The Bontrager Montrose Pro saddle looks great and is very well put together. It sits on the right side of the weight scale and it was very comfortable for me in its intended race-position use. Available in black or white, featuring a carbon reinforced shell and oversized full carbon 7x9mm rails it's offered in 128mm, 138mm and 148mm widths, all of which are 270mm long. Weights range from 160g to 172g.
Having the opportunity to ride many different saddles does at least help to filter out what works for me and what doesn't fairly quickly, and this offering from Trek's component brand Bontrager falls into the 'it works' category. Once you have found a saddle that works for you, then examining the general shape of a potential new buy is a good place to start to assess whether it might also fit you. The Montrose Pro is flat across most of its length from the nose, with a kicked up tail at the back adding support on the climbs. Most of the saddles I use regularly are mostly flat across the wings but this one differs as they drop away quite a bit. That's in tune with the more aggressive posture the saddle is built for, as a low position will sit you further forward onto the nose. The addition of a full cut out in the centre helps to reduce weight further and relieve perineal pressure.
In its minimal packaging the low weight is apparent straight away, and the good looks add instant appeal. It's well made too, with no visible glue or flashing. The covering is a man-made soft-touch micro fibre, but it feels hard wearing and proved resilient, while the leading edges at the rear had a polymer coating to improve the scuff resistance when leaning the bike against a wall or other abrasive surface. Padding is minimal, maybe 3-4mm deep at a guess as no official number is given. The suspended oversize rails look substantially meaty and the theory is that suspending them at the rear of the saddle allows them to improve small bump absorption. I can't say I noticed much improvement in this respect.
One thing to note on the oversized rails is that you may need to change your seat post clamp. Both bikes I tested the saddle on were fine, with standard seat posts that clamp above and below the rails and had grooves wide enough for the fatter 9mm bottom section of the rail. If your clamp is too narrow, larger replacements can be bought online. Certain seat posts that clamp from the sides using 'ears' like Bontrager's own XXX carbon post definitely require additional oversized parts for it to fit safely. The underside is clean and unfussy too, as a whole proving to be a quality item.
Fitted to my race geometry frame it felt good from the first few miles, but then Bontrager's own marketing does say it suits the more aggressive position. A few 30-mile rides highlighted the relatively stiff shell and rail combination, meaning very little loss of power transfer to the pedals, while comfort from the cutaway and sloping wings suited me well.
I moved the saddle over to the bike I use for long distance riding, which has a more relaxed and upright position. Again it felt good, but four or more hours would leave the sit bones a little tender. Not actually painful though, so despite the position not being what the saddle is recommended for, it still did the job perfectly well. I suspect with more use and adaptation on my part this would reduce somewhat over time.
The minimal padding was also sufficient for me. I find soft, well-padded saddles worse than firm models and good shorts are the key to long distance comfort.
The Montrose Pro sits in the middle of the price range when set against comparable saddles, with offerings from Ritchey (the WCS Carbon Streem) coming in cheaper and slightly lighter, while Fizik's Aliante R1 Carbon weighs around the same for around £25 more. However, they're different shapes and designs so may or may not suit your needs. When you're looking at saddles in this price range, shape and fit are surely the most important factors.
Good looking, high quality, light saddle that works well in a racing position
road.cc test report
Make and model: Bontrager Montrose Pro Saddle
Size tested: 138mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
A lightweight, mainly carbon constructed saddle featuring a full cut-out design and oversize suspended carbon rails designed for use both on and off road, fitting into the more aggressive Posture 2 position area of Bontrager's inForm BioDynamic saddle fitting system.
Bontrager say "Combining lightweight performance with lasting comfort, the Bontrager Montrose Pro Saddle 2017 is ready to attack. The Posture 2 saddle design is perfect for riders who like an aggressive position with their weight shifted forwards.
This posture design combines with Bontrager's inFrom BioDynamic technology. This design is optimised to keep your natural movements comfortable. The Contour Relief Zone Plus (CRZ+) full saddle cutaway couples with the strategic padding to alleviate pressure on your soft tissue areas while also supporting your sit bones through the entire pedal stroke.
The high level of comfort is supported by a lightweight and strong carbon-reinforced base and carbon fibre rails. This reduces the saddle's weight dramatically - to just 167 grams for the 128mm width. Even with this low weight, strength is not sacrificed and the carbon fibre rails do a fantastic job of absorbing road vibration."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The carbon fibre reinforced shell sits on oversize suspended carbon rails, meaning the saddle is both strong and light with a full cutaway section for pressure relief. The covering is a resilient man made micro fibre with an abrasion resistant polymer edge which is hard wearing without adding weight, leading to less scuff damage from contact with walls and similar when leaning the bike up against a surface.
The saddle is extremely well put together with no signs of glue or excess moulding and high quality materials are used throughout, it looks svelte yet robust.
Saddles are very much down to the individual's backside and to some degree the type of use and position - the Montrose Pro was tested on two of my bikes, a race-oriented frame and a sportive bike. It worked well for me on both, the sloping wings working especially well and the long distance comfort was good with the minimal padding. Minimal to zero flex was detected over the harshest bumps yet no major discomfort was felt.
It was the only saddle I used for a number of weeks and it still looks good with no visible scuffs on the exterior covering and no creaking from the rails or shell. After a few rides in wet and muddy conditions which can accelerate wear and tear there is no sign of wear or scuffing on the top surface and no abrasion marks or de-lamination on the carbon rails.
At 172g it isn't the absolute lightest on the market, but with most things in this field lightweight generally means expensive, and at its recommended retail of £149.99 it is in the middle of the price range for a premium carbon based saddle.
Again very individual as not everyone gets on with every saddle, but the comfort level was great on the race frame and good on the long distance bike. For a larger rider it worked well for me, but on longer rides in a more upright position I could feel it in the sit bones after a few hours, but nothing approaching painful and I would be happy to use if for century rides without major issues.
£149.99 is a lot of money to drop on a saddle, but for the materials and weight savings if it works for you then it ought to be a good saddle for the money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
A saddle is designed to support you while riding and the Montrose Pro did just that in comfort and being pretty stiff with good transference of power to the pedals with very little flex in the shell or rails giving a consistent ride feel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The quality of the materials and build were top notch in a design that worked well on the road, and the light weight is welcome always helps with any bike build.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The saddle scored highly due to the quality, weight, looks and comfort.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman AirPro Di2 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives,