Once you’ve got your beautiful, handcrafted, genuine leather Brooks saddle mounted on the seat post of your bicycle, the next important step is learning how to take care of it.
The indispensable tool you’ll need for this is Proofide leather dressing. Proofide is made from 100% natural ingredients (tallow, cod oil, vegetable oil, paraffin wax, beeswax, and citronella oil) and specifically designed for the care of Brooks genuine leather saddles Brooks Bike Saddles. Before riding your Brooks saddle, you should first apply a coat of Proofide to the underside of the saddle in order to make it water-resistant, then carefully, either with your finger or a soft cloth, apply a coat to the top of the saddle. Leave it to permeate and soften the leather overnight. Wipe off the excess Proofide, and your saddle is ready for riding.
Do not overuse Proofide. The above description is for the first time application only. To maintain the suppleness and water-resistance of your saddle, apply a coat of Proofide to the top of the saddle—allowing it to dry, and then polishing with a soft cloth—every 3 to 6 months. More frequent applications may be beneficial during the breaking in period, but be careful not to overdo it as using too much Proofide will cause the saddle leather to become over-soft and uncomfortable.
Never use Proofide on a wet saddle. If your saddle gets wet, allow it to dry naturally before treating it.
You should wear dark trousers or riding shorts when riding on a just-treated saddle to avoid staining your pants. Actually, the best way I’ve found of getting around the staining issue is to use a honey saddle, rather than one of the darker colors.
Tensioning Your Brooks Saddle
Brooks bicycle saddles come with a special wrench for tightening the tension bolt located at the nose of the saddle. The purpose of the tension bolt is to maintain the proper leather tension to prevent the saddle from sagging and becoming uncomfortable. Here too, the key is little and not too often. A good rule of thumb is one quarter turn (90 degrees) a year. Over tensioning your saddle can cause it to become warped and unrideable. Also, never tension a wet saddle.
Repairing Your Brooks Saddle
The only part of a Brooks saddle that is not replaceable is the leather top. All Brooks frame parts are available as spares and can be ordered from your local dealer. They will soon be available online from the Brooks England Ltd. website.