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Old 07-31-05, 04:09 PM   #1
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The truth about proofide and brooks saddles

so is proofide really the only substance you should use on your brooks saddle? seems to me that something like mink oil or saddle soap would do the same thing. would it be a bad idea to use either of these products instead of the proofide? proofide is expensive and you dont get very much. does brooks just want more of our money or is there truth to their claim that only proofide should be used?
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Old 07-31-05, 04:30 PM   #2
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For the last 12 years I've used Snow-Proof or Sno-Seal on my Brooks saddles. I have yet to have one spontaneously combust or suffer any other ill effects.
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Old 07-31-05, 06:35 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by modmon
so is proofide really the only substance you should use on your brooks saddle? seems to me that something like mink oil or saddle soap would do the same thing. would it be a bad idea to use either of these products instead of the proofide? proofide is expensive and you dont get very much. does brooks just want more of our money or is there truth to their claim that only proofide should be used?
Saddle soap is a leather cleaner. Products like Mink Oil, Glove Leather Conditioner etc., are designed to make the leather softer, not what you want your Brooks to do. A tin if Proofide is what, $5 or so? And it lasts more than several years when it is used correctly. So on balance I would say spend the big bucks, use Proofide and have your saddle last as long as it should.
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Old 08-01-05, 09:59 AM   #4
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So what does Proofride do? Does it condition, soften, protect or all of the above?

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Old 08-01-05, 10:22 AM   #5
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You don't want your Brooks to soften like a baseball glove. Doing so will allow the leather under your sit bones to collapse a bit, putting more pressure on the paraneal area.

Funny the number of posts to this board concerning a $4 difference in the price of this or that.
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Old 08-01-05, 01:21 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by * jack *
It's beeswax-based, and it seals/conditions the leather, preventing it from cracking over time.
It keeps the leather supple, and because of the wax, it protects the leather from moisture, which will ruin it.
Soap and oil might be good for shoes and baseball gloves, but not for your Brooks.
Definately not a substitute for Proofide.
Sorry, but it does nothing of the kind but merely provides a small degree of weatherproofing to the top of the saddle. Proofide does nothing to condition and Brooks is careful to make no claim that it does so. The new saddle is hard as the tanning and forming processes have leached out the natural oils contained in the leather. The Brooks' method of "breaking-in" depends on the body weight breaking the dry fibres at the position of the sit-bones, forming two depressions. Fine if it works but this depends upon the thickness of the leather and the rider's weight and some poor souls, including myself, never achieve this. Again, as the years pass the leather oxidates as there is no lubrication between the fibres within the leather and cracking eventually occurs. For this reason I use a leather conditioner which means the two depressions are not formed but rather the leather becomes more supple and acts more as a hammock supporting the rider. if your'e interested in the method I use a search in touring should turn up mt post with the details.
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Old 08-01-05, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nomo4me
You don't want your Brooks to soften like a baseball glove. Doing so will allow the leather under your sit bones to collapse a bit, putting more pressure on the paraneal area.

Funny the number of posts to this board concerning a $4 difference in the price of this or that.
It's not so much the cost as the availability (to me at least). I can ride over to Wally-World and pick up a jar of Sno-Seal for $4. Done and home. Getting Proofride is on-line, order, pay for shipping ($$), wait, wait, wait. Granted I could be a little more forward thinking and order a new tin when I buy a seat or order crap from someplace that actually carries it.

Then again, it's just human nature to seek out alternatives.
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Old 08-01-05, 02:24 PM   #8
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im fine with using proofide, i just wasnt sure if it was just marketing crud. my new b17 narrow is pretty comfortable out of the box. but ive been trying hard to break it in. i sit the bike outside in the sun then apply the proofide and let it dry in the direct sunlight. does it help to aim for rumble strips?
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Old 08-17-05, 08:40 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by * jack *
It's beeswax-based, and it seals/conditions the leather, preventing it from cracking over time.
It keeps the leather supple, and because of the wax, it protects the leather from moisture, which will ruin it.
Soap and oil might be good for shoes and baseball gloves, but not for your Brooks.
Definately not a substitute for Proofide.

Here they are, in the order they appear on the tin:
Tallow, Cod oil, Vegetable oil, Paraffin wax, Beeswax, Citronella oil

I don't know if this means tallow is the most abundent of the ingredients but it's possible - as it's possible any of the other solids are the most abundant. (likely not the liquid oils since Proofide is a solid...

Proofide does contain beeswax but to say it's "beeswax based" seems somewhat speculative. Maybe "wax, tallow and oil based" fits better?

Man, if for no practical reason than general interest, I'd love to know the proportions of each of the ingredients.
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Old 08-17-05, 03:38 PM   #10
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Since it's back to life...
Brooks uses a big ole hunk of leather. You can treat it like any other big ole hunk of leather, like say good pair of boots. A lot of blather about not getting it wet or only using special concoctions is just that: useless blather. The penalty for being wrong is what? Ten year service life versus twenty?
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Old 08-17-05, 05:09 PM   #11
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Are you guys ready to throw rocks at an infidel?

When 100s of miles and regular Proofide treatments didn't do the job, I was ready to throw my Brooks saddle into the landfill. In desperation, I tried Lon Haldeman's (Race Across America Champion) alleged secret: I soaked the saddle in motor oil for a few hours in the baking sun, wiped it down and have been riding comfortably ever since. That was about five years ago.

Strangely, my next Brooks saddle for another bike didn't seem to need any breaking in. Probably because my butt was what actually needed the conditioning in the first place.
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Old 08-17-05, 06:48 PM   #12
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If you can get Dubbin, that has very similar ingredients at a fraction of the price.
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Old 08-17-05, 06:55 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by * jack *
it protects the leather from moisture
No it doesn't.

Put as many coats of Proofide as you want on it, then sprinkle some water on it. The water sinks right in and creates little raised spots. Why do you think Brooks sells saddle covers and advises they should be used (along with fenders) in the rain?

Proofide doesn't protect your saddle from moisture.
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Old 08-17-05, 08:04 PM   #14
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You can use untinted Kiwi shoe wax--the "neutral" color. It is a very high-grade paste wax that buffs up nicely, protects the leather and blends out scuffs without leaving anything that lifts off on clothing. (It also is great for furniture, much finer than most furniture-grade waxes.)
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Old 08-17-05, 08:08 PM   #15
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Honey B67 arrived in the mail today.

Heated in the sun for a bit, liberally applied Proofide, top and bottom.
The saddle drank it up and developed a wonderful deep reddish tint.

Acid test: sprayed saddle with hose. Water beaded and rolled off.

Based on the Proofide ingredients - oils, waxes - and that little test, I'd say liberal application of Proofide, ensuring the leather is saturated not just coated, makes it quite water resistant.

*** EDIT *** CHenry: I've used Kiwi neutral on an old Brooks I brought back to life. Great stuff for shoes and saddles! The downside to Proofide is it leaves your saddle smelling of Citronella. Kiwi preserves the natural leather smell.
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Old 08-17-05, 08:18 PM   #16
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Even better, you can get the Kiwi neutral at Safeway or CVS, and it is pretty cheap.
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Old 08-18-05, 06:52 AM   #17
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Has anyone tried to "Case" the leather? I've used the technique in regular leather working. You wet the leather, DO NOT SOAK IT. Then start to shape it to whatever form you want. In the case of a saddle you would wet the leather and ride the saddle. It should conform to the shape of your backside in a few rides. Then you let it dry and treat it with whatever leather conditioner you want. There was an article online describing it somewhere.


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Old 08-18-05, 07:55 AM   #18
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Quote:
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You can use untinted Kiwi shoe wax--the "neutral" color.
I thought I was the only one.
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