Forum home Road cycling forum Road general

Breaking in a Brooks

3leggeddog3leggeddog Posts: 150
edited November 2010 in Road general
I am part way thru the painful stage. I remember my uncles telling me when I was a little boy that they used to pee on theirs to help break them in. Sadly I can no longer check with them. Were they winding a little boy up, has anyone tried using urine to help soften a saddle?

Posts

  • laelae Posts: 555
    You definitely shouldn't get a Brooks wet!

    Proofide is the best way of doing it. People do suggest various oils or saddle soap, but they tend to soften the leather which is definitely not what you want on a suspended saddle (i.e the leather is only supported at the front and the back). Also proofide smells better than wee.
  • ride_wheneverride_whenever Posts: 13,279
    only use proofide as indicated.

    Also DO NOT slacken off the tension bolt to 'help' break it in, it fubars the leather up. It's hard at first but it will soften, just give it time. If you treat a brooks properly it'll last you forever.
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    Which Brooks is it? Some are tougher to break in.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • flashman469flashman469 Posts: 102
    I have two different types of Brooks on two bikes, a Pro and a Swift. I don't think the leather softens as such, they just seem to mould to your personal shape. Mine both seemed to take somewhere in the region of 6-800miles to be properly comfortable for all day riding.
    Definately just stick with the proofide and leave the tensioning bolt alone till absolutely necessary. Stick with it; they are certainly worth it in the long run.
  • Peejay56Peejay56 Posts: 41
    Totally agree with the points raised in the other postings....
    1. Proofhide
    2. Ride it and be patient.
    3. Try not to get wet.

    Once it's broken in it's like your favourite arm chair.

    In my experience Brooks Pro's break in fairly easy - the two I have were fine after 300 miles.
    The Brooks Swift was different - I have one on my Rourke road bike and it was OK after about 500 miles of riding. But bought another one last year for my fixed bike and couldn't get on with it at all - loads of proofhide, even tried backing off the tension. After 700 miles of sitting on an axe blade I gave in and sold it to buy another Pro. Maybe it was just down to the type and grade of leather, but the Pro is a wider saddle and suits me more.

    Keep going it will be worth it.
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    The narrower the more difficult usually but the Swallow with cutaway sides is easy.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • david12656david12656 Posts: 32
    always put new saddle on work bike .a five mile ride to work not long enough to get painfull when its comfortable swop over to other bike job done
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    Urine will soften leather and make it moor flexible. Indeed urine was (and maybe still is?) used in the tanning process along with some other unsavoury substances. It was an old soldier's trick to pee in a new pair of boots and leave them to stand overnight to soften them, don't know what they'd smell like in the morning though.

    However, when breaking in a saddle you're not just looking to soften the leather. The leather of a good quality saddle like a Brooks has already had all the treatment it needs, the only way to break in a saddle is to ride it. Trying to speed up the process by peeing on your saddle, or using any other chemical treatment, will probably shorten its life. Shorten the break in and you shorten the useful life. Just like an internal combustion engine.
  • 3leggeddog3leggeddog Posts: 150
    Thanks Gareth, so my uncles weren't taking the pee then.
    Breaking in is steadily improving. I have left Michael Barrymore's pool party, I now just feel like I have had a night out with Graham Norton.
  • I have a B17 on my audax bike and broke it in after 500 miles. It's now a dream after around 1200 miles, and I have increased the tension during this process.

    I spec'd a B17 Titanium on my new Hewitt Cheviot and after 600 miles I was still suffering. It was rock-hard and still the original shape. I compared the 'give' with my old (tensioned up) B17 and found that it hardly budged in comparison. So I backed off the tension quite a lot until it matched the older saddle. I then rode a 260 mile tour in comfort. No, the saddle hasn't self-destructed as the doom-sayers predict. The leather is comfy and dimples are now appearing.

    So the lesson is : don't be afraid to experiment. Some Brooks saddles have a much harder leather than others. Some riders are much heavier, or lighter, than the norm.
    .
    Cheers,
    Phil, in Inverurie
  • Well I went for the Neats foot oil treatment and if the saddle gets better than it already is after only about 100 miles, then I defo made the right decision on buying a B17 special

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/leather.html
  • A lot of the old guard tell me that Brooks saddles are lot more variable than they were back in the days when they were actually Brooks saddles.

    I'm guessing that this is probably because the leather is bought in bulk rather than choosing individual hides that come up to spec. A friend of mine used to work at a tannery and told me the tale of how representatives from a car company would come in from time to time, examine a whole load of hides and select only a few from the batch. Having been treated they would then reject some of the tanned hides and take the remainder. This was so that the sale cars would exactly match the quality of the demo/showroom cars. Being a natural product leather is variable.
  • Sit on it. Repeatedly.
  • I go against the tide...

    I actually think that a good soak is what is needed to get the saddle properly take your shape. During the Paris Roubaix, mine got soaked and that, combined with the vibrations gave it a unique shape, which is the shape of my axx...

    Since then it's been a lot better, before it was hard as a brick, now it's a lot softer...

    Personally I think that the more you abuse a Brooks, the better it gets... just remeber to keep the leather soft by using proofide or it will wrinkle and crack
  • After watching 'Its all about the bike' and reading the book, I was considering buying a Brooks for my MTB - but after reading that you should not get them wet, I better not!

    If I ever get a road bike, I definitely will get one though. Would be nice to have a component that will go with me from bike to bike.
    Boardman HT Pro Ltd Ed MTB
    Boardman Pro Carbon Road Bike
    Charge Mixer
  • Wicked2627 wrote:
    After watching 'Its all about the bike' and reading the book, I was considering buying a Brooks for my MTB - but after reading that you should not get them wet, I better not!

    If I ever get a road bike, I definitely will get one though. Would be nice to have a component that will go with me from bike to bike.

    Nonsense... a Brooks won't suffer rain at all.. just a bit of TLC after the soak... what it will suffer is dirt, which if you sit on will grind the leather and age it very quickly... so probably not ideal for MTB
  • GarethPJGarethPJ Posts: 295
    Wicked2627 wrote:
    After watching 'Its all about the bike' and reading the book, I was considering buying a Brooks for my MTB - but after reading that you should not get them wet, I better not!

    If I ever get a road bike, I definitely will get one though. Would be nice to have a component that will go with me from bike to bike.

    Nonsense... a Brooks won't suffer rain at all.. just a bit of TLC after the soak... what it will suffer is dirt, which if you sit on will grind the leather and age it very quickly... so probably not ideal for MTB

    To qualify that: A Brooks (or any other leather saddle) won't suffer from rain at all, just so long as it's been properly looked after up until then. Look after a leather saddle and it will look after you, leave it alone and it will die. They are not "fit and forget" items like synthetic saddles.
  • Doesn't Sheldon make some comments on his webpage about literally soaking them in oil ?
  • Redjeep! wrote:
    Doesn't Sheldon make some comments on his webpage about literally soaking them in oil ?

    see my post above
  • stickmanstickman Posts: 791
    Brooks could make saddle oil, but they don't - best to only use Proofide.
    Bikes, saddles and stuff

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/
    More stuff:
    http://www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/

    Gears - Obscuring the goodness of singlespeed
  • Well I'm happy with the neats foot initial soaking
Sign In or Register to comment.