Specialized has revealed a new 3D-printed polymer saddle, the S-Works Power With Mirror Tech, with a lattice structure that's designed to improve comfort by distributing pressure in a way that's not possible with foam. We'll have a review on road.cc soon.
The S-Works Power With Mirror Tech features carbon composite rails and a carbon base too, with a cutaway centre, but on top of that there's no foam. Instead, you get a 3D-printed polymer lattice that's made up of 14,000 struts and 7,799 nodes (intersections between those struts).
Specialized says that the advantage of this technology is that it can create an infinitely tuneable structure by engineering different densities of lattice in a single piece. The brand has partnered with Carbon, a Californian company that specialises in 3D-printing technologies, in the development of the new saddle.
"Our saddle team pushed this new technology to the limit, and in turn this new technology redefined what we imagined a saddle could do, inspiring some of the most creative thinking our product teams have ever engaged in," says Specialized.
"It allowed us to create over 70 designs in less than a year, going from concept to rideable sample in a single day."
The lattice structure is printed from liquid polymer, then a second chemical reaction occurs in a forced-circulation oven to strengthen and set the material's final properties. The grippy surface of the 3D-printed covering, formed as part of the curing process, is designed to help hold you in place.
Specialized says that the saddle design was informed by data from a comfort study it conducted by in conjunction with the University of Colorado in 2017.
"This leap in saddle technology has enabled Specialized to deliver amazing support, comfort and performance," says Specialized. "Our Body Geometry team has already validated Mirror’s ability to assure penile blood flow by reducing soft tissue pressure, as well as improved sit bone comfort in both men and women."
We've had an S-Works Power With Mirror Tech saddle for a couple of months and we'll be publishing a review on road.cc soon. Spoiler alert: it's extremely comfortable. Press into it with your thumbs and it feels soft, but there's no particular squishiness at all as you ride. Ours, in a 143mm width, hit the scales at 193g – not the lightest, but still very light for something with this degree of comfort. It's also available in a 155mm width.
There is a down side: the price is £350. We don't know whether Specialized will be offering non-S-Works – and therefore cheaper – versions of this saddle in the future.
Fizik's Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive saddle, first seen at last year's Eurobike, also uses 3D printing technology. Like the Specialized saddle, it has been produced in association with Carbon. This model is £369.99.
Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.