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Old hard hard leather saddle

Old 09-01-15, 11:00 AM
  #1  
Rocky Gravol
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Old hard hard leather saddle

I have an old leather Ideal saddle.
That's hard as a rock.
What's the. best way to soften it?
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Old 09-01-15, 11:02 AM
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@rhm will give you good guidance when he finds this thread!
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Old 09-01-15, 11:22 AM
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Old hard hard leatner saddle

Post a picture. Old and hard can be perfectly fine or beyond repair. Close ups of the rivets is helpful.
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Old 09-01-15, 11:35 AM
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That describes how I got my Brooks Pro -- the first owner thought it was too hard, and did not have the patience to break it in.
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Old 09-01-15, 11:39 AM
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Yeah. I mean, thanks for the vote of confidence and all, but I have no advice at this point. Did this saddle get hard from exposure, age, or abuse? Or is it exactly as the maker made it (which would be "hard"). "Hard" may mean it's ruined, and it may mean it's like new.

We all get old, getting harder here and softer there, and nothing actuary reverses the aging process. This applies to all animal processes and all animal products.
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Old 09-01-15, 12:01 PM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
We all get old, getting harder here and softer there, and nothing actuary reverses the aging process. This applies to all animal processes and all animal products.
Best Brooks quote ever.
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Old 09-01-15, 12:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post
I have an old leather Ideal saddle.
That's hard as a rock.
What's the. best way to soften it?
Provided it's not stretched or torn, the best thing to do is ride it. The saddle and your butt will accommodate to each other over time. If the leather is dry, a sparing application of Proofide or SnoSeal may help, but don't go overboard -- this is a saddle, not a baseball glove, and it needs to be strong enough to support your weight. Softening products like neatsfoot oil are great for gloves or shoes, but can ruin bike saddles.
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Old 09-01-15, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post
I have an old leather Ideal saddle.
That's hard as a rock.
What's the. best way to soften it?
Send it to me. I'll take care of it for you...
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Old 09-01-15, 01:36 PM
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I'm traveling, so I'm having trouble trying to post photos from my phone.

The saddle is extra hard from old age.
But in relatively good shape.
The rivets are good just a little rusty.
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Old 09-01-15, 01:44 PM
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Unless they are "pre-softened" at the factory, most leather racing saddles are "extra" hard even when new. You knock on them with your knuckles and they usually feel and sound like they are made of wood.
What is critical to know about your saddle is whether it is cracked, and/or dry rotted.... which in many cases will require a replacement fo the leather.....
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Old 09-01-15, 03:14 PM
  #11  
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Originally Posted by JohnDThompson View Post
Provided it's not stretched or torn, the best thing to do is ride it. The saddle and your butt will accommodate to each other over time. If the leather is dry, a sparing application of Proofide or SnoSeal may help, but don't go overboard -- this is a saddle, not a baseball glove, and it needs to be strong enough to support your weight. Softening products like neatsfoot oil are great for gloves or shoes, but can ruin bike saddles.
Yep. Give it at least 100 miles. Maybe more. I've used Lexol, as well as SnoSeal, with no problems.
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Old 09-01-15, 03:36 PM
  #12  
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If it were mine, I'd feed it first. If it has sat for 30 years and the leather has lost all of its natural oils, it could split at the rivets the first time you ride it. Or, maybe not. I would put a liberal coating of Proofide or similar wax-based treatment on it, top and bottom, warm it in with a hair dryer, and repeat. Wipe off the excess once it's dry, and ride it.
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Old 09-01-15, 03:54 PM
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Have you ridden it yet or is the saddle new to you? I have an Ideale 80 that was hard as a rock when I bought it half a year ago. I gave it one sparing application of proofide before riding. It's still a hard saddle, and it's darn comfy.
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Old 09-01-15, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Rocky Gravol View Post
I have an old leather Ideal saddle.
That's hard as a rock.
What's the. best way to soften it?
Not to.

First of all the perineal pressure of an Ideal or Brooks saddle cuts off blood flow. Most cyclists end up with enlarged prostrates anyway, why exacerbate it because you think an old leather saddle is kitche or kool, or like the way it looks. If you insist on having a classic leather saddle I wouldn't look any farther than a Selle Anatomica.
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Old 09-01-15, 04:08 PM
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It's good you're here to tell us the one best solution for everyone.
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Old 09-01-15, 04:11 PM
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There is no R in prostate.
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Old 09-01-15, 04:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Grand Bois View Post
There is no R in prostate.
Maybe mtnbike was lying face down when he wrote that.
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Old 09-01-15, 04:26 PM
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Lol!!
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Old 09-01-15, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by rootboy View Post
If it were mine, I'd feed it first. If it has sat for 30 years and the leather has lost all of its natural oils, it could split at the rivets the first time you ride it. Or, maybe not. I would put a liberal coating of Proofide or similar wax-based treatment on it, top and bottom, warm it in with a hair dryer, and repeat. Wipe off the excess once it's dry, and ride it.
Two remarks to this. Proofidw is good, but don't overdo. How to tell how much to use? Well, if you're using so much that heat is required, that's too much.

The temperature you get from a hair dryer is going to damage, or at least age, the leather. I think it's okay to leave a saddle out in the sun, which will help the proofide get absorbed, but many people consider even that excess heat.

Whatever you do, bear in mind that you cannot undo it.

One thing I sometimes suggest, which is definitely extreme, is to dunk the thing in a bucket of water, Larry it soak up some water, and then takes it out and let it sit for several hours. The water will dry, but some of it will get absorbed by the fibers, temporarily softening them. After several hours, when the leather seems dry but still cool to the touch, go for a short ride this will stretch the parts of the leather that most need stretching, and the effect will be permanent. Now let the saddle dry completely (which will take a few days I dry conditions, longer in Florida) and evaluate it. You can repeat this process all you want, but you can't undo its effects.
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Old 09-01-15, 05:17 PM
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Speaking of over-softening, I'm wondering if this sway-backed Brooks Swallow is somehow salvageable. My butt's not responsible for the dip; I bought it this way out of a parts bin.

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Old 09-01-15, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Clang View Post
Speaking of over-softening, I'm wondering if this sway-backed Brooks Swallow is somehow salvageable. My butt's not responsible for the dip; I bought it this way out of a parts bin.


I am not a big fan of Brooks Saddles. I tried a B15 and B17 and we just didn't get along. Mind you both of these Saddles were used. I would love to find one my Butt would appreciate as I think all C&V Bikes look better/classier with Brooks Saddles. I would Love to try a Swallow and I am saving my pennies. Do new ones conform to your Posterior better than used ones?
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Old 09-01-15, 06:54 PM
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Originally Posted by clang View Post
speaking of over-softening, i'm wondering if this sway-backed brooks swallow is somehow salvageable. My butt's not responsible for the dip; i bought it this way out of a parts bin.

what kind of butt does this to a saddle!
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Old 09-01-15, 07:01 PM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by uncle uncle View Post
what kind of butt does this to a saddle!
Any kind of butt can do it if the leather is over-treated.
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Old 09-01-15, 07:05 PM
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Don't know anything about any Brooks saddles except my own. I hope it stays as rock hard as when I took it out of the box for as long as I can sit on it.
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Old 09-04-15, 12:32 PM
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Back at home now so I can post some photos.

It's an Ideale 39.








These photos make it look rougher than it is.

My friend bought this Moto Super Touring that had this saddle,
he didn't like it, it was to hard.



He said I could have it, if I could put on another saddle.
So I put on this one.


Last edited by Rocky Gravol; 09-04-15 at 12:35 PM.
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