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The Syncros Tofino 1.0 Cut Out Saddle continues the theme of short seats that are growing ever popular. With a carbon-reinforced shell and carbon fibre rails, it's not a bad option for the price – as long as you like a firm ride.
Many riders, especially those who like to ride fast and crouch down over their bars, find short saddles appealing as the lack of a nose can mean more comfort, plus it allows you to open up your hip angle for improved performance. The Tofino 1.0, though, is aimed at endurance road riding and mountain biking, who rest primarily on their sit bones – hence the wider part of the saddle, according to Syncros.
Either way, I got on well with the shape and it spent most of the time on a Vitus 'cross bike I was testing at the same time. A bike that I'd sometimes like to bimble around on for hours on the gravel tracks or every so often take on a real smashfest on twisty singletrack through the woods with loads of tree roots and rocks giving you a far from perfect ride.
The 250mm length and 135mm width of the Syncros suited whatever style of riding I was doing. The only thing I would say is that the Tofino 1.0 is on the firm side when it comes to the padding.
Off-road, I could counteract that by knocking plenty of air out of the tubeless tyres, but out on the road the buzz from poor surfaces was quite noticeable and after a three-hour ride I definitely knew about it when I got back on the bike the next day. For me, personally, it wouldn't be my top choice for an endurance saddle.
The Tofino 1.0 comes in two versions, this one with the cutout and another without. The gap in the middle is designed to reduce pressure and avoid discomfort and numbness, and I certainly didn't get any here. One issue I find with some cutout saddles is that the padding around the hole isn't firm enough, which allows it to sag into the gap, but thanks to the Tofino's firmness this wasn't an issue either.
There is also the Tofino V 1.0, which is designed for faster riding styles and is wider at 145mm.
When it comes to value, the Syncros doesn't look too bad at £129.99. The Scicon Elan (review to come), which is a similar setup with carbon fibre rails and a carbon-reinforced shell, costs £180; it's a few grams heavier too, though arguably more comfortable. The Astute Star Lite VT Saddle also has the same construction and also costs £180 – well, a penny under.
Overall, the Syncros Tofino 1.0 is a good option as long as you are happy with quite a firm saddle, especially if you want to go down the short-nosed route.
Well-made saddle with a comfortable shape, although the padding might be too firm for some
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Syncros Tofino 1.0 Cut Out Saddle
Size tested: 250x135mm
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?
Syncros says, "Our top Endurance orientated saddle, the Tofino V is part of our V-Concept saddle program which was developed for the more flexible rider, particularly in the pelvis and lumbar spine, who tend to ride a more aggressive aero position. Their shape on the bike is similar to a V, hence the name. These riders sit towards the front of the saddle supported by their pubic rami. The riding position is lower in general and requires a slightly different shaped saddle. The 1.0 features our carbon rails for the ultimate in lightweight. The Channel version aims for larger contact area with the goal is to reduce pressure spots while still allowing contact with the saddle. Developed in conjunction with world renowned bike fit company Gebiomized, this saddle has been designed to offer the maximum tailored bike fit solution for an off the peg saddle."
I found the saddle to have a comfortable shape whether riding hard or more sedately.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
RANGE OF USE Endurance Road and MTB
BASE Carbon-reinforced nylon
RAILS Oversized 7x9mm Carbon
FOAM Light PU
DIMENSIONS one size 250x135mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It's quite firm for an endurance saddle but I found it a nice shape.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Decent price for a carbon-railed saddle.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
I found the padding quite firm compared with other saddles I've been using lately.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Compared to other carbon railed, short saddles we've tested lately, the Syncros is a good 50 quid cheaper at least.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, although on longer rides the firmness was a bit much.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
I like the shape of the Syncros and it offers good value considering the materials and quality of craftsmanship, but it could be a bit hard for some.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!