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Saddles Part 6 – So Who Won?

SO WHO WON?

Which one is the best? Again, testing results are for my body type, flexibility, riding style. Your results may (and probably will) vary.

FIRST PLACE: SPECIALIZED ROMIN EVO EXPERT (4.5/5)I found the Specialized to be the best overall saddle when comparing quality, usability, comfort, numbness factor, design and price. Even if this saddle was twice its price, it would be worth buying!What makes the Specialized Romin saddle so comfortable is that they have already designed in everything that makes a saddle comfortable.  The Romin has

  1. Minimal taper to the side flares
  2. No protrusions to interfere with any leg movement
  3. Smooth profile of the edge
  4. All angles and transitions that flow into the cutout are smooth
  5. All curves and arcs on the top of the saddle are smooth – no pressure points.

These are all high quality saddles, and the difference between 1st place and 3rd place was 0.5 points.

 

 

SECOND PLACE: SELLE SMP FORMA (4.25/5)The Selle SMP FORMA is a surprisingly comfortable saddle when you consider there is no padding. I have ridden this saddle hundreds of miles now and there has been no numbness or soreness. What brought this saddle from 1st to 2nd place were 2 small issues that can be easily addressed by SelleSMP. (a) for the price, it should come with titanium rails, not stainless steel rails, and (b) there are 2 sets of 4 each 2.5mm anodized screws that attach the rails to the saddle. These appear to be made out of carbon steel since after a few rides in the rain, they are starting to rust. These should be made out of stainless steel. Other then that, I loved everything else about this saddle.But, just to make sure, a friend of mine, an ex-pro triathlete turned roadie is now test-riding this saddle. He has over 1,200 miles on the saddle and reports back that the saddle has just the right amount of firmness and comfort. I called the manufacturer and asked about the differences between the Forma and Carbon Lite models (the Carbon Lite is the next step up from the Forma). The Forma has the same structure and design as the Carbon Lite except the Forma’s body is elastomerized Nylon 12 filled with Carbon Fiber while the Carbon Lite uses a full Carbon Fiber body. The most important item SelleSMP mentioned was that the Forma’s body has more flex than the Carbon Lite, making the Forma a more comfortable saddle for those doing longer rides.  

 

THIRD PLACE: ISM ADAMO PODIUM (4/5)Third place scored only 0.25 points lower than second place and goes to the ISM ADAMO PODIUM. The 0.25 point difference was that the ISM was a little wider in the nose which made the FORMA just a tad more comfortable for me, but, virtually a tie. Again, I was never sore or numb riding the ISM. This is a very good saddle for the road!  

 

FOURTH PLACE: SELLE ITALIA SLR SUPERFLOW (3.75/5)Fourth place was actually a 3-way tie, but I am giving it to the SELLE ITALIA SLR SUPERFLOW since the SelleSMP Lite209 and SelleSMP DYNAMIC were not actually in the test, only used for comparison to the FORMA. SelleSMP has models within this product line starting with the Carbon Lite then the Forma, Dynamic and Lite209. Each has the same saddle base form/mold but differs in the material and amount of padding, so fourth place goes to Selle Italia SLR Superflow. On the surface, the design looks perfect, large cutout, good shape, but, once sitting on the saddle, 2 design issues (in my opinion) became quickly apparent which made the saddle feel like it was constantly poking me in the back of the legs.Again, to make sure, I asked my friend to test the saddle. He rode it for 250 miles and said the same thing “It’s a good saddle, but not for me.”  

CAVEAT:

During this testing, I have learned that there are many factors that will directly impact your choice for the right saddle. I have paid close attention to the fit, form, and function of these saddles and come up with the ratings based on my factors.

Showing relative heights of saddles – lowest profile to tallest profile

 

Lined up saddles via side transition point or arcs

 

Next time: Saddles Part 7: Summary Table Graphic


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