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  1. #1
    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    interesting way to break in a Brooks

    My Brooks B-17 Champion has about 1,200 miles on it. My wife borrowed my bike to do a sprint triathlon (12 miles cycling). I forgot about her riding on the Brooks with a wet swimsuit. Afterward, I went to sit on it the Brooks sagged badly. I let it dry out for three days -- it stiffened up, but has much more of the "hammock" effect -- quite comfortable, although I'm going to lace up the flaps to get it a litte more taught.

    Seems like riding on it with a wet swimsuit aged it five years

  2. #2
    The quieter you become... Falkon's Avatar
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    I have to wonder, because my ass sweat wets the saddle. I guess I'm just curing it with the salt.
    Quote Originally Posted by TechKnowGN
    San Jose has to be the most boring place I've ever been. And I live in Ohio.

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    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    Just an added benefit to sweating your ass off, I guess.
    ugh.

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    hello roadfix's Avatar
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    My Brooks regularly gets soaked and sag from my ass sweat. But they're nice and hard as a rock the very next day...

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    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by roadfix View Post
    My Brooks regularly gets soaked and sag from my ass sweat. But they're nice and hard as a rock the very next day...
    Yeah, my Brooks was way more than just sweat soaked -- it was saturated with water. I thought it might be ruined. I would still prefer to break it in by the traditional way of riding it, but am glad it will be able to be salvaged.
    ugh.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Garfield Cat's Avatar
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    There's a restaurant in Santa Ana with 3 bars. One bar has unique barstools. They're horse saddles. So I was thinking that a cyclist bar would have brooks saddles as its barstools. How's that for breaking in the Brooks?

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragboy View Post
    My Brooks B-17 Champion has about 1,200 miles on it. My wife borrowed my bike to do a sprint triathlon (12 miles cycling). I forgot about her riding on the Brooks with a wet swimsuit. Afterward, I went to sit on it the Brooks sagged badly. I let it dry out for three days -- it stiffened up, but has much more of the "hammock" effect -- quite comfortable, although I'm going to lace up the flaps to get it a litte more taught.

    Seems like riding on it with a wet swimsuit aged it five years
    The reason why mine broke in quite suddenly at 800 kms was because of a situation somewhat similar to that. But I don't talk about it much here because anytime I've mentioned what worked for me, there are a million posts telling everyone never to do what I did. <<shrug>> Mine broke in at 800 kms and I've put approx. 30,000 kms on it in total ... and it's still the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. Obviously getting mine wet didn't destroy it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Garfield Cat View Post
    There's a restaurant in Santa Ana with 3 bars. One bar has unique barstools. They're horse saddles. So I was thinking that a cyclist bar would have brooks saddles as its barstools. How's that for breaking in the Brooks?
    Hey.. I never thought of dumping a couple of beers on my brooks to break it in!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by ragboy View Post
    Seems like riding on it with a wet swimsuit aged it five years
    What?... you're wife aged five years... or the brooks?

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    Quote Originally Posted by ragboy View Post
    My Brooks B-17 Champion has about 1,200 miles on it. My wife borrowed my bike to do a sprint triathlon (12 miles cycling). I forgot about her riding on the Brooks with a wet swimsuit. Afterward, I went to sit on it the Brooks sagged badly. I let it dry out for three days -- it stiffened up, but has much more of the "hammock" effect -- quite comfortable, although I'm going to lace up the flaps to get it a litte more taught.

    Seems like riding on it with a wet swimsuit aged it five years
    Water is when happens when leather "breaks in". Water softens the leather up, and it stretches when soft.

    With military boots, they fill them with water for a bit, and then wear them until dry.

    With dress leather boots, you're supposed to wear them for 5-7 days, and then wear them every other day so that the sweat from your feet keeps them properly humidified, else they'll dry out and get stiff again.
    ~

  11. #11
    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    The reason why mine broke in quite suddenly at 800 kms was because of a situation somewhat similar to that. But I don't talk about it much here because anytime I've mentioned what worked for me, there are a million posts telling everyone never to do what I did. <<shrug>> Mine broke in at 800 kms and I've put approx. 30,000 kms on it in total ... and it's still the most comfortable saddle I've ever owned. Obviously getting mine wet didn't destroy it.
    I'm a believer now in that theory Machka. I'm still going to tie it up however as the sag is a tad much for me. Feels like I'm mounting a horse!
    ugh.

  12. #12
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    The Romans and other ancient peoples soaked leather in cold water to make it pliable so that it could be formed over a "muscle mock-up". That's how they made those fancy macho looking cuirass's in the statues of Julius Caesar and such. Doing the same with a Brooks usually won't ruin it, it'll just make it move faster. Possibly going too far, too fast - or not.

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    Yeah, I was a little concerned when I rode 80 miles in rain all day when I got my brooks. I think that broke the thing in more than the previous 200 miles I had put on it!

    Oh, and to really tick everyone off.....I cover the underside of mine with lard or boot grease every once in a while to help it repel water. :-)

  14. #14
    Senior Member Nermal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post

    With military boots, they fill them with water for a bit, and then wear them until dry.

    With dress leather boots, you're supposed to wear them for 5-7 days, and then wear them every other day so that the sweat from your feet keeps them properly humidified, else they'll dry out and get stiff again.
    ~

    And when you're done, those boots look like hell, and so do your feet. I much prefer the dress leather boot method.
    Some people are like a Slinky ... not really good for anything, but you still can't help but smile when you shove them down the stairs.

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    With military boots, they fill them with water for a bit, and then wear them until dry.

    ~
    This is simply not true. HAHA...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobi View Post
    This is simply not true. HAHA...
    It's 5:00 AM and I've got nobody around who's been through the service to ask,
    but...
    -I've heard a number of variations on getting them wet from people who HAVE been through, and
    -if you Google "breaking in combat boots", five of the first six results that actually tell a way to do it, involve variations of getting the boots wet and wearing them until dry.
    ~

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    It's 5:00 AM and I've got nobody around who's been through the service to ask,
    but...
    -I've heard a number of variations on getting them wet from people who HAVE been through, and
    -if you Google "breaking in combat boots", five of the first six results that actually tell a way to do it, involve variations of getting the boots wet and wearing them until dry.
    ~
    We break in our boots by wearing them, not by getting them wet. At least, we don't get them wet for the sole purpose of breaking them in.

  18. #18
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobi View Post
    We break in our boots by wearing them, not by getting them wet. At least, we don't get them wet for the sole purpose of breaking them in.

    When I was in the Army some thirty-odd years ago we certainly did and it worked well.

  19. #19
    Time for a change. stapfam's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    It's 5:00 AM and I've got nobody around who's been through the service to ask,
    but...
    -I've heard a number of variations on getting them wet from people who HAVE been through, and
    -if you Google "breaking in combat boots", five of the first six results that actually tell a way to do it, involve variations of getting the boots wet and wearing them until dry.
    ~
    One of the "Old" ways to wear in boots was to "P" on them. Softened them up but the flies got a bit troublesome. In my Early days as a recruit- We wore Leather boots and we also did a lot of route marches that towards the end- Went through Marshes- Rivers- Streams. Then 10 miles back to barracks on the road and two things happened. First you got the boots to fit and secondly you got blisters. After 3 marches and blister on blister- The boots fitted and you never got another blister.
    How long was I in the army? Five foot seven.


    Spike Milligan

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by onbike 1939 View Post
    When I was in the Army some thirty-odd years ago we certainly did and it worked well.
    I'm glad that you did your time thirty years ago, when I sure it was much more tough. However, just like bicycle technology, boot technology and leather treatment have come a LONG way in thirty years. I'm sure that it worked for you at the time, but there are much easier, faster ways now.

  21. #21
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    One of the ways to quickly 'break in' leather hiking boots is to fill them with warm water, let 'em soak for a half hour, and 'walk 'em dry'. Works well. It probably emulates the natural 'break in' process, replacing sweat and other pleasant foot-fluid with warm water. I suspect it works the same on a Brooks. . .tho' I'm using the 'slow and steady' process on mine, but using SnoSeal saturation and sweat.

  22. #22
    actin' the foo ragboy's Avatar
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    UPDATE: So I laced up my dried-out Brooks over the weekend and took it out for a ride. Lacing it up took out the sag -- it's more comfortable now than it ever was before getting soaked.

    It may not be the preferred method for the faint of heart, but it worked wonders for my Brooks.
    ugh.

  23. #23
    Senior Member onbike 1939's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jacobi View Post
    I'm glad that you did your time thirty years ago, when I sure it was much more tough. However, just like bicycle technology, boot technology and leather treatment have come a LONG way in thirty years. I'm sure that it worked for you at the time, but there are much easier, faster ways now.
    Do tell?
    The leather used in Brooks saddles remains the same as it ever was.
    As for Army boots, are they no longer leather? I am aware that leather can now be pre-softened but the whole point of soaking your boots and wearing them was that they took the shape of your feet.

  24. #24
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    Only a leather saddle can develop a ridge that parts one's cheeks as a hatchet.
    Riding in the rain produced this shape so repeatably that most riders
    used a plastic saddle cover before Cinelli introduced the first useful
    plastic saddles.


    http://yarchive.net/bike/leather_saddles.html

    this guy is NOT a fan of the rain break-in.
    I don't even use the offensive term "Fred." -- Sheldon "All Cyclists Are My Friends" Brown (1944-2008)

  25. #25
    Banned Bikepacker67's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by timhines View Post
    Oh, and to really tick everyone off.....I cover the underside of mine with lard or boot grease every once in a while to help it repel water. :-)
    I use melted beeswax myself, but then again, I broke in a B67 by riding it for about 100 miles, and when I could see the beginning indentations, took a ball-peen hammer to the leather.

    Worked like a charm.

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