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Old 12-08-04, 07:52 PM   #1
wolfclan333
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Brooks Saddle Care in Rain.

I am saving my $ to get a brooks saddle (probably a champion flyer or B17 (any comment or opinion is appriciated)). I have never ridden on a leather saddle but have been reading good things about them on the net. Question--What do people do to protect the saddle when on tour and it rains? Is the oil enough or do you cover your bike? How easy is it to ruin the saddle?
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Old 12-08-04, 08:33 PM   #2
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I have ridden in the rain numerous times on my Brooks saddles without covering them or doing anything special. I do generally cover them when not riding if it looks like rain. I've not had any problems with the saddles.

I do apply proofide now a couple times a year. Other than that, no special treatment.
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Old 12-08-04, 08:39 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by supcom
I have ridden in the rain numerous times on my Brooks saddles without covering them or doing anything special. I do generally cover them when not riding if it looks like rain. I've not had any problems with the saddles.

I do apply proofide now a couple times a year. Other than that, no special treatment.
Do you have a crease in your saddle? I have one in my B-17N and I'm pretty sure it got there as a result of riding the Brooks in the rain. The crease doesn't cause discomfort or other problem. It just spoils the looks a bit.
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Old 12-08-04, 09:03 PM   #4
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Shower cap is cheap and easy. Can be ridden on if you are that concerned, but really is for when you leave your bike in the open. Best to put it on even if rain is not threatening; things can change rapidly while you're asleep, or there can be a heavy dew.

Fenders/mudguards will protect the underside.
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Old 12-08-04, 09:12 PM   #5
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I am thinking of purchasing a Brooks also...and I've been wondering if it's okay to ride in the rain...I keep my bike inside, so it's never outside "in the open"...but if I just ride in the rain and then make sure it's dry when I get home...will it be okay?
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Old 12-08-04, 09:40 PM   #6
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Yes
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Old 12-09-04, 12:07 AM   #7
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I am thinking of purchasing a Brooks also...and I've been wondering if it's okay to ride in the rain...I keep my bike inside, so it's never outside "in the open"...but if I just ride in the rain and then make sure it's dry when I get home...will it be okay?
I try to be careful about riding in the rain myself. If it's a straight ride and I don't need to take my butt of the seat then I worry less. If it's a ride where I am stopping and getting of the seat a lot then I would rather have a shower cap, helmet cover or seat cover on instead.

Rain can cause the crease down the middle that was described by another poster. With time this can become uncomfortable.

Proofride is a mild water proofer. Bill Laine from Wallingford Bicycle Parts recently made a few quotes in an article about this on the Bicycle Touring 101 website.

BTW: I am assuming that you are using fenders. Without fenders your seat will get really wet incredibly fast!

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Old 12-09-04, 08:30 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by Moonshot
Do you have a crease in your saddle? I have one in my B-17N and I'm pretty sure it got there as a result of riding the Brooks in the rain. The crease doesn't cause discomfort or other problem. It just spoils the looks a bit.
I have no creases in my saddles.
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Old 12-09-04, 04:15 PM   #9
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If it starts raining, keep riding & cover it with your rear.
Seriously though, fenders, Profide, and a cover when you can't get it inside. I like the Saran dish covers that you find in the grocery isle. They look like a shower cap, are cheap, & the blue size will fit if you don't like the larger pink one.
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Old 12-09-04, 05:04 PM   #10
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I have been caught in heavy rain with my Team Pros several times. Even covered by my ample posterior they get wet. However, I have liberally treated them with Proofide from the beginning so they are pretty water resistant though not waterproof. I wipe them dry as soon as I get home or to work. I have described my Proofide regimen before, but I will do it again. I wipe the saddle with Proofide and place it somewhere warm, sometimes 2-3 feet from a space heater directed at the saddle. I don't let it get hot, just warm enough that the Proofide is obviously warm and soft. I place the can near the saddle to let it soften a bit as well. Throughout day/evening I work the Proofide in and put more on. I repeat this every couple of days for the first couple of weeks. This really seems to get it impregnated. Whatever you do, DO NOT do anything to try to soften the saddle. I don't care what anyone says, even if they have been riding Brooks for 50 years (with all due respect), I would not try to soften it. I have seen a number of saggy dried out Brooks saddles. They are intended to be firm. Mine are 4 yrs old and are so hard they sound like knocking on wood, but they are very comfortable. My lbs buddy who has ridden Brooks for years says to put Proofide only on the bottom, and your body heat will cause it to work its way through the leather. I prefer to stick with the manufacturer's instructions. I only warm things because usually I am in air conditioning, and the Proofide is very hard.

If a Brooks looked like it had actually absorbed water I would ride another bike or saddle until it thoroughly dried then go after it with the Proofide regimen again. GENTLE heat; warm, not hot.

Oh, no creases in my saddles.

Prevent saddle abuse!
FWIW,
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Old 12-09-04, 05:54 PM   #11
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I managed to Soak my B-17 (Thanks to a lack of fenders) one night and it came completely untensioned. I let off the rest of the tension and let the leather reshape itself as it dried. when it was done I re-applied the proofide, and retensioned the saddle as close to the original tension that I could get it. The saddle has a touch more sag to it than it did but it is still my most comfortable saddle and after 5 or 6 hours I can still say it is not the saddle that is the problem when I finish my longer rides. Still it would have been better if I had been able to get it a little more saturated with proofide or covered it with a grocery bag. Sometimes you are just caught by surprise unfortunately. Next time I will take the time to stop by a grocery store and get a bag.
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Old 12-10-04, 07:03 AM   #12
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I keep a plastic shopping bag stuffed between the rails under my brooks. When I ride in the rain after I stop, I dry it off a bit, then cover it with the bag. I've proofhided the top twice. No sag problems & its still very comfortable. I also use full fenders though.

Edit: Another use for plastic shopping bags are as vapor barrier liners for your feet on cold/wet days.
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Old 12-13-04, 01:43 PM   #13
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Fenders and my rear end protect it when I ride. A plastic bag protects it when I don't.
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Old 12-13-04, 01:54 PM   #14
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Fenders and my rear end protect it when I ride
I've been searching around good fenders for a road bike. What type are you using?
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Old 12-13-04, 03:13 PM   #15
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From reading the i-bob list and touring lists, and comparing, I settled on the SKS fenders. You should be able to get them at the LBS, or via online from peterwhitecycles.com or sheldonbrown.com.
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Old 12-13-04, 03:56 PM   #16
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Brooks say re care of their saddles i.e. "use proofhide only",and that advice has been responsible for most new Brooks saddles being rejected by owners as being too hard and uncomfortable. Leather is an organic material and the process used by Brooks to shape the leather over a former causes the leaching of all the natural oils from the leather making it "wood-like" in nature.Again there is the problem of weatherproofing as mentioned by other postings. Take heart there is a way to achieve a comfy saddle without all the pain of breaking it in.In my part of Scotland I condition all of my riding partners' Brooks' saddles from new. Many different methods have been used but now I find a leather dressing called "Hydrophane" does the business. This can be found at saddlers' shops (horses that is).This should only be used on the underside of the saddle and then sparingly, wating to see the result before applying another application.If anyone is interested in the whole method in detail then get in touch and I can give you an attachment of an article I wrote for my cycling club. Even after this treatment you should always cover the saddle if it looks like rain(in Scotland it always looks like rain).That said, a Brooks saddle , be it B17,Professional or Team professional will be supremely comfortable and will last you many years when properly treated. I have one which is nearly 30 years old and is as good as new. Happy cycling.
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Old 12-13-04, 04:03 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by markw
From reading the i-bob list and touring lists, and comparing, I settled on the SKS fenders. You should be able to get them at the LBS, or via online from peterwhitecycles.com or sheldonbrown.com.
For something a little different, check out the varieties available at http://www.wallbike.com/fenders.html - some are a little spendy, but very cool.
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Old 12-13-04, 04:14 PM   #18
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I just ordered the SKS Raceblades from REI. Thanks.
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Old 12-13-04, 04:17 PM   #19
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These are truly *****in... http://www.rivercitybicycles.com/default.php?cPath=130
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Old 12-13-04, 04:29 PM   #20
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No doubt. I'm pretty wood up over those or some of the sogeni fenders. wall bike doesn't carry them all though, have to check out sogreni.com ( http://sogreni.dk/Mudguards.php ).
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Old 12-13-04, 06:02 PM   #21
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I obsessively carry the Brooks-prescribed Carradice cover in a back pack. At the least sign of rain, I jump off the bike and cover it with the mystical Carradice. http://www.rivendellbicycles.com/web...ies/11014.html

Like cats, leather reportedly does not take to H2O. However, I also ride horses in Ireland with real saddles. They routinely get soaked but thrive because they are well conditioned by Lexol and Neatsfoot oil and John Power's whiskey (uisce beatha or blessed water ;-)

Now I think it's time for an experiment. I have two Brooks Champion Flyers (my favorites) and two Brooks Conquests (the ultimate MTB saddles) and one Brooks Professional that is definitely not my favorite. (You better not go for an extended ride on the Brooks Pro if you have hemorrhoids ;-). http://www.wallbike.com/brooks/singl...ngsaddles.html

I think I'll discontinue waxing the Pro with the Brooks' Sacred Proofide and instead give it the same Lexol-Neatsfoot-John Powers treatment that I give my Passier hunt saddle and see how it thrives- or not.

Of course, the ultimate test will be to just let it get a good soaking in a downpour. But that experiment can only be done in Tokyo. On the BU campus, in milleseconds the Brooks Pro would do a disappearing act. Maybe take the Pro into the shower with me-without a showercap ;-)

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Old 12-14-04, 04:42 AM   #22
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Suggest you try "Hydrophane"as suggested in my earlier posting. This is more effective than neatsfoot oil,I've used both.You should not stop using proofhide (top only), while this will not weatherproof it does keep the area around the rivets supple and helps prevent cracking.The professional is a great saddle (for me) and once conditioned is very comfy.On no account ride the saddle while its wet as once the shape is lost it is ruined and no amount of tesioning will save it.
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Old 12-14-04, 04:44 AM   #23
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Oops, forgot to say --the Carradyce cover is not waterproof when new but requires to be proofed using "Fablon" or something similar.
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Old 12-14-04, 09:28 AM   #24
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Hydrophane? An opal that is opaque but turns translucent when immersed in 12 year old Glenfiddich. Astonished that even the technology of tack care is evolving! Hydrophane seems to be a UK potion, but googled it and quickly found a US supplier. Thanks for the info!
http://dutchesshorseandrider.com/mal...r_Dressing.asp

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Old 12-14-04, 11:47 AM   #25
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Carradyce and Fablon- I would have thought that given Brooks saddles' vulnerability to rain, they would have switched over to 3M Scotchguard- but still call it "Carradyce" ;-) Just looked into the history of Brooks to find whether Aunty Carradyce in 1839 solved the problem of soggy saddles in soggy islands. Found nothing- but Vivisimo led me to an amazing bike info site, http://www.jenweb.net/bike/

For those with occasional numb/sore butts and tender naughty bits or even worse, piles- there is a higher technology than Carradyce or Carradice. Gel. The double-gel cover protects BLT (Brooks leather and tissue). http://doityourself.com/store/6192140.htm

I can feel the warmth of a flame coming ;-) Yes, I realize that gel makes for squishy, inefficient and anti-ergonomic biking. I also realize the best saddle is a Zen saddle- a saddle that "disappears" -we are not aware of the saddle because we are one with the kinetics of our bike. But we often make the mistake of making the best the enemy of the good. And just as for me, the uncovered Brooks Champion Flyer is the best, sometimes the double-gel cover is good.


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