The Madison Flux is a classically shaped saddle with a good level of padding. It's one of Madison's best sellers, and has been aimed at mountain biking, but I found it fine for use on the road.
First things first, it's important to recognise that saddle fit is a very personal thing, and it all comes down to the width of your sit bones, your bike fit, and your flexibility – that is, how much you rotate at the hips when on the bike.
For me, the saddle shape is great, and is very similar to the Specialized Romin Evo that I typically use. The scooped rear provides good support for the sit bones, and the small channel at the back helps to alleviate pressure.
The length is good, allowing you enough space to shuffle forward a little when really putting out effort – getting 'on the rivet'. The one gripe I have is there is not a true cutaway down the centre of the saddle. Many saddles have this as a means of reducing pressure on the perineum, and I did find that on rides over four to five hours, I was starting to notice the pressure.
The cushioning is towards the middle of the range of saddles that I've used, which vary wildly from rock solid to akin to sitting on a pillow. It works well, as something too solid can bring on numbness, whereas too soft can fail to provide sufficient support and cause almost the same issue.
The rails are made of chromoly, a strong yet relatively lightweight steel, and a mainstay of saddles around this price, such as the ever-popular Charge Spoon. The saddle is easy to install on a seatpost using the standard dual rail system, and has plenty of fore-aft movement so that you can dial in your fit.
Aesthetically, the Flux looks good, with a classic shape and one-size-fits all matt black exterior. The white contrasting stitching is a nice touch to jazz it up slightly. It's also available in white, with contrast stitching.
At 280g, the saddle isn't the lightest, but stands up well against its closest competitor in terms of budget and shape, the Charge Spoon (£27.99), which weighs a similar 285g. The Genetic STV saddle is £15 more, but of similar heft at 282g.
One drawback of the Flux is that it's only available in one size. Many high-end saddles offer a variety of widths to suit your particular bodyshape, and this is becoming more common in the more budget options too, such as the Genetic STV referenced above.
You can get lighter for a little more money – the Kinesis Elite is 252g, for £45 – but again it's only available in one width.
For a cheap saddle, I'd say this is a good option, particularly if it's for a bike you're not going to put in long stints on, maybe your commuting steed. If you're looking for something for your 'best' bike, you could shave some grams by spending a lot more money, although whether the size and shape suit you is still of utmost importance, whatever it says on the scales.
A great option for an affordable saddle, but it's all very personal. All bums are different!
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Madison Flux saddle
Size tested: 142 x 280mm
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 Flux saddle is Madison's best-selling model, which has been aesthetically overhauled in 2018.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Flux is hands down our best selling model, and beyond a graphic change, there was no reason to change this modern day classic
Supple synthetic leather cover with Kevlar rear and side panel
Cr-Mo rails are durable and offer great strength to weight ratio
Multi-density foam padding for cushioned comfort and effective shock absorption
142mm x 280mm
Weight 283 grams
I found it comfortable from the off, with the shape and density of padding working well for me. However, I'd like more of a cutout channel down the centre.
After nearly a month of riding, it's holding up well, though I'm not the heaviest of riders to really put it through its paces.
At 280g it's pretty much on a par for a saddle of this value. (And 3g lighter than claimed!)
Comfort with a saddle is very personal, and depends on the width of your sit bones and your level of flexibility. However, the Flux is quite similar in shape to my preferred saddle – a Specialized Romin – and so it worked for me. I would have liked a bit more of a pressure-relieving central channel, as I did start to feel the pressure on my perineum at the end of long rides (around 5 hours).
You can't get much cheaper!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The saddle is comfortable for shorter rides, and easy to fit. The shape is good, and it's not that heavy for the price.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Reasonably comfortable, looks nice.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A central cutout would have improved comfort for me over very long rides. Although the saddle felt the right size for me, it's not available in multiple widths.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Flux makes for great value, and you won't find much cheaper – it's less than both the recently reviewed Genetic STV and Fabric Cell.
Did you enjoy using the product? Mostly
Would you consider buying the product? No – I'd like a central cutout.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Saddles are very personal according to shape, bike fit, and flexibility. The Flux worked reasonably well for me, providing comfort over shorter rides, though I started to feel it after long days out. This puts it in the 6-7 zone for me. Given its value, and that the shape might work better for others, I think it merits a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: Giant TCR / Cannondale Supersix My best bike is: Giant TCR
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding