Bicycle Mechanics - Restoring the leather on a saddle? (San Marco Rolls)
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01-15-13, 10:11 PM
Hi there! I came upon this used Rolls saddle at a LBS for super cheap so I just had to buy it. Although it looks alright in its current condition, it wouldn't hurt to make it look newer if possible. There are some scuffs here and there but no real damage. The leather itself is pretty dried out actually..
Anyways, I wanted to know if there was anything I could possibly do to somewhat restore the saddle back to its original self or atleast make it look newer. Maybe some sort of oil? Or retouch it with some dyes? Enlighten me fellas!
^^ The saddle is brown rather than the original black btw.
01-16-13, 09:31 AM
If it was a higher polish saddle like a Brooks or any leather more shoe-like I would say to treat it with saddle soap or some sort of proofide. Since the San Marco saddles are more like suede, look into a suede conditioner first. That may darken the color on its own, but at the very least it will protect the saddle against further cracking. One like this should do you fine: http://www.amazon.com/Nikwax-Nubuck-Suede-Footwear-Waterproof/dp/B000PGS24A/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1358353821&sr=8-3&keywords=suede+conditioner
Apply with an old rag or just follow the directions on the bottle :-)
01-16-13, 09:38 AM
Anyways, I wanted to know if there was anything I could possibly do to somewhat restore the saddle back to its original self or atleast make it look newer.
Sell it and get something else if you dont like it as is..
I dont see anything significant.. its not dead perfect, but you got a slight cosmetic blemish price..
the thin leather is over dense foam , supported by a nylon frame.. the texture is intentional.
I have the same saddle.. sit on it and ride somewhere..
common leather conditioner or something will be fine , the cover is not structural , like a brooks .
Some people would value the "character" found on that saddle of yours (some people actually pay more for certain items that offer such character than they do for "mint" condition items of the same type).
I might consider "fixing it up" some if I was mounting it on a new, or nearly new bike. Otherwise, I'd ride that sharp looking saddle pretty much as is.
01-16-13, 11:07 AM
It never hurts to keep leather conditioned. Lexol is very good, get it at shoe repair places.
Any leather treatment for car seats would work fine as well.
I think that saddle isn't too far from "new" condition. It might be slightly faded, but you won't really be able to maintain its like new condition too long, especially if you do significant miles on your bike as these patterned suede finishes do wear out quite quickly to eventually look like semi polished/smooth leather....... But do avoid getting it wet as much as possible as it's porous surface could take on a rather nasty mottled look not far from mold.
As noted already, if you want a saddle that will really build up aesthetic character and can be more restorable in the future, you should use a leather saddle like a Brooks, Ideale (not in production anymore but can still be found in good used or NOS condition) or Berthoud instead.
01-16-13, 02:01 PM
Oil will ruin that leather, IMO. Something like Leather Balm might help. I'd leave it alone.
01-16-13, 06:15 PM
I don't think I'd touch it either. I have on occasion used Sno-seal very sparingly on a Concor that was getting dried out, but that saddle was more of a smooth leather than yours. If you try anything at all, I would put a bit on the underside where the leather wraps the frame, so you can see what change, if any, it imparts to the leather.
01-16-13, 06:41 PM
I don't see anything bad in that saddle (I'm a Rolls fan). :)
01-17-13, 04:04 PM
Thanks guys! It really isn't that bad condition wise. I'm actually digging the whole vintage look now..HA! But I'll definitely try Lexol or the suede conditioner that some of you suggested. Indeed, saddles are meant to be ridden on and worn out like our shoes are so you can't keep them in a like-new condition forever!
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