Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Classic & Vintage
Reload this Page >

1978 Brooks B15 saddle. Is it salvagable or usable?

Notices
Classic & Vintage This forum is to discuss the many aspects of classic and vintage bicycles, including musclebikes, lightweights, middleweights, hi-wheelers, bone-shakers, safety bikes and much more.

1978 Brooks B15 saddle. Is it salvagable or usable?

Old 09-02-13, 06:45 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 148

Bikes: 1989 Fuji Saratoga, Salsa Mukluk, Electra Townie

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
1978 Brooks B15 saddle. Is it salvagable or usable?

This was the original seat for the bike I bought today. It looks quite rough to me and I know nothing about how to restore these.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
IMG_5779.jpg (99.4 KB, 147 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_5778.jpg (96.6 KB, 151 views)
File Type: jpg
IMG_5777.jpg (99.2 KB, 187 views)

Last edited by cyanemi; 09-02-13 at 06:45 PM. Reason: Spelling
cyanemi is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 06:47 PM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,831
Liked 699 Times in 471 Posts
Send it to me and I'll let you know

But in all seriousness it's been well used and is dried out, however, there are people here that claim near magical results with certain products. I can't remember off the top of my head what they are but maybe those people will chime in.
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird
shoota is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 07:26 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
 
Bruce Enns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 310
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
If it were mine, I'd give it a couple of good soakings with a high quality leather oil, then let it sit for a couple of days. Buff it up with an old t-shirt and install it on the bike. I'd try a few short rides at first to see how it reacts, I'd be willing to bet it will be fine. You'll need to be good with the "aged" look though. Its a Brooks, it deserves a bit of TLC and another chance, lol.
Bruce Enns is offline  
Likes For Bruce Enns:
Old 09-02-13, 07:43 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
shoota's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Location: Stillwater, OK
Posts: 7,831
Liked 699 Times in 471 Posts
I just remembered: non-starch talcum powder. Just rub it in. I know I didn't believe it either but the guy swore by it.
__________________
2014 Cannondale SuperSix EVO 2
2019 Salsa Warbird

Last edited by shoota; 09-02-13 at 07:49 PM.
shoota is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 07:50 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
rootboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wherever
Posts: 16,748
Likes: 0
Liked 133 Times in 79 Posts
Soakings in oil?

Talcum powder?

I think I've somehow entered an alternative universe.
rootboy is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 08:00 PM
  #6  
~>~
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: TX Hill Country
Posts: 5,931
Liked 183 Times in 122 Posts
Originally Posted by cyanemi
This was the original seat for the bike I bought today. It looks quite rough to me and I know nothing about how to restore these.
Brooks Heritage Saddles Proofide Leather Dressing

https://www.amazon.com/Brooks-Proofid...rooks+proofide

No need for any old wives potions, spells or incantations.

-Bandera
Bandera is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 08:04 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Posts: 60
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Hand lotion with lanolin, slather it on let it soak in, then do it again. Once it's hydrated wax it. Do not put weight on it until you have hydrated it. I use paste wax.
bikeyboy is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 08:09 PM
  #8  
Old fart
 
JohnDThompson's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Location: Appleton WI
Posts: 24,923

Bikes: Several, mostly not name brands.

Liked 3,533 Times in 2,001 Posts
Plenty of miles left on that saddle, by the looks of it. A Proofide treatment wouldn't hurt at all.
JohnDThompson is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 08:11 PM
  #9  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Posts: 148

Bikes: 1989 Fuji Saratoga, Salsa Mukluk, Electra Townie

Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Thanks for the info.
cyanemi is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 08:17 PM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
Peugeotlover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: York, PA
Posts: 551

Bikes: '72 Peugeot PX-10; '74 Raleigh International; '87 Specialized RockHopper; '88 Specialized StumpJumper; '02 Cannondale Scalpel

Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Just recently, I rubbed olive oil (from the kitchen bottle) on two of my Brooks saddles.
I was astonished as the oil was absorbed in a few minutes.
So, I applied more and watched- again, it was all sopped up, and quickly.

After you get the saddle all nice and supple, polish it with the appropriate color of shoe polish ( I use Kiwi).
Then, polish it again.

Lastly, follow up with a boot or shoe leather preservative such as: Mink Oil; or Kiwi Camp Dry beeswax waterproofer. Rub it in real good with your hands and fingers. Real thick like.
It will be absorbed by next morning and the saddle will look great and be ready for another year.

Here's one I just did now- a 1974 Brooks Professional, very cracked hide, but actually perfectly broken in to fit my bottom.
The oil was applied a week ago; just now did the black shoe polish and beeswax.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg
001.jpg (102.3 KB, 126 views)
File Type: jpg
002.jpg (97.3 KB, 127 views)
File Type: jpg
003.jpg (98.4 KB, 132 views)

Last edited by Peugeotlover; 09-02-13 at 08:37 PM.
Peugeotlover is offline  
Old 09-02-13, 10:02 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Bruce Enns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 310
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
Originally Posted by rootboy
Soakings in oil?

Talcum powder?

I think I've somehow entered an alternative universe.
Uh, yeah. Long before Brooks started making bicycle saddles, cattle ranchers, cowboys, drovers, farmers, etc, etc, all conditioned (and still do) their leather goods in order to retain the natural strength. A good horse saddle costs about as much as 50 Brooks saddles, they need care in order to last many years of hard use. More so than any bicycle seat.
The natural oils that are in a freshly skinned cowhide disappear after a time because the cowhide is now dead. Those natural oils need to be replaced and the closest thing is using a quality leather conditioner/oils (saddle soap to clean) that contains the natural elements. Doing this will help maintain the original strength of the hide.

Products like Proofide are great when you have a piece of leather that's been recently tanned and just needs to be protected. The Beeswax is a water repellent like any wax, providing protection to leather and helping retain the natural oils that make a piece of leather strong. At some point in time though the natural oils need to be replaced, especially after years of hard use or neglect.

Now turn your bicycle around and come back to the proper universe.

Last edited by Bruce Enns; 09-02-13 at 11:56 PM.
Bruce Enns is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 06:13 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
rootboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wherever
Posts: 16,748
Likes: 0
Liked 133 Times in 79 Posts
Well, OK.
I'll just add one distinction. A somewhat important one.
All equestrian saddles are built over a tree. A hardwood form.
The tree supports all the leather parts that are put on it afterwords, including the swells, cantle and seat.
And it supports the rider.

A suspended leather bicycle saddle has no such support built under it and relies only on the formed leather attached to the cantle plate and nose of the frame to support the rider.

Oil softens leather. That's why is it recommended that it be added to a suspended leather saddle very sparingly. To avoid over-sofening the leather and thus losing the taught suspension built into the saddle by design. And why a substance like Proofide was developed, which is small amounts of oils suspended in a wax base. So the addition of oils to the leather can be controlled and very light.

Adding lots of oil to a horse saddle will extend its usable life. Doing the same to a suspended leather bike saddle has the opposite affect.
rootboy is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 06:40 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Bruce Enns's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Phoenix, AZ
Posts: 310
Likes: 0
Liked 3 Times in 3 Posts
True, don't OVER oil, and there is the adjusting nut, its there for a reason. It will only stretch so far for a given weight. No oil and it will be junk well before its time.
Bruce Enns is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 06:45 AM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 13,510
Liked 3,033 Times in 1,865 Posts
Let us see it when you're done with whatever you choose to do.
__________________
Bikes: 1996 Eddy Merckx Titanium EX, 1989/90 Colnago Super(issimo?) Piu(?), 1990 Concorde Aquila(hit by car while riding), others in build queue "when I get the time"





himespau is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 06:48 AM
  #15  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: Adelaide, Australia
Posts: 810
Liked 159 Times in 80 Posts
+1 Rootboy
There are so many threads on the best ways to maintain a Brooks leather saddle, yet few want to follow the simple advice from the manufacturer.
A new saddle should be treated with Brooks Proofide leather dressing to help assist the ‘breaking-in’ process. Proofide keeps the leather supple as it is specially formulated from natural ingredients to condition, preserve and shower proof your saddle. Proofide is the only substance that should be used to care for your Brooks Leather Saddle.
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, this needs not to be polished off. The leather gets its colour during the tanning process and it is possible, therefore, that some colour residues will remain. It is recommended to polish the saddle with a soft cloth before first use.
Big Block is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 07:19 AM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
rootboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wherever
Posts: 16,748
Likes: 0
Liked 133 Times in 79 Posts
It's always possible to misinterpret, but I took this recommendation at face value;
"a couple of good soakings with a high quality leather oil"

This might be a good place to insert a quote from Tony Colegrave, extracted from a much longer post he left on the Classic Rendezvous email list. Tony is a freelance saddle repair and restoration specialist. FWIW, I follow Tony's recommendations religiously.


>The best 'treatment' for a badly cracked
> leather saddle, provided that it is stll structurally sound,
> is to ride it regularly, with love and the occasional light
> dressing of 'Proofide'. Most of these things have
> languished, unloved and neglected, for many years, and it
> can be surprising (sometimes, but not always) just how well
> they'll respond to a bit of TLC."

Last edited by rootboy; 09-06-13 at 06:45 AM.
rootboy is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 07:54 AM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
rootboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wherever
Posts: 16,748
Likes: 0
Liked 133 Times in 79 Posts
Originally Posted by Big Block
There are so many threads on the best ways to maintain a Brooks leather saddle, yet few want to follow the simple advice from the manufacturer.
True, Big Block. And I've often wondered why. I know I was skeptical at one point, thinking, Nuts.... Brooks just wants me to buy their product. "Surely there has to be other stuff that's just as good". And cheaper! Though when you consider how little you're "supposed " to use, that little 12 dollar tin does goes a long way. I believe that it comes down to people, and their proclivities, and pride, and whatever, who often think they know better. I'm the same. I'd like to think my years of experience with leather gives me a certain amount of "professional know-how". But I ruined a perfectly good Brooks saddle once. By over oiling it. That was 35 years ago. Live and learn.

I said I follow Mr. Colegrave's advice religiously. But to be honest, I have departed from it from time to time. He recommends only applying Proofide to the top side of saddles. On a recently acquired Brooks Pro, built in 1966, I applied a bit more than he recommends, to both top and bottom surfaces, with the first coat "helped" to soak in by judicious use of warm air supplied by a heat gun. Just to give the old leather a tad more of a "feeding". But I didn't overdo it by any means and the saddle is still firm, maintaining its original shape and level of hardness. A beautiful old Brooks.

Planning on biting my tongue with regard to Peugeotlover's post, I'm finding it difficult. In my opinion...and it is only that...applying olive oil to a Brooks is a...em...mistake. No, it won't ruin the saddle, but almost all oils, especially vegetable and animal derived fats, will go rancid given time. There are exceptions. Mineral oil wont go rancid I don't believe. Now, Proofide does contain both vegetable oils and tallow, an animal-derived fat. They both will go rancid, but Brooks adds a little Citronella oil to help preserve the dressing and lessen the likelihood of the other oils going rancid. And the amount of oil in Proofide is quite minimal.

I still have my old tin of Brooks Proofide from the 70's. It's mostly gone but there's a little left and , man, does it smell funny. When fresh, I used to love the smell of that stuff, when it was still their pinkish-orange recipe. I can almost smell it now. But what's left in my old tin has gone rancid.

People will put all sorts of things on their saddles. And I suppose they always will.
rootboy is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:15 AM
  #18  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 2,116
Likes: 0
Liked 13 Times in 10 Posts
Proofhide is overpriced. Obenhaufs LP Leather preserve is a better product for less money. I'd rather have 8 ounces of leather conditioner than a wimpy little tin. The Obenhaufs works great for saddles and also shoes

The best thing to do is apply Obenhaufs liberally around the saddle top and bottom. Then ride it. See if it starts to become supple again. Tightly grained leather will bounce back to life if it is used.

Colegrave's advice is very good but I think Proofhide is not the best.
SoreFeet is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:43 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
 
rootboy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Wherever
Posts: 16,748
Likes: 0
Liked 133 Times in 79 Posts
I've heard good things about Obenhaufs. Anybody have a tin of it and, does it list the ingredients? I'm just curious.
rootboy is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:45 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 13,510
Liked 3,033 Times in 1,865 Posts
I've used Obenhauf's LP because it's what I had on hand when I got my first leather saddles and it's worked so I've kept with it. Not that there's anything wrong with Proofide, I just use what I have. I've tried putting a saddle in the oven on low for maybe 20 minutes before applying the Obenhauf's the first time. It soaked in a lot better, but I don't know that the extra soaking in hurt or helped and I haven't done it since and probably won't again because I'm lazy like that.
__________________
Bikes: 1996 Eddy Merckx Titanium EX, 1989/90 Colnago Super(issimo?) Piu(?), 1990 Concorde Aquila(hit by car while riding), others in build queue "when I get the time"





himespau is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:48 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
himespau's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2008
Location: Louisville, KY
Posts: 13,510
Liked 3,033 Times in 1,865 Posts
Originally Posted by rootboy
I've heard good things about Obenhaufs. Anybody have a tin of it and, does it list the ingredients? I'm just curious.
No list of ingredients on my little 1 oz tin (only got the small tin because it lasts a long time on my 3 saddles and I didn't want more going bad), but Rivendell says it has bees wax, propolis, and other stuff they don't know or can't say.
__________________
Bikes: 1996 Eddy Merckx Titanium EX, 1989/90 Colnago Super(issimo?) Piu(?), 1990 Concorde Aquila(hit by car while riding), others in build queue "when I get the time"





himespau is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 08:59 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
 
Peugeotlover's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2012
Location: York, PA
Posts: 551

Bikes: '72 Peugeot PX-10; '74 Raleigh International; '87 Specialized RockHopper; '88 Specialized StumpJumper; '02 Cannondale Scalpel

Liked 10 Times in 6 Posts
Originally Posted by rootboy

Planning on biting my tongue with regard to Peugeotlover's post, I'm finding it difficult. In my opinion...and it is only that...applying olive oil to a Brooks is a...em...mistake. No, it won't ruin the saddle, but almost all oils, especially vegetable and animal derived fats, will go rancid given time.
To watch that saddle gratefully soak up that oil was a pleasure--- talking a quarter of an ounce.
Followed by polish and a sealer.

The OP's saddle is really rough and needs some oil (any oil) before it cracks apart.
Also, his saddle is really misshapen and may be beyond help.
Peugeotlover is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 09:48 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
Mr S Middlemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 102
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
My often repeated answer for these occasions is the fact that Brooks could make their own Brooks Saddle Oil, but they don't they make Proofide because oil is the wrong thing to use on a bicycle saddle. If the saddle is in extreme need of feeding use the cheap dubbin - if the saddle is not rare and valueable.
Mr S Middlemore is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 09:59 AM
  #24  
rhm
multimodal commuter
 
rhm's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: NJ, NYC, LI
Posts: 19,809

Bikes: 1940s Fothergill, 1959 Allegro Special, 1963? Claud Butler Olympic Sprint, Lambert 'Clubman', 1974 Fuji "the Ace", 1976 Holdsworth 650b conversion rando bike, 1983 Trek 720 tourer, 1984 Counterpoint Opus II, 1993 Basso Gap, 2010 Downtube 8h, and...

Liked 575 Times in 340 Posts
Originally Posted by Mr S Middlemore
... If the saddle is in extreme need of feeding use the cheap dubbin - if the saddle is not rare and valueable.
+1, with emphasis added.

To my eye OP's saddle is not in extreme need. It could stand a little proofide, mainly on the abraded portions, mainly to waterproof it.

A 1978 B.15 is of course not a rare and valuable saddle; but it looks to be a good rider. Oiling the heck out if it is not going to make it better.
rhm is offline  
Old 09-03-13, 10:16 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
Mr S Middlemore's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 102
Likes: 0
Liked 0 Times in 0 Posts
For me, definately not one to treat badly as they are no longer made so will only get scarcer.
Mr S Middlemore is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Your Privacy Choices -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.