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Repairing A Vinyl Saddle

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Repairing A Vinyl Saddle

Old 07-16-19, 05:11 PM
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Papa Tom
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Repairing A Vinyl Saddle

Hundreds (probably thousands) of miles down the road, the original saddle on my 1996 GT Outpost is finally showing some signs of wear. Returning from an interstate overnight bike trip this weekend, I noticed a small crack near the edge of the saddle and I am really bummed about it.

This is a GT "Supersoft" vinyl saddle that has provided 23 years of comfort on everything from single-track MTB trails to milky-smooth rail trails. I've never ridden another saddle so comfortable, and I've had to remount it twice just because I can't bear to let it go.

So I know there are vinyl/leather repair kits out there for automobiles, boats, etc., but nothing seems to be recommended for bicycle saddles. Has anyone had a good experience with a product that doesn't cost more than about $20?
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Old 07-16-19, 07:10 PM
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Back in my motorcycle days, I'd fix seat tears using a curved carpet needle to sew it up, and then seal the sewed up area with black silicone sealant/glue. You could forgo the silicone if you didn't require waterproofing the repair.

It wasn't pretty, and on a bicycle saddle, the repair might rub you in the wrong place.

However, it wasn't a long lasting repair as the new holes made by the needle would start tearing over time.
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Old 07-16-19, 07:23 PM
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According to Bicycle Blue Book, your saddle is a GT Supersoft.

https://www.bicyclebluebook.com/Sear...85&model=41060

I see various saddles named that on eBay from $12 to $120.
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Old 07-16-19, 08:06 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Hundreds (probably thousands) of miles down the road, the original saddle on my 1996 GT Outpost is finally showing some signs of wear. Returning from an interstate overnight bike trip this weekend, I noticed a small crack near the edge of the saddle and I am really bummed about it.

This is a GT "Supersoft" vinyl saddle that has provided 23 years of comfort on everything from single-track MTB trails to milky-smooth rail trails. I've never ridden another saddle so comfortable, and I've had to remount it twice just because I can't bear to let it go.

So I know there are vinyl/leather repair kits out there for automobiles, boats, etc., but nothing seems to be recommended for bicycle saddles. Has anyone had a good experience with a product that doesn't cost more than about $20?
Twenty-three year relationships frequently end in tragedy.
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Old 07-17-19, 04:40 AM
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Put new vinyl cloth on it.

I have done this with a number of saddles. Go to a fabric store and buy suitable material, remove the old, save the staples, cut, warm, and stretch new material over the foam.
re-use staples or use staple gun to put in some new ones. Voila.
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Old 07-17-19, 06:04 AM
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Originally Posted by zebede View Post
Put new vinyl cloth on it.

I have done this with a number of saddles. Go to a fabric store and buy suitable material, remove the old, save the staples, cut, warm, and stretch new material over the foam.
re-use staples or use staple gun to put in some new ones. Voila.
^+1. This. I've done it on a couple of saddles that I was matching to the color scheme of the bike. Check out sewing fabric outlets. Look for marine vinyl, which is a slightly thicker, more durable grade. Warming and shaping is the key. Use short staples so as not to penetrate the plastic form too far. I also applied fabric adhesive as I worked. This gave a smooth bond. It's really not hard to do. I'd wager that there are YouTube videos on it now.
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Old 07-19-19, 08:34 AM
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I've recovered saddles with thin leather. You can usually find scrap pieces of sufficient size on ebay for $10 or so.
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Old 07-23-19, 03:25 PM
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Wow, you guys are ambitious. Although I have successfully accomplished a few restoration projects in my time, I have never been very lucky with fabric. I think I'd just buy one of those stretchy saddle covers before I'd get involved with cutting and stretching vinyl or leather over my Supersoft.

Isn't there a good vinyl repair kit out there somewhere?
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Old 07-23-19, 04:41 PM
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I just tape over the saddles that deteriorate with Gorilla tape. It usually holds better than the original vinyl. Eventually you may replace the tape if you want. In this manner the vinyl saddles become practically indestructible. Sometimes I get comments about the saddle appearance, but it is my rear that needs to like the saddle and the appearance likely reduces the chances of bike theft. Given that my wife demands application of the Gorilla tape to her saddles when there is a problem, I suppose that I made the grade.

P.S. I tried other tapes too and it is the Gorilla tape that works.

Last edited by 2_i; 07-23-19 at 04:42 PM. Reason: P.S.
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Old 07-23-19, 05:14 PM
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It takes a bit of time and patience, and it's only recommended of you really want to. You start with cleaning and sanding down rough spots; then carefully fill in with a vinyl/leather compound, let it dry. Any tears need to be glued to a patch from the under side. It has to be done neat, smooth and even with the surface. Then you dye it (or it will be left as a sort of white rubbery filler). Some products require you use heat, like a heat gun on a low setting or hair dryer. The dye often comes in primary colors and you need to blend them to match the color like on painters palette. I guess black should come as a ready made option.

All in all, I would rather reupholster the seat if you can't find an acceptable new replacement. Go to a store that sells pvc - faux leather material for cars and motor bikes. They usually have smooth finishes and some leather imitations, but I have yet to find the tough materials with sort of puncture hole pattern that was common in the 80s and early 90s. It's not expensive, sold by the meter (or half a meter, any length cut from a bolt). New upholstery material stands up to wear much better than any repair. Accept signs of age and wear, and replace in good time before it all falls appart. Seats can last a long time, but before you spend time and money on it, make sure all parts from seat post to padding is in good condition.

Last edited by Mickey2; 07-23-19 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 07-23-19, 06:23 PM
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Originally Posted by 2_i View Post
I just tape over the saddles that deteriorate with Gorilla tape.
I find that any time I try to repair something I sit on with tape, I ultimately end up walking around some fancy store with tape stuck to my butt.

Seriously, does Gorilla Tape get gooey on top like most other adhesive tapes?
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Old 07-23-19, 07:13 PM
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Try liquid electrical tape. Waterproof, dries flexible, fantastic adhesion.
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Old 07-23-19, 08:52 PM
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You could try an iron on repair patch.
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Old 07-23-19, 10:27 PM
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Two very similar products: "Shoe Goo" and "Amazing Goop." I don't know the difference, except that the latter comes in a larger quantity for less money. I've repaired small dings in saddles with it. Worth trying on a non-functional portion of the saddle before attempting to repair the crack. Meanwhile, I'm going to check out that waterproof electrical tape. Maybe it has something special for sticking to vinyl, since a lot of wiring insulation is vinyl.
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Old 07-23-19, 11:07 PM
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I think after 23 years I'd be looking for a brand new saddle...
Transfer width/profile and length measurements, from old to new, and be amazed at how much saddle material, ergonomic and construction processes have improved over the last 25 years!
Dealing with Shoo Goo/Gorilla Tape sticky/tacky surface repairs ain't no fun... especially in the sun! Melty!
You can get a brand new saddle for $50-100.
Much less if you get used.
Go ahead... "treat" yourself!
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Old 07-24-19, 03:18 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I find that any time I try to repair something I sit on with tape, I ultimately end up walking around some fancy store with tape stuck to my butt.

Seriously, does Gorilla Tape get gooey on top like most other adhesive tapes?
My wife commonly rides in light pants. If there were a significant issue there, she would not be asking for fixing her saddle with the tape. By now our main saddles are completely taped over and live happily. At the more general level, when you ride in light clothes a shadow will develop over the area on which you sit on the bike. Is there a difference when you sit on the Gorilla tape instead of the original vinyl? Presumably there is some. Is it noticeable in practice? No.
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Old 07-24-19, 05:42 AM
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Recovering a saddle with vinyl isn't all that hard to do. To make it easier you can attach the vinyl to one edge of the saddle, let the glue cure and then stretch the vinyl to the opposite side and glue it there. I use plastic tipped metal clamps from the dollar store to hold the second edge of the vinyl whilst the glue cures. Actually I found recovering it with leather even easier.

Here's an old Vetta saddle that had the top badly damaged on a low stippled ceiling in a stairwell as I was carrying it up the stairs. I bought a red leather ladies mini-skirt for $3.50 at a thrift store. I glued one edge and the front (not the entire cover) to the saddle with contact cement. When that was cured well i stretched he leather over to the other side and glued and clamped it. When the glue was cured I removed the clamps. I never used staples on it and the leather has stayed put all these years. I imagine that something like Gorilla Glue might be even better but the contact cement is readily available in small amounts.

The three closeup images of the recovered saddle were taken with a cheap point and shoot camera and thus are not the best quality.







Cheers
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Old 07-24-19, 08:14 AM
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Thats Fantastic

Originally Posted by Miele Man View Post
Recovering a saddle with vinyl isn't all that hard to do. To make it easier you can attach the vinyl to one edge of the saddle, let the glue cure and then stretch the vinyl to the opposite side and glue it there. I use plastic tipped metal clamps from the dollar store to hold the second edge of the vinyl whilst the glue cures. Actually I found recovering it with leather even easier.

Here's an old Vetta saddle that had the top badly damaged on a low stippled ceiling in a stairwell as I was carrying it up the stairs. I bought a red leather ladies mini-skirt for $3.50 at a thrift store. I glued one edge and the front (not the entire cover) to the saddle with contact cement. When that was cured well i stretched he leather over to the other side and glued and clamped it. When the glue was cured I removed the clamps. I never used staples on it and the leather has stayed put all these years. I imagine that something like Gorilla Glue might be even better but the contact cement is readily available in small amounts.

The three closeup images of the recovered saddle were taken with a cheap point and shoot camera and thus are not the best quality.







Cheers


Thats FANTASTIC. Nice Job.

Sometimes its easy to repair an old favorite item instead of just throwing it away in the landfill and buying new. Pride, value and quality (and you helped save the planet)
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Old 07-24-19, 09:20 AM
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Originally Posted by zebede View Post
Thats FANTASTIC. Nice Job.

Sometimes its easy to repair an old favorite item instead of just throwing it away in the landfill and buying new. Pride, value and quality (and you helped save the planet)
Thanks. Plus you get to keep that comfortable saddle that may have taken you years to find.

Cheers
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Old 07-24-19, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by zebede View Post
...Sometimes its easy to repair an old favorite item instead of just throwing it away in the landfill and buying new. Pride, value and quality (and you helped save the planet)
Yeah. If I were the type of guy to just buy a new saddle, I wouldn't still be riding a 1996 GT Outpost. The bike itself is plastered with decals of all the places it has been in 23 years. Someday, I am going to hang it as a memento of my cycling years and I'd like to keep as many of the original parts as possible intact. I've been through oodles of rims, cassettes, chain rings, bottom brackets, derrailleurs, and pedals, but somehow, that saddle has remained looking almost brand new for all these years. It's the single component that has spent the most time in contact with my body all these years (sorry to put that image in your head), so replacing it would upset my whole zen with the rest of the bike.

I am going to look for liquid electrical tape, something I had never heard of before this thread. Will let you know how it works out.
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Old 07-24-19, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
I am going to look for liquid electrical tape, something I had never heard of before this thread. Will let you know how it works out.
Neither had I until now. I googled it.

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Old 07-24-19, 04:13 PM
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So the guy at Home Depot talked me out of liquid electrical tape, which he apparently uses all the time for electrical work. He wasn't too confident about recommending anything else, but thought I should give Gorilla Glue Gel (not your grandfather's Gorilla Glue) a shot. I've already applied it and now I am waiting for it to dry. I don't know when I will get back on the bike again (busy season at work) but I will report back then.
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Old 07-24-19, 10:07 PM
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Locktite "Shoe Glue" (about $5), a liquid adhesive for leather, vinyl or rubber, may "heal" the crack with a single application. At the worse just patch the crack with a small piece of material. Most of my saddles are leather, so I use a small piece of leather cut from a larger scrap.
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Old 07-25-19, 06:43 AM
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Originally Posted by Papa Tom View Post
Wow, you guys are ambitious. Although I have successfully accomplished a few restoration projects in my time, I have never been very lucky with fabric. I think I'd just buy one of those stretchy saddle covers before I'd get involved with cutting and stretching vinyl or leather over my Supersoft.

Isn't there a good vinyl repair kit out there somewhere?
It’s really not that bad. I would encourage you to try.

https://www.bikeforums.net/classic-v...ur-saddle.html
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Old 08-05-19, 05:59 PM
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I ended up using Gorilla Super Glue GEL on the crack. Now that it has set, it seems that this repair might have caused problems if the crack had fallen on a part of the saddle that gets sat on; however, given that the crack is at the rear of the saddle (I know...I am grinning at the juvenile "crack" and "rear" references, too, but I couldn't think of other words to use!) I think it's going to be OK. The gel seems to have put the brakes ('like THAT one?) on any further spreading of the damage. We'll see.
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