Spa Aire Saddle

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
martinn
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Spa Aire Saddle

Postby martinn » 26 May 2016, 9:42pm

Hi all, I have just bought a spa Aire Saddle, and wondered do you the treat both sides of the saddle with the saddle cream?
Many thanks
Martin

greyingbeard
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby greyingbeard » 26 May 2016, 10:07pm

I would to start with

next person will say the opposite, or tell you to soak it in red wine, or something

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531colin
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby 531colin » 26 May 2016, 10:17pm

layer of plastic bonded to the underside won't benefit from cream

martinn
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby martinn » 26 May 2016, 10:20pm

Thanks, so top only, oppersite to my brooks, which it is replacing.

jimlews
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby jimlews » 27 May 2016, 8:35am

My practice is to lay off the creams/oils etc until the saddle is broken in.

Your best bet with any new leather saddle (IMHO) is to ride for a few miles to determine if there is any discomfort and if so, where it is. In my case (and everyone is different) this is usually under the 'sit bones' which should rest on the wide portion of the saddle just forward of the cantle rail at the back ( if everything else is set up correctly). These two areas under the 'sit bones' should NEVER receive any treatment - it needs to conform to your shape and have a degree of complience. If you oil or wax or whitever this area, the saddle will never be comfortable and never be able to be broken in. The only areas of a leather saddle that should receive any treatment (IMHO) is the whole nose (where the adjuster is) back as far as the point at which the leather flairs out and the periphery - the sides and the area around around the rivets. NEVER TREAT THE UNDERSIDE. If you do the leather will not be able to breath. That layer of whatever under the saddle is there for that reason.

You can speed up the breaking in process by soaking a couple of small balled up tissues in water and placing one on either side of the top at the rear of the saddle where those 'sit bones' rest. Leave them there overnight. This will soften that area thus allowing it to conform to your posterior more easily. If you are in a particular hurry the process can be assisted with a 'ball pean' hammer. Having soaked overnight as above, tap the (ball side) of the hammer in a circular pattern around those TWO small ( in my case) areas where the sit bones rest. The area between (the centre line of the saddle) should not be struck with the hammer and indeed, may receive application of proof hide or equiv.

The above is MY method. It works for ME and has afforded many, many miles of cycling comfort.

I hope it is of help to you.

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DaveP
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby DaveP » 27 May 2016, 10:08am

I get the impression that you haven't actually encountered one of the Spa saddles "in the flesh"
I don't think that there is any need to worry about stopping the leather from breathing. Dressings like Proofide are similar if not identical to the dressings applied to the freshly tanned hide so that it ends up supple rather than board like. IIRC the process is called stuffing and surprisingly large quantities of this fat/oil mix are physically forced into the hide with a steel squeegee like tool. On both sides. In use this fat/oil content does need to be topped up from time to time. It's not part of the structure of the leather and basically gets wiped off by contact. Also, being a natural product, it can break down.
The reason for being cautious about treating the underside of the saddle is to prevent over absorption by traditional unlaminated leather, leading to an undesirable increase in elasticity - or premature sagging if you prefer. But even Brookes acknowledge that a light application to the underside when used without mud guards may be beneficial.
The fabric bonded to the underside of Spa saddles is there to increase the stability of the leather - to limit stretching. Modern tanning methods and the contemporary cow population tend not to yield the stouter grades of leather that our grandfathers might have known. Witness the number of comments on here about B17s stretching too fast.
Personally I reckon there's a bit of overkill in the Spa leathers - they are almost too strong :D They seem to be very slow to adapt to the user :cry: The underside does seem to be waterproof, but I have found that draping the whole saddle with wet cloth until the leather is visibly damp doesn't seem to help things along.
I'm persevering with mine because it's nearly comfy, and I can see the day...
And when it gets there, it should stay comfy for ages without my help.
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

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georgew
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby georgew » 27 May 2016, 10:53am

I think it should be noted that these saddles have leather which is too thick to form the indentations usually seen on Brooks saddles. As with the Berthoud saddles they work on the "hammock" principle and the leather has already been impregnated with some waterproofing product as well as having the underside bonded with a waterproof membrane.

In breaking-in the saddle it's best to loosen the tension bolt allowing the leather to flex more and then re-tightening when it has become more comfortable.

jimlews
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby jimlews » 27 May 2016, 7:23pm

This is obviously a contentious issue.

As I said previously, the method I described above is the one that I use. It works for me and has done for more years than I care to remember. I make no claims for anyone elses posterior. Everyone is different.

I do have experience of a spa saddle, as it happens. I bought one of their 'warfe' models a couple of weeks ago. My first impression was 'crikey, this is 'ard. I gave it the treatment. It is now as comfortable as any of my other saddles (various Brooks B17n, Swallows, and two Swift) and that within a week.

EDIT. Incidentally, none of my saddled sag, prematurely or otherwise. Several are 35+ years young.

J.L.

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DaveP
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby DaveP » 27 May 2016, 8:22pm

Simply having different views doesn't make a subject contentious!
I'm entirely happy to accept that your techniques work for you - maybe I should have said so.
And if you have tamed one of the Spa family in such a short time I'm quite impressed.
But I think I've gone too far down the traditional route with my specimen to want to change tactics now!
Trying to retain enough fitness to grow old disgracefully...

jimlews
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby jimlews » 27 May 2016, 9:09pm

DaveP wrote:Simply having different views doesn't make a subject contentious!


Quite right, Dave! I was simply surprised that anybody did it any other way; the saddle being, as it is (or becomes, using the method I outlined) a progressive rate spring.

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iow
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby iow » 28 May 2016, 9:07am

jimlews wrote:I do have experience of a spa saddle, as it happens. I bought one of their 'warfe' models a couple of weeks ago. My first impression was 'crikey, this is 'ard. I gave it the treatment. It is now as comfortable as any of my other saddles (various Brooks B17n, Swallows, and two Swift) and that within a week.


any chance of posting a photo of the top your quickly broken-in wharfe saddle?
thanks
mark

jimlews
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby jimlews » 28 May 2016, 1:39pm

any chance of posting a photo of the top your quickly broken-in wharfe saddle?
thanks[/quote]

Hi iow,
thanks for your interest.

Now the embarrassing bit.
Being an old dinosaur from an antediluvian-pre digital age I am unable to get my head around anything complicated on the computer. I do have a digital camera (cheap Aldi) but can't get it to talk to the computer. If I can rope in a twelve year old to do it, we're in with a shout.

But actually, the exercise would be pretty pointless. My 'Warfe' looks just like any other new Warfe . No dents, no sag; nothing like that.

The point is that the leather under my sit bones is more supple than the rest of the top. I want the rest of the top to be less supple than the area under my sit bones. I don't want the rest of the top to sag and chafe the tender inter-pubic area and I don't want the sides to splay and rub the equally tender top inner part of my leg (I forget what it's called).

Hope this helps.

PS. Nice Lab!

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iow
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby iow » 29 May 2016, 8:54am

thanks - sounds good, but you're braver than me - taking a hammer and water to a new saddle.
mark

jimlews
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby jimlews » 29 May 2016, 10:35am

iow wrote:thanks - sounds good, but you're braver than me - taking a hammer and water to a new saddle.


Hi "iow".
I'm not advocating bashing seven shades of "doo-doo" out of the saddle; TAP was the word I used. I'm merely simulating what the human derriere does to the saddle anyway, but with less discomfort to the rider and over a much shorter period of time.

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georgew
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Re: Spa Aire Saddle

Postby georgew » 29 May 2016, 4:43pm

jimlews wrote:
iow wrote:thanks - sounds good, but you're braver than me - taking a hammer and water to a new saddle.


Hi "iow".
I'm not advocating bashing seven shades of "doo-doo" out of the saddle; TAP was the word I used. I'm merely simulating what the human derriere does to the saddle anyway, but with less discomfort to the rider and over a much shorter period of time.



With new Brooks' leather saddles for many years I've wetted the area pressured by the sit-bones and used my thumb to create the indentations I needed given that when wet the leather is very soft. When dry the Brooks' were as hard as before but the Spa saddles in question do not lend themselves to this method in that the leather is impregnated with some waterproofing substance. It hardly helps that the underside is bonded with a waterproof membrane also.