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Seat Thoughts: Saddle Covers

Brooks Leather Saddles & Saddle Covers

The quickest and often most economical upgrade to any bicycle is a better saddle. The most important factor in your ability to enjoy longer rides more often isn’t your bike’s weight or how many gears you have, it’s your comfort. And a good quality saddle, if taken care of, can last you decades! Of course, good quality usually (not always, but usually) means leather, and leather means taking a little more time and care, the “old fashioned" way if you will. You may hear overcautious talk of leather saddles being easily “ruined” or “hard to maintain”,  but if you can handle a pair of leather boots, you will have no trouble providing for your throne, and it will in turn thank you with years of peaceful human-bike unity.

Of course, the most important consideration with leather is rain, and for that we have saddle covers! They all have their perks, otherwise we wouldn’t stock so many of them. Let’s take a look at the options, shall we?

Brooks Saddle Covers

The Large Brooks Saddle Cover on a B67The Brooks Saddle Cover stashed. The Brooks Rain Cover comes in two sizes: Medium and Large. The larger accommodates the wider sit-down shape of the B67, etc. B17 and others of the type fit into the “medium”. If you ride a cruiser/comfort/dutch style saddle, the large ought to do. These photos are of the “large” cover on a B67. The cover is made of a nice-quality waterproof nylon material and fits rather baggy on the saddle. It is super-easy to take on and off, thanks to the elastic band closure.  

A velcro strap helps keep the cover rolled up burrito-style, and doubles as an attachment device, looping around the rails under the leather upper. Perfecto fit, and looks nice. We don’t recommend making a habit of riding on this cover, and neither does Brooks, but it’s not exactly delicate.

 

Carradice Saddle Cover

Reinforced Bag Loop Slots on the Carradice B17 cover.The Carradice B17 Cover

Carradice, a modest British manufacturer of very-high quality and practical cycling baggage, makes a cover specifically sized to the Brooks B17. It also fits the Flyer (B17 with springs). This cover fits rather taught, and is meant to be ridden on, making it an excellent choice for tough conditions. This cover provides leather-reinforced slots for bag loops, so a Carradice (or other) saddle bag hangs unimpeded. An excellent choice for a 3-month trek on your beloved Brooks saddle. This is the Saddle Cover that randonneurs most often choose to protect their leather saddles.

North Street Saddle Cover

Red!North Street Color Options North Street Saddle Cover with mesh pouch. The pouch attaches to the saddle rails with Velcro.North Street Bags from Portland, Oregon, makes lovely and impressive cycle baggage. Their saddle covers are of the same durable, coated ripstop nylon that they use for their waterproof liners, and unlike most saddle covers, come in colors! North Street is part of a burgeoning movement in Made In USA gear that is equally at home amongst at the coffee shop and the mountain trail. Their saddle covers are designed to be used, and will fit just about any saddle thanks to their draw-string closure (both B17 S and B67 were covered adequately and snugly).

Aardvark Saddle Cover

Aardvark Neoprene Saddle Cover Aardvark Cycling Accessories doesn’t have a website, but they make this ultra-generic and ultra-awesome saddle cover. Made of neoprene (wetsuit material) instead of nylon, so it’s a little squishy. Waterproof, but will hold water, so remember to take it off before sitting on it after a rainstorm! It's stretchy so it fits any saddle just fine. Awesome 80’s Aardvark-on-a-mountain-bike logo indicates these folks aren’t kidding around. Made in Richmond, UT, where there are definitely more mountain bikes than aardvarks. This one is an old favorite for making an expensive saddle look not-so-expensive in thief-prone zones. See ALL the saddle covers HERE