I have a Brooks B-17 Special in British Racing Green. I love it with my whole heart but have upon occasion neglected to treat it with care. I scraped up the top while unloading my bike from the back of a truck without being careful, and the surface of the leather is damaged. Also, I have accidentally let it get soaked several times when I forgot to cover it with a plastic bag and it got rained on. I have proofide which I have tried to doctor the scratches with, but they are still quite visible. Is there anything else I can do to keep my saddle as healthy & good-looking as possible? I am also wondering about if it would be ok to use green shoe polish on the saddle to keep it nice and keep the color up. (I know this may be a sacrilege and so I'm looking for lots of informed opinions before I try something that drastic on my beloved saddle)
Please share your thoughts and experiences. I make my bike and saddle work hard, they don't get babied, but I want to take good care of them, too. Thanks!
It's normal to scuff up the leather and on occassion have it completely drenched by rain. It'll survive under normal care. I think these saddles age very well with occassional scuff marks left on the saddle. I think they add character.
Treat the top and bottom with Proofhide and it will be fine. My older team pro (30K miles or so on it over the last 20 years) was treated with neatsfoot oil on the underside and saddle soap on the top. It's the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat on. It's got some scars and some minor leather cracking, but so do I.
I've got a brand new team pro that I'm in the process of grinding my a$$ off with, and I'm trying the proofhide only route. I put it on top and underneath. I shudder to think of how long it will be until it's sweet like my other one.
Getting wet occasionally won't kill it, but never treating it after it gets wet may. You don't want the leather to completely dry out, get brittle, and crack.
Get some proofhide and treat it underneath at least once, and on top a couple times a year. If you get it soaked, treat it top and bottom after it dries out.