Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Caring for a Brooks Leather saddle with Proofide

If you have recently bought a bike with a genuine Brooks leather saddle (or any other leather saddle for that matter) you need to know about treating it for a long life.

I personally recommend the Brooks product called Proofide which is pretty cheap and does a good job.  It's basically just Tallow, and you may find alternatives out there that do the same thing.  This is not just a leather polish or cream, its an animal based treatment to deeply feed leather to proof it and stop it drying out and cracking.

To apply proofide, get a clean, lint free cloth and follow my instructions below (these are for a NEW saddle)

1. For a brand new saddle - remove it from the stem of the bike and bring it in the house - it will be easier as the first coat will be rather heavy.  Using a finger underneath the cloth, apply a thin-ish coating to the outer of the seat paying particular attention to the edges, the breathing holes and around the Brooks badge.  The final finish should look shiny and almost wet.

2. Turn the saddle over and apply a LIBERAL coating of proofide to any exposed leather under the saddle. This is not essential but will not do the seat any harm.  You may find areas that you cannot reach, but do your best - this coating is to protect the unfinished leather from rain spray.

3. Leave the saddle overnight to dry, refit to the bike, and buff off the outer of the seat (you need not worry about proofide applied under the seat unless it is likely to drop off or get on your clothes).  You need to polish the outer away until there is no greasy-ness on the saddle.

4. The best advice is to repeat this outer treatment after one week, then after one month, then after two months.  Thereafter, think about an application before the onset of each winter or if your saddle is looking dry.

Monday, 21 March 2011

Pashley - post winter maintenance

Well, our Pashley bikes are approaching only 4 months old and whilst they have not been ridden in anger in terrible weather, as we approach spring and summer it is worth giving them a once over.

I knew however, when I bought them, that they are almost maintenance free.  The sealed hub gears, drum brakes and enclosed chain covers really need to be left alone until they are a year old (at least).

That said, a couple of perfectly normal niggles had developed.

First one was cable stretch on the Sturmey Archer hub - perfectly normal, so those were adjusted at the weekend.  Back to running (and tick tick ticking) smoothly!

Second, was my wifes saddle needed a dab of oil on the springs as they were creaking!  (I am saying nothing more!!)

And finally, a clean and wipe down and another treatment of Proofide for the leather saddle.  In fact this time, following a tip from a fellow Pashley rider, I also put a thin coating on the brooks leather handlebar grips to help protect them.

All looking good, and both bikes looking as sparkly and stunning as they did from day one.  They still turn heads when they are ridden through town.  We are no posers, but its hard not to crack a smile when you see it happen!

Am now on the hunt for some vintage styled panniers for my bike, and will promise a review of my wifes princess sovereign soon!