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How to tell if a bicycle seat is leather?

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How to tell if a bicycle seat is leather?

Old 07-20-19, 05:21 PM
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How to tell if a bicycle seat is leather?

I bought a cheap bicycle seat on Ebay with springs that advertised it was a leather seat, sold by a U.S. vendor. Now I see identical pictures of the saddle I bought in multiple Ebay ads by different vendors, half claiming the saddle is real leather in their ads and the other half saying that their saddle is fake patent leather. Cost is $15 plus shipping, or $36 or so with free shipping.
Yes I know you get what you pay for, but I'm confused as to how the identical picture is used by all the vendors if some are leather and some are not.

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Old 07-20-19, 06:04 PM
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If there's some unimportant exposed edge you underneath you can pick at that with a pin and see what it's like, though it helps to have done the same with something that is actual leather to calibrate your expectation.

One thing to think about is that leather processing is an industry with a lot of possibilities - there's vegetable tanning the outer surface of a hide, and then there are all sort of things that are done to put a similar surface on inner layer "splits", and all sort of chemical treatments and coatings. Obviously these have different costs and durability.

Some of these products will also incorporate something woven, so finding that doesn't mean what you are dealing with is not in any way leather at all, but it does mean it's not a simple piece of a cow that's been made into a saddle.
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Old 07-20-19, 06:16 PM
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My thought: Since it's bought and paid for, ride it until you either decide that you don't like it, or it wears out. I've noticed that there are often multiple online sellers with the same item and different descriptions. It's explained by the fact that the truth is malleable when there is no accountability. Caveat Emptor.
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Old 07-20-19, 07:49 PM
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Warm it up with a hairdryer and smell it.
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Old 07-21-19, 07:27 AM
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Compare it to the leather seats in a car...... Oh wait, what? Leatherette isn't leather? Ride it like you stole, if it's comfortable brag about it.......
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Old 07-21-19, 08:05 AM
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Just heat a pin with a match and poke an unexposed spot. The hot pin will glide through plastic "naugabeast" but not leather.
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Old 07-21-19, 01:15 PM
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If it's like the chinese leather sofa we bought it's "technically" leather in the same way hamburger is steak.
Actually a good comparison as they chip leather and blend it with some sort of varnishlike glue and press it to look like leather. Looks great until it wears and then it flakes and falls apart.

That said, ride it till it goes. No worse rhan vinyl. No one really thinks they got a Brooks like leather saddle for $15 did they? Sadly, we thought we got a real leather couch too
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