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Brooks knock-off?

Old 02-11-21, 02:00 PM
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sovende
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Brooks knock-off?

Can't remember when or where I found this leather "Brooks knock-off" saddle. There are absolutely no markings on it to indicate the maker. I can't say for sure but it looks to not have been used very much. There's a degree "shop wear" and a couple of dings. A small gouge along the upper ridge, mid saddle and a rough spot ~1/2" in dia. along the side edge near the rear of the saddle (like a scuff from being leaned against a wall). The chromed rails have some rust and have some marks where a seat post clamp was attached. The leather is very stiff but doesn't appear to be brittle like old neglected leather sometimes does. I don't know why the saddle bag hangers are turned inward but it would be easy to remedy that!







I think that it would be fairly easy to rehab this saddle and put it to use on one of my C / V bikes. To be sure it's not a Brooks saddle. Many, many years ago, my Schwinn Continental had a leather saddle (not Brooks but IIRC something that started with an "L"). It was fairly stiff but not as stiff as this one I have now. The top surface of the one I have now is like polished leather and the underside is more like suede (untreated in any way). What's the best way to soften this saddle up a bit?
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Old 02-11-21, 02:23 PM
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Get a wrench on that tension bolt and dial in a little more sag. That helps alleviate the riding-on-a-brick feeling.

I know Brooks doesn't recommend detensioning a saddle when you're breaking it in, but I've been doing it for years with no apparent ill effects. You can always dial in more tension if needed as the saddle breaks in.
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Old 02-11-21, 02:30 PM
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Right, it's not a Brooks, but it looks pretty Brooksish. If you don't like Brooks saddles, you probably won't like this one.
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Old 02-11-21, 02:37 PM
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Ride it until itís comfortable. A lot of people donít have the patience to properly break in a leather saddle but thatís how itís really done. Iíve had to ride some of my Brooks Professional saddles for a few thousand miles before I felt they were really comfortable. It wasnít torture but they were stiff for quite awhile. B17s were better but still took time and effort. In the end youíre body will also get used to it.
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Old 02-11-21, 02:39 PM
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Hideaway bag loops. Is that common?
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Old 02-11-21, 02:43 PM
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Originally Posted by bargainguy View Post
Get a wrench on that tension bolt and dial in a little more sag. That helps alleviate the riding-on-a-brick feeling.

I know Brooks doesn't recommend detensioning a saddle when you're breaking it in, but I've been doing it for years with no apparent ill effects. You can always dial in more tension if needed as the saddle breaks in.
How does this even work? Recent new unused Brooksies I've seen have the tension screw set as loose as possible - there is nowhere else for the nut to go. So how can you break in a new Brooks by detensioning it, unless you have excessively over-tensioned it before trying this starting to ride it.

What is breaking it in, if not riding it?
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Old 02-11-21, 03:01 PM
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Don't attempt to "soften" it, because that's how leather saddles are pre-maturely worn out by stretching. Simply ride it. Spend considerable time adjusting the fore-aft tilt until you find the comfort point. Of course, make certain that your fit on the bike in question is correct. If that's off, then no saddle will help you. Balanced, like a jockey. Balanced.

Typically, slung leather saddles require a bit of pronounced nose-up tilt, so that the flats where you actually contact the saddle are kept at level. The rest will be solved over time.
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Old 02-11-21, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Road Fan View Post
How does this even work? Recent new unused Brooksies I've seen have the tension screw set as loose as possible - there is nowhere else for the nut to go. So how can you break in a new Brooks by detensioning it, unless you have excessively over-tensioned it before trying this starting to ride it.

What is breaking it in, if not riding it?
I believe my saddle is already "detensioned" as nearly much as possible. I can see maybe one thread exposed in front of the adjustment nut. There is a definite degree of flexibility of the leather if I push down on it so it might not feel quite like a "brick"!
I am going to pull the rails off and de-rust them as much as possible. It's probably not worth the cost to have the rails re-chromed but I may look into it. I don't have any under-saddle bags that would attach to those loops so I think that they will stay in that position once they're cleaned up.
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Old 02-11-21, 03:51 PM
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The clamping part of rails are longer than on a Brooks. So it's better than a Brooks.
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Old 02-11-21, 04:57 PM
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The bolted rails are typical for TSM (Takahashi Saddle Mfg), or so @rhm told me a while ago in this thread.
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Old 02-11-21, 05:05 PM
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Don't be afraid of using some leather treatment on the saddle. I prefer mink oil but others seem to like proofide better. At the risk of starting another saddle argument, I believe that you want the leather to be pliable. The only saddle failures I've had were from saddles that were untreated which then became hard as a result and the leather cracked. A well treated saddle will be both pliable and strong though some will say otherwise. My most comfortable saddle is an older Brooks, probably from the 50's which had been well cared for originally. It is both supple and strong and is expected to continue for many years. I have a newer Brooks Swift/Ti that is almost as good with 25,000+ miles on it, soft, supple and not stretched even after that usage. I am a 200 pound rider so the saddle does get a work out!
One caveat though is that older Brooks leather is probably of better quality than newer versions, and "knock off" brands often use even lesser quality, so you may not get the same result. Still it is worth the effort. Good luck!
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Old 02-11-21, 05:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Oldairhead View Post
Don't be afraid of using some leather treatment on the saddle. I prefer mink oil but others seem to like proofide better. At the risk of starting another saddle argument, I believe that you want the leather to be pliable. The only saddle failures I've had were from saddles that were untreated which then became hard as a result and the leather cracked. A well treated saddle will be both pliable and strong though some will say otherwise. My most comfortable saddle is an older Brooks, probably from the 50's which had been well cared for originally. It is both supple and strong and is expected to continue for many years. I have a newer Brooks Swift/Ti that is almost as good with 25,000+ miles on it, soft, supple and not stretched even after that usage. I am a 200 pound rider so the saddle does get a work out!
One caveat though is that older Brooks leather is probably of better quality than newer versions, and "knock off" brands often use even lesser quality, so you may not get the same result. Still it is worth the effort. Good luck!
Oh come on, we all love a good saddle argument, almost as much as we love a fixed cup removal argument.
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Old 02-11-21, 05:44 PM
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I cannot tell from the images what the underside reinforcement is. I don't think it is a natural material, but what?
As for de-tensioning, look at the adjusting nut and the nut has I think no threads to really adjust to for less tension.
rhm may have some insight.
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Old 02-13-21, 07:41 AM
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sovende
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Originally Posted by repechage View Post
I cannot tell from the images what the underside reinforcement is. I don't think it is a natural material, but what?
As for de-tensioning, look at the adjusting nut and the nut has I think no threads to really adjust to for less tension.
rhm may have some insight.
The underside reinforcement material seems to be some sort of fiber-like material (synthetic vs natural ?) compressed into a sheet perhaps 1.5 mm thick. Itís completely adhered to the underside of the saddle. RE: de-tensioning, you are correct, this saddle is de-tensioned as much as possible.
Also, my original comment describing the leather surface on the underside as ďsuedeĒ is less than correct. On closer examination, itís more like unpolished leather.
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