I commute on Brooks part of the time and Proofhide the saddles top and bottom once or twice a year (one coat on top, two on the bottom). Once the grease has soaked into the top overnight I wipe off the excess with paper towels. I often commute to work in my office pants (Dockers, Haggar, etc) and mostly they are black or dark blue. Occasionally I have ridden home on a wet saddle. I haven't noticed staining. Maybe I would if I wore lighter coloured pants.
Yes, a new leather saddle will stain pants, esp when wet. I put a plastic grocery bag over my Brooks in bad weather.
I like the Topeak rack that allows panniers and a wire basket on top:
For lighter loads I can mount a rack bag:
I bought the disc version so it'll work on future bikes.
There is a long tradition of Black shorts used with leather saddles for a reason. :rolleyes:
Dang, tractorlegs, I like your set up better than my old one (easily the best solution for me at the time). Something else that caught my eye was your bar ends- they appear to be pointing outward.
There are plenty or racks out there that would be fine. Some of it depends on your bike and some on your preference.
What kind of bike do you have, does it have disk brakes, is the chain-stay long enough that you don't need to worry about heel strike? Some situations may make some racks better for you then others. What is your budget, do you care about materials, etc. Do you want a rack that integrates with a specific set of bags for a quick attatchments, etc?
I recently got a Tubus rack and am very impressed with quality, carrying capacity, and its weight. Racktime is a good option. Old man Mountain racks get good reviews. Thule has some interesting systems If you don't need to carry as much weight, something from Blackburn, Topeak, Planet bike, etc would probably serve you just fine.
For waterproof panniers, Ortlieb are great. For commuting you could probably get a pair of front panniers to use on a rear rack. There are plenty of other good options to, depending on desired quality and price target.
When I got my very first Brooks saddle I made the mistake of treating it liberally with neatsfoot oil (top and bottom) so it would break in quickly. Don't do that! Not only did I significantly shorten the life of the saddle, but it never stopped significantly staining clothes.
On saddles I owned after that, I started treating the bottom only of a well heated saddle with SnoSeal. This has been successful in a (not too) conditioned saddle with good weather protection and no staining. I should mention that there are a million different ideas on how to prep a saddle for a long life.
That's old school! Great job.
(1) Rack design
I strongly prefer racks where the brace is extended in the back; many have small triangles to be light and cheap, but most bags will flex and periodically get caught in teh spokes.
You can use bags with very rigid backing, but these are harder to find than good racks. (Unless you make panniers out of plastic buckets/cat litte containers. I hear they are very waterproof, if not always stylish.
I found the black Brooks saddes were likely to stain lighter clothing after applying proofide/wax, or when they were wet.
(a) All the models now seem to be available in honey - lighter colored saddles won't stain your clothes
(b)If it rains frequently or if you park your bicycle outside, you'll want to protect a leather saddle (plastic bag, saddle cover, etc)
Leather won't stain your pants, but there are a lot of things people put on leather, and these will stain. A new Brooks saddle, kept dry, is probably okay; the people at Brooks know how to stain leather. But if it gets wet, or someone has treated it with too much proofide or neatsfoot oil or shoe polish, it will definitely stain. The best way to avoid this is to get a natural colored saddle. Whether that's called "honey" or "brown" is another question; I think what was called "brown" once is called "honey" now, and the ones they call "brown" now are stained to get that color.
Don't listen too much to those who tell you how to "break in" a saddle. If you ride on it, it will gradually change as it gradually wears out. Ideally the trajectory from a new saddle to a worn out one should take something like 50 years or somewhere above 50,000 miles. Treating it with neatsfoot oil or a lot of proofide (or a hammer, or olive oil, or... well, pretty much too much of anything) will reduce those numbers. The more you treat it, the more you reduce them. I've seen saddles ruined with less than a thousand miles of riding.
Proofide is good stuff, when used as needed. If used unnecessarily, not so much.
Hope the OP is no longer overwhelmed. Let's recap: 11 different rack recommendations, and Brooks saddles either stain like you went in your pants or they don't. Hmm.
The first question I would ask is - does your bike have rack mounts? Second question is - what kind of clothing are you going to be carrying to work?
If your bike has rack mounts, easiest answer is to just buy a Topeak rack -
Amazon.com: Topeak Explorer Bike Rack: Sports & Outdoors
The Topeak rack will carry everything - Topeak quick release bags, non-topeak bags, panniers, etc.
A Topeak bag is nice, to, you can get a trunk bag that expands into having panniers (MTX TrunkBag DXP) -
Amazon.com: Topeak MTX Trunk Bag DXP Bicycle Trunk Bag with Rigid Molded Panels: Sports & Outdoors
Here's the bag not expanded -
Here's the bag when it is expanded -
If you're commute biking, you probably also want the rain cover -
Amazon.com: Topeak MTX Trunk Bag EXP & DXP Bicycle Trunk Bag Rain Cover: Sports & Outdoors
(Not sure why the amazon listing has a silver one in one pic, and a yellow one in another pic...hrm...)
If you prefer to have seperate, larger panniers, topeak also sells a waterproof trunk bag -
P.S. Some of this depends on how much money you have to spend. That's one very nice option. Another option is to buy cheaper stuff, then to just put a big-ass ziploc bag inside your bike bag and waterproof it that way. :-)
No. 1 on keeping clothes at work. Waterproof bags are good; so are non waterproof bags as long as you use plastic bags for your stuff. Non-waterproof bags are cheaper. For a rack, lots of good choices but I would pay attention to length to avoid heel strike. Keep it simple and have some fun. Personally I keep my clothes at work. I have one bag that attaches to a rack (bags designated as front are good a good choice for commuting since they are not humongous) that I use for repair kit, coffee thermos, lunch, extra clothes, rain kit, etc. Then I use my messenger bag for paperwork which keeps it nice and light.
STP usually carries nice rack every once in a while. I got a racktime rack there for like $25.
Right now, they have this blackburn rack which looks nice for around $20 shipped if you have the latest deal flyer.
Blackburn TRX-1 Ultimate Touring Rack - Save 50%
I've had them in pouring rain. Rain hard enough that the streets were almost up to bottom bracket and flowing at good clip. Nothing got even damp after over an hour in this w/o the rain cover. Everything was sensitive was in ziplocks anyway but they would have been even if I had the rain cover!
Only downside is that it's fairly heavy.
Yes, the bike has rack mounts. I'll be carrying a casual change of clothes(people wear cargo shorts flip flops and t-shirts to work...I dress a bit nicer than that, but don't need a garment bag) plus a couple meals and snacks.
I liked the topeak attachment system, and the transforming trunk/pannier bag when I looked at them at REI. The medium size expanding trunk bag didn't fit my ipad though. Can't deal with that.:lol: I did like the idea though, I might end up with one later.
I think I'm going to get the topeak super tourist rack that mr. Igh suggested, and use timbuk2 tandem panniers for now. I can easily imagine myself with a basket+shopping panniers later, and like the topeak attachment system. So it'll fulfill my immediate needs and has some room to grow if I end up collecting different bags for different purposes.
But I can't see myself carrying around the expanding trunk bag every day, for purely shallow fashion reasons. Dedicated panniers could still be a bit of a pain, and i like the separate compartments and reasonable size of he timbuk2 tandem panniers/messenger bags. So they win.
Actually I feel better with all the conflicting information. Instead of being nervous about making the right choice, it tells me that it doesn't really matter, and I can probably pull the trigger safely on anything.
My bike is a jamis Hudson sport DLX, if that makes any difference.