the TV - just a lot more fun!
    • CommentAuthorgavilan
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2011
     
    Well, I will join the group that says breaking in a Brooks saddle can be painful. It was probably a combination of things -and working till 11 pm may have been one of them- but the ride last night was extra long, and not in the 'woo, this is so much fun I don't want it to end' kind of way... Maybe my butt is extra sensible but ooooh boy, was I feeling the new saddle!
    In any case, I have been quite happy with it so far, so we'll see how it does.

    With all the discussion about conditioning and all, I had to google proofide, obeanauf and neatsfoot oil.... but what about mink oil? Boot World sells it to water proof and condition their leather products. Anybody has tried that?

    I haven't done anything to my saddle yet and I am worried that it will get wet during the few days of rain that we have in the future (like... tomorrow!). I think I'll just wrap it in a plastic bag and a bandana (so I don't slide) for now, but I'm looking at a more, uhm, permanent solution... :)
    • CommentAuthorluke
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2011
     
    As a warning my brooks was recently stolen from my bike along with the seat post. However, it was an unfortunate chain of events that found my Brooks on my mountain bike with a quick release in a bowling alley parking lot.

    On a positive note in all my urban riding and bike touring this is the first time I have really had anything of significance stolen. So all in all not too bad.
    •  
      CommentAuthorVelo Cult
    • CommentTimeApr 7th 2011
     
    gavilan:Well, I will join the group that says breaking in a Brooks saddle can be painful. It was probably a combination of things -and working till 11 pm may have been one of them- but the ride last night was extra long, and not in the 'woo, this is so much fun I don't want it to end' kind of way... Maybe my butt is extra sensible but ooooh boy, was I feeling the new saddle!
    In any case, I have been quite happy with it so far, so we'll see how it does.

    With all the discussion about conditioning and all, I had to google proofide, obeanauf and neatsfoot oil.... but what about mink oil? Boot World sells it to water proof and condition their leather products. Anybody has tried that?

    I haven't done anything to my saddle yet and I am worried that it will get wet during the few days of rain that we have in the future (like... tomorrow!). I think I'll just wrap it in a plastic bag and a bandana (so I don't slide) for now, but I'm looking at a more, uhm, permanent solution... :)


    The proper Brooks seat cover is only $9.99 so it's not crazy expensive like most things Brooks.

    I don't know about mink oil. You're concern with most leather treatments like Neatsfoot oil is that it over softens the leather and cause it to sag prematurely.
    • CommentAuthorSam
    • CommentTimeApr 8th 2011 edited
     
    gavilan: (I think) It took me about 2,000 miles to break mine and by that point I was thinking dark, dark thoughts about everyone on bikeforums.net who recommended Brooks to me along with the entire staff at Brooks.

    I think I proofed mine every 100 miles initially and then about every 500 miles and now it is perfect. Overproofing is def. a danger though and thankfully I have not been overzealous.

    As for rains, I'm still rocking it old school with a plastic baggie that promptly disintegrates, but oh well.