The eight saddles featured in the 2016 Triathlete Buyer's Guide.
The draw: Dial in your comfort
The Hilo RXL Speed Dial offers great versatility. The saddle’s novel design allows the nose width to be adjusted easily with the turn of a 5mm hex key. This approach all but ensures that you can find a comfortable balance between soft-tissue pressure relief and inner thigh comfort. At the widest setting, the saddle nose is approximately the same width as the ISM PN series. This saddle works well for many, especially women.
The draw: Great for a road bike with aerobars
The Power Pro is a relatively firm, split saddle that is designed to give soft-tissue pressure relief without deviating too much from a traditional saddle design. The Power Pro is a short saddle that is almost tailor-made for triathletes who are looking to take on an aggressive position on their road bike, with or without aerobars. The saddle seems to work equally well for men and women and is available in two widths.
The draw: Plush and versatile
The first thing we noticed when we put our chamois on Profile’s latest seat offering is the very soft padding. The Vertex 80 is available with or without a complete middle cut-out, but both versions of the saddle have a generous groove. Due to the soft cushioning of this seat, the groove on the nose quickly disappears under a rider’s body weight and is not very effective at removing pressure from sensitive areas. This saddle is great for short-term nose riding, but the rear of it is best suited for long rides and races. The integrated rear bottle holder is a smart aerodynamic feature.
The draw: High performance with wider support
The Tritone 6.5 is a slightly wider version of the original Tritone 5.5. The saddle shares all the same features as the original, including a wide pressure relief channel, great build quality and a convenient integrated bottle carrier. The seat uses the same soft padding used on the 5.5, which does not support the weight of heavier riders without deflecting and deforming. This Tritone 6.5 is definitely worth considering if you are a lightweight woman, as the width and cushion may be perfect for you.
The draw: Affordable functionality
Fabric entered the saddle market with a colorful splash. Its tri saddle is a firm, UCI-legal split-nose seat that is reasonably priced, well designed and available in a variety of colors. The saddle was best for test riders who didn’t have very aggressive positions and were able to sit toward the back of the saddle. Its rails are biased toward the front of this seat, which should allow for ample adjustability on most of today’s tri bikes.
$185–285 (depending on carbon or Tirox rail), Prologotouch.com
The draw: Short-course speed
This saddle works well when the intensity level is high and is probably best for short-distance triathlons and timed cycling events. It features a variety of technologies from Prologo that result in a very advanced and well-thought-out piece of equipment. The saddle has a narrow split nose without much contact surface, so pressure can be high at lower intensities—but that’s not what this saddle was designed for.
The draw: Italian heritage meets modern triathlon
Selle Italia re-entered the tri saddle market with the Iron Tekno Flow. It is available in two different widths and features an extremely narrow split nose (about 35mm on the smaller saddle). If you have struggled with chafing from the width of other split-nose saddles, then the Flow is definitely worth considering. Our testers reported a comfortable ride when in the aero position and when sitting upright, but it is hard to ride this saddle at the very front (as with other split saddles). The seat features an elevated rear section that provides stability when sitting upright, and the rear of the saddle doubles as a fairing to manage airflow behind the rider.
The draw: Proven design
*Best In Class*
ISM builds on its wide selection of saddles with the PN2.1, which is similar in many ways to the popular PN 1.1 but with a few small upgrades that make the saddle more triathlon-friendly, including a modified rear section, a transition hook (for easy rack hanging at a race) and slightly upgraded saddle rails. The PN2.1 works well for triathletes of all abilities who seek a split-nose saddle with a bit more cushioning than some of the other ISM offerings.