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Old 05-27-11, 04:10 PM   #1
katezila
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Brooks Care for First Timers

So I've been riding my first Brooks (Champion Flyer S) for a few months and probably managed to put 150-ish miles on it. But I was wondering, what is the best advice for taking care of Brooks saddles?
I've been using VO saddle care, only twice. There was no proofide available from my usual sources and I needed to order from VO anyways. I love the smell!
Other then that I think this brooks may have been returned. The leather was already a little discolored when I got it. I bought it from Permaco for $84 so I don't mind. I'm glad to have gotten one at a price I can afford.

Recently I noticed a crack (?) in the leather near a rivet when working on the bike. What does this bode for my future? I'm going with the "your fine it's just your first expensive saddle" mentality but I've heard of Brooks saddles tearing at the rivets.


So first time Brooks owners, beyond the staggering number of approaches to breaking them in, how do you care for them?
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Old 05-27-11, 04:25 PM   #2
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Are you certain that it is a Brooks? Sorry for the seemingly dumb question, but those rivets don't look right to me for some reason. My new Brooks B17 has chrome rivets and the only Brooks I own that look like those rivets are older saddles, like 20 years old.

The other Brooks that I have feature the large copper rivets.

Anyways, the "crack" sort of lines up with the rivet, but I'd be more concerned if the line intersected the rivet. You shouldn't be putting any weight on that portion of the saddle, so it probably won't get any worse. Perhaps it was crushed in shipment either to the supplier or to yourself?

Make certain that you use the conditioner on the bottom as well as the top. If you ride the bike frequently, I'd say use the conditioner every 3-4 months or so. No more than that is needed. If you ride in the rain, use a cover and you might even try to cover it underneath as well, to prevent water from spraying up underneath and soaking it.
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Old 05-27-11, 04:28 PM   #3
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Just for grins I went to the Brooks website and the photo of the Flyer S does show chrome rivets. Hmmmmmmm?

There is also a more pronounced downward bend at the rear of the saddle. Yours just doesn't seem to "match" up.

Last edited by TugaDude; 05-27-11 at 04:29 PM. Reason: added more info
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Old 05-27-11, 04:34 PM   #4
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Well now I'm interested. It is stamped. My camera is dead but I'll take a few photos of the saddle over all in an hour or so. I'm thinking that Permaco (http://permaco.com/) has been slowly selling off their stock. I read somewhere they used to be the American distributer.
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Old 05-27-11, 04:36 PM   #5
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Oh! Sorry, this might help, my saddle is not a Champion Flyer, just a Flyer.
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Old 05-27-11, 04:41 PM   #6
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Proofhide. I figure a Brooks costs a claprode of money so why cheap out on a $10 tin of goop that should, if used properly, last you a lifetime.

Apply some to the bottom and don't buff it out. Apply a little to the top and rub it in. Don't go nuts. Too much proofhide is worse than none at all.

Don't get it wet if possible. If it does get wet don't ride on it until it is dry. Brooks sells a fancy cover that does absolutely nothing for the bottom which would be worthless unless you have full fenders. A plastic shopping bag pulled 'round to the bottom and tied around the seat post works well and stores up under the seat.

That crack looks fairly cosmetic to me and only in the top surface. It could have been on the surface waiting to happen and might even have been "patched" by the leather supplier so it was invisible until now. Maybe you, or someone else, scratched it with a foot or another bike part that rubbed against it. It's in a weird place for a stress crack and not near enough to the rivet if you ask me to be caused by stress by the direction of the crack/scratch.

That's just my $.02
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Old 05-27-11, 05:22 PM   #7
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The back of the saddle is not finished like a Brooks Flyer. Here is a 3 year old Flyer, notice the stamped line that runs the perimeter of the saddle. Something is not right. You are aware the Flyer is a sprung B17, right?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg P5270091.jpg (99.8 KB, 15 views)

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Old 05-27-11, 06:04 PM   #8
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Does this saddle have one or two seatpost rails. I bought a Brooks from permaco a few years ago,it was an earlier version of the "Flyer," I don't remember the model number, but it also has small brass rivets.



I use it all the time, just treat it the way you would,I doubt the crack.is serious unless you can see an indication on the underside.

Marc
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Old 05-27-11, 06:05 PM   #9
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you don't sit there so don't worry about it.
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Old 05-27-11, 07:05 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by illwafer View Post
you don't sit there so don't worry about it.
Haha way to sum it up!

Irwin it's nice to see someone else with a saddle from permaco. Mine is also a single rail.
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Old 05-27-11, 07:36 PM   #11
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The crack I see in the picture is nothing to worry about.

Proofide is good stuff but don't overdo it. A new saddle can go several years without any Proofide at all. An old dry saddle may need a little. But go easy on that stuff.

Try not to let your saddle get very wet, and if it does, let it dry out thoroughly before you ride it.

The following combination is a recipie for disaster: Apply lots of proofide, let it get soaking wet, and ride it that way.

A new Brooks saddle is pretty hard. That's how it's supposed to be. Don't try to soften it. It is true, that a saddle will soften over time. This may, or may not, make it more comfortable.

There's a lot of advice about Brooks saddles on the forums, and I don't mean to reject any or all of it; but before you listen to anyone (including me!) I strongly suggest you read the whole range of opinion; and, when in doubt, refrain from doing anything except (1) riding it and (2) keeping it dry.
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Old 05-27-11, 08:00 PM   #12
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My Brooks Pro has stood up to 50k mi / 80k km of riding and only minimal maintenance. It is showing its age, but it is very comfortable.
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Old 05-27-11, 08:22 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by katezila View Post
Oh! Sorry, this might help, my saddle is not a Champion Flyer, just a Flyer.
There is no "just a Flyer" it's a Champion Flyer, not a Champion Flyer Special. Mine has the same rivets, but it also has the same stamped line as in #7 above.

Permaco was the U.S. distributor for both Brooks and Sturmey Archer. You're lucky you didn't buy one of their awful Persons saddles.

Don't try to soften your Brooks by smearing Proofide or anything else on it. Just ride it.

Last edited by Grand Bois; 05-27-11 at 08:34 PM.
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Old 05-27-11, 08:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
Does this saddle have one or two seatpost rails. I bought a Brooks from permaco a few years ago,it was an earlier version of the "Flyer," I don't remember the model number, but it also has small brass rivets.



I use it all the time, just treat it the way you would,I doubt the crack.is serious unless you can see an indication on the underside.

Marc
It looks more like a B67.
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Old 05-28-11, 05:51 AM   #15
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I usually find Brooks saddles comfortable right out of the box, no breaking in period needed. But if the underside feels particularly dry, I'll give it a slathering of Proofide--just the underside. And I'll wait to do that again until it feels dried out. That might be in a year or so.

Neal
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Old 05-28-11, 06:11 AM   #16
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Glad to see this thread - I too was wondering as I recently purchased my first Brooks (B67).....it is certainly hard but after only 2 weeks of occasional rides I find it pretty comfortable, and it is just starting to give indications it is forming to my sit bones. I have not applied anything to it, and was worried about the number of sites that tell you to soak it in oil, etc. (and live with the staining for weeks)....now a number of well respected C&Vers (you guys) all agree "just ride it and keep it dry".....done.

BTW: when I was 15 I tried to break in the leather saddle that came on my AO-8: I'd heard they got really comfortable if you oiled them and "worked" them - so I did: soaked the saddle in motor oil, then took a ball peen hammer to it.....it broke in pretty quickly, but for some reason was never as comfortable as I expected.....(I still have the saddle as a reminder of the folly of youth).

Mark
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Old 05-28-11, 10:52 AM   #17
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Start to be concerned when it looks like this:



I'm still riding it. It only has about 29,000 miles on it. I"ve tried all suggested methods of caring for a Brooks saddle. Yet, all of mine start to crack in the same area. I wrote Brooks about the problem. Here is my email and their reply:

I've been using Books pro saddles for the last 30 years. I presently have 5 bikes with Brooks saddles. My problem is the leather on all my saddles starts to crack along the front edge of the backplate. I presently have a saddle with about 24,000 miles and I don't think it will last another 3,000 miles before the leather tears. Two of the other saddles I have are showing moderate signs of cracking. I proofhide them about every 4 months and I don't ride in wet weather. Should I treat them more or less often? What am I doing wrong?
Thank You.

There are TWO very important maintenance routines for ensuring longevity of a Brooks Saddle. One is Proofide, which you appear to be dealing with correctly. The second, and actually the most important, is tensioning. It is essential to check the profile of the leather every six months and to add more tension at the first signs of sagging. Cracking along the front edge of the Backplate is a very clear sign that you have not been adjusting the tension – or at least not soon enough, or not by enough .

Best Regards


The funny thing is: I always thought I was over-tensioning my saddles. I keep them very firm.
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Old 05-28-11, 01:29 PM   #18
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I had that happen to a Brooks Pro. Mine is just a little worse; I stopped riding it. I believe I ruined it by overtensioning mine, and I believe you did the same to yours. I do not, for even a moment, believe what Brooks said in their email.

Since I ruined the first one, I have not tensioned any of my saddles, and they are all holding up fine. Except for a B17 that got too soft, perhaps because I put too much proofide on it, or perhaps because the leather wasn't up to the job.
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Old 05-28-11, 02:01 PM   #19
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Don't try to soften your Brooks by smearing Proofide or anything else on it. Just ride it.
This. Just ride it and don't get it wet.

I don't see why anyone would bother putting conditioner on leather that's in good shape. If it starts to dry out than break out the Proofhide or whatever conditioner you have on hand.
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