New Project – Recovering a tatty SDG Bel-Air
After restoring a few old bikes (see Retrobike) I have realised just because something looks a bit knackered it doesn’t mean you have to buy new again. And making something new again through your own efforts is extremely satisfying.
I’ve been wanting to re-cover a saddle for a while after seeing some threads on Retrobike where people have done a good job on Flite Ti seats.
However I’ve never managed to find anywhere to buy the leather. Plenty online but I wanted to see it before I bought it. I was on holiday in Wales and found a fabric shop that had LOADS of off-cuts so I grabbed 3 different ones to use.
(The pink one is actually red in real life).
I was going to try and find an old Flite to re-cover but the SDG saddle I have on my modern bike was looking very tatty. The new Bel-Air is chunkier than this version and I don’t like the look of it so why not try to revive this one?
So take off the plastic trim pieces.
Next pull out the staples and peel the cover off.
Next job is to clean everything up. The foam is missing a couple of bits which came away with the cover but I think I can stick them back on.
Going to read up other peoples advice on various threads I’ve seen before I start gluing things.Posted 4 years ago
Filled in some of the holes with hot glue. Made a crappy job to start with so had to keep redoing it to get it right. Keep testing the leather on top to make sure repairs don’t show.
Rear section had a bit come off.
Rough edges will be sanded smooth.Posted 4 years ago
Interested in why you decided to remove the original cover?
Would it not have been easier to recover over the old one, and then there’s less risk of damaging the foam?
It’s ok to do that if the original cover is smooth and in one piece but on multi piece and embroidered covers all the ridges will show through the new leather making it look lumpy and ugly. Might be tricky fixing the new leather down on top of the original cover anyway.
Wasn’t hard removing old cover anyway and I want to do a proper job!Posted 4 years ago
So the final stage starts.
Apply the glue.
Spread it around.
Top stuck on reasonably well and even.
Start to apply glue to the leather which tucks underneath and to the saddle shell.
I am now quite high by this point from the glue fumes and really enjoying myself! 😉
Stick the bits underneath and hold with bulldog clips.
All done!!! Well pleased with it as my first try. Could probably get it perfect next time.
This side not quite so good but still pleased with it.
Top looks good – slightly lumpy bits are where I repaired the foam but they look worse in photos than in real life.
Underneath looks good. One slight bit where I trimmed leather a bit short but you can’t see it from the top and it shouldn’t be a problem.
Thanks all!Posted 4 years ago
Thanks very much.
The covering is miles better quality than the original and quite thick so as long as it doesn’t come unglued it should last for many years.
I’ll bob some dubbin on it or similar to make it supple. I may also steam it a but to tighten the leather up.
Looking for more tatty saddles to recover now I have the bug!Posted 4 years ago
The lumpy bits were from the hot glue gun I used to fill in the holes in the foam. I kinda made it a bit worse than it should have been but I was experimenting and it was my first time. There would probably be a better method but I just used what I had at home to hand.
Looks worse in the pics than in real life and you won’t be able to feel it in use.Posted 4 years ago
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