Saddles are one of the most difficult and important components to get right on a new bicycle, especially if you haven't ridden a bicycle in a while. It is very common for experienced riders to experiment with many brands and types of saddles and, once they find one they like, to use the same saddle on all their bikes. There are some counterintuitive facts about saddles that make it even more difficult to choose a saddle if you are a new rider. Some common misconceptions include: wider is better, more padding is better, and women should always ride a women’s saddle.
We chose leather saddles because they are a commitment to classic style in line with the style of our bikes, old world craftsmanship, and bomb-proof construction. They continue to be made entirely by hand, before synthetic materials and foam padding were invented. All leather saddles are very firm when they are new, and depending on the part of the hide the leather was cut from, can vary in thickness. The leather can take hundreds of miles to soften up, but once it does it will have conformed to your unique anatomy and quite possibly be the most comfortable saddle you have ever ridden. It is not unusual for quality leather saddles to last 50 or more years if they are maintained properly.
There are many ways to speed up the breaking in period. The most common is to soak the saddle in hot water for 5 or 10 minutes, then take it out and rub lots of Mink Oil into the leather, on the top and bottom. After you've massaged the leather for 10 minutes, ride the saddle for a short ride, in an old pair of shorts. Let the saddle sit overnight. Rub more Mink Oil on it and go for another ride. Repeat this process until it softens up, but always be sure to keep the saddle oiled and never let it dry out during the break in period.
Our saddles have a tensioning bolt at the nose of the saddle, so once you have some time and miles on the saddle, if you think the leather has stretched, you can tighten the tension bolt to get a firmer ride. Always have a waterproof cover for the saddle if you are leaving the bike out in the rain.
If you have the patience to break in the saddle, you will be rewarded with many miles of comfort and a saddle that fits only you. This isn't possible with a saddle with a plastic base.
Saddles with plastic or synthetic bases will usually either feel great on the first ride, or not fit at all. There is no break-in period. Saddles are similar to shoes in that the fit is very personal and a pair of thick leather boots will need a break in period, unlike a pair of soft-soled synthetic shoes.
There is no one saddle that fits everyone, and the shape and adjustment is sometimes more important than the material. Always try adjusting any saddle, fore and aft, up and down, and angle the nose, before giving up.