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  1. #1
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    Bonking ... not feelin' well Brooks seat staining my pants

    I've been riding my black Brooks B-17 for 8 or 9 months now, 4-5 times a week and between 2-10 miles a day. It's never gotten more than a few drops of water on it and I treat it with Proofide once a month or so.

    Here's my problem: when I ride long enough to sweat the moisture causes the leather's stain to release onto my pants. This isn't bad if I'm kicking around town in dark jeans looking for a beer, but sometimes I end up with a black stain on the back seam of my khakis, something that's especially nice when I'm teaching (I work at a college). If I pre-treat the stain when I get home and wash the pants a few times it usually comes out, but I'd like to not have this problem in the first place.

    Here's my question: is there anything that I can do to keep the seat from staining my pants? It's a good seat for a commuter/town bike, but I can't be ruining my pants/walking around with a skid mark on (the outside of) my pants every time I ride long enough to break a sweat.

    Is there anything I can do to save the Brooks, or do I need to buy a waterproof plastic saddle?
    Last edited by BigWheeler; 11-01-2008 at 07:30 PM.

  2. #2
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    You should be alright if you are using Proofide often. I have heard of this happening with other people though. I have a black B17 as well and I have never had a problem. Do you treat the underside as well?
    Broken ankles = ********!

  3. #3
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    I do treat the underside, though not every time that I treat the top. Honestly, I feel like the saddle bleeds more after I treat it, but I might just be imagining that. Maybe I just have particularly toxic buttsweat.

  4. #4
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    You may be overtreating it, especially with the age. It's pretty well broken in. You also do not need to treat the underside very often.

    http://www.sheldonbrown.com/leather.html

    "Once the saddle has become soft and comfortable it is only necessary to oil it lightly every few months to keep it from drying out."

    "Most leather saddles are dyed black. Oiling the saddle will partially dissolve the dye, which will stain on your clothes. This is why cycling shorts are black. Wear light colors at your own risk! If you must wear day-glo pink shorts, put a seatcover on the saddle."

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by Schmucker
    You may be overtreating it, especially with the age. It's pretty well broken in. [...]

    "Wear light colors at your own risk! If you must wear day-glo pink shorts, put a seatcover on the saddle."
    Interesting idea. So would you recommend that I just quit treating it for a while in hopes that the dye will slowly leach out? I've also considered scrubbing the thing with a light soap and water in an attempt to get the dye out, then letting it dry and re-treating it. Does this have any promise?

    Here's a pic of what it looks like now. You can see that it's pretty well broken in, but that the leather is still in good condition. The leather isn't too soft -- I think that I've still got a couple hundred miles until that really happens -- but it's certainly beyond the initial break-in period.

    ...And just for the record, I don't wear Day-Glow pants. To work.
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    Last edited by BigWheeler; 11-01-2008 at 03:52 PM.

  6. #6
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    I wouldnt put soap and water on it. like Schmucker stated, you are more than likely overtreating. When I bought mine I treated it before every ride for 5 rides, then I treated only once every 2 months after. Ant
    Broken ankles = ********!

  7. #7
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    Sounds like you're overtreating it. Or you didn't buff it enough after the last treatment.

  8. #8
    jrm
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    Perfect reason

    to wear riding shorts and then change into work clothes. PI also make a great liner/short that can be worm under pants.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by jrm
    to wear riding shorts and then change into work clothes. PI also make a great liner/short that can be worm under pants.
    I only live a mile or so from work, so I'd really rather not have to change. If it were a longer commute that would be different, but at this distance that doesn't really make sense. If it comes to it I'll just get one of the waterproof saddles from Swobo or something similar.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by JAG410
    Sounds like you're overtreating it. Or you didn't buff it enough after the last treatment.
    OK, that makes sense I suppose. I do feel like most of the times that staining has been an issue have been after I've treated it. I'll just lay off on the Proofide for a while and see where that gets me.

  11. #11
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    Throw a cover on it for a while.

  12. #12
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    I've got 30 year old Ideal and Brooks saddles, they still weep when wet. I just use a plastic shopping bag (best ones are the bags from the bookstore) put it over the seat and tie it tight around the seatpost. It last a few weeks, then I replace it.

    edit: I just realized how old I am, I've had these seats over 30 years!

  13. #13
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    Other recommendations?

    Quote Originally Posted by pursuiter
    I've got 30 year old Ideal and Brooks saddles, they still weep when wet.
    Hum, this doesn't seem ideal. I suppose I always realized that it could weep when it got soaked by rain, etc. -- and this is why I've been so meticulous to protect it from water -- but the fact that it will do so just from the moisture resulting from sweat is news to me. And riding with a cover at all times seems a bit like overkill: the saddle isn't that comfortable, after all, and there are other options that are much less trouble.

    Am I the only one that has a problem with this? Maybe my crotch sweat (something I never thought I'd post about on the internet) is just particularly toxic, but this doesn't seem to make much sense on an everyday commuter. I'd be fine with this on a recreational bike, on which you can make sure that the pants you're wearing won't be bothered by the saddle, but for a commuter bike I want something that I can jump on without thinking.

    Anyone have a recommendation for a seat that plays nicely with pants?
    Last edited by BigWheeler; 11-02-2008 at 09:14 AM.

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheeler
    Hum, this doesn't seem ideal....the saddle isn't that comfortable, after all, and there are other options that are much less trouble...Anyone have a recommendation for a seat that plays nicely with pants?
    I agree. 30 years ago leather was the only choice, everyone had to use chamois shorts 'cause the saddle was so uncomforatble. I used to commute on a Brooks 72, didn't need chamois shorts like with my Ideal 90. Now I ride with a Serfas DDMD-200. Modern saddles are comfortable without wearing chamois shorts. I can ride 20 miles in Dockers and boxers with no soreness

  15. #15
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    I was totally set on a brooks saddle until I read this thread. I don't wear my work clothes on the bike, but I do have a couple pair of lighter (not pink) cycling shorts. I don't want to have to deal with this...I might just stick with a synthetic material that doesn't require the love and care, and will be just as happy in the rain/snow as when it's nice out.
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  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by CommuterBoy
    I was totally set on a brooks saddle until I read this thread. I don't wear my work clothes on the bike, but I do have a couple pair of lighter (not pink) cycling shorts. I don't want to have to deal with this...I might just stick with a synthetic material that doesn't require the love and care, and will be just as happy in the rain/snow as when it's nice out.

    Dont let a few examples of a Brooks saddle weeping dye deter you from buying one. Brooks saddles are magic, once you Proofide them how the directions explain and you ride somewhere in the vicinity of 100 miles. There isnt a single product on the planet that works perfectly everytime...kind of like how there are a small group of people who complain about how Chris King headsets are inferior crap as well... Every person I know or others who have posted on many various sites say the same thing...the dye weeps only a handful of times before it quits. Ant
    Broken ankles = ********!

  17. #17
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    I'm not saying that the Brooks sucks by any means, or that no one should have one -- quite the contrary, actually -- but I do think that sacred cows are worth questioning. I realized that the saddle was going to be significantly heavier that most synthetic equivalents, that it was more expensive than many other seats, that it would require much more maintenance and care in terms of upkeep and prevention, and that it would take a long time to break in. What I figured I was getting in return was a saddle that was comfortable enough to ride regularly (daily) in street clothes, and that would last decades as opposed to years. Since having a happy rumpus is the key to all happiness, I figured it was worth the trade-off.

    However, if it's really true that I can expect the saddle to weep dye for years (as multiple people have indicated on this thread), them I'm not sure that it's ideal for my use. I can imagine many situations in which I'd still be happy with it, but I'm afraid that black stains regularly appearing on my pants just isn't acceptable.

    I'm going to hang on to the saddle for now and simply not treat it for a couple of months and see how things go. Since it's already getting cold here in upstate NY I probably won't have to worry too much about sweating for a few months, but come spring we'll see how things go.

    Thanks everyone for their help on this thread. I really want to like the Brooks -- I do -- but it sounds like for my application I might want to look elsewhere.
    Last edited by BigWheeler; 11-02-2008 at 06:53 PM.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheeler
    I'm not saying that the Brooks sucks by any means, or that no one should have one -- quite the contrary, actually -- but I do think that sacred cows are worth questioning. I realized that the saddle was going to be significantly heavier that most synthetic equivalents, that it was more expensive than many other seats, that it would require much more maintenance and care in terms of upkeep and prevention, and that it would take a long time to break in. What I figured I was getting in return was a saddle that was comfortable enough to ride regularly (daily) in street clothes, and that would last decades as opposed to years. Since having a happy rumpus is the key to all happiness, I figured it was worth the trade-off.

    However, if it's really true that I can expect the saddle to weep dye for years (as multiple people have indicated on this thread), them I'm not sure that it's ideal for my use. I can imagine many situations in which I'd still be happy with it, but I'm afraid that black stains regularly appearing on my pants just isn't acceptable.

    I'm going to hang on to the saddle for now and simply not treat it for a couple of months and see how things go. Since it's already getting cold here in upstate NY I probably won't have to worry too much about sweating for a few months, but come spring we'll see how things go.

    Thanks everyone for their help on this thread. I really want to like the Brooks -- I do -- but it sounds like for my application I might want to look elsewhere.
    I completely understand where you are coming from as far as the dye weeping and staining up all of your pants / shorts / shants / what-have-you, its a pain in the ass to have to check and re-check something that shouldnt happen to begin with. In all seriousness not treating the saddle for a couple of months should solve your problem...its exactly like mink oiling a pair of work boots, you treat them a couple of times to soften them up and keep 'em water tight but if you treat too much they get too soft and get beat up badly when they get snagged on debris.

    On the other hand, if you arent too worried about spending the coin on a back up saddle the synthetic route (as you talked about above) is a winner too. I use WTB Rocket V's and some of the other higher end WTB's as well. If you want a sweet saddle for a good price check out www.chainlove.com they sell one thing at a time until its gone but they have AWESOME products for cheap...you can pick up PRO LOGO saddles for around 40-60 bucks. Ant
    Broken ankles = ********!

  19. #19
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    If you decide to get rid of it down the road PM me... Buying a slightly used one is something I could justify. I'll wear my black shorts for a few months and see if they really live up to the hype.

    On a side note, I just got a planet bike superflash taillight like the one on your seatpost. I love it, but... Does yours change modes from blinky to solid every now and then if you hit some good bumps? I think mine might have a defective switch or something. Part of my commute is on a dirt road, and it doesn't seem to like the vibrations.
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by CoalesceKid
    I use WTB Rocket V's and some of the other higher end WTB's as well. If you want a sweet saddle for a good price check out www.chainlove.com they sell one thing at a time until its gone but they have AWESOME products for cheap...you can pick up PRO LOGO saddles for around 40-60 bucks. Ant
    I've had a couple of WTBs on my mountain bikes over the years and I've always been happy with them. I've got the Silverado now and really like the shape, though I bent the rails on one of my first rides (it seems like I always bend the rails on saddles, this one just bent early). I tried a couple of non-WTB synthetics before putting on the Brooks, as I was having problems with friction sores from riding in jeans and the like and thought the Brooks would have the best chance of taking care of that problem. My commute has since gotten much shorter, and I've had to start dressing up a bit more, so it might be time to try something different again.

    Quote Originally Posted by COMMUTERBOY
    If you decide to get rid of it down the road PM me...
    Will do. I've taken good care of it (it seems maybe a bit too good), so it should make someone's rumpus happy.

    Quote Originally Posted by COMMUTERBOY
    On a side note, I just got a planet bike superflash taillight like the one on your seatpost... Does yours change modes from blinky to solid every now and then if you hit some good bumps?
    I've been pleased with mine, too, and while it does seem to use batteries a bit more quickly than their standard model, I'll take the increased brightness any day. I haven't had any trouble with it switching modes, so I'd say you're right, you got a bad connection. Try taking it back to the shop where you bought it or contacting Planet Bike directly, as they're a small, rider-friendly company and I'm sure that they'll want to take care of you.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheeler
    I've been riding my black Brooks B-17 for 8 or 9 months now, 4-5 times a week and between 2-10 miles a day. It's never gotten more than a few drops of water on it and I treat it with Proofide once a month or so.

    Here's my problem: when I ride long enough to sweat the moisture causes the leather's stain to release onto my pants. This isn't bad if I'm kicking around town in dark jeans looking for a beer, but sometimes I end up with a black stain on the back seam of my khakis, something that's especially nice when I'm teaching (I work at a college). If I pre-treat the stain when I get home and wash the pants a few times it usually comes out, but I'd like to not have this problem in the first place.

    Here's my question: is there anything that I can do to keep the seat from staining my pants? It's a good seat for a commuter/town bike, but I can't be ruining my pants/walking around with a skid mark on (the outside of) my pants every time I ride long enough to break a sweat.

    Is there anything I can do to save the Brooks, or do I need to buy a waterproof plastic saddle?
    I started riding pro level road bikes back in the late 60s. I learned about wool shorts (with real leather chamois). The shorts were always black so that the Brooks saddle stains did not show. Only when fake leather covered saddles were made, did cycle shorts start use colors (and fake "chamois"). Oh, and advertising made colors popular too.

    Wear black shorts, cover the saddle with a cover, or live with it.
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  22. #22
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    Just FYI...

    I've had my B-17 for about as long as you have had yours and ride about the same distance as you do. I Proofride'd mine when I first got the saddle and haven't touched it since (though I suppose it's getting to be that time). The dye bled for the first 50 miles or so, but nothing after that. I rarely ride in the rain and store the bike indoors.

    I think that Proofriding as much as you do is definitely contributing to the bleeding problem. Give it a rest for a while and see what happens.

    Good luck and report back what you find!

  23. #23
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    Have you considered a honey or brown brooks saddle? I have a honey b17 and swift, as well as a brown sprinter, and I haven't had any problems with them staining my pants. I toured on a green b17 and didn't have any staining problems either. I must admit that I don't really proofide my saddles. I put a small layer on the underside of each of my saddles when they were new, but haven't treated them since. My honey b17 I have had for 5 years and it is still in great shape.
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  24. #24
    jl
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheeler
    I treat it with Proofide once a month or so.
    I would recommend stop using so much proofhide. I proofhide my saddles in the spring (april?) and fall (nov?). I may do another application if I get caught in a big rainstorm, but if not I don't over treat the saddle. I might put an extra treatment on the bottom of the saddle in February/March if I've been in a lot of snow.

    The only time I've had stains on my pants is the day or two after I treat the saddle.

  25. #25
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    Idea!

    Do the Aged series saddles eliminate the bleeding issues? I have been looking forward to getting a Brooks for my next bike. I plan to use a leather conditioner called Bick 4 http://www.bickmore.com/bickmore/leather_care/ that I have used on numerous leather products to break in, moisturize and extend the life of.

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