Anyone have any idea how old this Brooks is?

Discussion in 'Motorized Bicycle General Discussion' started by Frickard, May 9, 2011.

  1. Frickard

    Frickard New Member

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    Hey guys,

    So, I just picked this up off of eBay:

    Vintage Brooks Leather Saddle w/Seat Post Clamp | eBay

    Sorry for the eBay link, I'll post some pictures once it comes in the mail (probably on Wednesday). Anywho, I know the seat looks like death, but I figured for $30, it was worth trying to restore. If it works out well, then I scored a brooks for cheap :)

    So, anyone have any clue as to how old it is? It says B73 on the bracket, so I'm assuming that's what it is. Only thing is, the B73s that I found via Google have completely different brackets and spring configurations. Which leads me to believe that this seat has some age (and not just old looks!).

    Also, I've been looking around the forums for some tips on how to restore it. . . I found Bairdco's post: http://motorbicycling.com/f38/refurbishing-brooks-leather-saddle-26320.html. The seat that I won on eBay looks like it's retained its shape pretty well, so I'm guessing I would skip the bucket of water and go straight to light sanding and lathering it up with Proofide or some equivalent? Any suggestions?


    Cheers
     
  2. Nashville Kat

    Nashville Kat Active Member

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    It's really hard to say- Brooks has been around for probably a century and is still making saddles I think-

    This one is a touring model with the sprung under carriage- judging from little more than the appearance and the time when they most popular- 50's and 60's I think- certainly probably their most prolific production- I would say mid- 60's- give or take a decade.
     
  3. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    i'm thinking 1970's. it probably came off a Raleigh or some other english bike. leave 'em outside long enough and they look really old.
     
  4. Nashville Kat

    Nashville Kat Active Member

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    By the '70's most bike manufacturers had stopped using Brooks leather saddles on their production bikes- but it could be one purchased separately that age-

    Schwinn had them on all their early ten speeds, but by 1968 when I got my first schwinn varsity- it had been replaced by a vinyl seat. They stopped a year or two before that.

    I worked in a shop that sold Raleighs in '73 and '74, and they weren't on any Raleigh bike then- but perhaps a three speed still- I don't recall.

    When I started racing USCF in '71- Unicanitor was the usual saddle- it was leather overa nylon shell- and you didn't have to break it in like most people did with a Brooks- like it was a leather baseball mitt. Some tourists were still riding Brooks a bit more otherwise, but they died out from there-

    although the ones with the extra-large gold rivets have always been a collectors item and expensive new.
     

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    #4 Nashville Kat, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  5. Nashville Kat

    Nashville Kat Active Member

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    Re-reading the O.P. I'm thinking that maybe the 73 is the year of manufacture- like I said they stayed popular with tourists longer and it was probably purchased aftermarket or on a three speed.

    Bairdco did get that one to take surprising shape- how long it will stay that way- I don't know- I also can't tell you what to use otherwise- something that will protect it without softening the leather up more I guess- they sorta lose their rigiditity- you might do well with some hardening shellac or mix together a platic glue paste of some kind-

    I think commercial saddle soap may just keep softening it too much-

    How about getting more leather to cover the top at least?- you could plasticsize the original leather and then glue more on top - I'd get some of that silver metallic spray paint that's everywhere now- and after cleaning the metal- i'd spray some of that into the cap and touch it all up with artists brushes- You could even carefuly touch up the nameplate
     
    #5 Nashville Kat, May 9, 2011
    Last edited: May 9, 2011
  6. Frickard

    Frickard New Member

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    This is a good idea. At least it will neutralize the rust. I'll probably pick up some Proofide if it seems salvageable. I won't know for sure until tomorrow when it arrives in the mail :) I'll definitely be documenting the restore process!

    Cheers for all the input!
     
  7. bairdco

    bairdco a guy who makes cool bikes

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    the chrome Brooks uses is awesome, you might be able to just steel wool it to bring it back.

    i dunno what the "73" stands for. the B73 saddle is completely different from what you have. it has 3 giant springs on it.

    your's looks like a B72. it'll say it on the side, stamped into the leather, if you can still read it.

    Brooks recommends Proofhide, i think. i've used ordinary baseball glove oil from Ace and it does a great job, makes it nice and soft. a coupla problems, though.

    one, it's gonna turn every pair of pants you own brown. it'll wash out of jeans, but anything lighter will stain. (that's why spandex bike shorts are black:))

    two, your seat looks kinda torn up at the front rivets. it'll end up tearing eventually, but softening it might help it along.

    you don't need to soften the front anyway. a lot of people just do the back, where your backside goes.
     
  8. Frickard

    Frickard New Member

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    Ya, I noticed that too before I bought it. I figured it was still good on 2 out of the 3 front rivets, so it was worth a shot. Thanks for the heads up on softening. I know it's going to be a challenge to restore this thing, if it's even possible. But, if it works, it should look sweet! Plus, it being old and tattered might deter people from thinking about stealing it :x
     
  9. walander

    walander New Member

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    Thats the exact same saddle I have on my barn find build. It came off a 65 Raleigh sprite. Like every one else says 60's or 70's. soak it in water for a day or so, pull it out and wrap it in shoe laces so that it holds its original form when it dries, then once its dry, use a little 220 sand paper to bring it back to life, it will look great, trust me.
     

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