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Specialized's Women's Romin Evo Pro with MIMIC is a performance-orientated saddle that offers comfort and support for any kind of road ride. Fans of the company's Oura saddle are likely to be satisfied by this replacement: it's light, stiff and looks at home on any road racing bike.
Saddles change so often – you find something you like and, before you know it, the manufacturer discontinues the line. I've stockpiled saddles and shoes in the past for fear of them being discontinued. Often, replacement models just never feel the same and, let's be honest, where shoes and saddles are concerned we all become attached.
Since saddles are so personal, it's probably worth pointing out what I would normally feel comfortable on. I have a Specialized Oura on three of my road bikes; a cutout combined with a long nose has always been my preference. I actually struggled with Specialized's Power Expert with MIMIC for longer rides, but was convinced that the MIMIC technology had potential as a cutout replacement. At the time I tested the Power Expert, the only MIMIC saddles available were short nosed. The Romin Evo Pro is the first women-specific long-nosed saddle to adopt the technology.
The shape of the saddle has barely changed from that of the Oura. Looking at it from the side, the Romin seems ever so slightly flatter than the Oura at its mid-point but it's not really possible to judge accurately with the naked eye. Overall, it still has a curved profile.
Looking down on the saddles you can see from the photo below that the cutout of the Oura has been directly replaced with MIMIC technology, which aims to mimic one's soft tissue, provide support and alleviate pressure, numbness and discomfort. Rachael wrote more about the technology which you can read here if you are not already familiar with it.
Around this, Specialized has added 'Level II padding', which it claims is "medium density foam for bike feel with additional cushioning". It's a pretty firm saddle, in my opinion – not rock hard, but a long way from being softly padded.
Like many of Specialized's saddles, the Romin Evo Pro comes in three different widths – 143mm, 155mm and 168mm. Specialized recommends determining your size using a saddle width measuring tool, something likely available in one of its concept stores. I simply tested the same width as the Oura I had been using, which tipped our scales at 182g.
Changing and setting up was a simple process thanks to the almost identical geometries of the two saddles. The only potential complication here is the lack of cutout which makes mounting on a seatpost clamp with a downward-screwing bolt more difficult.
It's also worth noting that the Romin Evo Pro has oversized, braided carbon rails. While these cut down on weight and definitely provide the stiffness you'd expect from a saddle at this price and performance pitch, you'll need to ensure that your seatpost clamp is compatible. It's not compatible with seatposts equipped with side-load clamp mechanisms for 7mm round rails.
From the moment I started using the Romin Evo Pro I was impressed. It's the first time I have used a saddle without a cutout that hasn't caused any form of irritation or pain. There wasn't even any mild discomfort on the first few rides; the transition from Oura to Romin was completely seamless for me. Whether I was doing longer endurance rides or shorter, more intense efforts, slipping to the nose of the saddle, I felt one hundred per cent comfortable and supported. There is a little flex in the upper, sufficient to damp heavy vibrations and big hits.
Comparing the Romin with the Power Expert, the nose covering on the Romin Evo Pro is, without doubt, much more pliable and giving than that on the Power; the Power Expert covering has more of a gloss to it, and is definitely less malleable – closer to a plastic shell than that of the putty-like Romin Evo Pro. Perhaps this, combined with the longer nose, is why the Romin worked for me where the Power Expert didn't.
The Romin Evo Pro is compatible with Specialized SWAT products such as saddle bags and spare inner tube holders – they can be clipped on rather than strapped to rails.
The price may initially seem quite steep, but if you begin to look around, technology of this level is difficult to get for under £160. If you're looking at men's saddles, a top of the range, superlight model might set you back in excess of £300; £160 seems almost mid-range.
Sarah reviewed the £169.99 Ergon SR Pro Carbon Saddle last year, and although comfort is subjective, its weight and target performance levels are comparable; an extra £12 will give you a 16g weight saving.
Liv's Contact SLR Forward, another long-nosed, performance-orientated saddle, costs £129.99 and weighs 192g. I'd say you're getting a firmer saddle here.
If the Romin Evo Pro is out of your price range, or you simply want the same Specialized geometry without the MIMIC technology, you could consider the Expert Gel for £105 (143mm weighs 269g), or the Comp Gel for £84 (143mm weighs 274g).
That said, the Romin Evo Pro can be found online at quite a discount – £115 at the time of writing.
Overall, I've been seriously impressed with the Romin Evo Pro with MIMIC; it's convinced me that pain-free rides of any duration and intensity are possible on a saddle without a cutout. Its minimal weight and decent stiffness make it a great choice for serious riders and racers.
Excellent performance perch for serious amateurs and racers unwilling to compromise on comfort
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: Specialized Women's Romin Evo Pro With MIMIC saddle
Size tested: 143mm
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?
Specialized tells us, 'For as long as there've been saddles, women have been having issues with them. But where some see unsolvable problems, we see practical solutions. With our patented design, MIMIC technology helps create a saddle that perfectly adapts to your body to give you the support you need.
'And when you combine this technology with the long-nosed, curved profile of the Romin EVO Pro saddle, with its FACT carbon rails and Level II padding for extra comfort, you get a high-performance saddle that's designed to help you perform at your best. It still features all of the Body Geometry design characteristics you know and love, so you can be assured of superior, all-day comfort in any ride position.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
*Patented Body Geometry design is lab-tested to ensure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
*Innovative Mimic technology uses multilayered materials to maintain equilibrium and minimize swelling in soft tissue.
*Ultra-light, strong, and oversized FACT carbon rails.
*Level II padding: Medium density foam for bike feel with additional cushioning.
*SWAT™-compatible mounts molded into the saddle base allow for sleek and integrated storage solutions.
NOTE: Oversized 7x9mm carbon rails are not compatible with seatposts equipped with side-load clamp mechanisms for 7mm round rails.
Nose seems to retain marks/stains but performance isn't affected. I mention in the review that it is more malleable than that on the Power, maybe this comes at a cost.
This is obviously subjective. It has the right amount of padding for me, but I know that some women won't find this sufficient.
It's £12 cheaper than Ergon's SR Pro Carbon Saddle, and while you can buy cheaper performance saddles – Liv's Contact SLR Forward is £129.99 – it's light and full of Specialized leading technology, so pretty good value, I'd say.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It was comfortable and supportive for long endurance rides and provided the stiffness you'd hope for during shorter, more intense outings.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
MIMC did what it claims to do.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If they have a history of getting on with long-nosed saddles with a cutout, yes.
Use this box to explain your overall score
Lightweight, stiff saddle for those serious about performance. The MIMIC technology offers exceptional comfort and support – a perfectly viable alternative to a cutout. It's not excessively priced for what you're getting either, especially if you look around.
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…