How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

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natmat
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How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby natmat » 29 Nov 2016, 9:42pm

Hello all,

Summary:
Brooks swift saddle.
- Ridden for two years
- Never tensioned
- Rested for 2 years
- Turned the tension bolt 180 degrees and it snapped.

So, I've just replaced my tension bolt (after it snapped the first time I tired to tension it). Now the saddle has more a sag to it than I remember.
- Is there a guideline to how taught it should be?
- Should I tighten it up until the upper forms a straight line?

Any suggestions welcome, thanks.

Nathan.

pwa
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby pwa » 29 Nov 2016, 9:51pm

Take it easy and tighten bit by bit. You don't want to overdo it. Take out all slack so that the leather is held stable, then add a little more tension and press down on the top with your hand. It should depress a little but not a lot. If it seems like it might be right, sit on it. Too saggy? Add a little more tension. It may need adjusting again after a ride. But overtensioning is a danger, so tension "a little and not very often".

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CREPELLO
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby CREPELLO » 29 Nov 2016, 10:30pm

It's difficult to describe, but you should begin to feel some resistance in the bolt as you tighten it. Taking up the slack, you should work through a little resistance to get some tension, but don't keep going. You won't get rid of the dip to the top, unless you were to try soaking in water and remoulding the leather. This isn't something I've actually done, but I will give it a go at some point, when necessary. If the Swift does sag too much - something they are very prone to do, then lacing the sides together would help alleviate that issue. This is something that I will do sometime with my own Swift, as I feel that with sagging it has become more uncomfortable.

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531colin
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby 531colin » 29 Nov 2016, 11:43pm

Tension it as little as you can get away with. The more you tension, the quicker the leather stretches, pulls away from the rivets, and tears.
I soak and re-shape my B17 narrow saddles every year or two, depending on use and how stiff the individual leathers are.
Method.....
Soak the leather. Clamp up the "waist" where the broad back narrows to the nose in one of these quick clamps.......

Image

the jaws are plastic, so there is no rust-marking of the wet leather. Let the leather dry out slowly.
Clamping the saddle restores the flat top much better than just tensioning, and re-shapes the narrow "waist"......tensioning will make the saddle triangular.
A lace tied loosely keeps the narrow waist shape....too tight lacing is like sitting on a broom handle.
I think a Swift, with cut-down sides, will sag more than a B17N with full-depth sides.
(proofide when dry, obviously)

landsurfer
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby landsurfer » 30 Nov 2016, 12:04am

Or just get a decent saddle ......Selle do decent ones ...
I had a Brook B17 .. so comfortable .. after 500 miles of breaking in ..sold it on eBay for more than i paid for it.. :) idiots abound .....
All my bikes now have Selles saddles, £15 from Decathlon.
SELLES BASSANO .. Brilliant saddle.
Don't fall for the marketing !!
Last edited by landsurfer on 30 Nov 2016, 12:32am, edited 2 times in total.
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531colin
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby 531colin » 30 Nov 2016, 12:14am

landsurfer wrote:Or just get a decent saddle ......Selle do decent ones ...
I had a Brook B17 .. so comfortable .. after 500 miles of breaking in ..sold it on eBay for more than i paid for it.. :) idiots abound .....
All my bikes now have Selle Italia saddles, £15 from Decathlon.
Don't fall for the crap !!


I see no reason to be quite so insulting. Saddles are a choice. I choose to sit on leather, I choose not to wear a nappy or slather my backside in nappy cream. Others make different choices.
As long as we all ride bikes, why the insults?

landsurfer
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby landsurfer » 30 Nov 2016, 12:36am

531colin wrote:
landsurfer wrote:Or just get a decent saddle ......Selle do decent ones ...
I had a Brook B17 .. so comfortable .. after 500 miles of breaking in ..sold it on eBay for more than i paid for it.. :) idiots abound .....
All my bikes now have Selle Italia saddles, £15 from Decathlon.
Don't fall for the crap !!


I see no reason to be quite so insulting. Saddles are a choice. I choose to sit on leather, I choose not to wear a nappy or slather my backside in nappy cream. Others make different choices.
As long as we all ride bikes, why the insults?


Insults ???
Interesting editing ....
It's a saddle, not a comment on your life.
Oh God ... your going to be claiming your a victim next ..... lol .. :)
Be More Mike.
The Road Goes On Forever

Roadster
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby Roadster » 30 Nov 2016, 12:42am

Selle Royal evidently have a higher regard for Brooks saddles than you do, Landsurfer: they bought the whole Brooks company in 2002 and have continued to make traditional Brooks designs to this day.

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natmat
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby natmat » 30 Nov 2016, 7:16am

pwa wrote:Take it easy and tighten bit by bit. You don't want to overdo it. Take out all slack so that the leather is held stable, then add a little more tension and press down on the top with your hand. It should depress a little but not a lot. If it seems like it might be right, sit on it. Too saggy? Add a little more tension. It may need adjusting again after a ride. But overtensioning is a danger, so tension "a little and not very often".


Wow, so many replies in a short period of time. Thank you folks.

So I tightened a few flats on the nut. There was certainly no play in that bolt and from the manual-feedback from the little Brooks spanner it's under a reasonable amount of tension.
The saddle is not sagging in appearance and is, I'd say, in excellent as-new condition, other than a few self-inflicted symmetrical dimples in the leather from my anatomy. It does depress a bit under hand pressure, so I think it's good now. It may be that I haven't quite adjusted its horizontal-ness in the seat post (I've switched it between bikes) and this is why it doesn't quite feel right, i.e. the same as I remembered it. I'll take it for a spin today and see how it feels after minor adjustment and double-checking the tension.

FYI My choice to ride with this saddle is entirely for personal reasons.

pete75
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby pete75 » 30 Nov 2016, 7:56am

531colin wrote:
landsurfer wrote:Or just get a decent saddle ......Selle do decent ones ...
I had a Brook B17 .. so comfortable .. after 500 miles of breaking in ..sold it on eBay for more than i paid for it.. :) idiots abound .....
All my bikes now have Selle Italia saddles, £15 from Decathlon.
Don't fall for the crap !!


I see no reason to be quite so insulting. Saddles are a choice. I choose to sit on leather, I choose not to wear a nappy or slather my backside in nappy cream. Others make different choices.
As long as we all ride bikes, why the insults?


Because some people think their way is the only way and anyone who deviates from that way must be an idiot.

As for tensioning the saddle the guy on the Brooks stand at the York rally advised curling fingers under the cantle plate at the rear of the saddle and pressing on the widest part of the leather with the heel of your hand. Correctly tensioned it should depress slightly.

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531colin
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Location: North Yorkshire

Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby 531colin » 30 Nov 2016, 8:20am

landsurfer wrote:
531colin wrote:
landsurfer wrote:Or just get a decent saddle ......Selle do decent ones ...
I had a Brook B17 .. so comfortable .. after 500 miles of breaking in ..sold it on eBay for more than i paid for it.. :) idiots abound .....
All my bikes now have Selle Italia saddles, £15 from Decathlon.
Don't fall for the crap !!


I see no reason to be quite so insulting. Saddles are a choice. I choose to sit on leather, I choose not to wear a nappy or slather my backside in nappy cream. Others make different choices.
As long as we all ride bikes, why the insults?


Insults ???
Interesting editing ....
It's a saddle, not a comment on your life.
Oh God ... your going to be claiming your a victim next ..... lol .. :)


I didn't edit your post, I quoted what you originally posted, where according to you, I'm an idiot who has been taken in by "the crap".
Apparently I'm still an idiot, but I have been taken in by the marketing.
Thank you for modifying your post.

nigelnightmare
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby nigelnightmare » 30 Nov 2016, 7:44pm

531colin wrote:
landsurfer wrote:
531colin wrote:
I see no reason to be quite so insulting. Saddles are a choice. I choose to sit on leather, I choose not to wear a nappy or slather my backside in nappy cream. Others make different choices.
As long as we all ride bikes, why the insults?


Insults ???
Interesting editing ....
It's a saddle, not a comment on your life.
Oh God ... your going to be claiming your a victim next ..... lol .. :)


I didn't edit your post, I quoted what you originally posted, where according to you, I'm an idiot who has been taken in by "the crap".
Apparently I'm still an idiot, but I have been taken in by the marketing.
Thank you for modifying your post.


That's ^^^^ not how I read it.
The Idiots he referred to are the ones that paid "more" for the second hand saddle on Ebay. :wink:

Or are you saying that it was you that bought it. :?:

You like "Brooks", he likes "Selle".

Personal choice, after all we're all different and that's what makes life "interesting".

pete75
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Joined: 24 Jul 2007, 2:37pm

Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby pete75 » 30 Nov 2016, 10:42pm

nigelnightmare wrote:
531colin wrote:
landsurfer wrote:
Insults ???
Interesting editing ....
It's a saddle, not a comment on your life.
Oh God ... your going to be claiming your a victim next ..... lol .. :)


I didn't edit your post, I quoted what you originally posted, where according to you, I'm an idiot who has been taken in by "the crap".
Apparently I'm still an idiot, but I have been taken in by the marketing.
Thank you for modifying your post.


That's ^^^^ not how I read it.
The Idiots he referred to are the ones that paid "more" for the second hand saddle on Ebay. :wink:

Or are you saying that it was you that bought it. :?:

You like "Brooks", he likes "Selle".

Personal choice, after all we're all different and that's what makes life "interesting".


Now I didn't read it like that at all. It seems to me he meant people who buy Brooks are idiots taken in by the crap.
Presumably only what person bought his saddle so would be referred to in the singular ie idiot if he meant whoever bought the thing.

landsurfer
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Joined: 27 Oct 2012, 9:13pm

Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby landsurfer » 30 Nov 2016, 10:45pm

Possibly missing the point, I had bought a Brooks saddle.
Don't regard myself as an idiot ....??
There are lots of idiots that pay way over the odds for products on Ebay etc.
As pointed out the idiots phrase was not aimed at any individual.

Which brings me back to my Catholic belief that some people wake up every morning just looking for something to take offence at ...
Be More Mike.
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Gattonero
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Re: How tight to tension my Brooks swift leather saddle

Postby Gattonero » 4 Dec 2016, 12:31pm

Get a Cambium and no need to worry :mrgreen:

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