I had thought that cyclists were doomed to suffer that odd combination of pain and numbness which can be the result of cycling any distance on the wrong saddle, followed by soreness in that area the next day. So I recently acquired a Brooks saddle – a B17s in Antique Brown. I admit I liked it for its looks too, but I wanted to try one of these classic saddles to see if they live up to their reputation.
The first day I had it on the bike, I ended up riding for 2 hours on it. This was not intentional, it just turned out that I had a few rerrands to do and got on it without thinking. I was sore the next day, but only once I got on the bike and it did not last. For the first few weeks of using the saddle I was often aware of it in that it felt a bit hard, but that has passed now.
I also looked up what was the best way to treat it and to break it in quickly and there were varying opinions on those aspects of looking after a leather saddle. So I did nothing. Till it got wet one day last week …I had to ride it home wet, but I recalled reading somewhere that the quickest way to break in a leather saddle is to ride it in the rain, so I was very hopeful that this would speed up the breaking in process, though also a bit doubtful about its possible cosmetic effect on the saddle. Anyway, the saddle dried out and looked as good as new again, but, worried about the future of the leather, I dug out a tube of leather treatment I found in the cupboard and put a few coats of it on. Then I remembered I had ridden home from the beach one day in wet swimming costumes a few weeks ago, so salt water had already had a go at my beautiful new saddle, with no ill effects.
The saddle is now quite comfy, I am never aware of it and I never get that soreness the next day anymore. I am not sure if the rainy day had any effect, certainly none that I could really detect the next time I rode it. I am sure I have not done the requisite many kilometres required to fully break it in yet, but it does not matter, it is still very comfy. In comparison to the cheap padded saddle I had on the bike before, it does not feel as soft when I first sit on it but it does not develop that hardness after a few kilometres and I guess that is the advantage of a leather saddle.
I also like the finish of it with the leather having a sort of aged look in that the colour varies on the saddle, it is lighter at the front and at the back, giving the appearance of a well used leather saddle, but still shiny. It also has a little squeak as I ride it which I like, it reminds me of new leather shoes!