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Vintage Ideale Saddle Help

Old 08-30-20, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by etherhuffer
I used neatsfoot on my Brooks break in. I just painted it on the back side, wiped off excess, rode. Saddle soap to clean it first?
Late to the party, busy week. Yes, I would clean first. This is my personal saddle arsenal. I have a small tin of Proofide somewhere also, I migh've loaned it to a friend to use on he and his wife's Brooks saddles though.

I personally like the Fiebings products. Everyone has their preference. Bang vs. buck though, I think they make great stuff.

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Old 08-30-20, 05:01 PM
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100% pure neatsfoot oil - almost all say "compound"...
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Old 08-30-20, 05:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
Not in my experience. I have a few Brooks Selects - hard leather but clean as can be (well, wife's B17 select is broken into a wonder ful suppleness, Brooks Professional with the softening treatment - somewhat cushy and clean as can be, and Ideale 92 Daniel Rebour special treatment a main- now broken in to a very lovely supple support. No mess or crud build up with any of these.
you just lead an ultra clean life.
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Old 08-30-20, 07:19 PM
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Originally Posted by francophile
Late to the party, busy week. Yes, I would clean first. This is my personal saddle arsenal. I have a small tin of Proofide somewhere also, I migh've loaned it to a friend to use on he and his wife's Brooks saddles though.

I personally like the Fiebings products. Everyone has their preference. Bang vs. buck though, I think they make great stuff.

I had the same saddle soap and just used last of it. Good stuff
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Old 08-30-20, 07:25 PM
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Ideal 90's are my fave leather. Here's how I fix them up from rock hard to something I use every day.
NO SaddleSoap!
NO Neatsfoot Oil!
Get an aluminum cooking tray/pan big enough to hold the saddle. toss the saddle in the pan and cover it with alcohol (gallon cans at homedepot), put some foil over the pan to seal and let it soak for 3-4 days. If the alky gets really yuk looking replace it and soak another day. I had a titanium frame 90 soak for a week (it's now on the Team3V)
Remove from alky and this is as soft as it is ever gonna be so now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy
Hang it in the sun for a couple days to dry.
Get a big zip-lock and put the saddle in it and set in in the sun. You may be surprised at the amount of water that will coat the inside of the bag. Wipe it out a couple times to get the water to a low level in the leather.
I use MinkOil. any decent modern leather dressing will work. NO Neatsfoot Oil ! Heat the saddle up with a hairdryer and brush on the dressing - heavy You want to soak it. Top and bottom. Use the hairdryer to run the dressing into the leather. Use twice as much as you think you should - remember----the leather is CLEAN inside from the alky. You cannot put on too much. Hang it in the sun for a day so the dressing can really penetrate. If it looks dry - it will - repeat the dressing. etc till it looks wet after a day in the sun
wipe off whatever dressing may be on surface top and bottom. Won't be much

Last edited by Steel Charlie; 08-11-21 at 07:18 PM. Reason: dont need
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Old 08-30-20, 07:31 PM
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@rhm knows more about leather saddles than most people do. He's done a lot of research as well as a lot of practice. I would trust his advice. But perhaps the most important thing you can do is to ride the saddle to evaluate it. Give it several rides before you decide whether or not it's for you. I happen to like hard saddles, but of course the shape must suit me. Rudi's trick of wetting the saddle can help you evaluate it.

I notice that the more a person rides, the more likely they are to want a hard saddle. Not necessarily rock hard, but we want it soft when we're inexperienced, and we want it less soft as we gain experience. So there is that, and then there is the shape which is also critical. There aren't many ass-o-meters available, so it's hard to know whether a given shape is right for you. You just have to try a bunch of saddles. Luckily for me, I've found that the Brooks B17 suits me well, whether it's fresh out of the box or so worn out that it's about to break. I tried an Ideale saddle once and loved it, but I've never owned one.
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Old 08-31-20, 12:10 PM
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Originally Posted by repechage
you just lead an ultra clean life.
Mrs. Road Fan would not agree ...
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Old 08-10-21, 07:47 PM
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OK. After basic Proofhide x 2, this saddle will never fit my ass. PM me if you want it. Tried several rides, no go.
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Old 08-11-21, 06:45 AM
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etherhuffer I'll take it off your hands. How much do you want for it?
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Old 08-11-21, 09:23 AM
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Originally Posted by francophile;21666832 The critical part (to me) is, especially after getting dry, you're not keeping your leather saddle in a place where humidity is above 65%-70% because it will mold. If mold is a concern, like you live on the east coast USA or a place where humidity is naturally high, or store your bike in a basement or other typically damp place, I have another suggestion. I had some good experience with Bee Natural products. They sell (or sold) a saddle oil markets 'with fungicides', I have a bottle of it, and I've used it. When compared to other animal-based oil-for-leather products it seemed to legitimately control mold [i
as long as mold had never gotten rooted in that saddle before[/i]. The underline is important. Once mold takes root in leather, I've never, ever, in my lifetime found a way to get past it. Once you apply oil (i.e. FOOD) to a saddle which had mold rooted or spored, mold will start growing again when the humidity is favorable.
It hurts to read this. I recently had a humidity spike in the basement, and I found some mold growing on the handlebar tape of the bike I am rising most these days and, critically, on the otherwise pristine Ideale on my Gitane. Running a dehumidifier down there now and other long-term remedies, but the saddle? Tempted to try a bathroom mold-n-mildrew product, immediately followed by an automotive grade leather cleaner, on the top... underneath, I presume only the first half of that regimen.
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Old 08-11-21, 07:11 PM
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I know that this is heresy but I've posted it before and the simple truth is that it works and does not harm the leather is in any way. The 90 Titanium remains just fine and in use at least one day/week.
Vintage Ideale Saddle Help
Ideal 90's are my fave leather. Here's how I fix them up from rock hard to something I use every day.
NO SaddleSoap!
NO Neatsfoot Oil!
Get an aluminum cooking tray/pan big enough to hold the saddle. toss the saddle in the pan and cover it with alcohol (gallon cans at homedepot), put some foil over the pan to seal and let it soak for 3-4 days. If the alky gets really yuk looking replace it and soak another day. I had a titanium frame 90 soak for a week (it's now on the Team3V)
Remove from alky and this is as soft as it is ever gonna be so now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy
Hang it in the sun for a couple days to dry.
Get a big zip-lock and put the saddle in it and set it in the sun. You may be surprised at the amount of water that will coat the inside of the bag. Wipe it out a couple times to get the water to a low level in the leather. This is IMPORTANT
I use MinkOil but any decent modern leather dressing will work. NO Neatsfoot Oil ! Heat the saddle up with a hairdryer and brush on the dressing - heavy! You want to soak it. Top and bottom. Use the hairdryer to run the dressing into the leather. Use twice as much as you think you should - remember----the leather is CLEAN inside from the alky. You cannot put on too much. Hang it in the sun for a day so the dressing can really penetrate. If it looks dry - it will - repeat the dressing. etc till it looks wet after a day in the sun
wipe off whatever dressing may be on surface top and bottom. Won't be much
Loosen the tension nut
Buff the top - I use a heavy duty boot brush
Install
Ride
So it costs a couple $ and takes a couple days - BFD. Slop some dressing on it a couple times a year and the saddle will last forever
I've had the titanium frame 90 on a buncha different bikes since the late 70's.

Last edited by Steel Charlie; 08-12-21 at 12:09 PM.
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Old 08-11-21, 07:23 PM
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Originally Posted by etherhuffer
I just ran a bit of saddle soap on it, and most of the crud came off. Its a dull finish. The top of the Ideale stamp is a bit worn, so this was used in its day. Obenauf's or Proofhide next
My feeling is, if you have saddle soaped, I used to always give the leather a polish with a treated soft cloth after. That will get you a sense of whether there is more easy to get dirt that should be again washed with saddle soap.

I also have learned over the years that a little conditioner can lead to a lot of conditioner, and I am clueless as far as knowing whatís too much conditioner. There were many threads here dating back over 25 years about saddles disintegrating after too much conditioner. I would hate to pay >$100 for a 90 in such good condition only to destroy it, trying to make it a worthless something-it-is-not. Just consider. The Ideale Company of today asks between $300 and $400 for a modern version of that saddle. Maybe you would be happier saving up for one of them, in terms of owning a great rider.
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Old 08-11-21, 07:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
I know that this is heresy but I've posted it before and the simple truth is that it works and does not harm the leather is in any way. The 90 Titanium remains just fine and in use at least one day/week.
Vintage Ideale Saddle Help
Ideal 90's are my fave leather. Here's how I fix them up from rock hard to something I use every day.
NO SaddleSoap!
NO Neatsfoot Oil!
Get an aluminum cooking tray/pan big enough to hold the saddle. toss the saddle in the pan and cover it with alcohol (gallon cans at homedepot), put some foil over the pan to seal and let it soak for 3-4 days. If the alky gets really yuk looking replace it and soak another day. I had a titanium frame 90 soak for a week (it's now on the Team3V)
Remove from alky and this is as soft as it is ever gonna be so now is the time to crank on the tension nut at the nose and stretch the baby as much as you can. Don't be shy
Hang it in the sun for a couple days to dry.
Get a big zip-lock and put the saddle in it and set it in the sun. You may be surprised at the amount of water that will coat the inside of the bag. Wipe it out a couple times to get the water to a low level in the leather.
I use MinkOil but any decent modern leather dressing will work. NO Neatsfoot Oil ! Heat the saddle up with a hairdryer and brush on the dressing - heavy! You want to soak it. Top and bottom. Use the hairdryer to run the dressing into the leather. Use twice as much as you think you should - remember----the leather is CLEAN inside from the alky. You cannot put on too much. Hang it in the sun for a day so the dressing can really penetrate. If it looks dry - it will - repeat the dressing. etc till it looks wet after a day in the sun
wipe off whatever dressing may be on surface top and bottom. Won't be much
Loosen the tension nut
Buff the top - I use a heavy duty boot brush
Install
Ride
So it costs a couple $ and takes a couple days - BFD. Slop some dressing on it a couple times a year and the saddle will last forever
I've had the titanium frame 90 on a buncha different bikes since the late 70's.
I donít think Iíve seen this before, but Iím interested. Have you ever done this on a Brooks Pro or only Ideale? I have two 1979 ish Brooks Pro Selects, one supple and the other one rock hard. Iím giving the supple one a test on my Masi, but the hard one is just in a box. No discussion of the ďOrganic LeatherĒ impression on the underside, Iím clueless about that.

I think Iíve also heard that extensive use of conditioners can let the fibers pull away from each other. Ever seen such a thing?

Last edited by Road Fan; 08-11-21 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 08-12-21, 09:49 AM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
It hurts to read this. I recently had a humidity spike in the basement, and I found some mold growing on the handlebar tape of the bike I am rising most these days and, critically, on the otherwise pristine Ideale on my Gitane. Running a dehumidifier down there now and other long-term remedies, but the saddle? Tempted to try a bathroom mold-n-mildrew product, immediately followed by an automotive grade leather cleaner, on the top... underneath, I presume only the first half of that regimen.
I had mold or mildew growing on a nearly 50yr old Brooks Pro. I think it was suggested somewhere on BF to use isopropol alcohol. I put the alcohol on a paper towel and wet it well and wiped. After letting it dry and profhide it was good for a year or so.
Next time was 3 yrs and ago and this time I repeated the process and left it in hot summer sun and repeated for a couple of days. (brought it in at night and watched for rain.
Still good (mold free) and still hard as a rock. (and 100% neatsfoot did nothing to soften it)
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Old 08-12-21, 10:10 AM
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Originally Posted by dmark
I had mold or mildew growing on a nearly 50yr old Brooks Pro. I think it was suggested somewhere on BF to use isopropol alcohol. I put the alcohol on a paper towel and wet it well and wiped. After letting it dry and profhide it was good for a year or so.
Next time was 3 yrs and ago and this time I repeated the process and left it in hot summer sun and repeated for a couple of days. (brought it in at night and watched for rain.
Still good (mold free) and still hard as a rock. (and 100% neatsfoot did nothing to soften it)
Willing to try it, probably less "invasive" than bathroom mold/mildew product.

Plus, now have a digital thermometer with humidity readout in the basement in addition to the dehumidifier, won't let this happen again.
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Old 08-12-21, 12:00 PM
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Originally Posted by tiger1964
Willing to try it, probably less "invasive" than bathroom mold/mildew product.

Plus, now have a digital thermometer with humidity readout in the basement in addition to the dehumidifier, won't let this happen again.
I think the second time I brushed alcohol on the bottom also.
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Old 08-12-21, 12:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan
I donít think Iíve seen this before, but Iím interested. Have you ever done this on a Brooks Pro or only Ideale? I have two 1979 ish Brooks Pro Selects, one supple and the other one rock hard. Iím giving the supple one a test on my Masi, but the hard one is just in a box. No discussion of the ďOrganic LeatherĒ impression on the underside, Iím clueless about that.
I think Iíve also heard that extensive use of conditioners can let the fibers pull away from each other. Ever seen such a thing?
I suppose that organic is not fake leather I doubt that Brooks and Ideale use hide cuts, weights, and tanning methods that are different in any meaningful way. I've used the alky soak on a variety of small leather goods and never seen anything but good results. AFA the conditioner stuff goes there are some things that are NOT good for stressed leather and neatsfoot oil is one of them. The oldest 90 that I have has been getting MinkOil'ed for near 40 yrs and it ain't even coming apart. I have also used MinkOil on work and dress boots, belts, and motorcycle saddles for decades and never saw a problem. but that might just be me.
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Old 08-12-21, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
I have also used MinkOil on work and dress boots, belts, and motorcycle saddles for decades and never saw a problem. but that might just be me.
Well, I guess I now know what they do with the rest of the mink after they remove the pelt.

"​​​​​​​MMM, mink; tastes like squirrel or ground hog" (do not ask me how I know about those)

Thanks, I've added mink oil paste to the shopping list. Might be fun working the paste into the underside around the nose mechanism.
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Old 08-13-21, 01:31 PM
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I read a long time ago that neatsfoot oil will damage saddles by making them too soft. However I did use it to try to restore a neglected Brooks Pro that was had dried out and was really rock hard. The neatsfoot oil did soften the leather and it was a very comfortable saddle for a while, then it developed a tear. So maybe it 's just a waste of time to restore something that had been neglected for a long time.


However it is possible to maintain a saddle for forty years if you keep treating it with Proofide, or Obernauf's or Nikwax, or another leather treatment with bee's wax, and some other oils.
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Old 08-14-21, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by Steel Charlie
I suppose that organic is not fake leather I doubt that Brooks and Ideale use hide cuts, weights, and tanning methods that are different in any meaningful way. I've used the alky soak on a variety of small leather goods and never seen anything but good results. AFA the conditioner stuff goes there are some things that are NOT good for stressed leather and neatsfoot oil is one of them. The oldest 90 that I have has been getting MinkOil'ed for near 40 yrs and it ain't even coming apart. I have also used MinkOil on work and dress boots, belts, and motorcycle saddles for decades and never saw a problem. but that might just be me.
No, the organic is real leather. I have a Select B17 with the organic, that Mrs Road Fan has been using for about 6 years now, and the saddle just becomes more and more natural looking, with visible grain, suppleness, and a smooth, beautiful finish. If anything it's really good leather. It has broken in wonderfuly.

Previous threads on this topic have raised questions with respect to neets' foot and mink oil, having asked how pure are they, and what may they have been cut with. Any guidance?

I've used Proofide and Obenauf from time to time on my Brooksies and an Ideale 92, and I think they're good products. I would use my Obenauf's if I try your process on my rock-stiff Professional, I guess, since I have more than half the container left.. There have been several Proofide recipes, if one just reads the can.

My 92 was new in 1986 or so when I bought it, but real hard. I put it in a box and kept in a dry place until three years ago, when I started trying it out. It didn't feel so hard anymore, but I assume that's because I'm heavier by about 25#. Any case have ridden it a few times and it's actually pretty good.
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Old 01-07-24, 11:47 AM
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Originally Posted by repechage
you just lead an ultra clean life.
a bit late, but you clearly have not spent a lot of time around me! I'm not a mess, but am by no means exemplary!
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