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Leather saddle comfort(9 posts)

Leather saddle comfortHoward
Apr 23, 2001 7:11 AM
I presently have a leather Selle Bassano Vuelta saddle on a recently purchased road bike. Despite having ridden many bikes over many miles, this is my first leather saddle. I have heard that leather saddles, though possibly uncomfortable at first, eventually conform to the contour of the rider's derriere (a little French there) and end up being the most comfortable saddle of all.

My question is - are there any rules of thumb as to how long this break in period might be? I have ridden the bike on 10 different occassions now and there doesn't seem to be any breaking-in signs in the near future. (Presently, the saddle feels like I'm sitting on the top tube (wrapped in leather, of course) - not a desirable situation at all.) Clearly, I could opt for another saddle and toss the leather saddle out. Just wondering about how much longer cyclists have to endure such situations.

Thank you.
Some stuff that might help...Cory
Apr 23, 2001 8:16 AM
I don't know that saddle at all, but I've ridden Brooks leather saddles for nearly 20 years. Assuming yours is a solid piece of thick leather on a metal frame (not leather covering a shell), here's what I've noticed and what might help:
Setup is critical. If it's nose-high, you'll get painful pressure on the Painful Pressure Region. If it's nose-low, you slide off the front and have to keep pushing yourself back. As little as 2-3mm seems to make a difference to me. For a start, try setting it up so the rear of the saddle is maybe 1/8- or 3/16 inch higher than the front, then make SMALL corrections until it feels good. You want to be sitting on the wide back portion, not on the nose.
Don't rub in huge amounts of anything anybody tells you to rub in, including hot water, neatsfoot oil, motor oil or anything else. Brooks sells some stuff called Proofide, about $6 a can, that will slightly soften and somewhat waterproof the leather. I've used it on one of my saddles twice a year since 1980 (four bikes), and it's still in good shape. Use it every month or so for the first couple of months, then once or twice a year after that. If you can't find it anywhere else, check www.rivendellbicycles.com.
I've found the break-in difficulties to be exaggerated. If they're properly set up, Brooks are pretty comfortable right out of the box, and get better after 200-300 miles.
If you have a leather covering over a shell, of course, none of this will help--plastic doesn't break in, and it's as good right now as it's ever going to be.
There's a lot more on this on the Web somewhere, but I can't remember where and don't have time to look for it now. Try a search for Brooks Saddles, or maybe sheldonbrown.com
Brooks related questionmr tornado head
Apr 24, 2001 6:15 PM
I picked up a Brooks(used) last year. Got it to work well, but over January and part of Feb I didn't ride at all. Then I got it out again, and even after tensioning the saddle out as far as it'll go, it still feels like I'm riding on the top tube - only support is down the middle. Any hope for this, or was it just too wore out when I got it? Does anyone "refurbish" Brooks saddles?
Possible fix for Tornado Head's problemCory
Apr 25, 2001 8:33 AM
Haven't tried this, but I read it on the rivendell website (Grant loves Brooks saddles): He says you have to be very careful about turning that tension nut, especially if the saddle's wet, because you can stretch the leather. If that happens, the sovereign fix is to drill a few holes (no, I'm serious) along the sides of the leather just above the edge, then lace under the saddle with a shoelace. Pull it up as tight as you want it, then tie it off and forget it for another 20,000 miles.
re: Leather saddle comfortpusher
Apr 23, 2001 9:08 AM
had a Brookie on a frame too for years - stay with it, they get really comfy. Can't remember how long it took to get there, but it was worth it - prob speed things up when it gets wet, just like shoes..
re: Leather saddle comfortsteeveo
Apr 24, 2001 5:17 AM
I takes far longer than 10 rides, my son. I finally noticed this month that my Selle Italia was nicely shaped to my contours & VERY comfortable. Sigh. What a great feeling. It's the feeling I dreamed of when I put in on my bike in 1985. No misprint.
re: Leather saddle comfortHoward
Apr 24, 2001 8:53 AM
So if a leather saddle only takes a mere 16 years to reach the very comfortable stage, why stick with it all that time?
re: Leather saddle comfortCarl J. Lewis
Apr 24, 2001 7:23 PM
Currently using two Brooks saddles and have two more in the boxes as reserves. Should last me a lifetime from what I have read.

Very, very comfortable with beautiful classic look about them. Guesstimate they took 500 miles or so to feel really comfortable, though cannot say they were ever terribly uncomfortable...just continue to get better and better. Mine are the "pre-softened" versions, if that really ever made a difference.

Treat once, twice year with Brooks Proofide, don't get them wet(use showercap as cover if necessary), and do not overtighten them("if not broke, don't fix it").

Good site regarding Brooks information, which may be of some benefit to you...http://www.permaco.com/
re: Leather saddle comfortsteeveo
May 2, 2001 8:56 AM
Curiosity and bullheadeness. Besides, it was comfortable enough all those years; just not Heaven like now.