Friday, October 7, 2011

The Flandria Fixed Gear (Fixie) Conversion Project - Custom Leather Saddle

The bike had the original Italian leather saddle that had seen much better days. Plus the rest of the bike is custom-made so I can't just put on a purchased bike saddle. So I decided to recover the old seat. I did a good internet search and found quite a few resources. It looked easy enough so I went for it.

A great site about custom handlebar tape and bike saddles - has some great ideas here.
An Instructables Guide about re-covering leather bike saddles. I basically followed dead on 9make sure to read the comments for some extra tips)
Another Instructable Guide about bicycle saddles and equally helpful

So here are some pictures and tips that I picked up while making mine.

1. The best place to get leather is an Upholstry store. They have a great selection and often a bunch of scrap pieces that will be big enough for a bicylce saddle. I originally was going to just go straight black leather, but once I saw this distressed leather with paisleys I was sold.

2. It is best to use the old cover as a template. If not, just trace around the saddle and error on the side of too much material. You will probably need to trim as you go anyways.

3. All bike saddles are built a bit different. You want to start by securing the leather to the nose of the saddle. I used staples right into the hard plastic case. This seemed to work well. The trick is to keep folding and stretching the leather till it looks smooth around the front. Then put in a couple more staples into the nose to hold down the folds.
4. Sand off any glue that is left on the cushion part of the saddle. Then clean it well and apply spray adhesive to the whole seat. Follow the directions on the can (you have to wait 30 seconds for it to get sticky)

5. Starting at the nose, stretch and smooth the leather as you work towards the back of the saddle. Pull the leather around the sides and trim. You want about a 1/2" of over hang so that you have enough of a surface to glue but not too much or it will create big folds.
6. Using contact cement, work your way front to back gluing the leather to the underside of the saddle. This worked pretty well for the sides, but the rear area needed staples.

7. The most difficult part are the corners, you will need to fold, stretch and then staple the leather. Work your way from each side and finish at the center. Try several times and keep checking that the top of the saddle looks smooth.

8. Let the saddle dry for a few days.

Coming up next....Custom handle bar tape from the same leather.

Step 1 - Background, Disassemble
Step 2 - Frame Painting
Step 3 - Handlebar & Fork Assembly
Step 4 - Gearing (Gear Ratio)
Step 5 - Wheels and Hubs
Step 6 - Custom Leather Saddle
Step 7 - Custom Leather Handlebars

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...