For access to all of our training, gear, and race coverage, plus exclusive training plans, FinisherPix photos, event discounts, and GPS apps, sign up for Outside+.
Triathlon-specific saddle options are expanding.
The old notion of a “time trial saddle” is disappearing. Thanks to ISM, truly ergonomic triathlon saddle are replacing ones with long foam noses. Pro, Specialized and Fizik are all displaying new tri-specific saddles shaped to put weight on the sit bones, even from the aero position. See more photos of the three new saddles here.
Pro, Shimano’s component brand, is creating a triathlon saddle with two firm foam rails to support the rider’s weight with a deep trough in the middle. The contact points are quite narrow and the channel between the two supportive rails is moderately wide. The entire nose is fairly narrow when compared to the ISM Adamo saddles and it extends fairly far out from the broad section of the saddle, giving it a silhouette similar to long-nose time trial saddles that are quickly disappearing. The foam tongs are quite rigid to support the rider without losing the effect of the deep channel by collapsing under the rider’s weight. It weighs 295 grams and will be available in three colors, white, black and black and green.
In addition to being a leading bike manufacturer, Specialized has years of experience with bike fit and that knowledge is reflected in the Sitero saddle. Its silhouette resembles the ISM Adamo saddles—broad, stubby nose and wide rear portion—but it has foam connecting the two elevated prongs that support rider weight. Like the Pro and Fizik saddles, the Sitero uses two elevated foam rails to support the rider’s weight without acting like a tourniquet on the worst possible parts. One notable difference is the shape of those supportive rails. Specialized’s saddle has less abrupt transitions between the elevated rails, creating gentler contact points. Another point of differentiation between this model and the ISM Adamo is weight distribution. The ISM seats support all the rider’s weight on the two tongs at the tip of the saddle, while the Sitero can spread a little more pressure through the sit bones for some rider positions. A single bottle cage mounts directly to the rear of the saddle for either hydration or flat repair storage.
The Italian company has only been around for a few years, but they have been fiercely loyal to the more traditional long nose style of time trial saddle until now. The Arione Tri2 triathlon saddle has a long foam covered nose without any slit down the middle, and it has been popular for a long time. For riders who don’t fit that style of saddle, the Tritone is a new-era triathlon saddle designed to relieve pressure from the middle of the rider’s undercarriage. It has a deep split between two foam tongs that widens toward the nose. It is broader than the Pro saddle, and similar in width to the Specialized. The foam rails feel slightly softer than the Pro, although Fizik states that the foam is sufficiently rigid to support a rider without collapsing and pinching the underside. It is available with carbon (220 grams) and aluminum (250 grams) rails. The carbon rails aren’t completely cylindrical and may not fit some clamps. It comes with a rear hydration system that bolts to the rear of the saddle with enough room for two bottles, a CO2 cartridge and extra tube. US prices aren’t available, but the carbon version will go for 250 euros and the aluminum is priced at 179 euros.
Follow Triathlete on Twitter @Triathletemag for inspiration, new workout ideas, gear reviews from our editors and more.