Originally Posted by MacabreMikolaj
That makes no sense - top quality letter is extremely soft...It doesn't make it flimsy whatsoever, it means grinding studs into it isn't the brightest thing to do...
It makes sense to me. The goal of a saddle maker isn't to get the softest leather possible, but to balance flexible with durable and affordable. If they choose leather that is so soft that the seams on all-cotton jeans wears it away, then I think they have made a bad choice. Someone who spends $2000 on a saddle ought to expect it to hold up better than that.
I bought my Bates on sale for $1000, which was pretty good since it regularly sells for $1400+. It isn't a $6000 saddle, but neither is it a $600 saddle. The leather is holding up great.
But then, as I pointed out, my jeans - the arch-typical jeans, Levi 501s - are all cotton, and there are no studs on the back pockets. Nor do I dismount by sliding my front down the saddle. I push with my hip to drop down, or slide down on my hip and remove my left foot. Either way, my front doesn't come into contact with the saddle.
A lot of saddles are now being made with 'covered leather' - which apparently uses a more durable leather covered with a very soft leather. That sounds like the worst of both worlds, combining stiffer leather underneath with more easily damaged leather on top. But people can buy what they want at what price they can afford.
Me? If my Bates was showing wear and tear from cotton, I'd be angry at the choice of leather. As it is, I've seen none to date.