Anecdotal advice on Brooks saddle care

A couple of weeks ago, my poor old Genesis spent around 5 hours in the pouring rain. We were involved in some exploratory urban caving (another story for another day), followed by the inevitable refreshments at a nearby hostelry. As is traditional, the refreshsments lasted until kicking out time, when we were dragged kicking and screaming from the Gwaleod-Y-Garth Inn*. Anyway….the rain didn’t let up and we cycled along the Taff trail in the dark, rather hoping that the incredible amount of surface water under the wheel wasn’t in fact, the river reclaiming its former flood plains. Suffice to say, it was wet.

And then some.

A wet Brooks saddle. Image courtesy of Dey.

The following morning, I was horrified to discover that my lovely Brooks saddle had taken on the appearance of an almighty jet black, flat topped mushroom. The sides were splayed out. The tensioning nut rattled like my first car. The leather felt soft and ‘orrible and spongy. Foolishly I took the tensionsing spanner to it, turned the volume up to 10 and applied thick dollops of ‘proof ride’. Subsequently I learned that those two actions are the way of the panicked lunatic.


Now recovered. The fomer patient regains its old form.

Fortunately I found out quick enough to do something about it. I polished the saddle in just as lunatic a fashion as I’d applied the proofride. I took the tensioning right off. I allowed the saddle to dry naturally. Today it’s looking pretty much as it did before it experienced the soggy embrace of a warm Welsh summer evening. Thank you Brooks sadddle owners and forum users. To prevent this little shenanigan from happening again, I’ve bought a saddle cover from the nice people at Leather bicycle saddles (nice range of saddle stuff and super fast delivery). If you own a Brooks, I suggest its probably worth the measly £5.50 to protect it.

*Not strictly true. The staff are very nice and we left without a fuss. Unusually.

I thoroughly recommend the Brooks B17 saddle. It’s comfortable, it looks great and you’re buying a little piece of cycling folklore. Please do follow the care instructions though.

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