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I have a Brooks Pro saddle that is from the 1970's and has never been used but boy is the leather hard. Seems a shame that it never got used used so I'd like to give it a whirl. Has anyone ever brought an old Brooks back to life? Whats the process? Thanks for any tips you can give.
 

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Gee, I have a newer Brooks Pro and it is hard too!

Maybe it was something they fed the cows? Actually that has been the knock on Brooks saddles forever. Heavy, hard and not for everyone. Brooks sells a product called Proofhide. It is the leather dressing that Brooks recommends using. Now on horse riding tack they use Neatsfoot oil. But that may soften it up too much and your weight will stretch out the leather and you have a saggy saddle. If you flip your saddle over and look under the nose there should be a tensioning nut and bolt. Should your saddle become to saggy you can adjust the tension. You may be able to loosen and add some sag. The saddle is designed to work like a hammock, no support in the middle, attached at the front and rear. Proofhide the top and bottom and let the stuff soak in. Setup for the Brooks is also a little tricky, most people need to tip the saddle nose high just a little so you don't slide forward.
 

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Brooks saddles

I have used Hide Food to break in/replenish Brooks saddles.

Used to be put out by Conolly (sp?) brothers who I think went out of business. They were famous for Jaguar, Rolls Royce leather interiors.

Similar can be purchased at Jag dealership. Expensive but worth it.
 

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Brooks

Meridian_Rider,

FWIW, I now have about 1200 miles on my Brooks and it is just as hard as the day it came out of the box. It is very comfy for me but I'm not sure if it is conforming to my butt or my butt is conforming to
it. My weight is 205 so I'm certainly not a lightweight.

That said, you can contact www.wallbike.com in LA for information. They are great and very willing to help.

Good luck and if you are a convert to the cult I'll send you the secret handshake later.

Strider
 

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Long-winded response

IT"S NOT FREAKIN' "PROOFHIDE"!!!!!!

It's "Proofide." No "h."

And no, it won't soften the leather much. Brook saddles don't get much softer as they break in. Being that the leather's supported only at the nose and tail, they'd die a quick death if they did. What happens is that the leather deforms around your sit bones, allowing your butt and the saddle to get better connected. That allows the "suspension" effect to work better.

Your saddle does need Proofide, though. After 30 years off the cow, there's probably no moisture left in that peice of hide. That's what Proofide does. Put a coat on top, and one thicker one on the bottom. Buff the top, and apply another thin coat. The leather may soak the stuff up, being as it's as old as it is. Resist the temptation to over-grease it. If it stretches too fast, which will happen if it gets saturated, the tension from the nose bolt will pull the leather out of shape, and you'll be screwed.

The Pro seems to work well on bikes with what used to be the racing position, handlebars 2-3" below saddle height. With a width of 160 mm and 280 mm long, it's fairly close to the profile of a San Marco Regal, one of the best plastic saddles, at least to my butt. As good as the Regal is, the Pro feels better, at least to me.

About break-in and comfort: The saddle should not be a torture device the first time you ride it. The only source of discomfort should be some tenderness of the sit bones, from the hardness of the new leather. If your groin, crotch, 'taint, or tailbone hurt, change your setup. The Team Pro on my road bike was the hardest to get right of any saddle I've owned, but(t) once it was dialed, it was all good, even before I put dents in it.

Angle is especially important. Get that nose a bit too far up, and it feels like you're straddling a fence rail. Too far down, and you slide forward onto the "waist" of the saddle... Fence-sitting again. This is one saddle that might require a two-bolt post, as the right angle might well be between detents on a one-bolt. I got lucky, but your frame and seatpost might conspire against you.

Fore-aft position matters, too. Too far back, and you end up on that fence again. Too far forward, and your sit bones are perched right above the steel "tailpiece" that the leather is riveted to. Which feels like you're sitting on top of a thin peice of hard-tanned leather that's been riveted to a steel plate. Because that's exactly what you're sitting on. You're sit bones should be a bit forward of the line of rivets. The saddle's wide there for a reason...

The right position might just break the knee-over-the-pedal-spindle rule, but that's OK, since that isn't really a rule anyway. Anatomy, frame geometry and saddle height determine the natural relationship of your hips, knees, feet and ankles, which is really what K.O.P.S. is all about. Left to it's own devices, i.e. you not trying to force the issue with a plumb line and an allen wrench, your body will end up where it should be, more or less. Set the saddle for maximum support in the position you spend the most time in, usually the hoods and ramps if your bike fits.

Hope that helps....

--Shannon
 
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