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Having spent a week on the new Specialized Power saddle, I thought I would share my thoughts and opinions on it.
When I first saw the saddle up close, I was a bit taken aback by how different it looked. Wide, and very short. When placed on the bike, it was a challenge to not move it more forward, and it looks like it was sat too far back. But I stuck to the instructions and left it where it should be.
The first few rides were all commutes – short 25-30 mile trips to the office and back – and the weather was dreadful! I have to admit that it did feel quite odd and the very first ride was taken up by me mostly shuffling back and forth between what felt ‘normal’ and what felt ‘comfortable’. There was always the sensation that I was perched right on the edge which, I guess is the point…
So after a couple of days of commuting, I still wasn’t sure about the saddle, but I didn’t read too much into this. The reason being, this saddle is designed for endurance, more specifically, extended efforts in an aero position – efforts that testers endure, and road racers in a break. I never use the drops when I commute, save for the odd sprint interval here and there. My intention was always to test the saddle proper in a race condition.
So Sunday arrives, and it’s race day. The Chester Road Club event on the fast Saighton circuit. I got up feeling good, and planned to get in a break, which I managed on lap 2. There were 6 in the break, and given the pace of the circuit and the speed of the bunch, it turned out to be a loooong slog to the finish to try and stay away.
The next 90 minutes were a full on, high cadence, max effort ride – all of which were spent in the drops to stay out of the wind. Three technical turns meant switching to the hoods, and I found this a lot easier than normal. Riding in the drops felt a little bit more natural, which was verified later with my power output being higher than I expected.
After the race, if you were to ask me if this was because of the saddle, I still wouldn’t have been able to give you a firm answer. But what I do know is that I worked really hard, felt good the whole time, and never did any of the shuffling I did on the commutes. I stuck to a position the whole time without any discomfort.
But I guess the biggest and most noticeable difference came when I handed the saddle on to another team mate. Going back to a full size saddle suddenly felt awkward. I was now very aware of pressure points that I had forgotten about during the week with the Power saddle.
My conclusion is this. It looks and feels very different to my usual saddle of choice, and initially I thought this is not the saddle for me. When you try it, you will struggle to understand the point of it, but under the right conditions it does *exactly* what was intended. It lets you forget for a couple of hours whether you are sat right or not. The most significant difference is not felt when you use it, but when you stop using it.
I wish I’d kept hold of it now!