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  1. #1
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    Brooks Proofhide Alternative?

    Alright, alright, I know this subject is a beaten horse, and many people have incredibly differing opinions on it.

    But, recently, after clearing out my brother's room (he left for college, it's now my bike crap storage unit), I found a product called Chelsea Leather Food. It's a leather nourishing/waterproofing/polishing cream that claims to do all those thing without ridding the leather of its natural qualities and without stretching the leather or stitching.

    I mean, it's even made in England like Brooks. Have you guys ever used this, or heard of it?

    Oh, and the reason my brother had it is because he's a soccer player and used it on a very specific set of his cleats made of Kangaroo hide...yeah, weird.

  2. #2
    Bicycle Adventurer banjo_mole's Avatar
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    Beats me, but not buying proofhide was a cheapout mistake on my part, this many miles later and still just barely little bumps in the saddle.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Ziemas's Avatar
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    I've used Sno-Seal for years.

  4. #4
    Rustbelt Rider mkeller234's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ziemas View Post
    I've used Sno-Seal for years.
    I just started using sno-seal. So far so good.
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  5. #5
    Senior Member ftwelder's Avatar
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    I ended up with a saddle that I was sure was completely gone. I soaked it in olive oil and it is holding up well.

  6. #6
    Freewheel Medic pastorbobnlnh's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ftwelder View Post
    I ended up with a saddle that I was sure was completely gone. I soaked it in olive oil and it is holding up well.
    Must be an Italian saddle? Goes better with pasta!
    Bob
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  7. #7
    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Lexol is great. I used i to bring a Wright's saddle back from the dead, Lazarus-fashion.
    "Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long."
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  8. #8
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    I've been thinking about that VO saddle care stuff. I also have a VO saddle.
    1988 Miele Azsora

  9. #9
    Senior Member Capecodder's Avatar
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    This is the finest leather conditioner known to man. A trick when using any conditioner is to heat the leather with a blow dryer then apply the conditioner, this way it really gets into the leather and works much faster. http://shop.treatleather.com/mpbw-4oz.aspx

  10. #10
    Senior Member jonwvara's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Capecodder View Post
    This is the finest leather conditioner known to man. A trick when using any conditioner is to heat the leather with a blow dryer then apply the conditioner, this way it really gets into the leather and works much faster. http://shop.treatleather.com/mpbw-4oz.aspx
    I think Red Wing also markets that same stuff--looks the same, anyway, and is also described on the container as a blend of pine pitch, mink oil, and beeswax. You can probably get it any any shoe shop that carries Red Wing boots. It is great on boots, though I've never used it on saddle. I don't think there's anything magic about the leather on a saddle, though Brooks likes to make you think there is. Any good leather treatment is probably fine. Has anyone ever had the experience of using a product on a Brooks saddle that DIDN'T work well?
    "Progress might have been all right once, but it has gone on too long."
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  11. #11
    aka Phil Jungels Wanderer's Avatar
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    Red Wing Boot Oil will really soften, and stretch leather - makes it pretty soft stuff!

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  12. #12
    RFC
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    I'm disappointed. This is a rational thread. No ravings about the secret ingredients in Proofhide (bee poop).

    Yes, I have also used SnoSeal successfully. Wax is wax. I have also used a hairdryer to warm up the saddle and SnoSeal a bit. Although, right now in AZ, that is not necessary.

  13. #13
    Gear Hub fan
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    Berthoud also makes a saddle leather conditioner for their saddles which also claim to be vegetable tanned leather, like Brooks. Wallbike carries it and you get more product for your money than from Brooks.
    Gear Hubs Owned: Rohloff disc brake, SRAM iM9 disc brake, SRAM P5 freewheel, Sachs Torpedo 3 speed freewheel, NuVinci CVT, Shimano Alfine SG S-501, Sturmey Archer S5-2 Alloy. Other: 83 Colnago Super Record, Univega Via De Oro

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    I just emailed the chief chemist at Caswell Adhesives, Anthony Horner.

    This product is used to make leather more pliable, and, thus, is not suitable for use on saddles. Anthony even went as far to say that he just uses Proofhide on his own Brooks -- small world.

  15. #15
    Senior Member xizangstan's Avatar
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    It would be a costly mistake to use the wrong stuff. Yet I can't help thinking that the stuff Brooks sells in the little can for $xx has them laughing at all of us schmucks. I'm sure Brooks is merely repackaging the stuff which is probably really cheap to produce.

    We don't want to soften the Brooks saddles too much, as the leather will then stretch, requiring readjustment until we run out of room to readjust. But I for one certainly would like to protect the leather from unexpected rain, dew or snow.
    Who is John Galt?

  16. #16
    guy on a bike
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    I just use proofide. There are plenty of other places to cheap out in life. If I'm going to spend that much on a saddle, I'll buy their conditioner, too.

  17. #17
    another retro grouch Mr IGH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xizangstan View Post
    ...one certainly would like to protect the leather from unexpected rain, dew or snow.
    I never treat my leather saddles, I just use a plastic grocery bag when the weather gets nasty. Here's a B-72 I put into service in ~1982, had to re-rivet it last winter:

  18. #18
    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Proofide is fairly expensive, but a little bit goes a long way. I still have plenty left in the tin that came with my Team Pro 25+ years ago.

  19. #19
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JJPistols View Post
    I just use proofide. There are plenty of other places to cheap out in life. If I'm going to spend that much on a saddle, I'll buy their conditioner, too.
    you gets points for actually spelling it correctly, but it's capitalized: Proofide
    Yes Virginias, there is a right way and lots of wrong ways to "treat" an all-leather saddle, which is a different thing compared to the leather covering on equestrian saddles and plastic-shelled bicycle seats. Why? Because it's a weight-bearing, tensioned membrane (to use some "engineer jargon"). If you use anything on it that over-softens the leather it will lose tension at the least, or tear out at the rivets (worst), and you can't reverse the process.
    I have used many, many products over the years and learned the hard way...you can use whatever you like, but I'll continue to use a small, occasional, application of Proofide, even though it's not the only thing on the planet that's suitable and certainly not the cheapest. I bought the little can for about $6 many years ago and still haven't used it up, though I have owned probably 8 Brooks saddles, plus some Ideales and others that all have been treated with it.

  20. #20
    guy on a bike
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    oh goody I get points!

  21. #21
    Stop reading my posts! unworthy1's Avatar
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    everybody else (except John) is getting demerits ...Brooks is making a list and Christmas is coming...

  22. #22
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    I have a dozen plus saddles of various manufacture to maintain and that's a lot of overpriced beef tallow and bees' wax. I've been using Obenaufs in lieu of Proofide because my last can of the stuff actually had mold in it and Obenaufs is much less expensive. Like an previous poster said, wax is wax, and I only use enough to waterproof the saddle, not to soften it. I'll let my lardass do the softening.
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  23. #23
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    The Wax remains when the oils evaporate .. thoroughly Proofide treated my Pro model, saddle 30 years ago, it absorbed half a tin , when warmed to 100F upside down in the Oven.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bumpalong's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    The Wax remains when the oils evaporate .. thoroughly Proofide treated my Pro model, saddle 30 years ago, it absorbed half a tin , when warmed to 100F upside down in the Oven.
    Now, "use Proofide sparingly" seems to be such a mantra I've wondered whether Brooks is subliminally brainwashing us from the buttocks up. But if that is so, what danger is there in putting on a good amount of the stuff? I too have bought old Brooks saddles that have easily absorbed 3-4 solid coatings in succession in a single day (usually when left in the sun), and haven't seemed waxy or oily in the least afterward. In fact they've seemed much more pliable and ... (what would the opposite of brittle be?) What are the dangers of using too much, and when does one know they've gotten close?

  25. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumpalong View Post
    Now, "use Proofide sparingly" seems to be such a mantra I've wondered whether Brooks is subliminally brainwashing us from the buttocks up. But if that is so, what danger is there in putting on a good amount of the stuff? I too have bought old Brooks saddles that have easily absorbed 3-4 solid coatings in succession in a single day (usually when left in the sun), and haven't seemed waxy or oily in the least afterward. In fact they've seemed much more pliable and ... (what would the opposite of brittle be?) What are the dangers of using too much, and when does one know they've gotten close?
    The dangers?
    see here:
    http://www.bikeforums.net/showthread...oken+in+brooks
    1988 Miele Azsora

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