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Black Berthoud saddle dye bleeding

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Black Berthoud saddle dye bleeding

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Old 08-17-16, 05:27 PM
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Black Berthoud saddle dye bleeding

I've ridden on my Berthoud Aravis for about 500 miles now and it shows no signs of letting up with the dye bleeding. Because I commute on this bike, I have to wear shorts and change at work, or put a t-shirt or cover over the saddle. I never had this issue with a black Brooks Team Pro saddle I owned.

Anyone have advice (besides cover it, wear shorts, live with it or other sarcastic remarks) on how to expedite this process, make it stop, clean it off, etc.? I'm thinking of taking some ph balanced leather soap to it, or something. I'd like to be able to commute without turning my clothing black. I love this saddle and its really a bummer.
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Old 08-17-16, 09:05 PM
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touring bikes, travel bikes, road bikes, tandems : Gilles Berthoud Cycles. Makers of tandem bicycles and custom bicycles
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Old 08-17-16, 10:03 PM
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If it is bleeding like that, there is not much you can do. Either the leather was not properly treated, or the die was not color fast. Neither problem can easily be fixed. You could try stripping off as much die as possible with saddle soap and lots of scrubbing, but that will just reduce the amount of die that can stain your clothes to a less noticeable level.
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Old 08-17-16, 10:49 PM
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Wear black shorts for the next couple of years. That's why they used to be black.
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Old 08-17-16, 11:15 PM
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Originally Posted by CanoeRoller View Post
If it is bleeding like that, there is not much you can do. Either the leather was not properly treated, or the die was not color fast. Neither problem can easily be fixed. You could try stripping off as much die as possible with saddle soap and lots of scrubbing, but that will just reduce the amount of die that can stain your clothes to a less noticeable level.
Bummer. That's not what I wanted to hear. Love the saddle--amazing quality--but this is absurd. I have an email out to Berthoud. We'll see if they respond.
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Old 08-17-16, 11:17 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Wear black shorts for the next couple of years. That's why they used to be black.
I know. I was looking for other helpful suggestions. Thanks.
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Old 08-17-16, 11:45 PM
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Perhaps I wasn't clear. It's a problem many of us have faced, and there isn't much you can do until the bleeding stops. Maybe put a cover between the saddle and your pants.
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Old 08-18-16, 12:16 AM
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I have an Aravis in black on my Surly LHT and there is no problem whatsoever with the dye. I've only ridden just over 400km with this saddle though, and the saddle looks the same as day day I bought it.

you can buy the Gilles Berthoud saddle cover .... it's made of some type of latex. I have not used my bike in the rain, so I have never had to use mine
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Old 08-18-16, 02:53 AM
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Sometimes also old Brooks saddles that got wet will stain your pants. Brown or red, none of these colours are very flattering in that area. Waiting for a solution, a simple plastic bag will do, inside out in case of a print just to make sure, and tug it nice and tight under the saddle, it won't bother you.
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Old 08-18-16, 09:33 AM
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I love my brown brooks saddle, but unfortunately a pair of light kaki pants I use for cool weather has a seat mark on it that matches the dark brown of the saddle. Not a pair of pants I want to walk around in.

Best solution: Wear black (or get a synthetic saddle).
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Old 08-18-16, 10:25 AM
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I was concerned that my black Brooks Flyer might do that to my khaki shorts while commuting but so far it has not.

Love, love, love my Brooks...
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Old 08-18-16, 10:47 AM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
I've ridden on my Berthoud Aravis for about 500 miles now and it shows no signs of letting up with the dye bleeding. Because I commute on this bike, I have to wear shorts and change at work, or put a t-shirt or cover over the saddle. I never had this issue with a black Brooks Team Pro saddle I owned......
Brooks Team Pro lightly stained my REI Sahara convertible pant/shorts.
Saddle is black; used a few weeks when I rode with my REI pants(khaki/concrete) in color .

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Old 08-18-16, 11:34 AM
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I should mention that the only treatment I applied was the Berthoud saddle treatment underside and top when I first opened the box (with a little bit of hair dryer to help it absorb into the leather). I followed that with a layer of Nikwax aqueous wax leather waterproofing, which if you watch this production video at minute 8:55, is exactly what they apply as a final treatment/sealant. (I've used the same method with my Brooks saddles and proofide and it works great.)

Here's a pic of my light colored shorts after a week of riding in them, maybe 4-5 13-mile round trip commutes. No rain (SoCal in the summer and a drought). Minimal sweat since I'm wearing shorts on top of wool underwear and the commute is only 6.5 miles max each way:



Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Perhaps I wasn't clear. It's a problem many of us have faced, and there isn't much you can do until the bleeding stops. Maybe put a cover between the saddle and your pants.
Does it really last "a couple of years"? As I said, it just wasn't my experience with a Brooks Team Pro. I've read somewhere that the more environmentally friendly dye used by Berthoud tends to bleed more. I just want to know that it will eventually stop under normal riding conditions.

Originally Posted by dim View Post
I have an Aravis in black on my Surly LHT and there is no problem whatsoever with the dye. I've only ridden just over 400km with this saddle though, and the saddle looks the same as day day I bought it.

you can buy the Gilles Berthoud saddle cover .... it's made of some type of latex. I have not used my bike in the rain, so I have never had to use mine
That's interesting. I think mine started a few hundred km in. Let me know how it progresses. Are you wearing lighter colored pants? I have a latex cover, but I am inclined not to use covers in order to speed up this process and get as much dye to rub off as possible (which is why I sometimes put an old t-shirt over it if I have to ride with light-colored pants).

Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
Sometimes also old Brooks saddles that got wet will stain your pants. Brown or red, none of these colours are very flattering in that area. Waiting for a solution, a simple plastic bag will do, inside out in case of a print just to make sure, and tug it nice and tight under the saddle, it won't bother you.
Yeah, no rain involved at all. Very minimal sweat (only used on 6-mile commutes each way so far).

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Old 08-18-16, 11:59 AM
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I'm sorry I don't remember how long the bleeding lasted for me. Sometimes it was super annoying, and sometimes I just shrugged it off. This was a new Brooks B17 made in 1975 or so, purchased and used beginning in 1976, therefore remembering how long the bleeding lasted isn't possible for me. It's quite plausible that Berthoud's dye is bleedier (to coin a word) than current Brooks dye, so be patient and think of some remedies such as a cover or black pants. I'm pretty sure it is somewhat futile to try to stop it completely. If it bothers you too much, it's the wrong saddle for you.
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Old 08-18-16, 12:15 PM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
I'm sorry I don't remember how long the bleeding lasted for me. Sometimes it was super annoying, and sometimes I just shrugged it off. This was a new Brooks B17 made in 1975 or so, purchased and used beginning in 1976, therefore remembering how long the bleeding lasted isn't possible for me. It's quite plausible that Berthoud's dye is bleedier (to coin a word) than current Brooks dye, so be patient and think of some remedies such as a cover or black pants. I'm pretty sure it is somewhat futile to try to stop it completely. If it bothers you too much, it's the wrong saddle for you.
Understood. That saddle is as old as I am.

Yes, hopefully it will die down to a more acceptable level with time. I would expect some bleeding under normal conditions such as sweat, etc. (just not every time my pants touch the saddle like it does now). I like the saddle and am willing to live with it in hopes that age and wear will normalize things a bit. I just hope we're talking months and not years. Maybe I need to go on a nice long bike tour...
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Old 08-18-16, 12:38 PM
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Niagara Cycle sells lycra seat covers that attach like shower caps but are very snug. The last time I bought one, it was only $2.87. The only downside is that people can't see that you have a fancy saddle. It's entirely comfortable. But maybe that's actually an upside.
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Old 08-18-16, 08:53 PM
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I know this is not responsive to the OP question, but I have had a number of Selle Anatomica leather saddles and never experienced dye bleeding issues. If the old school Berthoud bleeds, keep some sort of condom handy for those light color pant days. IMO if it is a great saddle it should be worth the mild inconvenience.

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Old 08-19-16, 10:19 AM
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Bike shorts have traditionally been black for a reason, you are discovering why.
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Old 08-19-16, 10:44 AM
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My wife turned me on to the best saddle cover...cheap-o shower caps.
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Old 08-21-16, 12:29 AM
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
Bike shorts have traditionally been black for a reason, you are discovering why.
That would have been a good point if a lot of those Brooks saddles weren't made for upright bikes you could ride in a suit.
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Old 08-21-16, 04:52 AM
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Originally Posted by emailsfh View Post
I should mention that the only treatment I applied was the Berthoud saddle treatment underside and top when I first opened the box (with a little bit of hair dryer to help it absorb into the leather). I followed that with a layer of Nikwax aqueous wax leather waterproofing, which if you
perhaps it's the Nikwax that caused the problem? Also no need to use a hair dryer....

All that I done to mine was add a layer of the Gilles Berthoud wax/proofhide to the underside and top of the saddle, then I let it soak in overnight.

Next day, I buffed the top with a microfibre cloth....

there is no dye coming off mine even when I rub it with a clean white cloth to check after reading your thread

here is a review on amazon that describes the Nikwax:
https://www.amazon.com/Nikwax-Waterp...l&pageNumber=1

snip:

Has a yellow tinge, true to its beeswax DNA. It does not readily absorb into the leather at room temp,
it forms a distinct yellow-ish residue on the surface.

There is a debate on several ski related message boards about the merits or perils of heating up the leather to help absorption.
I ended up heating my gloves to 170 degrees, and that helped. Used the product on several ski gloves of different colors. It darkened my green Armada-s, and slightly yellow-ed a pair of white Swany-s. Somewhat dissolved the black surface dye on a pair of black Swany-s.

The dye ended up staining the white stitching on the gloves. (I imagine most similar products would do this as well)
On the white gloves, the yellow tinge mostly faded after heating up the gloves and working them over with paper towels.
Tried on an old pair of Reusch, it softened those up nicely. Has a mildly unpleasant, faint smell, and it is a bit sticky until it dries,
Jow much it helps water resistance? Remains to be seen. Will post a follow up in after I had a chance to test..

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Old 08-21-16, 09:15 AM
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ever thought of a plastic bag ?
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Old 08-21-16, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by noglider View Post
Niagara Cycle sells lycra seat covers that attach like shower caps but are very snug. The last time I bought one, it was only $2.87. The only downside is that people can't see that you have a fancy saddle. It's entirely comfortable. But maybe that's actually an upside.
Definitely has some upside. I was thinking of the brooks cambium saddle but it screams steal me. I have my seatpost protected by a pitlock skewer but the seatpost clamp is fair game. I wouldn't want to use an ugly cover on a bike as it would mess with the aesthetics so looks like I'll be sticking with my selle san marco that is plenty comfortable
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Old 08-21-16, 11:05 AM
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@idiotekniQues, you have two requirements at odds with each other. You want your bike to look handsome to you but you want it not to be theft-bait. The magical solution is something that is beautiful to you but ugly to thieves, which, of course, doesn't exactly exist.
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Old 08-21-16, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by Stadjer View Post
That would have been a good point if a lot of those Brooks saddles weren't made for upright bikes you could ride in a suit.
What did people do in those days?
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