Alternative title; “The Great Tissue Issue!” The odds of the stock saddle on my Cannondale Slice being the right saddle for me were slim to none and they came in on the none side. For reference it was a Fizik Arione, interestingly my Cervelo came with a Fizik Pave and that got 86d in favor of a Selle Italia SL Flow which after a year and a couple of thousand miles is working out very nicely. But back to the matter in hand…so to speak! But first for reference here is a photo of all three:
L:R Breakaway, Time Trial, Fizik Arione
I had actually tried an ISM Adamo Road before settling on the Selle on the Cervelo but it wasn’t quite right but after some research I decided that the Time Trial and Breakaway models might work out on my Cannondale Slice and after some looking around and a couple of chats with Dean from P3 (PedPowerPerform) I had the two saddles winging their way to me for a two week trial. I started out with the Time Trial, this decision was based on:
- It was at face value the more aggressive of the two
- Has the handy “hook” underneath to allow it to hang from the bar in Transition
- And it was to be fitted to a Time Trial Bike so I thought the name would fit
I had not realized quite how fiddly a Tri seat mounting was but after several attempts and the surgical attachment of a third arm and hand I managed to get it correct, in part this was achieved by measuring as best I could my position on the bike with the old saddle as I was fitted at the bike shop when I picked it up and in part after watching the video on the ISM several times. Above all the real key is to get the rails parallel to the floor not the seat.
So with the saddle fitted I set about trying it out. Due to time limitations and the fact that I didn’t want to get stuck out on a ride and not being able to sit down I stuck mostly to my trainer. After tuning in the saddle for 30 minutes I predominantly rode the Sufferfest rides as these are sufficient to take you mind of most things and if my ass or man junk or parts in between was going to make ist presence known it would have to get through the red haze of the angry carbon chicks of Hell Hath no Fury or the relentless chase of the pack from The Hunted. The final ride was on the open road and comprised of a twenty miler and took approx 80 minutes. I kept some notes on each ride posting then to Daily Mile and after 7 days and I had 69 miles to reflect on.
Up next was the Breakaway, at face value this had more deck to sit on and was more sculptured with a scalloped seat, that is the back arched up and the front dropped down…I think a photo would help!
So here is one; note the rails are parallel to the ground. In the right hand picture the saddle is straight but front wheel is turned. So in a similar way I set about crushing it on the several Sufferfest rides (and that is what I am telling myself!) although I did manage to finally get a decent ride using TrainerRoad…more on that later!
Unfortunately I ran out of time to do a road test but I still managed to accumulate 70 miles in a short week and by then my mind was made up and I packed them up and sent them back to Dean. So here is the final thoughts and conclusion:
Time Trial; this is a short hard saddle, there is not a lot of deck to sit on, width wise it was fine for me but I did not have a width issue with any of them. The shortness means you really have to “perch” on the front and there is no real fidget room. Additionally it is pretty darn hard, this could have been because this was a new saddle and it may give in time but right now it was hard. As mentioned the TT has a hanging hook which the breakaway does not. The prongs are more open at the front than the Breakaway which adds to requirement to sit on your sit bones. The back of the saddle is cut sharper and there is less opportunity to slide back and dig in.
Breakaway; as you can see in the photo above this is a bigger (longer) saddle, it’s not just the “prongs” that are longer the actual deck feels longer too. The scalloping of it combined with it’s extra length allows you to move back a little and this is useful when you want to dig in on climbs or just add more power. Additionally it is softer and while I didn’t want a saddle too soft I wanted one with some cushioning. The prongs here are closer together, this adds in my mind to the less aggressive position overall
So in conclusion after this trial I have ordered a Breakaway. I should get it later this week and I will have about 10 months to ramp up to be able to sit in it for 6 hours which I hope is long enough…I have no idea yet how many miles that would be but if I keep up my current mileage that should be north of 4500 which I assume is enough.
Special thanks Dean who spent time on the phone with me going through experiences of the two and making a special arrangement to secure a Time Trial saddle for me. If you are interested he offers a weeks worth of trial use for $25 including shipping both ways and that is knocked of the price (which he can get a little discount) on of a new saddle.
Ultimately of course a saddle, like any touchpoints (pedals, tape being the other two) on a bike are a very personal thing so you should try out a few before making a choice.
Here are a bunch of other photos