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Old 11-20-05, 12:31 AM   #1
genericbikedude
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Breaking in a brooks--olive oil?

Just finished my new fixie--soma rush with a brooks B17. The damn thing hurts. I KNOW what sit-bones are now. Yikes. Sheldon's website mentions soaking a saddle in oil if you want to hasten the breaking-in. Has anybody ever used olive oil on a brooks? I got a bunch of it lying around, and I don't like buying things. Any reason (besides vague olive smell) that I wouldn't want to use this particular oil?
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Old 11-20-05, 01:11 AM   #2
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I think that the important thing is to soak the leather with an organic fat substance. I wouldn't advise olive oil for leather applications. If you have in your area a horse saddlery shop, go there, they have these oils and grease specific for leather treatment and softening. I apply Ricinus oil in my leathery stuff, beside softening, also avoids the leather cracks.

Last edited by caotropheus; 11-20-05 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 11-20-05, 01:23 AM   #3
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Don't worry about breaking it in. Put your ass on it and put some miles on it. Your ass has to break in to the saddle, and the saddle has to break in to your ass. The only way to do that is to ride it.
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Old 11-20-05, 03:05 AM   #4
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From looking at pictures of the B.17 saddle, I noticed that it doesn't have a center "channel" found on many other types of saddle which is supposed to alleviate numbness and promote better blood flow. I've always used a saddle with a channel, and from reading articles about the B.17, it seems to be very comfortable for most people. Is it because the leather gives way after breaking it in, that it doesn't exert pressure on your arteries? Just wondering...
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Old 11-20-05, 03:27 AM   #5
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Ever napped in a hammock?
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Old 11-20-05, 05:54 AM   #6
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I've always wondered about Brooks. Which breaks in first? Your nuts or the saddle?
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Old 11-20-05, 06:00 AM   #7
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The trick to breaking iin a Brooks is little and often. Dont do a big ride on a new Brooks. Try 5 miles/day for a week or 2 and your sit bones will create 2 dimples in the top. Once that happens you wont feel like you are sliding around the saddle annd can ride further.
Apart from an application of Proofhide, dont do anything to the leather. You dont want top soften the leather.
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Old 11-20-05, 06:33 AM   #8
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Reserve the olive oil for use only on your Italian saddles.
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Old 11-20-05, 06:55 AM   #9
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Breaking in a Brooks by soaking it will shorten the life of a possible lifetime saddle, why screw it up so you can ride in comfort two weeks sooner?

Sweat, heat, pressure, and hours in the saddle.

Certainly Proofhide, Obenauf's and maybe a little beeswax emulsified with either of these, but no soaking in olive oil.
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Old 11-20-05, 06:58 AM   #10
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As an owner of a Brooks CHAMPION STANDARD B-17, B-72 , and lastly a CHAMPION STANDARD NARROW, I speak from years of experience as to the best way to break it in. The more you ride, the more the leather will conform to your personal under carriage dimensions. I like proof-hide, but don't over do it. In the 70's guys would get that saddle soap that was sold at horse riding tack shops. It worked great. As to the soreness during the break in period, angle the nose of the saddle down ever so slightly in order to alleveiate pressure. These saddles don't need the groove or channel, because the leather "gives". Another benefit of leather is it's ability to breathe making it the perfect choice for summer rides during the hot time of year. In more than 37 years of riding,for me nothing compares to the comfort of a properly broken in Brooks. Other brands i've had or still have, Wright, Made in England, and also Ideale.
Long live these great vintage saddles!
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Old 11-20-05, 07:08 AM   #11
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Do NOT use olive oil, or any other vegetable oil on your saddle. It can turn rancid and you will have to throw the saddle away because no one will let it in the house. Use an oil specifically made for leather and use it very sparingly.
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Old 11-20-05, 09:13 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genericbikedude
Just finished my new fixie--soma rush with a brooks B17. The damn thing hurts. I KNOW what sit-bones are now. Yikes. Sheldon's website mentions soaking a saddle in oil if you want to hasten the breaking-in. Has anybody ever used olive oil on a brooks? I got a bunch of it lying around, and I don't like buying things. Any reason (besides vague olive smell) that I wouldn't want to use this particular oil?
So how much did you pay for the Brooks? Do you really want to risk that investment, not to mention oil stains on all of your bike shorts, because you were too cheap to spend a few bucks for a proper leather treatment product?
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Old 11-20-05, 09:17 AM   #13
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You paid $70+ for the saddle, so get some Proofhide and be done with it. You need only apply it once every few months or so. Resist the urge to oil the saddle. If you want, apply Kiwi neutral shoe wax once in awhile and buff it out.

Slow break-in is good advice; the saddle should be comfortable in a short while.
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Old 11-20-05, 09:42 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genericbikedude
Just finished my new fixie--soma rush with a brooks B17. The damn thing hurts. I KNOW what sit-bones are now. Yikes. Sheldon's website mentions soaking a saddle in oil if you want to hasten the breaking-in. Has anybody ever used olive oil on a brooks? I got a bunch of it lying around, and I don't like buying things. Any reason (besides vague olive smell) that I wouldn't want to use this particular oil?
Make it really nasty and add some garlic and Italian seasoning too.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:04 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
So how much did you pay for the Brooks? Do you really want to risk that investment, not to mention oil stains on all of your bike shorts, because you were too cheap to spend a few bucks for a proper leather treatment product?
You guys all surprise me. Everyone I talk to on the street (bike shop guys, messengers) advises linseed oil, every day for two months. Sheldon Brown gives the soaking idea (http://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html). Hastening the break-in with oil will lessen its life? SB seems to think that this will increase its life by preventing cracking. Legit diff of opinion?

Also, the thing does NOT hurt the jewels, but the flesh on top of my sit-bones is incredibly sore this morning from prolly about 25-30 'round town miles yesterday. The jewels are great.

Bike shorts? Please.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:06 AM   #16
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Years ago we used to use "Neats foot oil" (spelling) This was specifically made for leather. Don't know if they make it anymore. Used to get it in sporting good stores that sold heavy leather boots.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:12 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genericbikedude
You guys all surprise me. Everyone I talk to on the street (bike shop guys, messengers) advises linseed oil, every day for two months. Sheldon Brown gives the soaking idea (http://sheldonbrown.com/leather.html). Hastening the break-in with oil will lessen its life? SB seems to think that this will increase its life by preventing cracking. Legit diff of opinion?

Also, the thing does NOT hurt the jewels, but the flesh on top of my sit-bones is incredibly sore this morning from prolly about 25-30 'round town miles yesterday. The jewels are great.

Bike shorts? Please.
Did you read what Sheldon said about Proofhide in bule?? Others have alaready mentioned the badness of organic oil and there is such a thing as using oils that make leather too soft. Even with products recommended for leather, some are better for one appliccation,and others better for another.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:14 AM   #18
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soak a saddle in linseed oil every day for two months will give you a saddle that lasts about two years, tops. How many of those idiots actually ride a brooks? I bet some of us who posted in this specific thread have brooks that are over 20 years old.

I am not afraid of calling Sheldon Brown a carpet smoker on some topics, and this would be one of them.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:16 AM   #19
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
soak a saddle in linseed oil every day for two months will give you a saddle that lasts about two years, tops. How many of those idiots actually ride a brooks? I bet some of us who posted in this specific thread have brooks that are over 20 years old.

I am not afraid of calling Sheldon Brown a carpet smoker on some topics, and this would be one of them.
no--the word on the street is to rub linseed oil in every day for the first two months, and then after that like once a month. why ride a brooks if its not broken in?? youch. the soaking thing is supposed to be an only-once sort of deal
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Old 11-20-05, 10:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by genericbikedude
no--the word on the street is to rub linseed oil in every day for the first two months, and then after that like once a month. why ride a brooks if its not broken in?? youch. the soaking thing is supposed to be an only-once sort of deal
There is alot of BS on the street too...........
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Old 11-20-05, 10:22 AM   #21
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Neatsfoot oil and Lexol(a brand name) can be found at any decent western boot store/tack shop/etc. These will work. Proofide will also work. In my experience with two Brooks Professionals, the quicker break-in of an oil type treatment is well worth it.
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Old 11-20-05, 10:25 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fmw
Reserve the olive oil for use only on your Italian saddles.
And what would you use on an Ideale? Clarified butter?
Seriously, I've used Pecards leather treatment on leather saddles for 20 years.
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Old 11-20-05, 11:50 AM   #23
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bekologist
soak a saddle in linseed oil every day for two months will give you a saddle that lasts about two years, tops. How many of those idiots actually ride a brooks? I bet some of us who posted in this specific thread have brooks that are over 20 years old.

I am not afraid of calling Sheldon Brown a carpet smoker on some topics, and this would be one of them.
Hey, don't put words in my mouth or carpet in my pipe!

I have NEVER recommended linseed oil, never would, I can't stand the smell of that stuff.

I have also never recommended that anyone "soak a saddle ... every day."

I do recommend a one-time soak for those who desire an extra fast break-in.

I sell lots of Proofide, but for my own saddles I use neatsfoot oil. Several of my personal Brooks saddles date from the early 1960s.

You can read my actual advice on this topic at http://sheldonbrown.com/leather

Sheldon "Brooks" Brown
+------------------------------------------------------------+
| A custom loathsome to the eye, hateful to the nose, |
| harmful to the brain, dangerous to the lungs, and in the |
| black, stinking fume thereof, nearest resembling the |
| horrible Stygian smoke of the pit that is bottomless. |
| |
| Herein is not only a great vanity, but a great contempt |
| of God's good gifts, that the sweetness of man's |
| breath, being a good gift of God, should be willfully |
| corrupted by this stinking smoke. |
| --King James I of England and VI of Scotland |
+------------------------------------------------------------+
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Old 11-20-05, 12:38 PM   #24
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Neatsfoot oil on the UNDERSIDE of the saddle, just don't overdo it or you get a butt hammock.
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Old 11-20-05, 03:20 PM   #25
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I got some baseball glove oil from Modells for $1.29. Will resurect this thread and give results.

Also: when one smokes and/or munches carpet, are we referring to the same carpet here? Please clarify.
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