How to Lace a Brooks Saddle.




Introduction: How to Lace a Brooks Saddle.

I quite like to ride my bike, you should too, it is fun.

Hopefully the saddle that comes with the bike is comfortable for you. If it is not allow me to recommend a Brooks saddle. They are made out of leather and are very comfortable. However, I am not here to sell you a saddle, I am here to remind you to ride your bike!

I purchased a Brooks B17 Imperial leather bicycle saddle that has holes in the sides which allow laces to prevent the sides from curling up. Laces give the saddle more structure. I had no idea how to lace this saddle, so I consulted my old friend "the Internet". To my surprise the search term "how to lace a brooks saddle" came back with very few links on my specific saddle. Curses, my old friend "the Internet" has let me down!

This document is how I laced my Brooks Imperial saddle in hopes that is useful to someone else who has the same saddle. It is not authorized by Brooks, and is only my opinion.


The saddle comes with several cotton laces. If you lose yours or they break, the factory laces look very similar to round shoe laces which could be used if you run out of laces.

I used a needle nose pliers to tighten the lacing.

Step 1: Tie a Knot at One End

Tie a standard knot at one end of the lace. The knot will prevent the lace from pulling through the hole.

Put the other end of the lace (without the knot) on the inside of the saddle on the starting hole. The idea is to hide the knot inside the saddle. I chose to put the lace on the first hole closest to the nose of the saddle. If you have shorter laces you may want to select holes further back.

Step 2: Lace Back and Forth

Pull the lace all the way out, put it back into the the very next hole, and out the other side. Continue lacing the nose of the saddle toward the back. Depending on the length of the lace and the size of the saddle skip some holes so you have enough lace to make it to the end. I tired to skip the area where I estimated the seat clamp would sit, so the lace did not rub on the clamp.

Step 3: Tighten the Laces

Use a needle nose pliers to tighten the laces as you go. I used my thumb against the outside of the saddle to hold the outside lace tight. The saddle does not need to be very tight (it should have some play) or it will break when you sit on it.

Step 4: Tie a Knot at the Other End

The back side of the saddle is more open and easier to work with. Once I had the seat laced as I wanted, I tied off the end of the lace. Tuck in the remaining string into the laces if you have left over lace.

The saddle has provided me many miles of comfort and the lace has not broken yet.

This is not the only way to do it! If you lace your Brooks saddle differently post a picture in the comments and tell me how or why you chose a different style.

Thank you for reading, now go out and ride your bike!

Be the First to Share


    • Remote Control Contest

      Remote Control Contest
    • Meatless Challenge

      Meatless Challenge
    • Sculpt & Carve Challenge

      Sculpt & Carve Challenge



    6 years ago on Introduction

    I just ran out and checked. The bad news is neither of my B-17's have any holes there. The good news is they are both years old and I don't feel any need to lace them as they are not curling up. Cheers!


    Reply 5 months ago

    If the sides of your saddle start to splay out or the saddle develops a dip, and there's no holes in the sides, just use a drill - four holes on each side in the position indicated above will do fine. You can use flat shoe lace - I think this fits best, just tighten until the sides are roughly vertical again. Can markedly improve an old misshapen saddle, along with judicious tensioning (only a quarter turn is sufficient)


    3 years ago

    I am a cycle freak, started riding at the age of 5 for 43 years now. Never had a leather saddle, bought a fixie and the saddle mounted there was horror.
    The retro bike should become a retro seat, so I bought a Brooks Flyer Imperial after some internet research, mounted it and hit the road. (Who needs to read instructions, I've mounted hundreds of saddles in my life...)
    Well, I thought, it is better as the included one, but quite hard, maybe I should read the instructions now?
    There was this little bag on top of a letter, hm, Proofide, what's that? Did not rread the instructions, applied a thin layer on the top of the saddle instead and its gloss was beautiful, but it made the saddle slippery like a slide. Did my daily tours to work and my fixie started to make creaking noises. Blamed the chain, the hubs, but it seemed to be the the saddle - no contact to the seat and the noise disappeared.
    Read the instructions now. Several times. Greased the lower side of the saddle with the included mini-proofide-bag, which was immedately soaked away by the leather. Got to the shop asked for Proofide. Shocked of the price, I changed my mind, went home, searched for alternatives. Searched the web. Found Sheldon Brown. Did not use waste oil, Sheldon seemed to have tried.
    Ordered 1 l saddle oil', 1 kg leather soap and 1 kg leather grease for some bucks more as 40 g Proofide...
    The Flyer Imperial is not as hard as a Team Professional or a Colt, so I thought some brush strokes with saddle oil should do the inital job.
    No. They did not. The leather was dry as a desert and thirsty like a horde of soccer hooligans.
    So I did it several times, the process took me a couple of hours. The knocking on the saddles surface sounds different, the ride more relaxing for my butt and the creaking noise was gone. After 1 week and about 150 km later, the saddle broke in. My love for my Brooks burned hot and fiery. The pleasure to ride a bike with this saddle was so astounding that I ordered immediately a Brooks Swift Titanium for my Full Carbon Racer...
    (To be continued)


    6 years ago

    used black medium sized zip tie to "lace up" my old Brooks pro. It works fine, has not broken but when it does it will be easy to replace...moisture proof too.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I think the reason for lacing them is mainly to hold the shape. A heavy rider, too much oil or grease (use proofhide only) or the cutout like on this saddle can bring a good quality saddle out of shape. If you can feel the rails trough the top of the saddle something needs to be done. Lacing can be one thing to do- or you can lace to prevent this from happening.

    The only curling ones I have seen are saddles that has been left out in the rain a lot, where the whole saddle is dry and hard, the outer layer of the hide (top of the saddle) then "shrinks" and hardens and curling starts. No lacing alone can cure that curling.

    If your saddle needs lacing and there are no holes you can make them. You need good tools and you need to be brave but it can be done.