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  1. #1
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    Brooks Mattress Saddle restoration

    Hi,

    My mid-60s Raleigh Sports features a Brooks mattress saddle - vinyl cover, metal frame with horizontal springs, the whole thing sitting on two more vertical springs.

    This type of thing.

    Between the horizontal springs and the vinyl cover of the saddle is a thin board material of some sort, which ideally would have given the saddle some stiffness. This board has become soft (I've had this happen on three of these saddles) and the whole saddle is becoming uncomfortable.

    Has anyone figured out a way to replace that board, or any other good way to spruce up one of these original Brooks saddles? They're quite comfortable when they work properly.

    Thanks,
    Jim

  2. #2
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Hmmm, well... most of the other mattress saddles I have ridden have consisted of 3 layers: Vinyl top, horse hair or hair of some type??, and springs. I would figure that your saddle should be a-ok without the board underneath. That may not be entirely accurate... I am a bit drunk at the moment....
    |^^^^^^^^^^^^^^| ||
    |......GO.BROWNS........| ||'|";, ___.
    |_..._..._______===|=||_|__|..., ] -
    "(@)'(@)"""''"**|(@)(@)*****''(@)

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by mkeller234 View Post
    Hmmm, well... most of the other mattress saddles I have ridden have consisted of 3 layers: Vinyl top, horse hair or hair of some type??, and springs. I would figure that your saddle should be a-ok without the board underneath. That may not be entirely accurate... I am a bit drunk at the moment....
    I wonder how many times I've taken advice from someone on these boards without knowing that they were drunk.
    1988 Miele Azsora

  4. #4
    Great State of Varmint Panthers007's Avatar
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    I love my Brook's B66! Most comfortable saddle I've ever had on a upright 3-speed machine.
    How do you keep an idiot in suspense?

  5. #5
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jtgotsjets View Post
    I wonder how many times I've taken advice from someone on these boards without knowing that they were drunk.
    haha... many many times I am sure. Fortunately, I don't drink very often.
    Last edited by mkeller234; 10-05-09 at 08:31 PM.
    |^^^^^^^^^^^^^^| ||
    |......GO.BROWNS........| ||'|";, ___.
    |_..._..._______===|=||_|__|..., ] -
    "(@)'(@)"""''"**|(@)(@)*****''(@)

  6. #6
    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Some of them had sheet of pasteboard, others a thin layer of plastic sheet. I have never bothered to rebuild one, I just keep a few around and when one goes bad it gets tossed in a box and swapped for one in better shape. I only use them on my beater bike(s). My good Raleighs get the Brooks saddles, usually a B66.

    Aaron
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  7. #7
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    The original saddle for this bike would be the mattress saddle, and a leather saddle is a bad choice for me for a number of reasons. First, I don't want to put a $100 (or more) saddle on a bike that gets locked outdoors all the time. Second, I don't want to worry about maintaining the leather in rain, slow, etc., and finally, I don't really like the way those saddles look. These days people are sticking bits of leather on anything more than 10 years old, going for some sort of imagined authentic look.

    Maybe I should stock up on these things before people start wanting them again.

    Mine must be the one with the pasteboard. I will look in to getting some material and cutting it to size. Maybe a thick plastic.

  8. #8
    rhm
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    multimodal commuter rhm's Avatar
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    You may be able to find a saddle cover designed for this type of saddle. Not a modern padded one; those are made for something else. But the original covers on these saddles were designed to be replaced as necessary. I got an old Troxel one on ebay a couple years ago, and it's quite nice. With luck you can find good old name-brand saddle covers.

    Try removing the cover without braking anything; you probably have to bend a couple of steel clips, and you may have to pop a couple rivets. Then the whole cover should come off. At that point you should be able to replace whatever needs replaced, including the whole thing.

  9. #9
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by jimn View Post
    ...and finally, I don't really like the way those saddles look. These days people are sticking bits of leather on anything more than 10 years old, going for some sort of imagined authentic look.
    To be fair, you're riding around on a bike that actually is 40+ years old. But I can get you on the aesthetics thing.

    Maybe I should stock up on these things before people start wanting them again.
    I just don't see that happening.
    1988 Miele Azsora

  10. #10
    Senior Member ozneddy's Avatar
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    You would be supprised what a "Good" motor trimmer can do !
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  11. #11
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Today's garbage is tomorrow's treasure...

    Though I have little use for the old mattress saddle, I do believe that one day in the not too distant future they just might have some value. The interest in vintage bicycles is growing rapidly creating an increased demand on what is basically a fixed supply. Sooner or later, people will want to restore bicycles that did come fitted with the mattress saddle when attempting to complete accurate restorations.

    Three or four years ago I would not go to the trouble of removing an old bell from a vintage bicycle. If I did have to remove the bell I simply tossed it away. Well, guess what? Some of these old bells now fetch twenty dollars an up. Who knows what they will sell for in a couple of years. Today, I tuck all vintage bells away as I believe that their value is on the rise. And, of equal importance, I recently mounted a vintage bell on one of my bikes. Again, something I would not have done a couple of years ago.

    So, do not think that any of the old components on your most recent find are of little or no value. Tomorrow's market just might want what you threw away today. My opinion, of course.
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  12. #12
    Junior Mint jimn's Avatar
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    I hear you.

    The thing is, if you can get one in good shape, they are pretty comfortable. They just don't stay in good shape for too long, because the materials are so old.

    Brooks should re-introduce those, with a flexible carbon-fiber board replacing the horsehair and pasteboard. After all, what is carbon fiber but the horsehair of today?

  13. #13
    Senior Member randyjawa's Avatar
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    Gotta tagget already...

    Actually, I have a couple of Brooks mattress saddles in The Old Shed, one white and one black. I am going to try each on a recently acquired Mercier. The first old Mercier I have found with cantilever brakes.
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