Whyte's Sport Saddle offers nothing particularly exotic about construction or materials used but it's been music to this tester's derriere, if you catch my drift.
The cover is a sturdy weather resistant affair available in black, white or brown. Manufacturers sometimes cut corners where they cannot be seen but I was pleased to discover it neatly bonded and stapled to the base.
Faux hides were once leather's poor relation but radical improvements in synthetic technology achieves broadly the same aesthetic without creating moral dilemmas for strict vegetarians, or requiring the same levels of aftercare.
Subtle pressure-relieving channels, discreet logos and classic style wouldn't look out of place on a mid eighties classic with pencil thin tubing, although it's rugged enough to withstand being leant against coarse masonry, tethering to street furniture and similar rough 'n' tumble in daily service.
The base is a Velo branded dual density resin type available in three widths - 275 x 145mm as tested, a more feminine friendly 255 x 150mm and a generic "comfort" shape.
This along with the hollow rails is designed to afford moderate amounts of damping, overcoming rider fatigue without sapping power. Given the subtle zing and modest weight, I was surprised to learn the rails are hi-tensile, rather than cro-moly steel but, in my experience, failures are unlikely thanks to a chrome-effect powder coat finish that will look gorgeous for many seasons.
If you think the Whyte Sports saddle looks vaguely familiar, well, that's probably because it is very similar in shape to an old road.cc favourite, the Charge Spoon and indeed the Madison Flux… erm, and the Gusset R-Series. Similar but not the same. All of their basic diminesions vary by a few millimetres with the Gusset, for instance, being longer and narrower, and the Flux longer again, at 280mm but the same width.
All of them, so far as we are aware, come out of the same factory, and the Charge, Madison and Gusset in their basic guise are between five and 10 quid cheaper than the Whyte, although shop around and we're pretty sure that gap will close. Of course, short of pulling them all apart we can't say how similar the Whyte is to the others in anything other than shape and it does offer a choice of widths - the others don't - and it has a fancy top. The bottom line is that it works for this reviewer which easily justifies the price difference.
Having come straight from breaking in three traditional saddles in masochistic succession, the padding seemed a little soft around the base but that sensation evaporated after 50 miles with no hint of chafing.
Those supple rails and compliant top ensured my minute adjustments didn't evolve into irksome saddle surfing.
Well-made and capable perch for the rigours of daily use yet smart enough for your best bike too too.
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Make and model: Whyte Sports Saddle
Size tested: Brown
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?
"Lightweight construction, a really comfortable feel and a contemporary finish. Ergonomic shaping reduces pressure on sensitive areas for increased comfort over longer distances".
Has worked for me to date.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Faux leather cover, dual density resin base, thin pile padding, hi-tensile steel rails with chrome effect powder coat finish.
Suited me perfectly but then objectivity is the first casualty when talking about contact points.
Commensurate with what I've come to expect from this pricepoint rather than breathtakingly good value for money.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Whyte sports saddle has been a pleasant surprise proving extremely comfortable for long periods and in most contexts. A quick lick of Nickwax or similar proofing adds some additional water repellence but to date this hasn't been problematic-even in the foulest weather.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Nice aesthetics, reasonable price and bang on for my butt.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing in particular-a version with more exotic rails would be nice though.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 38 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
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: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)