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Old 11-06-09, 06:17 PM   #1
robtown
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Cleaning a Belt Leather Saddle?

I picked up a Fuji lugged frame circa early 80's that has a Belt leather saddle. I have neatsfoot oil and the Brooks proofhide (sp?) that are good for treating leather. What I need is something that will clean the leather. It's worn and discolored but I think it will make a fine saddle once cleaned and treated.

Any suggestions?
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Old 11-06-09, 06:30 PM   #2
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I'm not sure what you could do to clean it, but I would bet the saddle is from the 70's. I'm guessing that you bought a Special Road Racer/S10-S.
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Old 11-06-09, 06:30 PM   #3
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You might try Lexol leather cleaner. I think there's better stuff available, but Lexol is reasonably priced and widely available.
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Old 11-06-09, 07:36 PM   #4
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Saddle soap?
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Old 11-06-09, 07:42 PM   #5
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I'd be afraid a strong cleaner would completely ruin the leather.

I bought a tin of proofide and applied it to my 1972 Belt saddle. A small thin film of it on top. A thicker film on bottom.
Apparently saddle soap contains very similar ingredients... lanolin and beeswax. I don't think it has any cod liver oil, though, which proofide does.

After applying a thin coat of cod liver oil, your saddle will be so healthy it will shine.. (Note: it isn't all that smelly either.)
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Old 11-06-09, 07:47 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by beech333 View Post
I'm not sure what you could do to clean it, but I would bet the saddle is from the 70's. I'm guessing that you bought a Special Road Racer/S10-S.
Give that man an award! That looks like the saddle and the bike. This one is 25" and will probably fit me (my favorite size to restore). I'm keeping the saddle and probably selling the Fuji off to a guy at the Volvo shop that wants to get into cycling. It's a medium light purple frame with Suntour components and a Maxy crankset. I'll post pictures when she's done - but it may be a while.
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Old 11-06-09, 08:21 PM   #7
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Oooh!!! The purple one. Scottryder has one of those. It is a beautiful bike that I am quite jealous of. Hmmm. I may need to talk to him about that...


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Old 11-06-09, 08:26 PM   #8
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Saddle Soap with a stiff brush followed by treating with your neatsfoot oil. You may have to hit twice with the saddle soap, depending on how deep the dirt is.
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Old 11-06-09, 08:56 PM   #9
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Yeah - Saddle Soap, Lexol Leather Cleaner - Nikwax has a product as well. I think they're all basically the same and all recommend exactly the procedure Bicyclerider4life mentioned.
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Old 11-07-09, 10:50 AM   #10
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yes, except for that last part: neatsfoot oil. If you really want to "soften" that saddle, and risk the resulting sag and uselessness, then oil away. Remember that neatsfoot oil COMPOUND, which is mainly what is sold over the counter, is "compounded", meaning it's got a lot of petroleum solvents added to aid in penetration and evaporation (and make it cheaper, too)...solvents which will dry your saddle out again, faster, and even more. PURE neatsfoot oils are available, but you have to look for them.
I'd avoid the oils (all of 'em) altogether and, after cleaning with saddle soap, treat with "just enough" Proofide...but YRMV...
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Old 11-07-09, 11:19 AM   #11
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Saddle soap to clean it well. Let it dry thoroughly, then coat both sides with Proofhide, buffing the top when dry to a haze.
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Old 11-07-09, 04:17 PM   #12
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I had both an S-10-S and an S-12-S "Special Road Racer" back in the '70s. I don't know about the other guys posting, but I used to use saddle soap to clean the saddles. I also used those bottles of shoe coloring with the the sponge applicators on top, and followed it up by polishing them with shoe polish. I used to ride in all kinds of weather, and the shoe polish seemed to help with the elements (as did a plastic bag).

FYI

http://www.classicfuji.com/S10-S_Model_Years_Thumbs.htm
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Old 11-07-09, 08:09 PM   #13
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I used some leather cleaner that came with a leather recliner. It did a fair job. I'll probably follow with a small amount of neatsfoot oil on the bottom side because it's quite dry. A very light coating of proofhide and a buffing should leave the top with a nice patina. When I get the saddle on my Motobecane GR I'll post a picture.

The frame isn't as purple as Scottryder's shown above. I'd say it's closer to a light violet. Though scuffed up some compounding polish and wax is improving the frames looks. I have it disassembled for cleaning and gradual rebuild as I clean and polish the parts. The next step is servicing/replacing the bearrings in the BB, headset, and wheels.
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Old 11-07-09, 09:05 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beech333 View Post
Oooh!!! The purple one. Scottryder has one of those. It is a beautiful bike that I am quite jealous of. Hmmm. I may need to talk to him about that...

I used Lexol on the saddle ... then maybe followed up with some brown shoe polish.




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