SPECIALIZED’s saddle technology was developed with ergonomic expert Dr. Roger Minkow. This technology is called Body Geometry. The Body Geometry line of saddles is designed with a cut-out or groove to take the pressure off of the arteries and soft tissues for improved blood flow and comfort. Of equal importance is correct saddle width. In order for a saddle to have the Body Geometry classification, it must allow 75%+ blood flow.
To get fitted, you sit on a piece of dense memory foam which imprints your sit bones. A measurement is taken then associated with a table to get your Specialized saddle width (see graphic). They will then ask you a question of riding position which is that final factor in determining saddle width. My results were that I need a 143mm wide saddle.
SELECTING THE RIGHT SADDLE
Specialized has 4 basic lines of saddles, MTB, Road/Multisport, Recreational and BMX/Youth. The line of Saddles I chose was Road/Multisport. Within this category, there are 3 lines of racing saddles; Chicane, Toupe, Romin. The Toupe and Romin are similar, except the Romin lineup has (a) more padding, (b) a larger & longer cutout, (c) profile has more shape/curve than the Toupe- which is fairly flat. Based on my measurements, flexibility results and riding preferences, I chose the Romin Evo Expert, which tuns out to be one of their most popular, highest rated and best selling saddles.
HOW TO SET UP SPECIALIZED’S ROMIN SADDLE
Starting with the basic measurements – adjust the saddle height and fore/aft position. Next, place a protractor on the top middle third (directly in the center) of the saddle so that this section of the saddle is parallel to the ground. This will give the saddle a slight tip-down orientation… which is exactly what you want. With these simple measurements, you should be at a 95% perfect saddle fit. For the final 5%, you will need to go on a long ride.
HOW DOES IT RIDE?
I performed the fit process described above and after 2 miles into the initial ride, I had to make one small adjustment, pushing the saddle forward 2.5mm since I like to sit a little further back on a saddle. My initial ride with this saddle was 60 miles – around the canyon then to the beach and back. I wanted to get hills, rollies, flats and a few long descents so I could test the saddle in all riding positions. I was really surprised how comfortable this saddle actually is!
WHERE I FELT PRESSURE AND WHERE I DIDN’T
The front of the saddle is a little bit wider than the Selle SMP and, unlike the Selle SMP, I could initially feel that this saddle has a nose. After about 15 or so miles, as I started getting used to this saddle, this feeling went away. The concave sides are extremely hollowed out and narrow and there was absolutely no rubbing of my inner thighs on this saddle, nor did I feel my hamstrings come into contact with the saddle.
The top rear has a slight upwards taper which gives the rider something to push against when climbing. This saddle is extremely comfortable and a very well thought out design. The cutout area in the top center is the perfect size and a perfectly tapered and smooth transition from the top of the saddle into the cutout ensures no pressure points coming from this transition. The cutout was ample and there was no sensation of sitting over a hole. At no time during the 60 miles did I feel any numbness! My only recommendation where Specialized could improve on this almost perfect saddle is to redesign the front 1/3 of the saddle. Since there is only a groove and not a cut out, if sitting in a more pelvic forward rotated position on the drops, I could feel some pressure from this part of the saddle. To make this the perfect saddle, I recommend that Specialized continue forward with the cutout. Nix the groove and push the cutout as far forward as possible. This is the saddle’s only miss.
|SUMMARY: This saddle is the best bang for the buck! Through their website, this saddle is only $130 and that’s with titanium rails and a carbon reinforced shell! If you migrate over to their saddle OUTLET area, this saddle is only $90 WOW! The only item that is keeping this saddle from getting a perfect 5/5 is that the cutout needs to go further forward. When riding in the drops, I could feel some pressure caused by the front of the saddle. A longer/larger cutout would allow the front of the bib-shorts chamois somewhere to go.Bottom line … this is definitely a saddle worth picking up!|
Next time: Saddles Part 5: Selle Italia SLR Superflow