Freedom Racine Elite saddle  £32.99

7/10

Pretty comfortable and lightweight for an entry-level road bike perch

Weight 283g   Contact  www.upgradebikes.co.uk

by Dan Joyce   December 15, 2011  

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Freedom is the road brand of WTB. They describe the Racine saddle, which is similar to the WTB Rocket V Race, as a 'lightweight racing model'. Weight is pretty good for a chrome-moly railed saddle, but the price and ride feel suggest that this is an entry-level sports saddle for generic riding duties rather than one for your Sunday best bike.

It's difficult to be prescriptive about saddles. One man's firm, comfortably-contoured perch is another man's brick-solid arse basher. It wasn't as comfortable for me as the out-of-production Specialized Alias that it replaced on the test bike but it was better than the convex-topped saddles I've used on many budget bikes.

There's no hole in the saddle, just a groove down the centre that shallows towards the saddle nose. It's enough to prevent unpleasant soft tissue compression. The padding is firm and your sit bones are well supported, assuming they match the 140mm width – mine did. The nose is as narrow as it is on most road bike saddles.

Comfort depends on the application. I found it somewhat uncomfortable after an hour of intervals on the turbo, so wouldn't put the Racine Elite on a race bike or a fixed-wheel bike you might pedal at washing machine cadences. For steadier riding in the lanes, it was fine. It's the kind of saddle I'd put on a hybrid or sporty commuter.

For the price, the overall performance is decent. Most of the saddles I'd pick before this would cost twice as much. However, you can get a Charge Spoon for £24.99, and that has a similar profile to this. So does the Freedom Racine Sport, which is £23.99 and about 60g heavier, since it has ordinary steel rails. Given the kind of bike I'd fit the Racine to, I'd favour one of the latter, or maybe a Specialized Riva MTB (£20). But the Racine Elite isn't bad at all.

Verdict

Pretty comfortable and lightweight for an entry-level road bike perch

road.cc test report

Make and model: Freedom Racine Elite saddle

Size tested: Black

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?

Freedom say: 'The Racine's whale tale shape helps to boost power output by supporting the rider's sit bones in a position that helps to leverage full energy output. The tapered side wings were designed to prevent leg-saddle contact while riding.'

I say; Whale tail shape? Tapered side wings? Translation: it's shaped like a bicycle saddle. You can do bicycling on it.

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

Details: Lightweight Racing Model, Sleek Design with Firm Padding, Narrow Nose with Mid-Width Rear, Cromoly Rails, Embossed Centre Line Stripe

Size/ETRTO: 275mm x 140mm

Description: Black or White

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
8/10
Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10
Rate the product for value:
 
6/10

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

I didn't use it for racing, because I wasn't comfortable on it during really high intensity riding. For general cycling, it's fine.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Quite light. Groove limits perineal pressure.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing really.

Did you enjoy using the product? Generally yes. Not on the turbo.

Would you consider buying the product? Probably not. I'd get the Sport model.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they tried it and found it comfortable, yes.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

Note that it's only available in one width, 140mm.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 42  Height: 1.78m  Weight: 65kg

I usually ride: Ridgeback Solo World fixed wheel  My best bike is: Planet X Pro Carbon Track (with front brake)

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Experienced

I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,

 

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