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Sunday read: Brooks Leather Saddle Maintenance & Care

Leather saddles have a ton of advantages over synthetic materials – they adjust to your anatomy, they get more comfortable with time, and if maintained well, they last forever and only look better with time. At the same time, if not looked after at all they might start cracking and lose their colour and character. Looking around Copenhagen shows you both ends of this line, the beauties and the beasts. No-one does leather saddles better than Brooks, so we will share 4 easy steps of leather saddle care to make your saddle last a lifetime.

  1. Give it some grease

    Even if you keep your bike indoors, never ride in the rain and only wear velvet pants, leather will have its natural wear. The saddle on the picture is a 1-year old B17 that I’ve ridden in all sorts of weather almost daily. As you see, it is starting to look like someone rubbed a sandpaper over the edges, this is to be expected. Easy medication against it is to take a piece of (clean) cloth and some leather fat. Brooks tells you to only use their saddle polish, but anything will do as long as it is natural and doesn’t have chemicals in it. Personally I would suggest bee’s wax, you can use it for saddle, grips, shoes, handbags etc.

    Leather fat for Brooks Saddle maintenance
    Natural leather fat by Gold Quality
    1-year old Brown B17 Brooks Saddle
    A year old Brooks Saddle with signs of wear.

    Brown Brooks B17 saddle care and maintenance
    Same saddle after a layer of natural leather fat. Rub it on, let it sit and rub excess fat off with a clean piece of cloth.
  2. Cover from rain

    Leather is not a huge fan of water. Just have a plastic bag in your backpack or under the seat for when it rains, pull it over the seat and keep your saddle in order and your rear end dry.

  3. Keep your bike indoors

    This one is not a must, but a rule of thumb is that your bike will last longer the less sun and rain it receives. The Bike Hanger is the perfect solution for bike storage on the wall if you have small spaces or you just want it to be out of the way in the corridor or garage. If you don’t want to keep it indoors then cover the seat with a plastic bag during the night so it won’t soak in the rain.

    White bike hanging on the wall with The Bike Hanger by KP Cyclery
    The Bike Hanger 2.0 in brown stores this bicycle in style
  4. Tighten your seat every once in a while

    In most cases, it will be needed only once a year, but still, it is a good idea to do it. All Brooks saddles come with a special key to tighten them as leather stretches. If you’re not sure when to do it then jump into the closest bike shop and they should give you a good idea and probably do it for you. NB! Don’t tighten a wet saddle!

    Tightening Brown Brooks B17 saddle
    Use Brooks saddle key to tighten stretched saddle. Quarter of a turn at a time, tighten until you reach desired tension.

And that’s as easy as it is. Our leather saddle care regime probably takes less than an hour of work a year. It will keep your Brooks leather saddle looking good for ages, and who knows, maybe one day you’ll sell it on eBay for a nice dime.

*We’re happy to do the above steps for you for free in our Copenhagen shop 😉