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review

Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle

8
£87.90

VERDICT:

8
10
Good all-rounder if you're not sold on a really short saddle, though the one-size-only design may limit its appeal
Well made
Sleek, easy-to-clean design
Worked well on and off road
Relatively light
Length and width won't suit all
Weight: 
227g

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The Ritchey WCS Cabrillo is a shorter and wider unisex design aimed at road and gravel riders – but the design has clear benefits for cyclo-cross and mountain bikers too. The padding is supportive and I found the saddle comfortable for lengthy rides both on and off the road. Ritchey also makes a cheaper Cabrillo model with chromoly rails if you're on a tighter budget.

> Buy now: Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle for £87.90 from Ritchey

Specification

At 260x146mm the WCS Cabrillo is a little shorter than a traditional road saddle, and three millimetres wider than that suggested by my bike fit. At first glance, it would easily pass as a traditional road saddle.

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - top.jpg

However, look closely and you'll see that it has a flat profile, which on paper might also lend itself to cyclo-cross or similar efforts where you need to shuffle about or mount and dismount swiftly.

As a unisex-design saddle, it comes with a perineal channel rather than a cutout. And while I got along well with the saddle's length and width, the fact that it's a one-size-only design may restrict its appeal.

The cover is described as 'a premium Ritchey synthetic upper with glossy dot pattern'. And while it may look like leather, it is suitable for stricter vegetarians and vegans.

The base is a mix of nylon and carbon fibre for strength and some added zing, and it also trims a few grams without compromising durability. A lightweight polyurethane foam is sandwiched between the cover and the base.

Rather than glue, bonding or staples, Ritchey has used 'Atmos Shaping' technology for a seamless construction that vacuum seals the cover to the base for an exceptionally clean and sleek look. Ritchey says this offers greater waterproofing, improved durability and is easier to clean. What's not to like?

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - underside rear.jpg

From the rear you can see what Ritchey calls its 'Vector Wing' – elevated saddle rail attachments that it says offer natural pressure distribution to prevent hot spots.

The 7mm diameter stainless steel rails are highly polished, and laser-etched for quick and easy fore-and-aft adjustment.

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - underside.jpg

They've proved compatible with most seatpost cradles, slipping straight in and snugging down beautifully. The only exception was a 20-year-old Thomson post, but that has refused to play nicely with other contemporary designs.

Performance

My fixed gear winter trainer and drop-bar mountain bike were my test machines, and I put in 600 miles on the saddle – split evenly between the two bikes.

This was enough to work out whether the Vector Wing technology works as well as Ritchey says. Well, after those 600 miles my backside reckons there's a lot more than marketing hype – and I found it incredibly supportive in the real world. Despite the saddle being shorter than recommended by my bike fit, I only noticed it in the most positive sense.

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - rear.jpg

Wearing my regular tights and bib longs, the saddle's extra width didn't induce any chafing, and I found its extra support welcome. This was particularly the case on longer rides over surfaces that often resembled Paris Roubaix's pavé.

Coming from a saddle with magnesium alloy rails, I didn't note any loss of compliance from the Ritchey's stainless steel counterparts, which theoretically should be stiffer.

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - nose.jpg

The cover's subtle dots offered additional grip without impairing my ability to scoot and shuffle. And I didn't experience any hot spots while riding my mountain bike, even on extended rides on unmade roads, green lanes and forest trails.

The pressure-relieving groove did its thing without fuss, which was another pleasant surprise given that 'unisex' can have the potential for being the worst of both worlds.

2024 Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle - back.jpg

Durability/Care

Our saddle has been leant against trees, gates, brickwork and all the usual suspects, with the faux leather cover showing no signs of wear. I'd still be inclined to put a slither of gaffer tape or similar on the corners as a precaution, as there are no bumpers.

The seamless Atmos construction made the underside easy to clean and the polished rails have required no more than a cursory buff with a micro-fibre cloth switching between bikes – and there were no saddle clamp 'bite marks', either.

Value

First off, if you're on a budget you might want to consider the Comp Cabrillo version – it will weigh a little more but at just £52.90 it looks a good bet on a budget.

The Specialized Bridge Comp Saddle with MIMIC is also designed for trail and road and is a little cheaper than the WCS at £80. Its MIMIC technology channel supposedly 'perfectly adapts to your body to give the support and comfort you need'. Its chromoly rails are less resistant to corrosion than the Ritchey's stainless steel rails, but the Bridge does come in three sizes.

The £79.99 San Marco Shortfit 2.0 Dynamic Saddle is shorter and narrower than the Ritchey and has manganese rails. Stu was impressed by its firm, yet supportive padding and found the shape relieved pressure.

The Fizik Tempo Argo R5 Saddle is £89.99, has alloy rails and is available in two widths. Jamie found it particularly comfortable for long road rides but felt its flat profile might not suit everyone.

Prologo's Dimension AGX T40 143mm is slightly dearer than the Ritchey at £94.99, features a carbon shell and chromoly rails and it impressed Stu, though it's a little heavier than the Ritchey.

You'll find more options in our best bike saddles buyer's guide.

Overall

Ritchey's WCS Cabrillo has proven a good all-rounder with a solid, if not overly exotic spec. I've found it equally capable and comfortable on and off road, and it may be a good option if you aren't completely invested in the idea of a super-short saddle. Its one-width-only sizing may limit its appeal.

Verdict

Good all-rounder if you're not sold on a really short design, though the one-size-only design may limit its appeal

> Buy now: Ritchey WCS Cabrillo for £87.90 from Ritchey

road.cc test report

Make and model: Ritchey WCS Cabrillo saddle

Size tested: 260x146mm

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?

Ritchey says: "The WCS Cabrillo, Ritchey's newest saddle offering, combines Tom's decades of saddle design expertise, cutting-edge materials, and advanced manufacturing techniques to create a modern saddle for tarmac, gravel, and beyond.

"Constructed with a unique seamless cover that attaches to the base without glue, stitches, or staples, the new Cabrillo enjoys a sleek look that's durable and waterproof. It also has a shorter nose, wider body, and flatter shape that lets you move around the saddle with ease and comfort. It's shock-absorbent padding reduces rider fatigue – brought to you by a light polyurethane foam layer.

"The WCS Cabrillo also features Ritchey's revolutionary patented Vector Wing technology – the hallmark of all Ritchey saddles, which isolates the rails to help eliminate hot spots by dissipating pressure away from the sit bones more evenly for all-day comfort."

My feelings are that while it is shorter than a traditional road saddle, it's still longer than a lot of today's super-short saddles, and in my experience having put in 600 miles on it was a good choice for general riding both on and off road. That said, the single size option won't be for everyone.

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

Vector Wing design

Seamless cover & shell integration

Dimensions: 260x146mm

Rails: stainless steel

Rail dimensions: 7x7mm

Shell: nylon + carbon fiber

Padding: light polyurethane foam

Cover: Premium Ritchey synthetic upper with glossy dot pattern

Weight: 222g

Colour: black

"The top profile is flat from tip to tail, making it easier to slide fore/aft on the saddle over technical terrain, which makes it perfect for cyclocross. A slight curve from side to side mimics other popular short-and-wide designs to offer good sit bone support without hindering hip and leg movement.

"The unisex design has a slim center channel to reduce pressure on the perineal area."

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Seems very well made with no obvious weak spots, and its seamless Atmos construction creates a very clean look.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Despite being a unisex design and that contact points are clearly very personal, I've found the Ritchey WCS Cabrillo a very comfortable and dependable saddle for road and off-road riding.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

It's difficult to comment long term but there are no signs of premature wear or damage after 600 miles of testing during some very poor riding conditions, and that seamless construction keeps dirt and water out too.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

The 227g weight isn't super-light, but is reasonable by my standards and the sort of riding it's intended for.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

The density of the padding and the width of the saddle offered ample comfort and support when I was riding on all sorts of surfaces. The pressure-relieving central groove did its thing well, and the lack of a cutout prevented me getting a wet crotch.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Given the specification and execution the value isn't bad. However, Ritchey's lower-level Comp Cabrillo comes in much cheaper at £52.90. It features chromoly rails and a nylon/glass fibre base, and though this will add weight, it would be a good option if you're on a tighter budget.

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

Despite the saddle being a little shorter and wider than the 265x143mm recommended by my bike-fit, I've only noticed the saddle in the most positive sense. There's plenty of support from the padding and though primarily intended to save weight, the carbon/nylon base may also be contributing to the comfort. The pressure-relieving channel proved effective even during longer off-road efforts, the cover lets you shuffle around and provided grip in the wet whether I was wearing shorts or longs.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

It performed consistently well in all conditions and both on road and off; it's well designed and nicely executed.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Nothing – though its 260x146mm proportions may not suit everybody, of course.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Ritchey's own £52.90 Comp Cabrillo has chromoly rails and a nylon/glass fibre base and looks a good choice on a tight budget.

The Specialized Bridge Comp Saddle with MIMIC costs £80 and like the Ritchey is also designed for trail and road duties. The MIMIC technology refers to the centre channel, which supposedly 'perfectly adapts to your body to give the support and comfort you need', and it's available in three widths.

The San Marco Shortfit 2.0 Dynamic Saddle is £79.99 and Stu was impressed by its firm, yet supportive padding.

The £89.99 Fizik Tempo Argo R5 Saddle has alloy rails and Jamie found it particularly comfortable for long road rides, though noted the saddle's flat profile might not suit everyone.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – though I'd consider recommending the Comp Cabrillo if they were on a budget

Use this box to explain your overall score

The Ritchey WCS Cabrillo has proved a good all-rounder with a solid, if not overly exotic spec. I found it equally capable and comfortable on and off, and it may be a good option if you're not totally invested in going for a very short saddle.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 50  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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3 comments

Avatar
IanEdward | 1 month ago
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This looks quite nice actually, but I always appreciate a perfectly 'straight down' view of saddles in reviews so I can see the shape in plan, I much prefer the 'T' shaped saddles like Fizik Antares and Selle Italia Flite, can't quite tell if the Ritchey is a 'T' or a 'V'...

Avatar
Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
0 likes

Worth noting that the Comp version of this saddle gains you 39g but saves you £35.

(Saddle upgrades in general have terribe Hairsine ratio's)

Though personally I rate both Ritchey Comp and WCS kit, I like the little UCI rainbow on the WCS stuff.

Avatar
IanEdward replied to Secret_squirrel | 1 month ago
1 like

I'm a sucker for the wee rainbow as well smiley

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