Specialized Ruby Expert women's saddle  £79.99

9/10

Super light, firm but comfortably supportive road saddle with width fittings to suit most riders

Weight 205g   Contact  www.specialized.com

by Leonie Jennings   October 17, 2011  

Specialized's Body Geometry Ruby Expert saddle is one of those rare beasts a lightweight women's specific performance saddle that's available in a choice of widths including a properly narrow 130mm to suit your style of riding and just as importantly your sit bones too.

Inevitably one person is going to have a very different definition of comfort when it comes to bike saddles than someone else, so ultimately personal trial and error is the only way to find your perfect saddle. That said, there are marked differences between the requirements of men and women, when it comes to this most crucial interface between man (or woman) and bicycle, and it's important to take that into account when shopping around.

There's an assumption that women are broader in the hip than men, which is not entirely without basis in fact, but the important measurement for getting a comfortable saddle is not the breadth of the hips, but of the sit bones themselves, a width which often bears absolutely no resemblance to that of the hips. It is these sit bones which are cupped and cushioned by the saddle, so an appropriate width of saddle is vital.

Getting measured is a good place to start, and Specialized's Body Geometry Saddle Fit System (rather more catchily also known as Arse-o-meter) is available in quite a few retailers allowing for an accurate measurement of those all-important bones. From here it's easy to get a saddle the right width but it's still all about personal taste and riding style as to what works for you, so back to that trial and error. The Ruby Expert from Specialized is available in a choice of 130mm, 143mm or 155mm width, making it one of very few narrow width female specific saddles, and also one of few ultra-light race saddles available in such a broad fitting.

It's a firm saddle, but very light. In comparison with most female specific saddles, it's a pared down seat, ideally suited to aggressive road riding and racing. With the trademark BG cut-out, it's designed to relieve pressure where it's needed without sacrificing ride efficiency. Hollow titanium rails help keep the weight down, and at just 205g for the 143mm size that I tested, it's definitely one of the lightest women's saddles on the market.

On first climbing aboard, I had some trepidation due to the firm feel of the saddle, especially in comparison with other saddles, including the cheaper Jet Comp Gel. However, it was soon clear that this was a different breed of saddle entirely. Yes, it's firm, but the cushioning is placed exactly where you need it to support your sit bones, effectively alleviating any discomfort or feeling of pressure. Where the Jet Comp Gel was over firm at the nose, the Ruby Expert is much more gentle where it should be, even in an aggressive position on the drops. This saddle is at its most comfortable when riding in a stretched forward position, but still gives all-round day long comfort too. There was little feeling of loss of power, with the saddle remaining a background feature of the ride, rather than making its presence actively known. Given the choice of widths, this is a good option for any female road rider looking for a comfortable performance saddle. At this price, it's comparable to most of the best women's saddles available, and certainly isn't bad value for money.

A super light, firm but comfortably supportive road saddle with width fittings to suit most riders.

Verdict

A super light, firm but comfortably supportive road saddle with width fittings to suit most riders.

road.cc test report

Make and model: Specialized Ruby Expert women's saddle

Size tested: Black - 143mm

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?

Aimed at female road riders looking for a lightweight, performance saddle- with gel comfort for long days.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Tuned density EVA foam padding with gel.

Female specific Body Geometry fit with cut-out

Stiff carbon reinforced shell for ride efficiency

Lightweight hollow titanium rails

Tough water resistant cover

Available in 130mm, 143mm and 155mm width options

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

Well made and should last for years.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Firm and supportive without being over cushioned. No reduction of efficiency.

Rate the product for durability:
 
9/10

Tough and durable.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
10/10

One of the lightest female specific saddles on the market, if not THE lightest.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
9/10

Designed for road riding, this gives a surprising amount of comfort at the nose when on the drops and at the sit bones at all times.

Rate the product for value:
 
9/10

On a par with most high end female specific saddles on the market.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Performed excellently.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Firm but supportive rear of saddle under the sit bones and the surprisingly soft nose when on the drops.

Weight.

Choice of widths.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Definitely.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Definitely.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Light weight, with high levels of performance and comfort at a reasonable price. And good for a variety of fits.

Overall rating: 9/10

About the tester

Age: 37  Height: 1.65m  Weight: 67kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: 10-20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, general fitness riding, mtb,

 

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