Wanted to Buy: Brooks Proofide

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Anonymous's picture

Looking for a tin of Brooks Proofide saddle treatment. Anyone know of any shops in Manhattan that stock it? Or any readers out there who might have a tin (or half a tin) they are not using?

E-mail me at ysceditor at yahoo dot com. Thanks.

Anonymous's picture
Neile (not verified)
Other options - Lexol, neatsfoot oil, etc.

"From Sheldon Brown:

Breaking in a leather saddle

""If a leather saddle is not oiled, and especially if it is allowed to get wet with water repeatedly, perhaps even ridden while soaked, it will eventually crack and disintegrate. The low quality leather saddles that came on inexpensive ten speeds of the sixties and seventies would also often go out of shape under such conditions.

The easiest and fastest method to break in a new saddle is with a liquid leather dressing, such as *neatsfoot oil, Lexol, seal oil (a French favorite) or baseball glove oil*. These products are available from shoe stores and sporting-goods stores. There are probably lots of other liquid oils that would work as well-RAAM pioneer Lon Haldeman uses SAE 30 motor oil, but his saddles tend to wear out after only 300,000 miles or so (according to Cyclist Magazine). *Paste or wax type leather dressings, such as Brooks Proofide, Sno-Seal, and saddle soap will work, but it takes much, much longer to break in a saddle that way.*

You can just pour the oil on and rub it in by hand, or for a more drastic approach, you can actually soak the saddle. The easiest way to soak a saddle is to turn it upside-down on a sheet of aluminum foil, then form the foil up around the saddle for a snug fit. Pour in a whole 4 ounce can of Neatsfoot oil or whatever oil you prefer, and let the saddle soak for 30 minutes to an hour. Pour the remaining oil back into the can, and wipe the excess oil off with a rag or paper towel. Install the saddle onto the bike, put on your black shorts, and ride. Even the most recalcitrant saddle (the thick-skinned Brooks Professional) will be substantially broken in within 200 miles or so.

The soaking technique is best for thick, hard-to-break in saddles such as the Brooks Professional. For most leather saddles the pour-and-rub technique is adequate. A saddle only needs baptism by immersion once. After that, some oil should be poured onto the saddle and rubbed in by hand every few weeks. 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.

Light colored leather saddles, such as the Brooks ""Honey"" models, will be darkened by any treatment you apply.

Note; treatment and break-in of leather saddles is not an exact science, and there are those that claim that some of the products I've listed are harmful to leather. If absolute safety is your primary concern, using Brooks Proofide according to directions is probably the best approach...but you may find that the break-in period is un-necessarily long with this approach.

The worst thing you can do is to neglect the saddle and allow it to dry out and crack.""



Anonymous's picture
David Hallerman (not verified)
Sheldon Brown Ain't Perfect...

Sheldon Brown knows a lot, but he ain't perfect, and his suggestions about things like neatsfoot oil for leather saddles is one example of his quirky imperfection.

Such oil is a great way to get a saggy saddle quickly.

Yes, Proofide works well. And if the original poster can't find any, I have an extra can to sell.

Also, the whole idea of breaking in a Brooks saddle is over-emphasized, since they're typically comfortable when new, and just get more comfortable. That's especially true with the B.17 model, which has proportions that support most butts well.

David, who owns and uses several Brooks saddles and finds that occasional treatment with Proofide keeps them supple but not soft

Anonymous's picture
Matt P. (not verified)
Email sent. Thanks, David.

no msg

Anonymous's picture
Tony Rentschler (not verified)
Online shops

Wallingford has it and you can order online. A few extra bucks for shipping:


Rivendell has Obenauf's, which they say is good. I used it when I was temporarily out of Proofide:


Don't wreck your bike saddle with neatsfoot oil. That's for baseball gloves and lacrosse sticks.

Anonymous's picture
<a href="http://www.OhReallyOreilly.com">Peter O'Reilly</a> (not verified)
I can't believe no one had suggested this already

I hear applying copious amounts of Ben Gay to the Brooks saddle does wonders. Just lather it in before you ride. Ben Gay works even better at breaking in bike short chamois.

Anonymous's picture
David Hallerman (not verified)
Ben Gay ???

I can believe that with his (tongue-in-cheek ???) Ben Gay comment, Peter has not been actually using a Brooks saddle.

Anonymous's picture
Mordecai Silver (not verified)

Bike Works on Rivington & Ridge on the Lower East Side has Proofide (and Brooks saddles).

I've also used Kiwi Wax neutral shoe polish in the past. I don't know if it works as well as Proofide, but it's much easier to find.

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