The Merano Corsa saddle is well made, light and pretty good value compared with other similar saddles. It's also very stiff. Saddle comfort is subjective, and if you like yours minimalist on movement and cushioning, the Corsa could be just the ticket; if you like a bit of flex and cushioning, you probably need to look elsewhere – at least until Merano expands its offerings.
The Corsa is billed as blending a mix of comfort and speed. Its creator and the owner of Merano, Andrew Keith, wanted to create a saddle that was comfortable on long rides, but also fast and light.
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With the saddle coming in at a competitive price point of £95 and just 151g, I was intrigued to see if it could live up to the claims. I fitted it to an alloy gravel bike, with a carbon seatpost and 32mm tyres run at 70psi.
The Merano Corsa certainly looks the part and has a quality finish, with carbon rails and a carbon fibre shell with a leather outer fixed to it by adhesive. Under the leather is a thin layer of memory foam, which springs straight back into place if you try to push your finger into it.
The saddle feels well made, the leather showing no signs of wear after 400 miles of use and nothing coming unstuck. The lugs into which the carbon rails are attached are certainly substantial, more so than other carbon saddles I have used, and I had no worries about any aspect of the saddle failing with repeated use.
As the saddle is relatively flat, I found during seated climbing I did not have enough support to push against. For flat riding it was fine, and I was able to move forwards and backwards depending on how aero I wanted to be. I found it good for getting deep in the drops, and this was where I felt I got the most out of it. It feels like it would be best suited for crit racing or time trialling on flatter, well-surfaced roads.
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The Corsa is certainly very stiff – stiffer than most saddles I have tried. Despite the central cutout, the central area flexes by just a few millimetres. The foam padding doesn't have much give to it, either; I was able to push the short edge of a ruler into it by approximately 2mm. If I could rate the Merano on a level of stiffness scale, I would say it's a 9 out of 10 for stiffness. It's right up there.
By comparison, I tried pressing the short edge of a ruler into some other common saddle surfaces. I could get a Prologo Nago Evo to dent 7mm into the padding and get the saddle to "flex" or bend 4mm, by leaning my body weight into it.
I could get a Fizik Antares to dent 8mm into the padding, and flex 7mm. And a Planet X Superlight to dent 7mm into the padding and flex 7mm.
If you are looking for a very rigid saddle, stick the Merano Corsa on your shortlist.
Merano rates the Corsa as comfortable for rides of 70 miles or so. Personally, because of how hard and stiff the central area is, I found my sit bones started to ache after about 25 to 30 miles. However, this is my subjective view, and if you like hard and stiff saddles you might get on with it better than I did.
The Merano's £95 price, which includes free shipping to UK customers, is pretty good. The Giant Contact SLR, which also comes with a carbon shell and rails and which we also rated as a stiff saddle, is £129.99 and a little heavier at 188g.
The Syncros Tofino also costs £129.99, features a cutout and a firm ride, as well as a carbon-reinforced shell and carbon rails, and comes in at 184g.
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Merano also has a decent and fair returns policy – if you let the company know within three weeks from date of purchase that you intend to return the saddle, it will provide a full refund.
Although I really wanted to like it, I found the Merano Corsa too stiff for the riding I do – mainly commuting during the week, with longer rides of 40-50 miles at the weekend. You might really like a stiff saddle, but I think adding 4-5mm of additional padding, and allowing a little more flex along the central cutout area would improve the comfort. Hopefully, with other products in the works from Merano, we will see future variants on the Corsa that can accommodate that.
Well-made saddle from a new brand, though some may find it too stiff and not cushioned enough
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Make and model: Merano Corsa saddle
Size tested: Length: 28cm, Width: 15cm
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 Merano Corsa saddle is billed as blending a mix of comfort and speed. It's creator and the owner of Merano, Andrew Keith, wanted to create a saddle that was comfortable on long rides, but also fast and light.
Merano says, "The Corsa saddle was designed with comfort and speed in mind. With a carbon fibre shell and rails, along with super-light memory foam and fine leather skin, the saddle weighs only 155 grams. It is amongst the best in class in terms of weight and in a league of its own for ride quality."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
The Merano Corsa has a carbon fibre shell with a leather cover fixed by adhesive. Under the leather is a thin layer of memory foam.
Length: 28cm, Width: 15cm
5.5cm of marked adjustment fore and aft on the saddle rails.
There is a very slight increase in height at the back, and cutouts at the rear and in the central channel for additional comfort.
The rails are also full carbon fibre. The saddle weighs in at slightly less than the advertised weight of 155g. The road.cc Scales of Truth showed it to come in at 151g dead on.
The Merano Corsa looks very similar to the Specialized Toupe, and I had comments from several people who thought it was made by "the big S".
Rate the product for quality of construction:
The Merano Corsa saddle feels well made; the leather shows no signs of wear after 400 miles of use, and appears well fixed to the carbon shell. The lugs into which the carbon rails are attached are certainly substantial, more so than other carbon saddles I have used. I had no worries about any aspect of the saddle failing with repeated use.
Rate the product for performance:
The Merano is stiffer than most saddles I have tried. If you are looking for a very rigid saddle, this should be on your shortlist. As the saddle is relatively flat, I found during seated climbing I did not have enough support to push against. However, for flat riding it was fine, and I was able to move around fore and aft in the saddle depending on how aero I wanted to be. It is a saddle for getting deep in the drops, and this was where I felt I got the most out of it.
Rate the product for durability:
No issues with wear and tear during the test. The saddle top and carbon rails remain unmarked, despite being moved a few times to get the correct fit during testing. The Merano Corsa is well made, and there's nothing to suggest it won't last well.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Really good weight for the price.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Saddle comfort is subjective – what works for one person may feel completely the opposite for another. I found the Merano Corsa to be overly hard and stiff, with not enough padding or flex in the central area. Wondering if it was just me, I got other riders in my cycling group to give it a go and everyone commented that it was a very stiff saddle. I can't help thinking that it could appeal to a greater number of riders by adding another 4-5mm of foam padding depth, and enabling the central area to flex a little more.
Rate the product for value:
It stacks up well against the Giant Contact SLR and Syncros Tofino, both £129.99; £95 for a 151g saddle is a good price.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Merano rates the Corsa as comfortable for rides for 70 miles or so. Personally, because of how hard and stiff the central area is, I found my sit bones started to ache after about 25 to 30 miles. Saddle comfort is subjective, though, and people who like hard and stiff saddles might get on with it better than I did. The Merano seems most suited to riding on the drops and on a good road surface.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The saddle looks really nice, and has a quality finish, both in the leather cover, and carbon shell and rails. It definitely looks the part. Merano has a decent and fair returns policy too – let Merano know within three weeks from date of purchase if you intend to return and it will provide a full refund.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Personally, I found the Merano Corsa too stiff for the riding I do – mainly commuting with longer rides at the weekend. I could feel each bump and pothole in the road, despite running 32mm tyres and on a relaxed gravel bike. With 4-5mm of additional padding and more flex along the central cutout area, comfort could be improved.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
At £95 including free shipping to UK based customers, it's pretty good value.
The Giant Contact SLR, which also comes with a carbon shell and rails and which we also rated as a stiff saddle, is £129.99 and slightly heavier at 188g.
The Syncros Tofino also costs £129.99, and comes in at 184g; it too features a cutout and a firm ride, as well as a carbon-reinforced shell and carbon rails.
Did you enjoy using the product? For short rides yes, for longer rides, no.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they wanted a very firm saddle with little flex, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
I wanted to like the Merano Corsa – it really looks the part and is well constructed. However, despite the central cutout, I found the lack of flex and stiffness too much for longer rides. For me it would be a 6, but I'm giving it a 7 overall because saddle comfort is subjective, and it is a high quality model at a good price.
Age: 41 Height: 181 Weight: 92 Kilos
I usually ride: GT Grade My best bike is: Boardman ASR 8.9
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,
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