Saddles Part 8 – SHIMANO PRO new TURNIX
**This is in response to my body type and riding style. These results may vary with others riding the same saddle.
Any rating below a 3 is a great score
PICKING THE RIGHT PRO SADDLE
Once you navigate to the pro-bikegear.com website and navigate to the NEW SADDLES section, you are shown their 3 new models; Falcon, TURNIX and Griffon. You then get a chance to run the SADDLE SELECTOR, which guides you in selecting the right saddle for you, well, sort of – more on this later. When you click on the Saddle Selector, you are asked about your riding style, flexibility and saddle preferences, such as carbon or titanium rails, white or black, etc.
When going through this section, I was asked if I am a Flyer, a Neutral or a Worker. By their definitions, my style is NEUTRAL because sometimes I sit in one place on the flats, and sometimes I move around when climbing.
Continuing on, I was asked about my flexibility followed by me having to enter my sit bone width. Finally, after selecting my rail preference and saddle color, I was presented with the recommended saddle – TURNIX solid-top (no cut-out).
WHAT?!? I was expecting the TURNIX with the cut-out.
I re-ran the Saddle Selector and the same saddle was displayed as before. Running the saddle selector again, I entered “Less Flexible” and the TURNIX with the cut-out was presented.
This is exactly backwards from what I have read from papers by Specialized, Selle Italia, Selle SMP AND ISM Adamo. I called my contacts at Specialized and they confirmed that a more flexible person needs the cutout where the less flexible person sits more upright and doesn’t require the cut out (See Part 1 of Saddle Review for detailed analysis).
I then emailed my saddle contact at Shimano Pro explaining to them that I think their calculation is backwards. I pointed to the studies I have read. Here’s the retort from the co-developer of the PRO saddle concept Lloyd Thomas:
“Thanks for the comments for the saddles and yes, from the answers and research and to our logic. The reality is that there are two realities.”
“We look at it from a perspective also that a less flexible person will be better able to roll the pelvis forward with an anatomic saddle as there is less material stopping the soft tissue from movement and freedom of motion. A person with better flexibility can flex in the lower spine with greater ease and still use the sit bones effectively for stability.”
“Other factors of course can be soft tissue sensitivity which will also lead to acceptance of anatomic saddle or standard saddle with a person that is better ‘trained’ accepting both saddles more readily.”
As an engineer, this really makes no logical sense to me, since a less flexible person by definition can’t roll their pelvis forward because they have no flexibility in their hamstrings. Lloyd’s second point is saying that a more flexible person can flex their spine to the point that they are actually able to sit up straight in the saddle. Maybe I’m reading Lloyd’s retort incorrectly, but this doesn’t make much sense either. From a logical perspective, the research and explanations that Dr’s Sommer, Minkow and Pruitt give make perfect sense – for a detailed discussion, refer to the 7 part Saddle series on http://biketestreviews.com.
EVALUATING THE SADDLE
You might be wondering why I have included Specialized’s ROMIN EVO EXPERT saddle in this evaluation? When I took the TURNIX out of the box and placed it on the workbench, I noticed how similar it was to the shape, size and profile to t hat of the ROMIN EVO EXPERT, so, I thought that this might be a great head-to-head comparison.
Setting up the TURNIX was just like setting up the ROMIN. I set the height, and adjusted the distance from the tip of the saddle to the handlebars. I tilted the tip down slightly and was ready for a test ride. A quick trip around the block and it just didn’t feel right. I looked at the saddles in greater detail and noticed several differences.
I measured the ROMIN from the bottom of the rails to the top of the saddle where my sit bones rest…4.2mm. I then
measured the TURNIX…5.0mm.
So what’s the difference?
It appears that the ROMIN uses a thinner more flexible base so this saddle doesn’t need as much padding. The padding on the ROMIN is also softer/less dense. The TURNIX, on the other hand, appears to have a thicker and more ridged base so PRO adds a little more padding. The padding on the TURNIX is much harder and stiffer than on the ROMIN. I am not saying one is better than the other since some will like the way the ROMIN feels while others will like the way the TURNIX feels. They both have almost exactly the same shape and profile which makes them both great fitting saddles.
HOW DOES IT RIDE?
After lowering the saddle slightly to compensate for the additional padding, I went on a mostly-flat 57 mile ride so I could evaluate the TURNIX for comfort. All-in-all, it’s a fairly comfortable saddle, but, for me, not quite as comfortable as the ROMIN. I feel more comfortable on a saddle that has less padding and a more flexible base – but again, that is just personal preference.
TURNIX’s thicker padding makes me feel like I’m sitting on top of the saddle instead of sitting in the saddle. It’s kind of like sitting in a bucket seat of an SUV vs. sitting in a bucket seat of a Chevy Corvette. Both are bucket seats, both are comfortable, but sitting in a saddle is much more comfortable than sitting on top of a saddle.
The ROMIN matches my style better than the TURNIX. Again, the TURNIX is a great saddle, but for a cyclist that likes a more padded saddle.
WHERE I FELT PRESSURE AND WHERE I DIDN’T
The TURNIX has very similar pressure points as the ROMIN. The concave sides are hollowed out and narrow and there was absolutely no rubbing of my inner thighs on this saddle, nor did I feel the back of my legs come into contact with this saddle.
Just like the ROMIN, the rear of the TURNIX has a slight upwards taper which gives the rider something to push against when climbing. The TURNIX has a very well thought out design.
The cutout in the top is centered but there is only a concave channel (no cutout) running to the rear of the saddle. Forward of the center cutout is a standard convex rounded nose. One recommendation where the TURNIX can greatly be improved is to redesign the front 1/3 of the saddle. There is no cutout nor groove, and one of these needs to be added. The best solution would be to push the cutout as far forward as possible. This is the one of the saddles biggest misses.
|HITS:1) GREAT VALUE SADDLE ($110 w/Titanium rails)2) Comfortable (except towards the tip of the saddle)
3) Very little numbness
4) Excellent design
5) Excellent shape
6) Excellent materials
7) 205 grams (Titanium rails)
|MISSES:1) Cutout too small and needs to be brought as far forward as possible.2) Rigid base, extra padding, hard/firm padding made me fell like I was sitting on top of the saddle instead of sitting in the saddle.
|SUMMARY: This saddle is a great value. I personally prefer a saddle that puts the flexibility in the base then adds minimal padding (ROMIN) vs a saddle that has a rigid base and adds more padding to compensate for the non-flexible base (TURNIX).Most cyclists will like what this saddle has to offer, especially for the price – $110 (Titanium rails). The profile of the TURNIX is identical to the ROMIN and the TURNIX is a comfortable, light saddle. Construction and choice of materials is excellent but the (a) hard shell/extra padding and (b) that the cutout doesn’t go far enough forward forces me to give this saddle a 4/5.
SO WHAT’S THE OUTCOME?
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)
SECOND PLACE: SELLE SMP FORMA (4.25/5)
THIRD PLACE (4/5) — TIE
–ISM ADAMO PODIUM
–SHIMANO PRO TURNIX TITANIUM