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Thread: Leather Saddle?

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    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Leather Saddle?

    I'd like to put a retro looking leather saddle on the project commuter type bike. But I do not have the kind of cash for a Brooks or other expensive saddle.

    I like the way these look.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/BICYCLE-LEAT...item232e6f6dd8

    And these.
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/121172888337...84.m1436.l2649

    Anyone have either of these? How do they hold up and ride?

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    Must... ride... more... Phil_gretz's Avatar
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    Why? What?

    Why not just start with a comfortable (for you) traditional bike saddle? Those contraptions you linked are heavy, over designed to replicate early suspension saddles, made with inferior leather, and are of suspect quality. Again, why? A commuter saddle has to stand up to the rigors of daily use in a wide range of conditions. Try something durable, but start at a bike shop, not on eBay...

    What saddles have you ridden so far? What characteristics worked for you, and what didn't? How long is the commute?

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    Senior Member Road Fan's Avatar
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    I'm skeptical that those low-price saddles will hold up for very long. I would save up for a Brooks, if you want that basic shape.

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    Senior Member MRT2's Avatar
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    I use a Brooks, and would recommend it. While I have no opinion about the above saddle, I have read good things about Velo Orange leather saddles like this one. They also make an unsprung one similar to the B 17.http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-1...FbAWMgodi2AAyQ

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    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Used brooks can be found; start looking on CL.

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    Senior Member Tim_Iowa's Avatar
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    I have the first saddle, a cheap brown leather brooks wannabe. I put it on a '77 Schwinn Speedster (3-speed) that I polished up.

    Review: Great looking, but not a great saddle. It's a knockoff of a Brooks B67 with the front spring of a B33. But, the springs are way too soft, as is the leather. This saddle is floppy side-to-side, so it saps some of your pedal power. The tension adjustment underneath the nose is laughably terrible; it won't hold tension at all and is nearly impossible to adjust. I had to take the saddle apart and jam a nut onto the tension bolt in order to hold some tension, otherwise the bolt slides all the way back in and the saddle is a noodle again.

    The leather is thick, real leather. But it's not stiff enough to be saddle leather. I'm going to try lacing the sides of the saddle together underneath in order to stiffen it up and make it marginally usable.

    Verdict: a fine saddle for show, but not for riding. At all. Scour the internet and forums for used Brooks saddles. They'll still be expensive; I've bought two (a Flyer and a B17 special) for $75 each. Half price on a Brooks is still more expensive than many saddles, but totally worth it.

    If you're seeking a retro-looking saddle, there are several modern saddles today with retro looks, brown material, springs, etc. But these direct-from-china saddles aren't worth your time or money.

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    Do you really want a 4-pound saddle?

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    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
    Why? What?

    Why not just start with a comfortable (for you) traditional bike saddle? Those contraptions you linked are heavy, over designed to replicate early suspension saddles, made with inferior leather, and are of suspect quality. Again, why? A commuter saddle has to stand up to the rigors of daily use in a wide range of conditions. Try something durable, but start at a bike shop, not on eBay...

    What saddles have you ridden so far? What characteristics worked for you, and what didn't? How long is the commute?
    Well, I want the look as well as the comfort. I was iffy on these as they look a bit over built.
    I've never had a leather saddle just regular gel and plastic ones. I'm looking for one I can ride for at least 5 miles one way.
    The bike I'm shopping for would be one that wouldn't see a lot of bad weather.

    I've been to 2 of 3 local bike shops and neither really had much in the way of saddle stock.

    Quote Originally Posted by MRT2 View Post
    I use a Brooks, and would recommend it. While I have no opinion about the above saddle, I have read good things about Velo Orange leather saddles like this one. They also make an unsprung one similar to the B 17.http://www.outsideoutfitters.com/p-1...FbAWMgodi2AAyQ
    I just can't justify 100+ on a saddle. Can't. But that link looks the part and the price is easier to swallow. Thanks!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Tim_Iowa View Post
    I have the first saddle, a cheap brown leather brooks wannabe. I put it on a '77 Schwinn Speedster (3-speed) that I polished up.

    Review: Great looking, but not a great saddle. It's a knockoff of a Brooks B67 with the front spring of a B33. But, the springs are way too soft, as is the leather. This saddle is floppy side-to-side, so it saps some of your pedal power. The tension adjustment underneath the nose is laughably terrible; it won't hold tension at all and is nearly impossible to adjust. I had to take the saddle apart and jam a nut onto the tension bolt in order to hold some tension, otherwise the bolt slides all the way back in and the saddle is a noodle again.

    The leather is thick, real leather. But it's not stiff enough to be saddle leather. I'm going to try lacing the sides of the saddle together underneath in order to stiffen it up and make it marginally usable.

    Verdict: a fine saddle for show, but not for riding. At all. Scour the internet and forums for used Brooks saddles. They'll still be expensive; I've bought two (a Flyer and a B17 special) for $75 each. Half price on a Brooks is still more expensive than many saddles, but totally worth it.

    If you're seeking a retro-looking saddle, there are several modern saddles today with retro looks, brown material, springs, etc. But these direct-from-china saddles aren't worth your time or money.
    Thanks, this was what I was afraid of.

    I'm looking for a retro-ish leather one. If I didn't want leather I'd already have bought one; I've a few neat older looking saddles. It's making the search harder, for sure!

    Quote Originally Posted by customleather View Post
    You might try to have a custom leather shop recover a seat you currently have and is comfortable for you already. My shop does this on a regular basis. You can contact me if you have any questions. If not try and look around for some leather shops that may be able to help you. We don't charge a whole lot for that kind of stuff and I can't imagine other shops either.
    Thanks but I don't have an old one that I could have recovered. The original saddle on the bike was some horrid thing with gel over unshaped solid plastic. Actually, I lie. I think that was a replacement.

    Quote Originally Posted by Al Criner View Post
    Do you really want a 4-pound saddle?
    The weight didn't enter into my calculations. My daily rider weights in the 40 pound range.

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    my Brooks cost less because I got it in 1975.




    [none you show are useful with newer seat post types)

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    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
    my Brooks cost less because I got it in 1975.




    [none you show are useful with newer seat post types)
    I wasn't born for another 5 years, LMAO!!

    The bike I'm gussying up is from I think 1985. I'm just decking it out like a much older bike. It has a standard seat post.

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    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Just picked up a Brooks for my Brommie at a bike swap the other week. $15. It's slightly 'distressed',but serviceable and still had alot of life left in it.

    Just gotta look around. Heck,a friend of mine once picked up a completely haggard bike for $25 at a yard sale because it had a decent Brooks on it. Pulled the saddle off and gave the rest to some friends to make a freak bike.

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    Senior Member bikemig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Just picked up a Brooks for my Brommie at a bike swap the other week. $15. It's slightly 'distressed',but serviceable and still had alot of life left in it.

    Just gotta look around. Heck,a friend of mine once picked up a completely haggard bike for $25 at a yard sale because it had a decent Brooks on it. Pulled the saddle off and gave the rest to some friends to make a freak bike.
    No. 1. Leather saddles are hard to destroy and they can be found for cheap if you look hard enough.

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    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dynaryder View Post
    Just picked up a Brooks for my Brommie at a bike swap the other week. $15. It's slightly 'distressed',but serviceable and still had alot of life left in it.

    Just gotta look around. Heck,a friend of mine once picked up a completely haggard bike for $25 at a yard sale because it had a decent Brooks on it. Pulled the saddle off and gave the rest to some friends to make a freak bike.
    I wonder if anything like that hapens locally. Hmmm.

    Yard sales. I've never seen a bike at one. Mostly grandma's old glass knick-knacks and dated clothing. We scoured the local flea market for bikes before buying the fiance's bike. No luck. Ah well, so it goes.

    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    No. 1. Leather saddles are hard to destroy and they can be found for cheap if you look hard enough.
    I wouldn't mind vintage as long as it was useable and sized right.

    Quote Originally Posted by customleather View Post
    Give me a call im sure I can help you out with your price point on full grain leather saddle. You never know until you ask lol. (615) 266-2058
    Ask for Philippe
    I may just do that! Got a website I could look at?

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    Senior Member wahoonc's Avatar
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    Look in old bike shops, flea markets and watch eBay. I own several bikes with leather saddles, many I paid full price for because they are very comfortable (for me) and will last a life time. Some manufacturers to watch for are Wright's, Brooks, Ideale, V-O (Velo-Orange) and Persons.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katsrevenge View Post
    I'd like to put a retro looking leather saddle on the project commuter type bike. But I do not have the kind of cash for a Brooks or other expensive saddle. ...
    If you want to go seriously retro, then what you want is a saddle with "hair pin" springs:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/LARGE-HAIR-P...-/190488112738

    Not exactly cheap though, I'd agree.

    ------

    If you want a leather saddle because of the way that they look, there's nothing wrong with that. I don't much see any technical advantage however; at the very least certainly the wet-weather durability is lacking.

    Leather saddles predate pneumatic bicycle tires, and they have generated discomfort complaints for about as long as they have existed. That is mostly the riding position necessitated by the upright bicycle however.

    Lots of people like how leather looks so they still make chairs and seats out of the stuff,,,,, but no modern vehicle builder of any other type claims that leather is a superior seat material based only on technical reasons.

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    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    Perhaps try digging up a saddle from a Chinese roadster? IIRC they use that style of saddle, and the entire bike is cheap.

    Then again, that's probably what those first links are...

    M.

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    Live Beautifully Jewel's Avatar
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    I found this on Craigslist in PA, specifically Pittsburgh; I don't know if it's in your price range or even near to where you're at, but hopefully, it'll give you so hope that you'll be able to score a good, affordable leather saddle soon: http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/bik/4017648797.html

    P.S. I've been looking at Brooks as well. Too bad they're so spendy.
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  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by bikemig View Post
    Used brooks can be found; start looking on CL.
    I have Brooks saddles for all six of my bikes. Between swap meets and Craigslist, I've gotten three of them for between $25 and $60.
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    Old fart JohnDThompson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Al Criner View Post
    Do you really want a 4-pound saddle?
    Who makes a 4 pound saddle?

    The Brooks "Team Professional" -- my preferred saddle for distance riding -- tips the scales at 530gm. That is much more than the popular carbon fiber shingles often used for saddles these days, but if it means I can ride all day without discomfort I don't mind.

  20. #20
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by wahoonc View Post
    Look in old bike shops, flea markets and watch eBay. I own several bikes with leather saddles, many I paid full price for because they are very comfortable (for me) and will last a life time. Some manufacturers to watch for are Wright's, Brooks, Ideale, V-O (Velo-Orange) and Persons.

    Aaron
    Thanks for brand names. I'm hoping to find a comfy seat.

    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    If you want to go seriously retro, then what you want is a saddle with "hair pin" springs:
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/LARGE-HAIR-P...-/190488112738

    Not exactly cheap though, I'd agree.

    ------

    If you want a leather saddle because of the way that they look, there's nothing wrong with that. I don't much see any technical advantage however; at the very least certainly the wet-weather durability is lacking.

    Leather saddles predate pneumatic bicycle tires, and they have generated discomfort complaints for about as long as they have existed. That is mostly the riding position necessitated by the upright bicycle however.

    Lots of people like how leather looks so they still make chairs and seats out of the stuff,,,,, but no modern vehicle builder of any other type claims that leather is a superior seat material based only on technical reasons.
    Oh man, that's a bit too old school! I like how they look, I like how they can last and are not made of petro-chemicals and the idea of something shaping itself to your bum is appealing.

    Quote Originally Posted by MEversbergII View Post
    Perhaps try digging up a saddle from a Chinese roadster? IIRC they use that style of saddle, and the entire bike is cheap.

    Then again, that's probably what those first links are...

    M.
    Maybe? I did find some old Russian leather saddles on Etsy but they looked a bit dry rotted.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jewel View Post
    I found this on Craigslist in PA, specifically Pittsburgh; I don't know if it's in your price range or even near to where you're at, but hopefully, it'll give you so hope that you'll be able to score a good, affordable leather saddle soon: http://akroncanton.craigslist.org/bik/4017648797.html

    P.S. I've been looking at Brooks as well. Too bad they're so spendy.
    It's near my old haunts but not my current ones. I'm not holding out too much hope for local craigslists. I've seen one in person ever and that was on a bike that looked to be the rider's pride and joy. But I'll keep looking. Maybe we'll both get lucky!

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    Who makes a 4 pound saddle?

    The Brooks "Team Professional" -- my preferred saddle for distance riding -- tips the scales at 530gm. That is much more than the popular carbon fiber shingles often used for saddles these days, but if it means I can ride all day without discomfort I don't mind.
    That. I'm not looking to break any speed records, just avoid sore bum. I mean.. I already prefer something with springs and a wider backend so I know it won't be that light.

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    Quote Originally Posted by katsrevenge View Post
    ... Oh man, that's a bit too old school! ....
    But you can get the matching tool bag?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/bicycle-pure...-/171051861774
    These are where the whole concept of a bicycle "seat bag" originated: people started rolling up tool rolls ( http://www.duluthtrading.com/store/p...FcwWMgod6nIA1A ) and sticking them into the hairpin springs. So bag makers starting making bags to attach inside the springs.

    (that tool above roll is not for bicycling, it is just provided as an example of what a tool roll is--a fabric container for tools that rolls up...)

    Oh well, enjoy whatever you end up choosing.
    Last edited by Doug5150; 09-11-13 at 05:26 AM.

  22. #22
    Senior Member MEversbergII's Avatar
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    Maybe? I did find some old Russian leather saddles on Etsy but they looked a bit dry rotted.
    Well, these you could find new. They're also pretty heavily coated with some kind of lacquer, so they're weather-wearing.

    M.

  23. #23
    covered in cat fur katsrevenge's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doug5150 View Post
    But you can get the matching tool bag?
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/bicycle-pure...-/171051861774
    These are where the whole concept of a bicycle "seat bag" originated: people started rolling up tool rolls ( http://www.duluthtrading.com/store/p...FcwWMgod6nIA1A ) and sticking them into the hairpin springs. So bag makers starting making bags to attach inside the springs.

    (that tool above roll is not for bicycling, it is just provided as an example of what a tool roll is--a fabric container for tools that rolls up...)

    Oh well, enjoy whatever you end up choosing.
    Neat. I did not know that. Looks pretty cool too.

    I've actually made a number of tool rolls. Very useful things!

    I hope to enjoy it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
    Who makes a 4 pound saddle?

    The Brooks "Team Professional" -- my preferred saddle for distance riding -- tips the scales at 530gm. That is much more than the popular carbon fiber shingles often used for saddles these days, but if it means I can ride all day without discomfort I don't mind.
    The links in the OP's post show a saddle that looks like a copy of the Brooks B-33. Brooks lists that saddle at 1600 grams - about 3.5 lbs. I just thought that seemed like overkill for a 5 mile commute in Pennsylvania.

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    Senior Member himespau's Avatar
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    I don't have any experience with their sprung saddles, but I do have a little experience with the non-sprung Gyes saddles sold by crowcycleco.com for about half-2/3 the cost of a brooks and have found them to be quite serviceable. Sure that's stretching into the used Brooks price range, but it's a saddle when you want it in a couple of different color options without spending the time scouring other sources and hoping to find something.
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