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Specialized Sitero Review

Specialized has been making saddles under their Body Geometry label for years, but only recently jumped into the TT/Triathlon market with their new Sitero saddle.  We recently got a few of the unique new saddles in at the shop, and quickly installed them on the bikes of our coaches for some race feedback.  First, here’s a technical rundown.

The TT/Triathlon saddle market has recently been dominated by two shapes: the split nose, and the padded nose.  When riders drop into the aero position, the pelvis rotates forward.  In this position, standard road saddles, with their narrow, firm noses, tend to place uncomfortable pressure on the soft tissue of the perineum, which can cause pain and numbness.  The split nose design attempts to sidestep this issue by creating a hollow channel for soft tissue to occupy, while displacing most of the rider’s body weight onto the pubic arch.  The padded nose design simply bulks up the nose of a standard saddle, which diffuses pressure on the perineum.  You can see examples of these two designs below (left & center)

TT Saddles Top View

Left-to-right: ISM Adamo TT, Fi’zi:k Ares, Specialized Sitero

 

TT Saddles Side View

Top-to-bottom: Specialized Sitero, Fi’zi:k Ares, ISM Adamo TT

 

Both of these designs have their benefits and drawbacks.  The split nose design can be comfortable, so long as the width of the saddle matches that of the rider’s pelvic arch.  If the saddle is too narrow or too wide, the perineum or the pelvic arch winds up taking on excess pressure.  The padded nose design can relieve some of the stress of a standard road saddle, but becomes more uncomfortable during longer efforts for many riders.

The Specialized Sitero addresses these issues with a novel design.  Like split nose saddles, it is designed to displace body weight onto the pelvic arch, but it does so with a wedge-shaped design that becomes progressively wider.  The range of widths on the Sitero is 4-14.5cm, while the ISM saddle (above left) holds at a constant 6cm for the length of its hollow channel.  This means that riders with different hip widths can ride the same saddle by sitting further toward the front or back.

pelvis

Sit bones for standard road saddles (red); pelvic arch for TT saddles (blue)

I raced with the Sitero in the 9-mile time trial at Tour of Walla Walla, a course with mostly flat terrain and a 3-minute hill at 5% grade.  During the race, the first thing I noticed was that while my position was identical to that on my previous padded nose saddle, the Sitero was much firmer.  It felt less like I was floating on soft tissue and more like I was anchored to the saddle with my bones.  This initially felt less plush, but over the course of the ride I noticed that I didn’t have to shift my weight to allow blood circulation and relieve pressure the way I occasionally did on my previous saddle.

On the short hill I slid back slightly on the saddle and on the aerobars.  This put more of my weight on my sit bones like a standard road saddle and allowed my hip angle to open, which is generally a more powerful position. The split nose kept the front of the saddle from being uncomfortable.

I was satisfied with the saddle overall.  The hardest part for me was matching the position.  The Sitero has a very short nose, so measurements like distance behind the bottom bracket are not relevant.  It took some trial and error on the trainer and a few test rides before I was confident that I had the position correct.

Screen Shot 2014-04-26 at 3.54.24 PM

Cycle U has the Sitero Expert Gel at both shops in red, white, or black starting at $175.  Come in to test one out today!

More info:

http://www.specialized.com/us/en/ftb/saddles/roadtriathlon-saddles/sitero-expert-gel