Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Good Stuff: Bontrager Inform R saddle

At the end of last MTB season (Which, here, seems to end in May) I noticed that my trusty, relatively comfy Avocet O2 saddle was getting a bit threadbare.

Yay. Time to buy more bike stuff!

I love the OBRA email list. It's a great way to connect with other like-minded folks and there's always a ton of used good stuff circulating. This is where I found the next saddle.

I scored a Fizik Pave Sport for a paltry $30. Yay, deal. It was like new and I happily mounted it to the Thomson seatpost. Well, my mountain bike pretty much sat idle the whole winter as I spent all my time on the SS MTB.

So. A couple of weeks ago I take the MTB out for a little fun in the park-- it's the maiden voyage on the Fizik saddle. (Apparently Fizik is supposed to rhyme with "physique", but it should rhyme with "yeowww", or eventually "What the hell? I can't feel my dick!!")

Immediately the thing is beating the tar out of my ass. It really was like sitting on the end of a baseball bat. With a doily on it. The best part was that the plastic scuff guards were digging into my soft butt. So it was like sitting on the end of a baseball bat. With a doily. With nails in it.

Removing the scuff guards helped tremendously but it was still damned uncomfortable. I mean really, the saddle is so narrow that it's almost inside me.

What, are Italians really that skinny? Or do I just have a big butt?

Well, as fortune would have it, I found myself in one of the local bike shops for an unrelated matter. I discovered that they had all their saddle on sale. I had been eyeing the Specialized Body Geometry saddles for a while since I'd had pretty good luck with one on my road bike. They didn't have the width I wanted in stock and steered me to the new Bontrager inForm saddles. The sales-dude had me sit on this weird squishy bench that revealed my assal pressure points. These correlated to various widths of the saddles.

I was shocked to discover that I was right on the cusp of the widest size-- 154mm!

With tears in my eyes, I blurted out "I've got a big butt!" I turned back to the display wall and began grabbing at several very sporty racing saddles: the "Le Gouger", the "Terriblé Race RL", and the "SuperCry Narrow Sport". I vowed that I'd live with a numb penis before admitting that I had a "wide load". Visions of super-wide "health saddles" crowded out svelte racing imagery.

The helpful sales-dude reASSured me that "internal bone structure doesn't translate to exterior size". Yeah, whatever.

But I bought the 154mm wide Bontrager inForm R saddle because it was barely $60 and I needed a saddle for my first big MTB race of the season in just a few days. Plus the saddle had a 90-day return policy. Parker Lewis Can't Lose!

After mounting the saddle and taking it for a quick test ride out in the street I was amazed at how comfortable the saddle was. It was instant. Like putting on an old pair of jeans. It just fit! The only other time I've had a component fit me so quickly and so well was the OnOne Midge handlebar.

The saddle passed with flying colors just a few days later at the race. Not a single problem. No numbness, no hot spots, no chafing. Just incredible.

And the saddle doesn't look like it belongs on a cruiser or anything.

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