Thursday, September 27, 2012

Brooks Saddle Repair: B66


"Have a seat"

I've had an old Brooks B66 leather bicycle seat/saddle sitting around for about 3 years now. The front of it was pretty loose, which became annoying on the local DC/MD/VA roads and trails. I've heard they test moon rovers on these roads for durability before sending them to other planets. Anyway, it dawned on me that a good, vintage, leather saddle shouldn't be sitting around just because it's a little lose. So I set about fixing it.

I took it apart and found that the offending piece was a smooth rivet that had been pressed into place, but which had gone loose from riding over the years. I've got thousands of miles on this saddle and have been riding it on the green Raleigh 3 Speed since college.


So I took the top off and got the carriage/frame apart. Luckily, a thin pedal wrench fit the nuts holding it together, so I was able to work into all the tight spots and get it apart. I then drilled out the rivet and whacked it free with a hammer and punch. I took it to a hardware store over in Bethesda (big box hardware sucks for finding parts/anything except bowed lumber).  If you ever want to special fit a piece of hardware, go to a local, small hardware store. They usually have the trays of parts so you can hand fit what you need. Lowes/Home Depot sell by the bag, and you can't always hand fit what you need. The big box places also excel at making anything hard to find and I'm always getting lost there.


I then took the bolt and equipped with with a couple of lock washers and fitted it into the cradle where the rivet was. The head features a bit Phillips formation with a deep slot so you can really tighten it down.


After that I took a nut and a large, thick fender washer, along with another lock washer, and bound it together.


I then tightened the new nut down with some blue Loctite applied to the threads. This will help keep it from vibrating loose, along with the lock washers. Once again, I end up wearing as much Loctite as I got on the bolt.


And there is the re-assembled product. I tried to have the screw head as the outside part, but the nut and washer would not fit inside the frame properly, so it had to be done this way. The leather on this saddle is still pretty good, and hopefully it will work for thousands more miles. It sure beats any of that plastic stuff you see today.

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