You did it! You finally pulled the trigger on that Brooks saddle you've been eyeballin' and you're ready to see what all the hype is about. Brooks riders swear by their saddles, and it seems like every one you see has about a billion miles of comfortable, supportive riding on it.
In today's post, we'll talk saddle treatment, and how to use that little packet of Proofide to soften up your saddle before you start breaking it in on the road. Let's get rubby!
What is Proofide
Proofide is a magical mixture (well, according to Brooks. According to science, it's mostly tallow and other earthly materials) that conditions and dresses your leather saddle to aid in waterproofing, flexibility, and ultimately forming the ideal fit.
When you first open your new saddle and dig past your copy the Bugle, you'll find a little packet of Proofide secured to the back of the packaging. That's all you'll need to get started bonding with your new Brooks!
Rub it In
Applying the Proofide is actually quite easy. The majority will go on the underside of the saddle and all you'll need is a clean cloth, your packet of Proofide, and maybe a q-tip/allen wrench/anything long and thin to help you get to those hard to reach places.
To begin, squeeze a small amount of Proofide out onto the underside of your saddle, and use your fingers to work it over the easy to reach areas.
You'll notice a significant color change on the treated vs. untreated areas, so it's fairly easy to see which spots still need a little love.
Use a corner of your cloth (or your cloth draped over your allen wrench/etc...) to reach into those tight spaces under the rails, in the nose of the saddle, under the frame, etc...
Rub the Proofide into the leather until everything's coated, and once the bottom of your saddle is nice and treated - just leave it on there!
If you chose one of the "Aged Finish" Brooks saddles, you're all set! The Aged ones have already been treated at the factory and adding additional Proofide can cause some weird discolorations to occur. If you have a standard Brooks saddle though, you can apply a small bit of Proofide to the top surface to aid in waterproofing, and again, buy you some extra flexibility.
Dab on a slight (really slight) amount of your remaining Proofide and rub it over the surface. It won't "absorb" the same way as the underside, so just get it all spread around until the coverage looks complete and let it set for a few minutes.
Once the top surface is just about dry, take a clean part of your cloth (or a whole new clean cloth) and polish it until you've got a nice sheen.
Since we went so light on the Proofide up top, you shouldn't have too much excess, but Brooks still recommends waiting a few hours before riding to avoid transferring any of the saddle/Proofide color to your clothes. This process will likely bring out an even cooler "leathery" look to your new saddle - like all those hard-working Brooks you see on the road.
Ride it Out
Your new Brooks saddle will break in better and better as you stack the miles and eventually you'll wonder how you ever rode on anything else.
If you find yourself riding in the rain a lot, or live in an environment that's hard on exposed leather, you might want to occasionally re-treat your saddle. Luckily, Brooks sells tins of their Proofide so you don't have to buy a whole new setup just to score that tiny packet again!
Swing by your favorite bike shop and they'll be able to hook you up with a tub of the stuff, then just repeat the above steps anytime you're ready to re-apply!
And that's it! You and your new saddle are ready to start bonding.
Ride happy. And we'll see you out there.