Forza – or 4ZA – is the standalone accessories brand of Belgian bike manufacturer Ridley and it has just got widespread UK distribution through Todays Cyclist. The Team Issue saddle is the first Forza product we've reviewed on road.cc and it's a really good start.
The saddle is about as flat from front to back as you'll find. If you're familiar with the popular Fizik Arione, it's as level as that. There's no wave in the shell and barely any rise towards the rear.
Of course, whether you find a saddle like that comfortable comes down to individual preference – there's always that proviso in any saddle review – but I like that shape and I know that plenty of other people do too.
The nylon base is 285mm long and 145mm wide, which is about normal for a race/performance-style saddle. It's hard to give dimensions for the nose – where do you measure it? – but I'd say that at about the halfway point it's 48mm wide if you want to compare that to your current saddle. Again, that's about average.
One of the main things determining a saddle's comfort for me is the profile of the nose from side to side. If there's a pronounced hump, forget it. This one isn't super-flat; you couldn't balance a ball bearing on there (hey, everyone has to have a hobby) but it's certainly towards that end of things.
The base comes with a reasonable degree of flex to dampen out the effects of pock-marked roads. In the central area where some saddles have a cutout section, there's a 3/4-oval shaped slit that's filled with a squidgy elastomer material to provide more give without the need for more padding. Does it work? It seems to; with a middling amount of foam over the top, I found the level of flex spot on.
The cover is Microfeel which is a synthetic material that's pretty hard wearing. Selle San Marco, for example, use something very similar. You can move about on it easily enough but you won't slip and slide when you don't want to.
The rails are titanium and they seem perfectly capable of handling everything they need to handle. They come with markings that help you micro-adjust your position.
Forza claim a weight of 155g although ours was 184g. That's still respectably light for a saddle, especially for a mid-priced option. Overall, you're getting a really good deal here.
Lightweight racy saddle for those who like a flat perch
road.cc test report
Make and model: Forza Team Issue 2012 Saddle
Size tested: n/a
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?
As the name suggests, it's a race saddle. That doesn't mean you have to use it for racing, of course, but it's intended for that kind of riding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The base is straight nylon rather than carbon-reinforced or anything like that, but it seems none the worse for that.
Neat, tidy, good materials... nothing to moan about there.
Forza haven't gone to town adding durability but not many people do on a road saddle, and that would add weight. The titanium rails should last for ages and the cover is reasonably tough.
I found it very comfortable although, with saddles more than anything else, that's largely down to personal preference.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It put in a strong performance.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The shape suited me a treat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I'm not over-keen on the graphics. I prefer something simpler. But, again, that's a matter of personal taste.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, I'll carry on using it on one of my bikes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, I'd consider it
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
About the tester
Age: 41 Height: 190cm Weight: 75kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over the past 20 years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for seven years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a youthful 45-year-old Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.