Truant Designs Saddle Cover Review
Leather saddles are great until you need to leave your bike out in the rain. The natural leather doesn't deal well with getting wet and you can quickly damage your saddle by repeatedly getting it wet and riding on it. There are a number of Brooks-compatible saddle covers on the market but this one from Truant Designs has a nicer design than any other saddle cover that I've used or looked at.
Truant Designs envisioned a saddle cover which could quickly be stowed. The idea is that you leave the cover on while the bike is parked in the rain, then roll it out of the way when you want to get riding. Other saddle covers can provide the same protection, but you end up putting the wet saddle cover in your bag or pocket or riding on a wet saddle cover. The Truant Designs cover is secured to your seatpost with a small leash and rolls up under the saddle when not in use.
The saddle cover's leash means that the saddle cover will never be misplaced or slide off of the saddle and get lost while riding. It has a small piece of velcro holds the saddle cover while it is rolled up as shown in the photo on the left. I've also found that you can tuck the saddle cover up in between the rails as shown to the right.
The features of a saddle cover don't matter if it doesn't keep the saddle dry. After 4 months of almost daily use I can report that this cover is waterproof. I often use a bus-mounted bike rack as part of my commute. Heavy rain and a fast moving bus often meant that my saddle would get wet even through multiple thin saddle covers. Seattle has had a wetter than normal winter and my bike has been caught in the rain a number of times, but the rain has never made it through the Truant Designs saddle cover. There is a thick waterproof coating on the inside of the cover. The seams are not taped, but I haven't found water coming through them even after hard rain.
The cover isn't designed to be ridden on, but I often do this with no problem. I'd expect to see some wear in the waterproof coating around the saddle's rivets but I can't find any. For long rides I'd always recommend rolling the cover up, but for short rides I think it is okay to ride on it.
The Truant Designs saddle cover doesn't appear to be designed to work with a bagloop mounted saddlebag, but using them doesn't present any problems. Install the Truant cover first and run it's leash up between the saddle rails. Then install the saddlebag. When in use it covers the bag loops and straps holding the bag. When the saddle is uncovered you can tuck the saddle cover in between the saddle rails under the saddle. Holes for bag loops (like what is found on the Carradice saddle covers) would require removing the saddlebag to remove the saddlecover. Of course you can also use the cover with a Carradice SQR, Bagman QR, or other system that mounts the bag to your saddle rails or seatpost instead of the saddle.
You can find more information about the Truant Designs saddle cover, including locations to buy them, at their website. http://www.truantdesigns.com. They are sold in four colors (this one is maroon) and a couple of sizes. For a Brooks B-17 you want the hybrid size. The retail price is about $20.