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Care For A Brooks in Denver

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Care For A Brooks in Denver

Old 06-12-12, 11:05 AM
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WickedThump
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Care For A Brooks in Denver

I recently got my first Brooks saddle, a Honey B-17. I live in the Denver area, and leather dries out fast here because of the altitude and lack of humidity. The saddle itself is nearly new and does not seem to have anything applied to it. Is there anything special I need to use on this saddle to keep it from drying out besides what Brooks suggests? I'm thinking the raw leather underside could be susceptible to drying.
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Old 06-12-12, 12:18 PM
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Proofide, applied sparingly once or twice a year should be sufficient.
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Old 06-12-12, 12:57 PM
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I agree with Proofhide and you apply it to the underside of the saddle not to side you sit on for best results. That is what Brooks recommends doing. Roger
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Old 06-12-12, 01:16 PM
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The current Brooks web site says this:

"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..."
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Old 06-12-12, 01:28 PM
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I've had my brooks (black B-67) for almost a year now, same climate as you. Proofhide on the bottom once so far, should do it again soon. No problems with drying out. They take of themselves pretty well.
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Old 06-12-12, 01:39 PM
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Originally Posted by jdswitters View Post
I've had my brooks (black B-67) for almost a year now, same climate as you. Proofhide on the bottom once so far, should do it again soon. No problems with drying out. They take of themselves pretty well.
I have one Brooks (B-17N) that is 9 years old and a bunch of others ranging from 8 years old to about a year old. Most of them have had Proofhide applied a couple of times...not per year but total..., including the B-17N. None of them are cracked or deteriorated but I don't store the bikes out in the weather either.
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Old 06-12-12, 03:54 PM
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100F oven upside down, a Proofide dollop soaked in as the waxes melted,
then I kept riding it for 30 years.. it has been fine..

Now in a wet climate, I put it away, and ride Fizik Vitesse,
... under a plastic bag 9/12ths of the year..
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Old 06-12-12, 04:22 PM
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Part of the fun of Brooks saddles is in comparing experiences, opinions and myths spanning the decades, regarding the proper use of Proofide, Brooks' legendary, magical, secret saddle sauce. I suspect the key ingredient is WD40.
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Old 06-12-12, 04:25 PM
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fish oil, mutton tallow.. probably other stuff
they would not even make Haggis out of..

Last edited by fietsbob; 06-12-12 at 05:13 PM.
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Old 06-12-12, 05:07 PM
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OK, thanks for all the responses. I have some Proofide on order now.
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Old 06-12-12, 07:06 PM
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Originally Posted by WickedThump View Post
OK, thanks for all the responses. I have some Proofide on order now.
A few words, since summer is upon us...

If your tin of Proofide has spent several days in transit in warm weather before arriving at your door, the contents may have softened or even liquified. If the container is warm to the touch, you may have a mess opening it right away. I'd suggest setting the warm tin upright for a bit to allow the contents to level,...and then let the tin cool to indoor temp prior to opening.

Keep the tin indoors. The natural ingredients will last longer without turning rancid if kept cool. You may even store it in the fridge (or freezer, per Brooks!). A std 40g tin is a large supply that will treat a saddle for many years.

FWIW, I treat the underside. It's very dry here in the desert, and I don't want the saddle to prematurely age and tear at the rivets. Initially, a generous but not wasteful amount is applied to every bit of surface I can reach with my fingertips; afterward, it's "as needed," maybe after two years or so. The topside gets a light treatment every 4-5 mos. It's greasy stuff, and a little goes a long way.
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Old 06-13-12, 08:06 AM
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Originally Posted by WickedThump View Post
I recently got my first Brooks saddle, a Honey B-17. I live in the Denver area, and leather dries out fast here because of the altitude and lack of humidity. ..........
When leather goods "dry out" it's not due to humidity or the lack of humidity. Instead it loses it's suppleness from the loss of the natural lubricants in the leather due to UV exposure and other elements. And in fact more damage is done by exposure to repeated rain and drying cycles than any other cause.

To stabilize and keep the leather supple you simply need to apply the magic mixture of Proofride or some other similar waxy product known to do a good job at keeping leather flexible and supple while still maintaining the hardness it needs. Note that this does not include mink or neatsfoot oil. Not unless you want the leather to turn sloppy like an old dish rag.
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Old 06-13-12, 09:38 AM
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I don't know if it ever rains in Denver, but if that's a possibility, the most important thing you can do to protect the saddle is to always have a plastic bag with you when you ride.
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Old 06-13-12, 10:08 AM
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I use a Q-Tip to work a little Proofide into those hard-to-reach areas under the nose and cantle plates.
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Old 06-13-12, 11:10 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
fish oil, mutton tallow.. probably other stuff
they would not even make Haggis out of..
I've never tried Haggis on a saddle....(I have used fish oil and tallow on old gaff sailboats!). I think leather is leather and the same things that work on shoes, oar leathers, harnesses, and my favorite chair will preserve a leather bike saddle. I paid about $6 for a pint of neatsfoot oil years ago and it looks like it will last for years to come.
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Old 06-13-12, 11:16 AM
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Originally Posted by Rubato View Post
I think leather is leather and the same things that work on shoes, oar leathers, harnesses, and my favorite chair will preserve a leather bike saddle.
Somewhat true but there's a difference: you probably want your shoes to be soft, but your Brooks saddle should stay fairly hard.
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Old 06-13-12, 11:25 AM
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Originally Posted by jim hughes View Post
Part of the fun of Brooks saddles is in comparing experiences, opinions and myths spanning the decades, regarding the proper use of Proofide, Brooks' legendary, magical, secret saddle sauce. I suspect the key ingredient is WD40.
Nice try:

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Old 06-13-12, 11:31 AM
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Originally Posted by Rubato View Post
I think leather is leather and the same things that work on shoes, oar leathers, harnesses, and my favorite chair will preserve a leather bike saddle. I paid about $6 for a pint of neatsfoot oil years ago and it looks like it will last for years to come.
Leather is, indeed, leather, but different treatments affect leather differently. Neat's foot oil is popular with baseball gloves because it softens the leather. That's a good characteristic for a baseball glove, but not necessarily for a saddle, which must support the rider's weight. If it becomes too soft, it will sag and eventually the saddle will be ruined. Wax-based products like Proofide and SnoSeal do not soften the leather, but rather protect it without softening. This allows the leather to accommodate to your shape without sagging or otherwise degrading.
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Old 06-14-12, 08:30 AM
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Hummmm....maybe I need to rethink myself a bit. Thanks for the nudge.
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