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Good scores are more common than bad, because fortunately good products are more common than bad.
Liv's Contact Comfort Forward Saddle has decent padding for the sit bones without being too squidgy, plus a narrow channel that offers some relief for the more sensitive areas. It's competitively priced, designed to last and has an innovative attachment point for specific accessories.
The Contact Comfort Forward sits at the bottom of Liv's performance saddle range. It's a significant step above Liv's Connect Models which are rather large, designed with comfort over performance in mind. If it looks too chunky for you, the Contact, Contact SL and Contact SLR models (£69.99-£129.99) are worth investigating. It's great to see a company offer a comprehensive range that reaches out to all styles and types of riders.
Like other Liv performance saddles, there are 'Forward' and 'Upright' versions depending upon your riding style, the distinguishing feature being the channel which extends to the tip of the nose on the Forward models, relieving pressure on your more sensitive bits.
The saddle is solidly made, with hardwearing chromoly rails and a synthetic water-resistant cover. There appear to be no weak elements and there is nothing to 'rub off' over time. It's worth bearing in mind that, given its lack of cutout, it might be harder to mount on a bike with a 'top bolt' on the saddle pin.
It features Liv's Particle Flow Technology – free-flowing granules that allow the foam to conform to whatever sits on it. This, in turn, increases the contact area and reduces pressure points. I really noticed the effect around the sit bones.
I've used it on a couple of different bikes and it certainly looks at home on my commuting hybrid. Liv's promotional video shows it on similar bikes – and it never features on a road bike being ridden by a cyclist in full Lycra. As ever with saddles, it's horses for courses; if it suits you it certainly won't look out of place on a road bike, and I did try it on mine for a couple of weeks.
I am very used to a much narrower saddle, something more akin to Liv's SLR that I reviewed a short while ago, so sitting on this saddle took some getting used to. The channel was too shallow for me personally – I prefer a cutout – but I know a lot of female riders who appreciate this kind of saddle on their road bike, so I'm sure it'd be a good option for many.
After a couple of weeks I moved it to my commuting bike, which I use twice daily for a six-mile ride to work. I have a much more upright position on it, and I adjusted to the wider, softer platform for this daily jaunt much more easily than I did on the road bike. I rarely put on cycle-specific shorts for commuting, so the saddle was providing much more protection for the sit bones than anything I have used previously. I still missed having a cutout, though, or at least would have liked a little more depth to the channel.
On either bike I couldn't have tolerated more than 90 minutes on consecutive days; my bum was fine but other areas were aggravated by the shallow channel and bulk of the nose. It was ideal for short rides to work over potholed roads, riding with a slightly more upright position. On both bikes it was noticeable how well the rails/saddle absorbed surface vibrations. On top of this, although it's early days it seems as durable as they come, so can handle the everyday use and weathering.
One potential extra benefit is the Uniclip feature at the rear of the saddle, which is uniquely designed to accommodate Liv's accessories, such as a tail light and saddle bag. While I didn't actually test these accessories, I can see the appeal – especially for a light. If you have the saddle on a commuting or touring bike and you're loaded at the rear, covering or blocking potential light mounting spots, Uniclip overcomes this.
The Contact Comfort Forward is £34.99, which is good value compared to similarly specced options. We haven't reviewed many like it, but a quick search brings up alternatives such as Selle Italia's Donna at £49.99 and its Sport Gel Flow at £39.99. And while Ergon's ST Gel Women is a similar design and is available in two different sizes, it costs an extra £20. If £35 is still too much for you, head to Wiggle and check out its Prime offerings.
Overall, I'd say the Liv is a good, well-priced model that will appeal to many tourers and commuters, and potentially keen road riders who appreciate a wider, more padded platform.
Not a fan of hard, narrow 'racing' saddles? This might be for you, with decent cushioning and handy Uniclip feature
If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website
road.cc test report
Make and model: Liv Contact Comfort Forward Saddle
Size tested: n/a
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?
Liv says: 'Contact Comfort Forward saddle is a women's forward riding position design saddle featuring a women specific profile and centre channel, Particle Flow Technology inserts and durable Chromoly rails.'
It also claims the saddle 'delivers ultimate satisfaction when your sit bones are under pressure, regardless of the length of your journey or experience level.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Pelvic position: Women's forward riding position.
Material top: Vacuum formed microfibre cover.
Material base: Nylon with UniClip™ mount system.
Padding: Foam and Particle Flow Technology.
Rails: Chromoly Rails.
Appears to be solidly made.
Not bad for its specification.
Good for shorter rides in a more upright position. Personally I missed a cutout but my sit bones were very well 'provided for'.
A female-specific branded saddle designed for a specific riding position for only £35 is good going.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Didn't personally suit me for longer rides but I did appreciate it on my short daily commutes.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Generous padding that was effective for shorter rides. Decent absorption of surface vibration.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Anything more than an hour in the saddle and I was needing to shift. The channel was not deep enough for me.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Competitive, see review.
Did you enjoy using the product? Only for short commutes.
Would you consider buying the product? Not for my road bike.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Certainly worth trying out. As ever, it's personal.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Personally this wouldn't be my first choice of saddle but I can see its merits for those who prefer a larger, more cushioned platform for their rear. A competitive price, durability and the innovative Uniclip feature all add to its appeal, but I'm convinced the channel could do with being deeper given it's the 'Forward' model.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road.
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, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…