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This may be caused by the rails rubbing in the seatpost clamp. Remove the saddle from the bike, lube the rails and also the seat post clamp cradle nut/bolt. The squeak may also come from the rails rubbing where they join the saddle base. This can be helped by removing the saddle, turning it upside down, and applying silicone lubricant to the rails so it can run into the holes that hold the rails. Please don't use a petroleum-based lubricant; it can damage the leather and the glue.
Our saddles are best cared for by washing with water and a good bar soap. Wipe it with a damp cloth and air dry it. Don't use any treatments or chemicals other than water and a bar soap. Many cleaners use petroleum that will cause the glue that holds the leather to the foam to soften and loosen. They can also cause the foam to expand and distort. Note -- if you own a Brooks saddle, DO NOT clean it with water and soap. Instead, use Brooks Proofide as recommended by the manufacturer.
This is a tough question to answer as there are so many variables - weight of rider, riding style, care given to equipment, climate in which equipment is used, where the saddle is mounted on the rail, if the rider wears cycling shorts or ? while riding and a host of other things.
With all that said, 5,000 miles is a reasonable amount of miles to expect from a saddle. 10,000-15,000 miles is at the high end of the scale. 15,000-20,000 is looking for rail or base failure. (All of these expectations can be severely reduced by an abusive riding style, extremes in temperature and one or more of the other things listed above.)
A saddle that is "broken in" should feel "softer" than a new saddle. The base hasn't been "seated" onto the rails; the foam hasn't contoured to the rider's sitting position; the leather is still stiff.
The saddle can continue to be ridden for many more miles if:
* the cover isn't torn
* the edges of the leather cover aren't showing signs of wear through
* the foam under the leather doesn't have any "soft" spots indicating foam breakdown
* the edges around the soft tissue area aren't breaking down
The only other thing that might happen is a rail breaking due to a stress riser caused by the seat post cradle. That is something that you can't predict as it won't show up until the rail breaks. Some brands of seat post cradles break rails more quickly than others -- Syncros, early Control Techs and American Classics all used "straight cut" sharp edge seat cradles that create stress risers. These stress risers can be reduced by rounding the edge of the cradle with a file where the rail exits the cradle -- top/bottom and front/rear.
You can make several adjustments to make sure your saddle is adjusted properly.
Set the height of the saddle so that theres a slight bend in the knee of the leg thats at the bottom of the pedal stroke. If the saddles too high, your pelvis will rock from side to side; too low, and you wont get the best use of your leg power. Knees can take a beating from an improper saddle height as well.
The saddle should be level. Viewed from the side, the saddle shouldnt appear to be nose up or nose down. If the nose is tipped up, youll feel a crunch in the wrong spot of your anatomy! Tipped down, and youll be forever sliding toward the handlebars and bearing a lot of unnecessary weight on your arms.
Fore to aft saddle position should be set so that when a plumb line is dropped from the front of the knee of the fowardmost leg (with the crankarms in a horizontal position), it intersects the pedal spindle. This will give you the most biomechanical bang for your buck.
Your position on the bike is as important as the position of the saddle. If the bike doesnt fit properly, you may never find a truly comfortable saddle. The most common complaint we hear is that the nose of the saddle still places an undue amount of pressure on the rider, even if the saddle is adjusted properly as discussed above. If the riders reach to the handlebars is too far, the pelvis can tip forward enough to put pressure on sensitive bits. By shortening/raising the handlebar to bring the rider into a more upright position, the pelvis will rotate back enough to move the riders weight onto other areas.
If youve done all of the above, it still doesnt mean the saddle will be comfortable. (What?!?!) No kidding -- that old expression, One mans junk is another mans treasure applies to saddles, too. It might take some experimenting to find the perfect saddle. Rules are meant to be broken, so dont feel bound to any of the starting points above or to a saddle that everyone else thinks is great. Its your comfort, after all!
We use "Goop" on some saddle covers but it requires clamping the leather with clamps until it dries - usually about 12 - 16 hours. The problem with "Goop" is that the finished product isn't very clean - it is actually "goopy".
The other glue we use is a "Lokweld H20" glue that is applied to the loose leather then left to dry for a day. Once the glue is dry, we fold the leather around the saddle base and clamp with light clamps for several hours. This gluing method leaves a better finished product but it takes more time and fuss.
None of the materials have a rider weight limit! They will all work extremely well used in a normal course of riding.
Most riders have problems with bending or breaking a rail:
a) when impacting the saddle during landing after becoming airborne! The earth won't move or give so the saddle must.
This usually happens during aggressive MTB riding when the bike gets airborne, the riders foot slips off the pedal, the rider loses balance and the rider impacts the seat when the bike hits the ground.
Bent rails can even happen when road bikers "jump" a pot hole..curb..railroad tracks..and don't time the jump correctly impacting the saddle.
b) Stress riser caused by the seat post cradle: the sharp edge of the seat post cradle creates a stress riser which will eventually cause the rail to break.
As with most things that can bend or break (stems handlebars/rims/seat rails), the riders riding technique or riding circumstance when it bends or breaks has more to do with durability than the product material.
The advantages of Titanium are it is lighter and it flexes more than other materials. The advantages of Cr/Mo and/or Manganese are they are lighter and flex more than steel.