Historically, I’ve always ridden on high-tech, gel-filled, cut-out, super light saddles. Saddles that promise much, but often deliver little but discomfort. There are websites offering ‘saddle trials’ for those who, like me, suffer frustration in the process of finding a comfortable women’s saddle. I’ve most often taken the trial and error approach, to the point where I currently have about four or five redundant saddles in my shed.
A comfortable saddle has got to be any cyclist’s Holy Grail. Buying a new saddle is almost always like Russian Roulette and the aftermath can be nearly as unpleasant. Over the years, my posterior has been weighed, measured and found lacking, all in the name of getting a saddle that fits and will keep me comfortable when riding. So, it was with some trepidation that I tried the Brooks Flyer S, the women’s version of the company’s suspension saddle Flyer model.
The Biomax shape is the entry point of the new saddle range from Ritchey Designs the company which 30 years on is still led by living cycling legend and owner of the world’s finest mustache Tom Ritchey. Ritchey is a brand with an unquestionable pedigree and track record of race winning performance. The WCS model tested is the 200g, titanium railed, leather topped version which comes in at the princely sum of 90 fine English pounds, strategically placing it slightly cheaper and a touch lighter than the very comparable SLR Gel Flow from Selle Italia.
The WCS Streem Carbon Rail saddle is Richey’s top offering, with carbon rails and a carbon shell, it is light but that lack of weight comes at a price. Playing safe and adopting a shape similar to the SLR, it could almost be mistaken for the Carbonio version of the Selle Italia classic. However with the SLR’s following this can’t be a bad design move and being my saddle of preference, I was looking forward to testing the Streem out.
Hipsters, BMXers and fixed aficionados have long been seeking out nice looking retro perches and the Selle Italia Turbo has always been high on the list. The Charge Bucket is basically a new Turbo, made on the same last, and is none the worse for that. And at 16 quid a pop, you can have two of these for what an original Turbo fetches on Ebay these days. And they make 'em in pink.
There’s no doubt the Gran Compe is a fine saddle designed to capture the imaginations of the traditionalist and hipster alike thanks to the selection of flamboyant and more conservative colours coupled with sharp detailing including embossed logos and brass rivets at the rear. However, giving a penny change from £80 beauty comes at a price and there’s a weight penalty too thanks to steel rails.
We've all seen amusing, noseless 'medical' saddles, but have you ever tried riding a bike while sitting on one? It's only then that you appreciate how much of your control is down to the nose of your seat. But the science behind the twin-pad designs is pretty sound - you're sitting on it using your sit bones, rather than perching on your perineum.
Due to popular demand, and no doubt the surge of popularity of classic styled fixed gear and single speed road bikes, Selle San Marco have re-released a range of three of their classic saddle designs; named the Vintage line, it consists of the Rolls, the Concor, and as tested here, the Regal.
E’ Tornata, they trumpet: it's back. The Selle San Marco Concor is regarded by some as a revolutionary perch; the original 1978 design was based on anatomical principles rather than simple aesthetics, a novel idea back in the day. It's a different shape to a modern saddle but very comfy and just the thing to complement a period bike or fixed iron.
OK, the ISM Adamao does look odd, like a giant lobster claw, but there is a bit of science behind the way it looks. If you experience genital numbness then this saddle could well stop that and any future visits to the family planning clinic.