Tag: saddles

What’s a Good Saddle for Riding in the California Alps?

I am talking about this type of saddle:

This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Not this type:

Although they are pretty nice, and do have some features that may translate well on the bike ;-).

As it turns out, here in Markleeville, and surrounds — we’ve got mountain cattle that graze in the meadows near town and just down the road in the Carson Valley you can get some of the best grass-fed beef around — you’re likely to see both saddle types!

Now I’m salivating a bit thinking about a nice rib-eye so let me get down to business on this gear review thing before a puddle forms.

Okay, okay..if you’re truly needing a saddle-saddle, here’s the link to Natural Horsemans Saddles (especially for you and your lovely wife, Chris). Okay, onward…

Fi’zi:k or Specialized?

Of course you’ve got many more choices than just those two (2) brands but this was the question I had to answer. I’ve been a loyal Fi’zi:k saddle user for many years. I really like the Aliante R3 Open (for snake – good back flexibility) and have the same saddle on both my Emonda and my Domane. Today however, I can say (er, write), “used to have the same saddle…”

I recently switched to the Specialized Power saddle and I’m really happy I did. Here’s why:

  1. There is a lot less pressure on my “taint,” especially when I’m in the drops.
  2. I get no numbness at all, even when riding on the trainer for long periods of time.
  3. When I sit back down after standing and pedaling, my butt feels like it’s docking on that friggin’ thing! Talk about a perfect fit…
  4. For descending (tons of up means lots of down) it’s a lot more comfortable in the drops and it just feels more natural.
  5. When climbing, or riding on flat roads, not having that standard nose length also works. I thought I might notice “no there, there” but not so; it just feels RIGHT.
  6. Did I tell you that it’s amazingly comfortable?

Here’s some specific details as to what I put on which bike, and the rides I’ve done.

Emonda = S-Works Power 143mm. Carbon Rails.

I did need to order oval ears for the seatmast because the rails on this saddle are oval, not round. Keep that in mind if you decide to get this, or a similar, model.

Red ears add a nice touch, especially on a red bike.

I first used it on March 29th and have done a total of four (4) rides, all outside, including a 1/2 century ride on April 2nd, adding up to about 128 miles. Again, no issues. No chafing, no numbness and oh so comfy in the drops.

Domane = Power Pro Elaston 143mm. Ti rails.

Didn’t snap a photo of this one…There were standard rails on this saddle so no need to change out the existing seatmast ears. I use the Domane on my trainer and as my gravel bike so I opted for a bit more padding for this saddle, and I read something recently (Velonews? Bicycling? Can’t remember…) that suggested the Elaston for gravel riding. Now I haven’t done a gravel ride with it yet but yesterday I road the Alpe d’Huez Finale on FulGaz (first ride on the Elaston). 1:43:02 total on the bike – mostly seated. Again, no issues and most importantly I didn’t notice that sore spot I used to hit on my right sit-bone when I went back to a seated position. You might say (I did say) the Pro’s wings made things much more bearable.

Integrated/Attachable Seat Pack

The Fi’zi:k Aliante does come with such a thing but it’s a pain in the arse to get on and off (in and out of?) the saddle: you’ve got to hold up the clip to slide it in the slot and sometimes I need a tool of some sort to do that. Same for out; kind of a hassle.

The Power also comes with a mount. Specialized calls it “SWAT compatible” and it’s much more user friendly than Fi’zi:k’s; just attach a bracket to the seat with the provided bolts and the pack itself (I went with the small Stormproof Seat Pack) then slides in and out of the bracket. A really good design!

The Verdict

I feel like I have to get some more miles in before I’m totally sold (had over 8000 miles on the R3 that was on the Domane) but in all my years of cycling and mountain biking, and recently, gravel riding, I’ve NEVER installed a saddle that didn’t need tweaking and that didn’t cause any minor problems early on. Until now, that is. Now I’ve got two (2) of ’em! So, even after a relatively short test period I would highly recommend the Power or Power Pro. If you haven’t gone short, you’ve got to check it out!

And, if you want to do a bit more research, here’s a couple more resources: First, a good post by Outdoor Gear Lab; I found it helpful and it touches on some of the finer points of this saddle that I didn’t. And here’s another from road.cc, again with some additional data that matta.

Let’s Kick Some Passes Asses!

So, whether it’s with a new saddle, an existing saddle, on a bike or on a horse. Or perhaps none of the above (maybe you’re a runner, or a hiker, or a snowshoer or a skier) let’s get out there! With the proper distancing, of course. And hand-washing. And masks if necessary. Whatever it takes, right?

Whenever and however you go, though, please be safe and stay healthy!