Having had lots of injuries and a few broken bones following crashes I’m not the most flexible rider by a long way. A few years ago I used to suffer with a really bad lower back, apparently I had a prolapsed disc which would flare up every now and then, I spent a fortune on various physio’s and osteopaths but nothing solved it completely, then I started to do a core stability class and now I’ve been clear of spasm’s for years. I’m still not very flexible and should definitely stretch more though!
So that’s a bit of my history, amazingly enough even when my bad back was at it’s worst I was still fine to ride, I couldn’t stand up straight but had no problem climbing Mont Ventoux! All that always had an impact on my saddle choice, I don’t know precisely when but I remember reading about Robert Millar decrying all ‘flat’ modern saddles. I didn’t actually suffer with saddle sores or even a particularly sore bum but I was/am a big fan of Millar so thought I’d get an old skool scooped saddle and give it a try, at the time it was a real ‘light-bulb’ moment, I couldn’t believe how comfortable it was! Years later I had the same saddle on all my bikes and swore that I’d never ride anything else.
Fast forward to Monday 9th February and as a rider for Team Chronomaster/Leisure Lakes/Specialized I attended a VIP night at Leisure Lakes Bikes in Bury, meeting the Specialized representative Stefan Fuchs there and getting fitted for a saddle and foot-beds. You could say I was a little skeptical about trying a new saddle! Fair play though, with all input from our sponsors I would happily give it a try!
The fitting itself was fairly straightforward and looking back, it’s surprising nobody has ever come up with this concept before as it makes perfect sense. The process involves sitting on a gel base that’s fixed to a wooden block. Whilst sitting on the base your knees are raised onto a block in front of you to place as much weight as possible onto your sit bones. You’re left to sit on the base for approximately a minute, this leaves a definite imprint of your sit bones in the gel which can be measured for width and depth. Stefan carried out this procedure with all of the team and happily he had a large box filled with various saddles ready for all shapes and sizes, on reviewing mine he recommended a Specialized Romin Evo Pro in 155mm width – they come in three widths.
So to the real test – first things first I had to know if it was heavier than my existing saddle! A big thumbs-up to the Romin, despite both saddles having carbon rails the Romin came in at a good 60g lighter at 179g – even lighter than the claimed weight! So the following morning I was keen to fit the saddle, even though I expected to back on my old one before long, on it went and I set off for work..
My ride into work takes me down the A6 past Bolton heading toward Manchester, it’s only 20 miles round trip but long enough to get a feel for the saddle and certainly the roads are bad enough to give it a very good comfort test! I was genuinely surprised, as mentioned this type of saddle (flat) is a big change from what I’ve had for years and years, so I really didn’t expect it to be comfortable but I’m very happy to say I haven’t noticed any discomfort at all, I can’t honestly say that it’s ‘more’ comfortable, I’d need many more miles before going that far, what I can say is that at the moment it’s every bit as comfortable and I’m definitely keeping it!
Added to that is the knowledge that there’s a personal body-geometry fit process carried out to ensure it is the correct saddle and it’s much lighter makes it a no brainer recommendation from me!