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Leather or Vinyl?
Vinyl
The perfect material?
    PROS
  • Won't crack or fade
  • Washable
  • Not bothered by rain
  • Holds up in the hot sun.
    CONS
  • Gets hot
  • Sweats
  • Gets hot
  • Sweats (Get the message?)

      Vinyl is very durable and forgiving however and doesn't require the care of leather. Because it is a petroleum product it does insulate and trap body heat from your butt. This is great in the winter but hot in the summer. The vinyl I use is very high quality, much better than stock and the Basket Weave style is pretty comfy, even in summer.

leather or Vinyl?
Genuine Leather
Takes comfort to the next level
    PROS
  • Breathes- Your body heat and moisture are free to pass through the material keeping your butt much cooler in the summer.
  • Stretches- ...In all directions. Unlike vinyl that retains a bias in that it stretches differently in different directions, leather has a 360 give,
  • Breaks-in- ...To fit you. After a few hundred miles a change will occur in the leather seat. It will remember subtle contours and pressure points, breaking in just like a fine pair of boots. It then becomes even more comfortable.
    CONS
  • Leather does require more care- It should be kept clean and oil-free. I recommend Saddle Soap but any good cleaner will do. Just ask your local cobbler. Check out our page on Leather Care for more details on what to use to keep the leather soft and supple.
         Fortunately, most seats today are easily removable. Should your saddle, be it leather or vinyl, get saturated, remove it from the bike and stand it vertically in a warm room or upside-down on a big towel. It should be dry by morning.
  • Leather should be kept dry- When sat on in the rain, the saddle top obviously is not getting too wet. The problem occurs when the saddle is left out in the rain and water pools in the saddle portion. If allowed to puddle, some water may seep into the very top layer of low density foam. While the body of the seat remains dry, the dampness to the top layer of foam could give the leather a damp feel for a few hours into next day. Custom rain covers are available.
  • Rain covers are used to protect the seat from the environment (sun, rain, etc.) when the rider is not on it. While the seat is being ridden the rider's body protects the seat from the elements. Rain covers are not to be used while riding as they may transfer some color. If your bike will be left out in the weather, exposed to the environment, we recommend using a rain cover to protect the leather.
  • Leather should be kept cool- If parked in the sun the seat should be covered. I keep a small towel in my saddlebag and throw it over the seat if it is to be out over an hour or so. Only after repeated wet-dry-hot-cold cycles will leather begin to crack fade, and get stiff. Should your leather saddle fail in any way, for any reason, the cover will be replaced at no charge, indefinitely. I have always ridden leather seats and they are more comfortable than vinyl, but they must be cared for like any good pair of boots, or a leather jacket.
  • Imperfections- Buyers should be aware that leather used to be a cow. Cows get scratches, scars, and wrinkles just like people. These are not considered flaws unless they are determined to weaken the leather, I try to cut around these, but sometimes they might be included in the seat material. If you feel this would be a problem, get vinyl.

      I think it's obvious from this page that I prefer leather to vinyl, but I also realize that it's not right for everyone. Whichever you decide, you can be sure that your new saddle will be extremely comfortable. -Rick Mayer

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