Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Testing a new saddle

Before I go into how things felt and this and that, remember as always, saddles are like the rears they sit under, they all or different, and some can stink more than others.
Right, now that is out of the way, let's talk about a short stint I spent this past weekend on the Specialized Romin. Jae called in a favor to Sunshine Cycles out of Greenville, and worked out a test saddle from them for the weekend. Since Jae has the Toupe on a bike already, I was the guinea pig for this one. That is cool, we had the coffee ride scheduled, so I figured that was as good a time as any to see what this saddle had to offer, me first, you second...Selfish I know.
First impressions, is that I have seen this design before...SMP have had a center channel saddle in many shapes and forms for a while now, so the design is nothing new. What the Romin does have more of than the SMP is the change in widths for different sits! SMP is now addressing some of this in newer models. I chose the 143 model, based off some measurements on my last fitting. The saddle is made with an intentional kick up in the back, and a curvy profile. The nose is wider than most, but not so wide as to interfere, and it may be more optical illusion than anything, since the front part is fairly flattened. Set was pretty simple if you have the tools and a tape measure. What I first did though was see where it sat over the top of the saddle I had on the bike to see what it would take to get it basically in the same place. Then I measured and re-measured my saddle height, marked the old saddles position so that it could be re-installed post test without problems. I sat the saddle up centered on the seatpost, and with the front tilted lower than the rear, to give me the kick up in the back to push against.
Initial feelings were good, just sitting in the living room. I could definitely feel or rather not feel anything pushing on the soft bits. Check one.
I always have some anxiety about trying something new like a saddle, since it can ruin a good ride. I am happy to say that the ride went off without a hitch, and without any adjustment.
Could I have changed the tilt? Possibly, but things were going pretty good, so I gave it some time. One thing I can say, is I never felt the slight numbing effect of the standard saddles when down in the drops and pushing. I do not run a lot of bar drop, and this saddle allowed me to push back against the rear and get low by bending my elbows. I have read that this is what the saddle was intended for.
Of course, when you pull material away, the pressure is put into another area. In this case, it is the sit bone area. You feel it at the end of the ride. You feel like you have actually been sitting on them, which is the intent of having them in the first place and hence there generic, non medical name...Sit Bones.
Either way, I was a little tender after the ride, but the softer tissue areas were fine. The next day I got in another 1.5 on the saddle with no ill effects, but alas I had to take it back to Jae so he could try it.
I am not completely sold on one yet, but I am leaning that way. Speaking to another guy I know who is a Pro and mad Cyclo Cross racer, he told me that he did not know how much pressure is put on the perinium and soft tissue, until it is not there.
That pretty much sums it up. And for the weight weenies out there, the saddle is light as is, and they make a carbon version.


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