The draw: A softer split nose
As with all ISM saddles, the PR 2.0 features a wide pressure-relief channel, often called a “split nose,” that extends through the end of the saddle nose. The new PR 2.0 saddle shares a similar overall shape to the first widely popular saddle from ISM, the Adamo Road, but features softer, more forgiving foam and a gently sloped nose shape, which makes it a good option for those who have struggled with the firmness of some split-nose saddles. We found the PR 2.0 comfortable when riding in the aero position or upright.
The draw: One size fits (almost) all
The Specialized Sitero Pro is a firm saddle that blends a perineal cut-out with a unique triangular shape. The saddle width increases steeply from the nose to the rear to let most riders find a comfy spot—many riders with different body shapes and types have found success with this saddle, so if you’re tough to please, you’ll want to check it out. That said, the sweet spot is limited to a very specific position, so long-course triathletes who like to move around on the saddle might want to check out other options.
The draw: Proven non-split nose option
The Profile Design Vertex is an updated version of Profile Design’s popular Tri Stryke saddle. The Vertex features a high-quality synthetic cover, a big improvement from the neoprene-like finish of its predecessor, which wore out quickly. For those who haven’t made the leap to a true split-nose saddle, this is likely the best option built on a ”traditional” saddle chassis. Unlike a split nose, this saddle attempts to relieve saddle pressure via a generously padded and wide nose, which dissipates pressure over the entire perineal area rather than loading directly on the pubic bones.
*Best in Class*
The draw: No-slip grip
The Mistica features the same great build quality as Fizik’s previous model, the Tritone, but is a lot more comfortable. The sizeable pressure-relief groove and supportive sitting structure loads the rider’s pubic bones well while keeping pressure off of the sensitive perineum. Many Tritone critics disliked the feel of the saddle nose, so Fizik answered with a redesigned nose that has been rounded a bit compared to the Tritone for comfort. Some of our test riders still found it rigid, but overall it seems to be a big improvement. We found this saddle most comfortable with our weight-bearing bits parked just behind the nose and the saddle tipped slightly downward. We did not notice any slipping, even with the downward tilt, thanks to a generous anti-slip coating. As a bonus, this saddle features an integrated hydration mount that works well for up to three bottles.
The draw: Perfect split nose for smaller triathletes
Selle SMP is an Italian manufacturer that is well known for its wide variety of road saddles that have proven to be effective at relieving perineal pressure and at promoting good riding posture. Like all Selle SMP saddles, the T5 features a perineal cut-out that runs the entire length of the saddle and is available in many color options. The nose of the T5 is well padded and quite narrow, especially considering the generous pressure-relief cut-out. This saddle could be the answer for smaller triathletes who have tried split saddles and struggled with the overall width. If you are an average or larger athlete, you will likely find this saddle to be too narrow for you, but don’t fret: Selle SMP makes four other versions of this saddle in different widths.
The draw: Lightweight and customizable
Denver-based Dash Cycles was founded in 2007 and is known for designing and producing beautiful, lightweight and elegant products. The new refined stock Dash Strike is available in black with a generous amount of padding. Or for twice the price and a few grams less, you can customize your color and padding level. This saddle has a fairly narrow split nose but with a wider rear section for all-around comfort. The Strike may still feel firm for those just getting used to split-nose saddles, but it’s an option worth trying, especially for smaller framed riders, thanks to the narrow nose.
The draw: Great for road bikes with aerobars
Pro’s second generation AeroFuel saddle replaces its original model with a softer and more traditional design. This saddle features a generous pressure-relief section but is not fully split to the saddle nose, so you’ll have to sit a little farther back on this seat than others for comfort. Those with wider hips and who do not ride with a very forward rotated pelvis—in particular triathletes who ride road bikes with clip-on aerobars—will do well with this saddle due to the wide pressure-relief groove and the wide supporting structure of the rear of the saddle, which performs well when sitting a bit more upright. This saddle features an effective rubberized anti-slip treatment.
– Saddle reviews by Jonathan Blyer