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Bontrager's top end Team Issue saddle is a comfortable and lightweight option designed especially for riders who spend a lot of time in an aggressive position.
The Team Issue saddle is made with a full carbon shell, solid titanium rails and a leather cover. It's pretty flat from front to rear – not quite as flat as something like a Fizik Arione, but not far off – and continuously rounded from side to side across the nose.
The most unusual feature of this saddle is the degree of flex in the shell. It bends quite a bit when you sit down and this, combined with fairly deep padding, means that it provides seating that's soft for a performance orientated saddle.
Bontrager say that they use padding of different densities in different areas. The rear of the saddle certainly feels firmer than the central section and the nose but that's largely down to less shell flex in that area. There's certainly a generous amount of soft cushioning towards the front end of the saddle and I found that a welcome feature when leaning forward with my hands on the drops.
Of course, softer doesn't always equal better – that comes down to personal preference – but if you're after a supple saddle to use while you're clocking up the big miles, this one is certainly worth a look.
Bontrager claim a weight of 215g and ours actually hit the road.cc Scales of Truth a little lighter than that: 211g. That's a rare occurrence; we play a fanfare whenever it happens.
You can get unpadded saddles below 100g if you really want, and I guess you could say that anything under about (arbitrary figure alert!) 180g for a padded saddle is super-lightweight. A lot of the Selle Italia SLR saddles, for example, come in at about that level. I like those saddles a lot but they're not the answer if you're after lots of padding.
The Bontrager Team Issue saddle isn't quite down there in terms of weight but, on the other hand, it has a lot more padding than those skinny options, and it's a few grams lighter than the Fizik Kurve Snake saddle that we reviewed recently. In other words, it's light but not superlight, majoring on comfort rather than dieting.
We can't test saddles for months and months before writing our reviews – they'd be out of date by the time you read them – but I can't see the solid titanium rails or the leather cover failing to stand the test of time. After several weeks' use, the saddle is still looking in great nick. Treat it well and it should last.
Lightweight with more flex and cushioning than you usually get in a performance-orientated saddle
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Make and model: Bontrager Team Issue Saddle
Size tested: Black 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?
Bontrager say, "Ride what the pros ride: Designed and developed in the pro trenches with the LEOPARD TREK team, Bontrager's inForm BioDynamics Team Issue road saddle provides advanced ergonomic support and comfort, just what you need to sustain higher performance when a day at the office (or playing hooky) means six hours in the saddle. Genuine leather cover, solid titanium rails, and full carbon fiber base round out a high-performance package that's professional grade thru-and-thru."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Bontrager list these features:
* Posture 2 - Aggressive: Forward pelvic rotation for athletes with a high degree of flexibility
* Zone Density Padding - Multi-density padding is strategically placed for optimal comfort and performance
* Solid Titanium rails
* Full carbon shell
* Genuine leather cover
* inForm BioDynamics - Products designed to optimize your natural movement for sustained, higher performance
The saddle is 270mm long and 135mm wide at its widest point.
There's no getting away from the fact that £200 is a lot to pay for a saddle, even a pro-level saddle. This is Bontrager's most expensive model. However, the top end saddles from Fizik, Prologo and Selle Italia are all more expensive. Obviously, each of those saddles has different design features so they're not necessarily directly comparable, but it's not like the Bontrager saddle is out of line with the rest of the market
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It does a really good job. If you tend to find most performance orientated saddles too hard for comfort, particularly over longer rides, the Bontrager Team Issue is certainly worth checking out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The amount of flex and cushioning is definitely a big selling point of this saddle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I prefer a saddle with a flatter top (from side to side), but that's just a matter of personal preference.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? If I was after plenty of cushioning, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
The comfort on offer here is high. I can't say I find there's a correlation between comfort and price when it comes to saddles. I find some cheap saddles just as comfortable as some very expensive ones. But if you find most performance-orientated saddles too hard, this one is certainly worth giving a go. It's certainly expensive, but the price is in line with that of top-of-the-range saddles from other brands.
Age: 43 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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.