review

PRO Stealth Offroad Saddle

7
£129.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Svelte but very firm, best suited to competitive riding
Lightweight
Well made
Well suited to fast riding
A fraction too firm for some
Weight: 
207g

As the name suggests, the PRO Stealth Offroad Saddle is the dirt-biased model in the Stealth family, aimed at gravel and mountain bike audiences. Though it follows the same basic silhouette as the road version, there are some trail-centric tweaks. Padding density is reckoned to be thicker, but even so I found our 142mm version very firm – almost to the point of unforgiving.

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Specification

The thinking behind short-nose designs is that they permit a more aggressive 'forward' position, without inducing discomfort or numbness. It also ensures unisex design, and is offered in two widths, 142 and 152mm, which might be considered male and female specific, respectively.

There are a few obvious differences between this and the road version. Though the same basic shape, the relatively broad pressure-relieving groove on this off-road version has a composite base rather than being open, as on the road model. A sensible feature, protecting the crotch area from dodgy water thrown up by the rear wheel.

While the equivalent road version has titanium rails (or carbon for £174.99), the Offroad's are 7mm stainless steel, and arguably a better option than carbon given the increased stresses associated with trail/gravel riding.

Pro Stealth Offroad Saddle - underside.jpg

Its variable density padding is supposedly more generous than its road counterpart.

The sturdy micro-matrix (faux leather) cover is a satin effect, promising slip-free tenure, and there's a composite skirt around the back to subvert everyday wear and tear. Build quality and standards of finishing are top notch.

Performance

Mostly, I used the saddle on my rough stuff tourer – crudely, a cross country mountain bike sporting shallow drops, inspired by short-lived late 80s concepts such as Specialized's Rock Combo. Arguably it has a less aggressive stance than the target market, but it's hardly sit up 'n' beg.

My default saddle width is 143mm, and while all contact point changes/adjustments initially feel different, generally speaking I've had no issues with other fairly minimalist designs such as the PRO Turnix.

Pro Stealth Offroad Saddle - rear.jpg

The relatively narrow profile encourages a brisk, unimpaired cadence, and I found maintaining a higher (95rpm plus) marginally easier compared with the Selle Italia Novus Boost TM Superflow.

Pro Stealth Offroad Saddle - nose.jpg

Composites and moderately springy rails take the sting from inclement surfaces, smaller holes and so on, but even with a compliant, triple butted chromoly frameset and 2-inch tyres, I've been quicker to get off the saddle when tackling churned farm tracks and bridleway.

Pro Stealth Offroad Saddle - underside detail.jpg

I'm someone who tends to shuffle very slightly, especially on longer rides, and although the satin cover is just the right kind of grippy, there isn't much wriggle room. This, coupled with the relatively sparse padding, meant 50 miles was pretty much my limit.

Switched to my fixed gear winter/trainer (think cyclo-cross bike with track ends and 120mm spacing), the Stealth's shape allowed me to stay lower and maintain higher cadences with greater ease.

Saddles are pretty much the most personal of contact points, and for me 55-60 road miles were realistic, but the Stealth wouldn't be my first suggestion if you were looking to chalk up a century.

Value

There's no doubt the Stealth Offroad saddle is very well made and seemingly very durable, but £130 isn't cheap. It's not alone, though: Fizik's Tempo Argo R-3 Saddle is the same price, and you can spend more.

> Buyer’s Guide: off.road.cc gives you the lowdown on choosing the right saddle

However, Selle San Marco's Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic Saddle comes in £30 cheaper, a bit lighter and, from what Stu says, is also more accommodating of leisure riders.

> Buyer’s Guide: 8 of the best short saddles

If you weren't set on a short model, BBB's Echelon, though a lower spec, bridges the gap between road and trail very competently for £69.99. It's a similar story with Selle Italia's Novus Boost TM Superflow for £79.99.

Summary

I've been impressed by the Stealth Offroad's build quality and modest weight. However, it's definitely at the firmer end of the market, which might suit you fine, but I'd say it's a better choice for racers.

Verdict

Svelte but very firm, best suited to competitive riding

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road.cc test report

Make and model: PRO Stealth Offroad Saddle

Size tested: 142mm

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?

PRO says: "All PRO Stealth saddles utilize the same basic silhouette, with a broad nose to dissipate soft tissue pressure, combined with a wide cutout and shortened overall length. This shape allows riders to obtain a more forward-rotated position without the numbness or pain that's often associated with this type of aggressive riding style. Additionally, to better accommodate different sit bone widths, all models are offered in two width options, including a narrower 142 mm and a wider 152 mm option. The Stealth was initially intended for road cycling, but the concept has since become popular across different cycling disciplines from triathlon to gravel, and even serious mountain biking.

"The new model uses stainless steel rails for durability, combined with increased padding and a reshaped design for bumpy trails and gravel roads. It delivers all the advantages of the Stealth design to the off-road scene, maximizing power on the trail while navigating difficult terrain. "

My feelings are that it's a well-made, lightweight saddle that meets the design brief well. However, contact points are extremely personal and I found the variable density padding just that bit too firm for my tastes.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From PRO:

Aggressive, high performance off-road saddle inspired by the bestselling PRO Stealth road model

Tuned compliance with C TEC bridge rail mount for a smoother ride on even the roughest of terrains

Engineered for aggressive riding positions with a cut-out centre for much needed pressure relief

Multiple padding thicknesses for the ultimate comfort and durability

Super lightweight EVA padding

Reinforced material around the rear of the saddle for added resilience

Weight from 195g

Available in 142 & 152mm

Rail: 7mm x 7mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Very well made, as you'd expect from this end of the market.

Rate the product for performance:
 
7/10

A lightweight and efficient option for aggressive gravel/cross/mountain biking. Covering is seemingly waterproof and offers good tenure without feeling like a strip of flypaper.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Holding up very well to date. Micro matrix covering seems very rugged, and protective skirting reduces wear at crucial points. Stainless steel rails may have a slight weight penalty over carbon, but they are still fairly springy and arguably a better choice, given the design brief.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
9/10

Pretty good going at 207g.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
5/10

Despite the variable padding, I found the Stealth just that little bit too firm on longer rides.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Fizik's Tempo Argo R-3 Saddle is the same price. Selle San Marco's Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic Saddle comes in £30 cheaper, a bit lighter and, from what Stu says, is also more accommodating of leisure riders.

If you weren't fixed on a short model, BBB's Echelon, though a lower spec, bridges the gap between road and trail very competently, for £69.99. It's a similar story with Selle Italia's Novus Boost TM Superflow.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Numbness is a moot point, and the relatively narrow profile encourages a brisk, unimpaired cadence. Maintaining a higher (95rpm plus) has been marginally easier compared with my experience of the Selle Italia Novus Boost TM Superflow.

I'm someone who tends to shuffle very slightly, especially on longer rides, and although the satin cover is just the right kind of grippy, there isn't much wriggle room. This, coupled with the relatively sparse padding, meant 50 miles was pretty much my limit.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Lightweight, well made.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Just that little bit too firm for my derriere.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? On balance, no.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Well worth a closer look but padding might be too firm for some tastes.

Use this box to explain your overall score

It's a well-made, lightweight saddle with features that meet the design brief very well. However, it's a little pricey and might feel a little too firm for some.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 46  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

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)

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