Tuesday, 20 July 2010


Back in March I treated myself to a Brooks saddle on the new bike. I was told that they were very comfortable, I like the look of them, and I was intrigued to see how it would differ.

There is a considerable amount of advice around on how to treat a leather saddle. Not all of it is consistent. This is my experience.

Even before sitting on it, the first impression was that it was very hard. You can knock on it, like a piece of wood. Sitting on it did not feel uncomfortable, though. The big difference on the first ride was that it seemed very slippy. It no longer feels slippy, but I'm not sure whether that is because I've got used to it, or that things have changed.

I didn't experience any discomfort on the first, short ride. After longer rides, though, it was certainly easy to identify the position of my "contact points".

I trusted the advice that the saddle would gradually adjust shape to fit my posterior, and that does seem to be the case. It took about 500 miles before I felt it had become really comfortable. That seems to be about the normal experience. I've now ridden about 1,600 miles on it, and if anything it just keeps getting better. Visibly the shape has hardly changed - just some slight indentations - but it feels different.

I did nothing to try and soften the leather, or accelerate the re-shaping process (other than riding on it). I have applied Proofide to protect it from the wet, and I expect to apply more occasionally. Underneath I have tried to get a lot of Proofide to soak in, by warming both the tin and the saddle. On the top I have used it sparingly. I also keep a little waterproof cover in the saddle bag in case I need to keep the rain off.

My overall impression is that it is very comfortable, and has been since the first 500 miles or so. I believe those who say that it will only get better over time. However, the level of comfort is very dependent on the saddle being at the right angle and right position. So it takes some fiddling to get the configuration just right.

It is a bit heavy, but that isn't a big issue with my kind of riding. I'm not sure how important this is, but I do take care to keep the rain off. And I've discovered that it is not a good idea to ride in light trousers.

I'm pleased with it. The saddle in the picture is not mine, which is a black B17 narrow. I suspect I will end up looking like the picture before my saddle does. With reasonable care, I imagine that my saddle will last longer than I do.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I never waxed mine on the upper side, just from the underside. Put it in the oven afterwards on very low temp for a couple of minutes and the leather soaks up all the wax.
I keep a plastic bag stuffed under the saddle, so I always have a rain cover/ light trouser protection with me. If it gets stolen (who would steal a plastic bag anyway) just go to your nearest supermarket and get a replacement.
Cheers Christian