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Reassembled leather saddle: correct tension?

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Reassembled leather saddle: correct tension?

Old 09-21-10, 02:05 PM
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_Archie_
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Reassembled leather saddle: correct tension?

The 'Bicycle Mechanics' section was probably not the best place for my question, so I'll try asking here; sorry for cross-posting.

It's relatively clear when to add the tension, but I've never seen any information about initial setting... Currently I'm trying to restore old leather saddle (from soviet racing bike, almost exact Brooks clone), and highly appreciate any recommendations on this topic.

Is there anybody with full saddle overhaul experience? How do you determine the amount of tension to be set on just riveted one?
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Old 09-21-10, 07:39 PM
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Hi _Archie_ !
Welcome to C&V...

I've never felt the need to retension one of my saddles - but from what I understand, when the saddle has many miles on it it may need to be tensioned in order to remove the sag.

So though I have no experience with building saddles or even in tensioning them, I would think that this same logic would apply to a new (or re-built) saddle: ie: It needs to be tensioned enough to prevent sag.

- Sorry I could not provide a specific number - but consider too that leather is a natural product with a great deal of variation from one piece to the next, so it is entirely plausible that there might BE no single spec. - just the experience and the judgment of the craftsman who assembles it.

This website provides some additional information on Brooks saddles that I thought was interesting.
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Old 09-22-10, 01:11 AM
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Hi auchencrow,
Thanks! :-)

I think, you're right: it's better to see how the saddle will sag on the first ride, and adjust the tension accordingly.

Of course, each saddle is unique, so I don't expect to find "scientific values" like nut torque force in Newton / metre, but merely looking for personal opinions.

The Eric Sande's page is very useful indeed; I've learned not to use liquid oils for treatment...
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Old 09-22-10, 05:02 AM
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Archie - if you get a chance, please post a picture of the Soviet era racing bike. I think it would be interesting to a lot of the C&V members here.
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Old 09-22-10, 05:22 AM
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In Soviet Russia, bike rides you!
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Old 09-22-10, 05:32 AM
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Originally Posted by YoKev View Post
In Soviet Russia, bike rides you!


- Maybe we need a "Show us your Soviet Bike" thread.
I saw one once with Cyrillic lettering on it - it was a Track bike and looked really hot - but unfortunately I can't recall the name.
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Old 09-22-10, 05:37 AM
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Takhion?

(or Vorontsov, or XB3/Kharkov? )
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Old 09-22-10, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Archie - if you get a chance, please post a picture of the Soviet era racing bike. I think it would be interesting to a lot of the C&V members here.
No problem! A while back, I've visited local exhibition of soviet technics (mostly bikes, but not limited to):

https://public.fotki.com/-archie-/soviet-bikes-etc/



On this one, tubular wheels were replaced by modern QR clincher ones, and toe clips & straps removed. Its overall condition isn't perfect - but it looks pretty much authentic.

If you're interested, I probably can dig up more pictures, including factory ads showing them "in all the glory" like this one (for simple consumer-level bike):
https://tourist.kharkov.ua/info/hvz/h...ne-111-431.jpg
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Old 09-22-10, 06:13 AM
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Archie, I'm sure we'd all love to see photos of your bike!

I think you don't want tension, as such, on the leather. Tighten the nut only enough to take up all the slack, so it doesn't rattle. If you put actual tension on the leather, it will tear at the rivets. I had a nice Brooks Pro that I (or someone) ruined this way. I got it used (but pretty new) and may have tightened the nut at some point between 1980 and 1985, and tears started appearing in the mid 90's; took a while, but clearly the leather was under too much tension.
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Old 09-22-10, 06:28 AM
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Originally Posted by rhm View Post
Archie, I'm sure we'd all love to see photos of your bike!
Unfortunately, I haven't any - the only salvaged part I've got is the saddle... But I surely can post pictures of other people' bikes!

I think you don't want tension, as such, on the leather. Tighten the nut only enough to take up all the slack, so it doesn't rattle. If you put actual tension on the leather, it will tear at the rivets. I had a nice Brooks Pro that I (or someone) ruined this way. I got it used (but pretty new) and may have tightened the nut at some point between 1980 and 1985, and tears started appearing in the mid 90's; took a while, but clearly the leather was under too much tension.
Thanks for warning! Of course I don't intend to put excessive stress, but as I understand, riding the saddle will apply the tensioning force anyway - so my only hope is, that leather isn't damaged by dry rot or similar things, and will withstand it...
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Old 09-22-10, 06:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Maanster View Post
Takhion?

(or Vorontsov, or XB3/Kharkov? )
- It had some distinctly Cyrillic characters in the name, including a "yah" (backwards "Я"). I can't read Russian, so the name did not stick with me.
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Old 09-22-10, 06:54 AM
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Originally Posted by _Archie_ View Post

https://public.fotki.com/-archie-/soviet-bikes-etc/



If you're interested, I probably can dig up more pictures, including factory ads showing them "in all the glory" like this one (for simple consumer-level bike):
https://tourist.kharkov.ua/info/hvz/h...ne-111-431.jpg
Most appear to be very practical /utilitarian bikes with many pre-war features - like the fender stays and seat posts that cantilever forward.
I also see the consumer-level bike still had cottered cranks. - Are these really that old, or did they carryover these old features into the modern era?
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Old 09-22-10, 06:59 AM
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Originally Posted by _Archie_ View Post
Unfortunately, I haven't any - the only salvaged part I've got is the saddle... But I surely can post pictures of other people' bikes!


Thanks for warning! Of course I don't intend to put excessive stress, but as I understand, riding the saddle will apply the tensioning force anyway - so my only hope is, that leather isn't damaged by dry rot or similar things, and will withstand it...
Right! But if you tighten it and then ride on it, you apply even more tension! If the saddle is already damaged, that's out of your hands already. But you still have plenty of opportunity to damage it yourself....
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Old 09-22-10, 07:08 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Most appear to be very practical /utilitarian bikes
And they really were: many such bikes are still in use among older people, looking ugly nowadays but still moving fine (well, "acceptable" ) without servicing.

I also see the consumer-level bike still had cottered cranks. - Are these really that old, or did they carryover these old features into the modern era?
Can't say when exactly cottered cranks were "officially" dropped, but I'm certain they were in production at least until 198x or even later...
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Old 09-22-10, 09:46 AM
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Almost completely off topic:

When the Soviet National Team came to the Coors Classic in 1981 they rode Colnagos. Gorgeous red ones to match their jerseys. Super Record. Mechanics were nice guys - spoke very little English but didn't seem to mind an 11-year-old kid hanging out drooling over the bikes......
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Old 09-24-10, 12:59 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
I also see the consumer-level bike still had cottered cranks. - Are these really that old, or did they carryover these old features into the modern era?
Well, I've contacted the people at Ukrainian bike forum, located in the town where mentioned bike was manufactured. Believe me or not - but cottered cranks are still in production!
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Old 09-24-10, 07:13 AM
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Originally Posted by _Archie_ View Post
Well, I've contacted the people at Ukrainian bike forum, located in the town where mentioned bike was manufactured. Believe me or not - but cottered cranks are still in production!
Amazing!
BTW - If they're making their own cotters in English (9.5mm) or French (9.0mm) diameters, I would bet they are superior to the Chinese-made ones that are available today.
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Old 09-24-10, 07:32 AM
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Originally Posted by auchencrow View Post
Amazing!
In fact, I was shocked.

BTW - If they're making their own cotters in English (9.5mm) or French (9.0mm) diameters, I would bet they are superior to the Chinese-made ones that are available today.
AFAIK, you're correct: presently, market is flooded by Chinese and India-made cotters of inferior quality, and Ukrainian ones are considered good ones, but are rare...

As for standard sizes, I don't know: my last bike with cottered cranks was discarded more than 30 years ago. It was a "Shkolnik" ("the schoolboy" in Russian), and looked like this one:

https://public.fotki.com/-archie-/sov...c05288jpg.html



Those were the days, oh yes those were the days... (c)
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Old 09-24-10, 08:23 AM
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This thread is becoming very interesting. So regarding Soviet / Rusian / Ukranian bikes, are they based on any particular standard, like English threading, etc.?

Hey, perhaps we can do a BF group buy for something Ukranian made to be shipped to the US.
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Old 09-24-10, 08:32 AM
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Am I to understand there are still bicycles in production in either Russia or one of the ex-Soviet states?
Cool! I would be interested in a group buy of something shiny.
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Old 09-24-10, 08:38 AM
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Originally Posted by b dub View Post
This thread is becoming very interesting.
Your Honour, I've just asked about saddle tension...

So regarding Soviet / Rusian / Ukranian bikes, are they based on any particular standard, like English threading, etc.?
All Soviet bikes I'm aware of, were adapted to the metric system: seatpost diameter 25 mm exactly (not 25,4 aka 1"), pedal thread M15 instead of 9/16", and so on.

Hey, perhaps we can do a BF group buy for something Ukranian made to be shipped to the US.
What do you intend to do with them?
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Old 09-24-10, 08:44 AM
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Originally Posted by David Newton View Post
Am I to understand there are still bicycles in production in either Russia or one of the ex-Soviet states?
Yes, definitely. In Russia, Ukraine and Belarus bike factories are still working.


Cool! I would be interested in a group buy of something shiny.
Are you sure? IMHO, current samples don't have neither enough quality level nor vintage value...
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Old 09-24-10, 10:14 AM
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Originally Posted by _Archie_ View Post
Are you sure? IMHO, current samples don't have neither enough quality level nor vintage value...
People are always looking for quality reproductions of hard to get vintage parts, preferably for a decent price. But from your last comment it sounds like the quality is not worth the effort.
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Old 09-27-10, 01:17 AM
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Meanwhile, I've finished my project. The saddle was not in best condition: the frame rusted and leather scratched and deformed.




Disassembled parts were sanded, the frame chromed and partially painted. Leather dyed using Fiebing's dye, polished and threated with Proofide. Assembled back using copper rivets.





Some more pictures:

https://public.fotki.com/-Archie-/old-saddle/
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Old 09-27-10, 06:14 AM
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Terrific job ! - Looks like new!
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