Review: Specialized Power Saddles

When it was first announced in March 2015, it was clear that the Specialized Power saddle was not simply a new take on an old design.

 

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Design


Specialized's Power saddle is a hybrid of several of the company's existing saddles; borrowing the longer and wider cutout of the women-specific models, the broad and fairly flat cross-section of their MTB-focused Phenom, and the stubby nose of the time-trial and triathlon Sitero. The Power was designed to suit both men and women’s anatomies, with three available widths to choose from.

 

The Power saddle's nose is about 3 cm shorter than traditional saddles and sits at a different angle at the tail end. Specialized recommend installing the saddle with the nose level to the ground, which will make the tail flare up. When you are bent down in the drops and pushing on the pedals, the flare in the back helps to keep you planted, rather than sliding backwards on the saddle.

 

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Specialized's Body Geometry saddles aim to provide the best fit and having the correct sized saddle is an important part of getting this right. The aim is to have the rider supported by their sit bones instead of other more sensitive areas. If you are unsure of your size, most stores should have the equipment available for a basic measurement.

 

Construction, fit, and finish are impeccable with the Power saddle which is available in four specification levels: Power Comp with CroMo rails, Power Expert with Titanium rails, Power Pro with Titanium rails and a carbon shell and the top of the range S-Works with a carbon shell and rails. The basic shape, however, remains unchanged at each level with only the padding getting thinner the higher up you go.

 

Two threaded holes in the base can accept one of three SWAT accessories (the bandit low-profile flat repair kit, a reserve rack single or double bottle cage holder, and a rear-facing GoPro camera mount). It is a smart and neat design.

 


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Specifications

  • Stiff FACT carbon fibre shell tuned for support and ride compliance.
  • Super-light PU padding for comfort and support on longer rides.
  • Lightweight and durable, hollow titanium rails.
  • Tough, lightweight, water-resistant cover.
  • Level 1 padding: Lightest level of padding for the most direct connection to the bike.
  • SWAT compatible mounts moulded into the saddle base allow for sleek and integrated storage solutions.
  • Available in 143mm, 155mm and 168mm sizes
  • Weight 143mm - 211g, 155mm - 214g (actual weight of the 143mm saddle was 208g)
  • Recommend retail price: R 2,599 (Power Pro as tested)

The Ride


I immediately found the saddle to be comfortable with just the right amount of padding for my liking. For reference, I prefer a low profile saddle with little padding.

 

The short nose takes some time getting familiar with but it drastically cuts back on any potential for chafing of the thighs as there is simply nothing to rub on. Coming off a narrower saddle, it does take a few rides to adjust to your sit bones supporting more weight. With your weight firmly on your sit bones, the wide central cutout works well to further reduce pressure on soft tissues.

 

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Roadies will rejoice by just how comfortable it is when riding on the drops for extended periods. The same goes for mountain bikers who move to the tip of the saddle on technical climbs. It simply does not sting as much as any other saddle I've tried, adding another level of comfort.

 

The tail-up design gives an in-the-saddle feel rather than a sitting-on-top feel common with other saddles. The tail also lends greater support when hammering away at the pedals stopping any possibility of unwanted movement.

 

Saddle choice is highly subjective and personal, making it tough to give a verdict. On a bicycle, you can make changes and adjustments to get it to your liking, but a saddle either works or it does not. I do however feel that the Specialized Power saddle is definitely worth considering.

 

The Power Pro offered great support and comfort on all the bikes it was tested on regardless of position and has become my saddle of choice.

 

Power Arc Pro and Power Pro Elaston


Following the successful launch of the Power Saddle, Specialized has introduced two new versions of the popular saddle.

 

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Three's company. The Power Pro Elaston (right), Power (centre), and Power Arc Pro (right).

 

Power Arc Pro


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The biggest change over the standard Power saddle is a more curved (arced) shape through the saddle's wings, giving it a rounder profile. Other than that, the overall shape is the same with lightweight, hollow titanium rails, super-light EVA padding, stiff, FACT carbon fibre shell, and an extra wide and elongated Body Geometry channel that Specialized say shows an improvement in blood flow in testing and pressure mapping, reducing numbness and pressure on sensitive areas.

 


Specialized Power Arc Pro saddles  1.jpgThe Power Arc Pro has a more exagurated curve.

Specialized Power saddles  2.jpgThe standard Power saddle.

Specification:
  • Patented Body Geometry design is lab tested for both men and women to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
  • Stiff FACT carbon fibre shell is tuned for support and ride compliance.
  • Super-light EVA padding for comfort and support on longer rides.
  • Lightweight, durable, and hollow titanium rails.
  • Level 2 padding: Medium density foam for bike feel with additional cushioning.
  • SWAT-compatible mounts moulded into the saddle base allow for sleek and integrated storage solutions.
  • Size 143mm / Weight: 193g, Size 155mm / Weight: 199g
  • SRP: R 2,800.00
On the Bike

 

I mounted the Power Arc Pro on our Specialized Venge Elite long-term test bike, replacing an Astute Italia Skycarb VT Saddle. I have been riding the original Power saddle on other bikes in both the Comp and Pro versions. The feel of the saddle was immediately familiar and comfortable.

 

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The biggest change from the standard saddle is a more pronounced in-the-saddle feel. This has never been an issue before, but riding the Arc and Power Pro back to back, I could immediately feel the difference. The more immediate drop-off of the wings also gives greater clearance for your thighs, so for those who suffer chafing or prefer a bit more freedom of movement, the Arc could be the one to go for. On longer road rides this was most evident. It is something worth keeping in mind when shopping for a new road saddle.

 

Power Pro Elaston


In their quest to offer the Power saddle with the lightest level of padding available, Specialized replaced the traditional PU padding with an Elaston foam construction which is made up of small beads that are expanded into the foam. Other than that, it is business as usual with a stiff, FACT carbon shell with titanium rails in the stumpy design the Power saddle is known for. The extra-wide and elongated Body Geometry channel and short nose provide excellent sit bone support with the Body Geometry design developed to cater to men and women.

 

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Specification:

  • Patented Body Geometry design is lab tested for both men and women to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
  • Stiff FACT carbon fibre shell is tuned for support and ride compliance.
  • Elaston foam provides unrivalled comfort and support on longer rides.
  • Lightweight, durable, and hollow titanium rails.
  • Level 1 padding: Lightest level of padding for the most direct connection to the bike.
  • SWAT-compatible mounts moulded into the saddle base allow for sleek and integrated storage solutions.
  • Size 143mm / Weight: 231g, Size 155mm / Weight: 235g
  • SRP: R 2,800.00
On the Bike

 

The Power Pro Elaston was mounted on my Momsen Bikes ST-F steel hardtail mountain bike in part to cash in on the extra padding and comfort on offer when riding local trails. Specialized say that the Elaston padding gives "the feeling of sitting on 1,000 miniature pillows rather than one piece of foam". While this is certainly noticeable while paying close attention, once you are riding it does not distract from your ride with the result being a very comfortable saddle.

 

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Again, going in I was already a fan of the Power saddle, but I was pleasantly surprised just how much more comfortable the Power Pro Elaston was compared to the Fizik Gobi it replaced. Chalk and cheese. The decision to only cover a portion of the saddle with the extra padding is a stroke of genius as it adds comfort where most needed, without adding bulk or the sensation that you are sitting on a squishy saddle. The Elaston padding does an excellent job of taking the zing out of the trail. I rode the same bike with a standard Power Pro to get a feel for the difference and it was very noticeable - especially as I did this without wearing a bib to try and get the feel for the difference in saddles.

 

Verdict


I have now ridden all available iterations of the Specialized Power saddle, from the base Comp model right up to the range-topping S-Works, and have found all of them to be comfortable and in-line with the overall feel and philosophy of the Power saddle range. The Elaston and Arc models offer a fresh twist, but with a proven design, offering a good range of options to riders - whether you are female, male, a roadie, or mountain biker. Kudos to Specialized for taking a winning formula and keep pushing the envelope and innovating.

 

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What stood out for me over the last couple of months riding a superlight S-Works version on one bike and the Elaston on another is just how comfortable they are. If I had to choose only one from the range? If I was only allowed one model to fit a road bike, steel hardtail, trail bike, and all mountain bike, I would go with the Power Pro as it offers a good balance of comfort, low weight, and great feel. But I have the luxury of choice and have placed the Elaston (with its extra padding and comfort) on a hardtail mountain bike, the Arc slotting in for long distance rides on a road bike and the original Power doing duty on the trail and all mountain bikes.

 

Looking at it from another angle, I would say that as a rider who likes a low profile saddle with a little padding, I wouldn't opt for the Elaston on my bikes that see the most use. That doesn't mean you should follow suit, though. If you prefer more padding then you will be able to fit the Elaston to your road and/or mountain bike without sacrificing an inch of performance or comfort. It really is down to personal preference and taste.

 




9 Comments

Suidwes Boytjie, Jan 30 2018 02:39

Love my Power saddle, but this new Power Arc Pro looks very comfortable. 

trail - er - park, Jan 30 2018 03:30

The single biggest problem with the Power saddles is that  ....... once you have one,  you need more.

 

I now own 6 of them as nothing else comes close (and it's been years of searching for that elusive holy grail of butt comfort) to working across road and MTB / train / race / trail / whatever ...

 

Keep producing these Spaz!

Meezo, Jan 30 2018 03:34

looks ***!

Shell Belle, Jan 30 2018 04:40

The single biggest problem with the Power saddles is that  ....... once you have one,  you need more.

 

I now own 6 of them as nothing else comes close (and it's been years of searching for that elusive holy grail of butt comfort) to working across road and MTB / train / race / trail / whatever ...

 

Keep producing these Spaz!

 

HAHA SNAP!

 

I simply cannot ride on anything else.  I have 4 power saddles on each of my bikes!

daniele, Jan 31 2018 05:35

Simply the best saddle in the market, period.

Chris Newby-Fraser, Feb 01 2018 06:14

Horrible perch!

Pikey, Feb 07 2018 05:35

I have 3 power expert saddles. And on my mtb it is nothing short of perfect . Never a minutes discomfort. But after a year on my road bike ,I still haven’t found that perfect position.

fiammata, Nov 15 2018 09:04

I can ask you how you adjusted the inclination of the saddle. I have suggested to place it with an inclination of -5mm (from the tip - to the back) but positioning it this way it seems to me that the tip of the saddle goes a little too upward pushing the weight of the body backwards

A.K.A, Oct 03 2019 10:16

I have after some advice went over to the spez mimic women specific saddle in the power range ,in 5years the most comfortable saddle ever rode front part all gel ,did 2x100milers and transbaviaans no issues,waiting around 3months as they are high in demand around R1600 a saddle