February 18, 2010

Brooks Saddle Prep and Winter Riding

Purchased a new Brooks B17 Narrow for my new All-City (more on that in the days to come) today, so tonight I got to prepping.

With a new leather seat I like to first sand down the top, then apply a fairly generous amount of Brooks Proofide (Brooks' brand of saddle dressing).
The reason for the sanding is that new Brooks are crazy slippery and I find that if I make a bunch of perpendicular (to the rails) fairly deep scratches it helps keep my butt in place. It also helps get rid of that glossy finish, and encourages the "aging" process. Basically the saddle will look O.G. quicker.

I use a medium grit sandpaper and go over the top and sides of the saddle.

after sanding

I then apply a generous amount of Proofide to the bottom of the saddle since the wax component of the dressing greatly helps in water resistance (and in softening the leather), and then a thinner coat to the top

after Proofide

Here is another B17 Narrow that I've been riding for the past 3 years, through summers and winters. I purchased this saddle after becoming absolutely fed up with the modern saddles I had been riding. It sits on my Cross Check commuter, and was treated with the process laid out above. (yes, I know that I did a shit job of trimming it, it was my first time. the holes were done with my leather punch, also very poorly) It's broken in to perfection and is one of the comfiest saddles I own.

the only maintenance I've done to the saddle is to treat it with Proofide approximately once per year

after three winters I have only begun to need to tension the saddle. It still has a ton of life in it. I do cover it when it's raining, but ride it while snowing all the time. If anyone's ever told you that leather saddles can't be ridden all winter, they've got their head up their ass. They're way less work and finicky than some would have you believe.

Got any Brooks tips that you'd like to share? put it in the comments


Crafty said...


Just out of curiosity, as I've not owned a brooks saddle myself. Was the trimming on the sides for greater thigh clearance or weight savings or something similar? I've seen more than one saddle with this modification, although not on any of my friends rides, so I've never had a chance to ask.

Jeff said...

I was trying to be cool.