It's well known that saddles are very much a personal thing, but there are some saddles that, in general, offend the buttocks less than others. In that category should be included the Ritchey WCS Contrail saddle.
A rounded section with the gentlest of curves and generous padding makes it an extremely comfortable saddle. I found it agreeable right from the first moment I sat on it, and even a couple of hours later I was pleasantly surprised. Sometimes an initial setting in period is needing with saddles, to find the sweet spot, but that wasn't the case with this one.
The slight rise at the back ensures your sit bones are well placed on the padding for optimum comfort, and there's a slight recessed channel to relieve pressure in the sensitive area. The dipped nose is reasonably well padded, which helps on the climbs steep enough to force you right on to the end.
But the real key to its comfort is Ritchey's patented 'Vector Wing'. This design isolates the rails from the saddle base and does well to dampen the vibrations from poor road surfaces that can take their toll. It's a clever design, because by eliminating the two traditional rail connection points and placing a suspended connection between, the pressure is spread over three points at the rear of the saddle.
The carbon injected shell strikes a good balance between weight and stiffness, and the Chromo/Ti rails keep the weight down and allow a little flex too. The micro fibre upper has so far proved durable, with no sign of wearing yet.
At 261g it's some way off troubling the very lightest saddles on the market but it's far from heavy. I've never worried too much about the weight of the saddle, instead preferring to focus on the comfort. Comfort isn't something I'm prepared to skimp on in the pursuit of saving a few grams.
An impressively comfortable saddle that is well suited to long-distance and sportive cyclists.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Ritchey WCS Contrail saddle
Size tested: White
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?
Tom Ritchey's newest saddle utilizes superlight foam shape and narrow carbon fiber injection shell combine to make a new, comfortable performance driven saddle
Patented Vector Wing design dissipates pressure more evenly
Slightly shorter and more padded than the Streem
Lightweight and durable micro fiber cover available in black and white
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Rail Dimensions: 7x7mm
Shell: Nylon + Carbon
Cover: Micro Fiber
Available in White or Black
A very comfortable saddle.
So far the upper is showing no signs of wear.
It's a bit heavy - and heavier than the claimed weight on our scales.
Saddles don't really get much more comfortable.
Its weight lets it down just a little bit.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
About the tester
Age: 31 Height: 180 Weight: 67
I usually ride: 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: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, touring, mtb,
David has worked on the road.cc tech team since July 2012. Previously he was editor of Bikemagic.com and before that staff writer at RCUK. He's a seasoned cyclist of all disciplines, from road to mountain biking, touring to cyclo-cross, he only wishes he had time to ride them all. He's mildly competitive, though he'll never admit it, and is a frequent road racer but is too lazy to do really well. He currently resides in the Cotswolds.