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  1. #1
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    Brooks saddles - an alternative to Proofide?

    Hi bikers,

    I just bought a Brooks saddle and would like to treat it - preferably with a plant based treatment. Any of you know if there are alternatives to Proofide?

    Greetings,

    Jesper

  2. #2
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Obenhauf's.

    Or any (human) skin cream.

    Or nothing.

    BTW, why "plant based"? I thought Proofhide (and Obenhauf's) are mostly beeswax -- are you anti-bee?

  3. #3
    Senior Member TonyS's Avatar
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    I'm guessing vegan...

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    Hi BengeBoy,

    No, Proofide is not mainly beeswax. Taken from Brooks' webpages Proofide contains: tallow, cod oil, vegetable oil, paraffin wax, beeswax, and citronella oil. So - well, I'd prefer it plant based.

    Jesper

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    It's leather. It's made of dead cow. What's wrong with using dead cow grease on it?

    There are no suitable plant waxes for leather treatment. It's possible to make one, but it requires a substantial energy input, and you're better off using a petroleum wax. (less petroleum will be consumed in the production....)
    plant based != environmentally friendly.

    Or use beeswax. Not as good at replenishing the leather, but it'll do a decent job waterproofing it, and keeping it from drying out.

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    I've used Sno-Seal on my brooks. It's for making leather shoes/boots/things more weather/water/etc proof. Works and practically comes as a lifetime supply for $5. Got mine at REI.
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  7. #7
    Mystery Meat gitarzan's Avatar
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    Besides, after a ride or two it will be covered with ass sweat and that's not plant based.
    Quote Originally Posted by Jseis View Post
    Is a ukulele player in a mandolin town and banned from all bars by the chief of police unless he leaves his strings and gravy at the front door.

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    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Sno-seal works really well, olive oil less so.

  9. #9
    stringbreaker stringbreaker's Avatar
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    I can understand the whats better for a Brooks mentality its born into us to look for something better for just about any circumstance. I'm of the opinion and it may not be worth much but why not use what the manufacturer recommends? Its worked for years and I've used it on all my Brooks saddles and they are in great shape. One application in the spring and maybe another mid summer on my most ridden saddle and if one of them gets wet I let it dry and give it a go again. Seems to have worked so far. Like another person posted, its made frome a dead cow whats the difference?
    (Life is too short to play crappy guitars) 2006 Raleigh Cadent 3.0, 1977 Schwinn Volare, 2010 Windsor tourist. ( I didn't fall , I attacked the floor)

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    another vote for snow seal

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    Do you need to use proofide on a brooks saddle? I got my bike about a month ago (a Raleigh Sojourn) and I have not applied proofide at all. I haven't done much at all really, just ride it. A lot. The guy at the bike store told me to use some leather soap on it, but I've read varying opinions on using leather soap.

  12. #12
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by one-headedboy View Post
    Do you need to use proofide on a brooks saddle? I got my bike about a month ago (a Raleigh Sojourn) and I have not applied proofide at all. I haven't done much at all really, just ride it. A lot. The guy at the bike store told me to use some leather soap on it, but I've read varying opinions on using leather soap.
    There are endless threads on this topic on BikeForums.

    Read the Brooks instructions on their website. It's pretty clear what they want you to do. Obenhauf's, IMHO, is almost exactly the same stuff and it's a couple of bucks cheaper. For under $10 you've got enough to last for years.

    Here's what Brooks says (BTW, my Brooks saddles don't get this much care, and they seem to do fine):

    A new saddle should be treated with Brooks Proofide leather dressing to help assist the ‘breaking-in’ process. Proofide keeps the leather supple as it is specially formulated from natural ingredients to condition, preserve and shower proof your saddle. Proofide is the only substance that should be used to care for your Brooks Leather Saddle.
    Apply a little Proofide to the finished side of the leather. Allow the Proofide to permeate until dry and then polish off. Proofide should be used several times during the ‘breaking-in’ period and every 3-6 months thereafter. On bicycles not fitted with mudguards, an initial application to the underside of the saddle will be beneficial, this needs not to be polished off. The leather gets its colour during the tanning process and it is possible, therefore, that some colour residues will remain. It is recommended to polish the saddle with a soft cloth before first use.

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by BengeBoy View Post
    There are endless threads on this topic on BikeForums.

    Read the Brooks instructions on their website. It's pretty clear what they want you to do.
    I don't have a brooks but I keep seeing these threads asking for alternatives and cannot understand what the problem is. Surely the cost of proofide is insignificant compared to the saddle and so little is used. I never read of people having problems caused by proofide. The only reason would seem to be getting something that softens the leather more but that obviously defeats the point of a brooks in the first place and most accounts say that it will make the saddle less comfortable in the long run and dramatically shorten its life.

    Why don't people just follow what brooks recommends? I am sure they have much more experience of what works than anybody else.

  14. #14
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebooter View Post
    I don't have a brooks but I keep seeing these threads asking for alternatives and cannot understand what the problem is. Surely the cost of proofide is insignificant compared to the saddle and so little is used. .
    +1

    The other popular, similar, thread is: "Make your own chain lube."

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    Dirt Bomb sknhgy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by freebooter View Post
    I don't have a brooks but I keep seeing these threads asking for alternatives and cannot understand what the problem is. Surely the cost of proofide is insignificant compared to the saddle and so little is used. I never read of people having problems caused by proofide. The only reason would seem to be getting something that softens the leather more but that obviously defeats the point of a brooks in the first place and most accounts say that it will make the saddle less comfortable in the long run and dramatically shorten its life.

    Why don't people just follow what brooks recommends? I am sure they have much more experience of what works than anybody else.
    Proofhide is EXPENSIVE and I don't like the feeling of getting ripped-off.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sknhgy View Post
    Proofhide is EXPENSIVE and I don't like the feeling of getting ripped-off.
    Good quality leather treaments are expensive. Yes, you pay a premium buying proofhide. On the other hand, a tn of proofhide will last four or five saddle-years. So it's costing less per year than a couple flats do. If you really object to proofhide, a (horse) saddler will have a wide array of suitable leather treatments. They won't be cheap, either.

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    Real Men Ride Ordinaries fuzz2050's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    Good quality leather treaments are expensive. Yes, you pay a premium buying proofhide. On the other hand, a tn of proofhide will last four or five saddle-years. So it's costing less per year than a couple flats do. If you really object to proofhide, a (horse) saddler will have a wide array of suitable leather treatments. They won't be cheap, either.
    How about Sno-Seal? It's like $5 for a big tub, one that will treat your leather shoes, leather saddle, and just about anything else leather, for several years. A heavy coat on 4 pairs of shoes, and a nice treatment on three leather saddles left me with about 3/4s of the jar left.

  18. #18
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    sno seal is probably okay. I don't know what's in it, exactly. Mostly beeswax, at least according to the propaganda, but it's clearly modified, as it's much softer than pure beeswax is. Turpentine would be my first guess about what else is in it, but there are huge number of solvents and waxes available.
    Last edited by dscheidt; 04-04-10 at 09:27 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by dscheidt View Post
    Good quality leather treaments are expensive. Yes, you pay a premium buying proofhide. On the other hand, a tn of proofhide will last four or five saddle-years. So it's costing less per year than a couple flats do. If you really object to proofhide, a (horse) saddler will have a wide array of suitable leather treatments. They won't be cheap, either.
    +1. My last new tin of Proofhide is 3 years old,i have 2 Brooks saddles to look after. If you open the tin it looks like ive hardly put a dent in it. At the rate its going im guessing it will last me 10 years maybe more. How is that a rip off?

  20. #20
    Fred-ish rogerstg's Avatar
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    Sno-seal is fine to use. I've used it on several saddles. I used it because I already had it. It's advertised qualities are about the same as proofide - provides water repellent without softening the leather.

  21. #21
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    I hope I am not ruining my Brooks saddle. I have never treated it with anything, and store it in an outdoor shed all winter. In the rain, I cover it with a shower cap, although I forgot one time and the saddle got very wet. I let it dry out for a day or two, and it was fine.

    The saddle is starting its fourth season, looks almost new, has kept its shape, and is comfortable.

  22. #22
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    Hi everyone,

    Seems the thread evolved by itself ... My reason for trying to find an alternative to Proofide is that - first - it's more expensive than I'd like to and not readily available where I live (means + postage), and - second - I happen to be vegetarian and with my angle on being vegetarian, and having seen how animals are often treated in industrial production, would like to find alternatives where I can. And, yes, I know, the Brooks saddle is cow's hide - just couldn't find a better alternative ....

    Thanks for taking an interest in my question :-)

    Jesper

    Greetings, Jesper

  23. #23
    1. e4 Nf6 Alekhine's Avatar
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    I don't think there's any reason you need to justify why you want to use vegetable-based. It's not the question you asked.

    Sno-Seal or some other beeswax thing sounds like your best bet. Maybe mash up some coconut oil in it.
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  24. #24
    Senior Member BengeBoy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acantor View Post
    I hope I am not ruining my Brooks saddle. I have never treated it with anything, and store it in an outdoor shed all winter. In the rain, I cover it with a shower cap, although I forgot one time and the saddle got very wet. I let it dry out for a day or two, and it was fine.

    The saddle is starting its fourth season, looks almost new, has kept its shape, and is comfortable.
    Brooks saddles are pretty tough, and you can certainly let them go a long time without treatment. I've had one Brooks that was in storage for years, and I brought it out and rehabbed it, and it's fine. I've also bought one used that apparently hadn't been touched in years, and it's OK too (took a bit of riding to bring it back). But mine(I take care of 3) do better if I do something close to what Brooks recommends -- a bit of Proofhide or the equivalent (I use Obenhauf's becuase it's a bit cheaper, but as noted -- a little bit goes a long way).

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    Kiwi clear shoe polish....
    Everything should be as simple as possible...But not more so.---Albert Einstein

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