The posterior is right up there when it comes to bits you want to keep dry. Yet here in London in particular there's a certain type of cyclist that doesn't want to burden their bike with a proper mudguard. Enter the Ass Saver. It's a tiny little bit of folding plastic that slots in underneath your saddle. When it's dry, it hides away underneath; when it's wet, it unfolds to provide a wedge-shaped bit of bum protection from spray arcing from the top of your back wheel.
And it's as simple as that. Here's a video that shows the technique.
A few of us have been using these over the past few months at road.cc, and the feedback has been mainly good. It's small and neat, and very effective at what it does. It doesn't cover the backs of your thighs and calves, nor protect you from front-wheel spray; nor does it do much for anyone behind you. But if it did, it'd be called something entirely different. I had a few problems with one I bought when it came out: I couldn't get it to sit right on an old Selle Italia Flite, whether folded in or out. The saddle rails seemed too narrow for the plastic, meaning it wasn't securely attached.
Eventually, I lost it - it fell off while riding without me realising - and I rode around with a wet behind until one turned up in the post from Road.cc towers. I watched the video again, and then it clicked: see the bit where he pushes up in the middle, underneath the saddle? Very important. This pushes the Ass Saver up to where the saddle rails are widest, giving it the best possible chance of staying on. Since then, it's moved about a bit, but stayed in place. Oli also used one through the winter with a Charge Spoon saddle - which is basically the same shape as the orginal Selle Italia Flite without losing it.
It's also important to note that road.cc was sent the older version of the Ass Saver - as seen in the video. What they're now selling on the site is 'new' and 'improved'. I suspect it's to cater for narrower rails, since they sent out feedback forms to the first few hundred customers, and it's a fair bet that their main customer base is going to be people with fancy bikes and narrow saddles.
So, the verdict? It's still a bit of a faff when it's folded - a lot of plastic to get under the saddle - and I wouldn't entirely trust it not to become dislodged on rough roads, but until that happens it's working a treat. And, if it does disappear? Probably worth buying another one; it's cheap, and the company is pushing its green credentials. The Ass Saver is made from an industrial by-product: polypropylene sheets from the printing industry. These are, it says, highly recyclable, and it is working to make Ass Savers from 100% recycled material. Neat.
Cheap and cheerful, and does what it says on the tin - but beware if you have a narrow saddle.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ass Savers Smart Ass
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?
The website says: "Tired of sitting at the office with a wet ass all day just because it rained this morning? Do you live in a climate where a shower can come out of nowhere even though the sun was shining just a minute ago? Not ready to bike in a wet suit or burden your bike with fenders? Relax. Its finally here."
It's for people who don't want dorky mudguards on their bike, but do want to keep a dry bottom.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The only technical info is around the recyclability. From the site:
Waste Is Not Waste Until Wasted
Ass Savers partially was born out of an ongoing search for a product idea that could be produced from industrial waste. Through our partner, Creatables, we have access to an almost endless source of polypropylene sheets that are leftover from the printing industry. Polypropylene (or PP) is one of the good guys in plastics '' oil based, of course, but with properties that allow true recycling with almost no loss in material quality. The absence of harmful chemicals in PP is a blessing compared to many similar materials.
Closing The Loop
PP is widely used today within the packaging industry which means that it is highly suited for existing recycling systems around the world. The SmartAss and FatArse are even designed from a single piece of PP to make it a breeze to recycle. When you finally (after ~10, 000 folds) have worn out your fender, just drop it into your normal plastic recycling container and become a part of the closed loop solution!
We didn't go through all this trouble of eliminating waste just to start producing our own, that's why you won't find any packaging on our products in your local bike shop. We believe good products sell themselves and that you as a customer don't want to pay for something that immediately goes in to the trash anyways.
Material Efficiency Is Poetry
Our fenders weigh only 15 grams. That probably makes them lightest rear fender in the world. It also means we use less than one tenth (1/10!) the material needed to produce your average plastic beavertail fender. That feels good in our hearts.
No, We're Not Perfect
Only 50% of our products are made from recycled PP. To be able to offer you the world of colors, we need to purchase virgin material that has not yet been recycled. We are however working hard to source more waste in different colors and our goal is to be 100% in the recycling loop.
Very good at what it promises - don't expect more.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Good - with the caveats in the review. I think it's a far bet that with proper use, the new Ass Saver will be good for even saddles with very narrow rails.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It fell off once...
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? I already have.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Strato road or fixed commuter hack. My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed,