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  1. #1
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    Wear on cycling shorts/seat cover?

    Back in the spring I put a new seat cover on my bike. I made the seat cover myself using a piece of blue jean material I had left over after making a pair of cutoff jeans. I have been riding the bike wearing the cutoff jeans ever since. I do have the problem of both the seat cover getting worn quickly and the cutoff jeans getting worn quickly. For some reason, I'm not surprised.

    I have been seriously thinking about going back to regular cycling shorts and I was wondering if I could still, sensibly, use a blue jean cover on the bicycle seat or not. What kind of wear and tear should I expect on the shorts? This is definitely an area that I know nothing about. I don't mind the seat at all and have no reason to replace it other than the old cover was junk and the new cover is getting quite well worn already. Considering the fact that I can make a new seat cover using only one side of one leg of a pair of blue jeans I can get four seat covers from a pair of cutoff jeans.

    Worse case scenario can someone suggest material to use for a seat cover that is readily available that won't breakdown/wear fast when riding in cycling shorts and/or blue jeans. For local rides I would continue riding in cutoffs but on longer rides I would use the cycling shorts.

  2. #2
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
    Worse case scenario can someone suggest material to use for a seat cover that is readily available that won't breakdown/wear fast.
    Leather.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Loose Chain's Avatar
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    Alligator wears well.

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  4. #4
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    Okay I did forget one thing in my question. Something that won't wear down fast and that won't wear lycra/spandex down fast. I would think leather would wear lycra down pretty fast. Or am I mistaken.

  5. #5
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
    Okay I did forget one thing in my question. Something that won't wear down fast and that won't wear lycra/spandex down fast. I would think leather would wear lycra down pretty fast. Or am I mistaken.
    I've ridden tens of thousands of kilometres on Brooks saddles, wearing lycra/spandex shorts ... and my Brooks saddles haven't worn my shorts out yet.

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    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    No leather or crafts shops here , so I got chamois , out of the Auto Care department.

    smooth topgrain is better.. , but only slight.

    Re Shorts, more deteriorating washing them and running them thru the dryer.

  7. #7
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    Re Shorts, more deteriorating washing them and running them thru the dryer.
    And that doesn't deteriorate them at all, so you can tell how deteriorating cycling on a leather saddle is!!

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    bikenh, Denim is great, for jeans. I like the thigh/saddle interface as friction free as possible. Cycling shorts, whether classic or touring/mountain bike style and a smooth leather saddle (my touring bike has a vinyl saddle) works for me. I have two or three pairs of cycling shorts that are nearly 10 years old (PI and Sugoi), but I've had others that barely lasted a year. Quality counts.

    If your saddle is comfortable for you and you just hate the idea of replacing it, have it professionally recovered.

    Brad

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    Quote Originally Posted by Machka View Post
    I've ridden tens of thousands of kilometres on Brooks saddles, wearing lycra/spandex shorts ... and my Brooks saddles haven't worn my shorts out yet.
    My shorts usually last 2-3 years on Brooks, so it's possible they're getting some kind of wear from the saddle. But at 4,000-5,000 miles per pair, that's way down on my list of things to worry about.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    No leather or crafts shops here , so I got chamois , out of the Auto Care department.

    smooth topgrain is better.. , but only slight.
    And you used the chamois for a seat cover...or am I misunderstand what you said???? I would think the chamois as a seat cover wouldn't last any time at all.

  11. #11
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Chamois is a kind of leather, usually from sheep or goats (although, it might come from another animal, I could be mistaken on the animal).

  12. #12
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    Okay, you got me on ignorance on that one. I would have never guess it was anything related to leather. Maybe I'm thinking the wrong material. I got some research to do.

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    Blissketeer HokuLoa's Avatar
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    nice seat, is that pleather...??

    seriously, try your fabric store looking for leather/faux options. Smooth is better. I can't imagine the chaffe of a denim saddle for anything but the shortest, most casual rides...

  14. #14
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikenh View Post
    Okay, you got me on ignorance on that one. I would have never guess it was anything related to leather. Maybe I'm thinking the wrong material. I got some research to do.
    Bicycle shorts used to have a real chamois ... leather. Then more recently, they stopped making them with leather and started making them with antibacterial pads. But lots of people still call the synthetic pads a chamois, even though it really isn't.

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    Acutally you would be surprised. The blue jeans fit tighter around the legs than regular shorts. Their's no bagginess like you typically think of so I haven't had any kind of trouble as per say. I have on occasion had a spot of two pop up that wants to get rubbed but I think that has mostly been dependent on what I have been wearing underneath for underwear. I've rode 3 200+ milers so far this year and like 5 or 6 century rides in cutoff jeans and I've had no problem compared to what I use to have with baggy shorts as a kid on much shorter rides. I've ridden almost 3500 miles in the last 3 months. All of it in cutoffs.

    I do have to admit for the one area that I know does get rubbed I have used saran wrap as a bit of layer protection on the area when out doing 100+ milers and it seems to always work.

    I did buy a new pair of cycling shorts today. Boy how they have changed since I bought my last pair back in the early '90s. I'm not used to the 'form fitting' naturedness of the chamois on the inside. I'm use to a flat piece that has been sown in. I tried on several different pair ranging in 3 different sizes just to try to get use to the idea the new 'textured' chamois.

    I guess I have been away from the bike for a while haven't I.

  16. #16
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    You can still get the flat padding rather than the textured padding in shorts, but you'll probably have to look at spinning shorts or similar. But yes, it is a good idea to try on several pair of shorts before deciding on one you like.

    Back before the early 90s ... before the mid-80s ... there was no padding in shorts. In its place was a piece of leather shaped much like the flat padding in current shorts. Those shorts were usually wool as well.


    As for the seat cover, your LBS, or other cycling goods sources, should sell saddle covers, and I'm pretty sure that you should be able to get leather ... especially if the shop sells Brooks saddles. At the very least you should be able to get nylon/lycra covers.

  17. #17
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    I have say it has been a while since I last wore cycling shorts. Today proved it. Yesterday I managed to get ahold of some chamois and ended up doing a 'stretch' fit over the seat. I think it is going to hold pretty decent thanks to the way the seat is made. I went out today and rode just a little over 100 miles with the new seat cover and the new cycling shorts. I had gotten so use to riding in denim on denim that I had forgotten lycra can be a little on the slick side. At one point early on in the ride I found myself looking down at the seat as I thought the seat post bolt must have come loose as it felt like the seat was sliding around under my rear.

  18. #18
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    I know this is an old thread, but in a search I did for Brooks saddles, this post came up.

    I thought Brooks saddles did not require 'cycling shorts'? I thought that was the beauty of them, that you can ride in comfort without the need for cycling padded shorts?
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  19. #19
    Long Distance Cyclist Machka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by macteacher View Post
    I thought Brooks saddles did not require 'cycling shorts'? I thought that was the beauty of them, that you can ride in comfort without the need for cycling padded shorts?
    Yes ... and no.

    If you have a well broken in Brooks, you can cycle comfortably with unpadded shorts. But you may want the padded shorts for extra comfort, especially on long rides.

  20. #20
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    My understanding of the 'padding' in shorts is that it is more for moisture control than for padding, although that is another advantage. A leather saddle will probably tend to be less problematic in terms of moisture than a saddle with a plastic top... compare wearing leather shoes to wearing rubber boots.
    If you are wearing cotton or denim (like the OP back in the day when this thread was started) then you are much more likely to have moisture problems and run the risk of developing swamp-crotch.

  21. #21
    coprolite fietsbob's Avatar
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    Wool and leather chamois was the bike-short. the 'chamois butter'
    was sold, to re-soften the leather after washing.
    now synthetics wash easily, so people buy the stuff to rub on their skin.

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