Whether you’re rolling on one of our leather saddles, a Brooks, or that custom buckskin saddle that you hand-made from ethically-harvested reclaimed leather – you want to maintain it so it’ll keep supporting you for years to come. In today’s post, we’ll look at what you can do to keep your saddle supple for miles and miles.
Ride, Ride, Ride
The most important first step in the life of any leather saddle is the break-in period. Like your favorite pair of jeans or boots, leather saddles can feel a bit stiff and unforgiving at first, but once they’re broken in they become a seamless extension of your body. The good news is, the best way to break in a saddle is something you already enjoy, riding your bike!
Toss on your new saddle, get it adjusted, and then hit the road! Your saddle will feel better and better as the miles pile up. Eventually, you’ll have that "Eureka!" moment where it feels like you’re riding on air, and you suddenly get the hype.
Treat that Leather
And once your saddle’s broken in, the last thing you want is moisture, cracks, or brittleness undoing all your hard work and shortening the longevity of your leather. That’s why proper leather-care is important, and that means proofide. Yep, proofide. It sounds like something a cure-all huckster would sell in the old west, but it’s actually one of the longest-known and most-effective leather-protectors out there. Usually composed of natural waxes and oils, Brooks makes their own, and you can usually find other options at your local craft store, leather goods shop, or the hardware store.
Dab a small bit on the top and bottom of your saddle and gently rub it over the leather. Let is sit for a minute, and then use a shop towel to vigorously rub the top of your saddle until the proofide is worn in and the excess is wiped away. You don’t need to wipe the underside of your saddle, the excess down there will help protect your saddle from moisture kicked up from the road.
Repeat the process any time your saddle starts to look a little dry and you’ll keep that leather supple and supportive.
Keep it Tight
Last but not least, leather will stretch over time and that perfect fit can drift into saggy hammock territory. Luckily, it’s nothing a turn of the wrist can’t remedy! On the front of your saddle you’ll find a tensioning bolt. Using the included tension bolt wrench (or a long-handled screwdriver/allen wrench/etc… depending on your saddle model), use a series of quarter-turns counter-clockwise to draw out the bolt and slowly stretch the leather back into tension.
Once you reach the desired tension, jump on and head out for a spin. Riding after tensioning will help reset the leather and prevent over-tightening from causing damage. You should never tension a wet saddle, so do your work before you ride as opposed to once you reach your destination.
And that’s it! Break it in, treat it right, and tighten when necessary and you’ll have a saddle that can support you for as long as you own your bike.
Enjoy the ride. We’ll see you out there.