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Old 11-26-08, 12:38 PM   #1
metalchef87
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How to restore a 35 year old Brooks Saddle?

Hi. I recently bought a 1973 Schwinn Contenintal and it came with a Brooks Saddle that is still usable but in pretty rough shape. I really want to use it, but I need to make sure it isn't going to fall apart on me. Does anyone know how to restore one, or at least reseal it? The pic below doesn't really do it justice, but it is all cracked and flaking all over, which makes me sad



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Old 11-26-08, 12:51 PM   #2
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I think it looks great the way it is.
New Brooks look too new, almost like plastic - they have no character.
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Old 11-26-08, 01:39 PM   #3
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Try Brooks Proofide first. Apply it liberally and let it soak in for a few days. Repeat. This should improve it but won't make it look like new. Are there any tears around the rivets?
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Old 11-26-08, 01:41 PM   #4
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Looks like what I'm riding now on my new Nashbar touring frame. Mine is about 23 years old or so.
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Old 11-26-08, 01:49 PM   #5
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On my Raleigh, I didn't do the proofide thing. I went ghetto and used some Kiwi wax shoe polish. I know I should have used better stuff, but I did it anyway. I was pretty happy with the result. It helped seal the surface where the hide was exposed. The only downside is if you wear anything but black pants, you'll end up with a black butt anyway, at least for a while.
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Old 11-26-08, 02:33 PM   #6
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I had a badly dried saddle that I wrapped in a paper towel soaked with glove oil. Stuck it in a plastic bag and went on a two week business trip. Came home and repeated. After several cycles, I put proofide on it and it was good to go.
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Old 11-26-08, 02:57 PM   #7
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Why not buy a nice shiny new plasic saddle and send that nasty old Brooks to me - I'd make sure it was environmentally disposed of - (IMMEDIATE RECYCLING!)

I think it looks great as it is!
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Old 11-26-08, 03:01 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pastorbobnlnh View Post
Try Brooks Proofide first. Apply it liberally and let it soak in for a few days. Repeat. This should improve it but won't make it look like new. Are there any tears around the rivets?


+1 on trying Proofide first. That plus some butt polish should start to restore some surface to the saddle, and if you have any serious weak spots, will show you where they are.

if it's weakened, you just have to let it go.

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Old 11-26-08, 03:18 PM   #9
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did you pick that up off ebay from a guy somewhere in WI? I see his listings alot I've thought about going to look the guy up and talk to him if hes not too far from me
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Old 11-26-08, 03:48 PM   #10
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Lots of good advice on here, but why dont you just restore it as best you can then set it on a mantle somewhere and not ride it. I mean, its 35 years old for gods sake. Sure, it'll probably go longer, but you dont want to kill a fine old specimen such as that. If you ride it, it might start tearing around the rivets or fail totally.

I say 'retire' it as 'mantle art' and buy a new 'young whipper-snapper' Brooks.



Better to retire it with dignity than tear it up riding it.
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Old 11-26-08, 04:01 PM   #11
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I got a couple of busted ones you can hang on the mantle.
I like to soak them in neatsfoot oil. probably no better or worse than any other treatment, cheap though,
How did you like doing business with that guy? I see his listings and he always has something interesting. Prices look good too.
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Old 11-26-08, 04:31 PM   #12
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This may shock and horrify some of you, but I took some medium then fine wet or dry sandpaper (dry!) and sanded down the rough spots before applying Proofide.

It seemed to work.
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Old 11-26-08, 04:39 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rabid Koala View Post
This may shock and horrify some of you, but I took some medium then fine wet or dry sandpaper (dry!) and sanded down the rough spots before applying Proofide.

It seemed to work.
Which model did you do this to and how did it look after the sanding and Proofiding? Pictures, please!
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Old 11-26-08, 06:40 PM   #14
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did you pick that up off ebay from a guy somewhere in WI? I see his listings alot I've thought about going to look the guy up and talk to him if hes not too far from me
Yes it came from a guy in WI. I caught it for 60 dollars. He seemed to be rather knowledgeable about the bikes he sells, and they are very quick to ship, it came via fedex in 3 days.

It came in today and I put it together, it needed a couple of spokes and the rear wheel was bent, fixed it though. Repacked all of the bearings and lubed the hell out of the chain. I personally think it could use new cables and a new chain, as well as new tires, but it rides perfectly as of right now.

I took the pressure out of the tires and took them off to fix the wheels and they still had the original schwinn tubes in it, 35 year old tubes!!! Besides a little bit of rust and of course the not so well taken care of Brooks Saddle it is in really good shape.

The saddle is extremely comfortable to ride though...I wish it wasn't so beat up. There aren't any tears near the rivets. Thanks for all the advice, I think I will order the proofide, but before then I think I will give it a good soak in leather oil. I will definitely let you know how it works out.

P.S. I emailed the folks at Brooks in england to ask what they thought to do about it, also if they would restore it for me...we'll see what they say.
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