Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Fife Scotland
Bikes: Airnimal Chameleon; Ellis Briggs; Moulton TSR27 Moulton Esprit
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Forgive the long post but I thought this might be useful to all those (myself included ) who have found it impossible to get the damn thing comfortable.
I’ve conditioned many Brooks’ saddles over the years, so many I’ve lost count and am aware of the many other methods used but I do know this one will not damage the saddle in any way and will in fact prolong the saddle’s life in that it will not dry out and eventually crack. Beware that Brooks frown on any other method of “breaking-in” and will regard it as breaching the warranty. They recommend nothing other than applying “Proofhide” which does nothing to aid the “breaking-in” process but merely acts as a temporary waterproofing for the top surface. That said I treat all my own saddles, all are supremely comfortable from day one and the oldest is thirty-five years’ old.
I use “Hydrophane” a “leather dressing” used for waterproofing and softening horses tack. It is not comparable to “neatsfoot oil” and other like products, which I would not recommend.
METHOD: Give the underside of the saddle an application of the dressing taking care to work it in well around the rivets. Do not allow the dressing onto the top of the saddle and wipe any away. The dressing will be quickly absorbed as the forming process of the leather means that all of the natural oils contained in the leather have been leached out. This is why the saddle is likely to crack around the rivets in later years. Give one application only then wait overnight to see how far this has penetrated the leather. Too much and the dressing will penetrate through to the top polished surface and dull the leather. The amount of dressing needed depends upon the thickness of the leather. B17’s are less thick than the “Team Professional” for example. NOTE: Honey-coloured saddles will darken and take on an attractive weathered look.
The following morning examine the saddle and then, taking the “wings” pull these up and down a few times before laying the saddle on a protective surface on the floor right side up. Now, with your bare foot begin to release your weight onto the saddle working back and forward along the length of the saddle. It should take a little time before you feel the leather begin to flex. Continue until you have “give” over the widest part of the saddle and then stop. The saddle will be brought the rest of the way by riding it in. If after this process the saddle still remains hard then another application of dressing may be applied but be careful…do not overdo it, as you do not want to over-soften the saddle.
All that remains is to apply some Proofhide, leave it for a little time and then polish. Apply Proofhide about once every couple of months. Remember, even although the dressing will waterproof you should still use a seat-cover to keep the saddle dry.
I've enclose a photo of my latest...a B17 Special which has been conditioned but has yet to be fitted. Good luck to all!
Last edited by onbike 1939; 06-29-05 at 01:51 PM.