It is unfortunate that many modern cyclists don't even consider the classic tensioned leather saddle. The tensioned leather saddle design has been on the market since the 1800's, and they still provide one of the most comfortable and durable seating options on the market.
That is because leather is a natural product that stretches over time to conform to your body exactly, providing a soft, cushioned ride, good moisture management and good looks. After a proper break-in time, a solid leather saddle will last for decades -- if you take care of it right. This article will provide information about treating your leather saddle periodically, which will extend the life of your saddle and be well worth your time.
Time required: 15 Minutes
Clean rags and brush
Step 1: The first step in maintaining a leather saddle is cleaning. Use a damp, clean rag or a brush to gently scrubthe top and bottom surfaces of the saddle, the let it dry thoroughly.
Step 2: Grab the leather conditioner, such as Brooks Proofide. Rub a generous layer on the top surfaces of the saddle, and a thinner layer underneath (to repel water thrown up from the road). Allow the Proofide to soak in, then rub the top side of the saddle down with a clean rag.
Step 3: Repeat step 1 and 2 every month or so for the first few hundred miles of riding your new saddle. This initial "break-in" period forms the saddle to your anatomy. Note: it is important to wear dark bottoms during this period, as the Proofide may stain light-colored fabrics.
Step 4: After the initial break-in period, make sure to keep your saddle dry and cool in storage. Repeat steps 1 and 2 every three months to maintain the integrity of the leather.
Store your bike in a place that is relatively dry and room temperature. Heat, direct sunlight or moisture can ruin leather over a relatively short period of time. Over long periods of time, your saddle will stretch and may become a bit loose. To tighten the tension on the leather, use a small adjustable wrench to turn the expander bolt on the nose of the saddle.