Sunday, 20 May 2012

Take your seats please - WTB Sliverado on trial

WTB Silverado Carbon saddle

For a couple of weeks now I’ve been sitting astride a sparkling white WTB Silverado saddle. Whereas many of us know WTB to be a purveyor of ultra-padded mountain bike saddles, the plush stuff that soft butts dream of, they’re also in the business of making high end racing seats too, such as the Silverado.
It (Silverado) may sound like a spaghetti western, but there’s certainly nothing “cowboy” about this high-end saddle. Its carbon fibre rails and low-rise padding micro-fibre covering are trimmed with Kevlar edging to make for a durable rugged ride (also available in embossed black and in long and short lengths, and with titanium or nicro rails). The saddle is a thoroughbred racing mount, and is super-light, and retails for an RRP of US$250 ($90 for the basic version), putting it firmly towards the top end of the saddle scales on price, and at the lower end on weight.



The rear of the saddle is clearly aimed at comfort, while the front end rolls out slightly wider and flatter than most saddles, which is said to allow for easier pulling forward when climbing. The centre of the saddle has a recessed section (to ease the pressure on your precious bits), and beneath the saddle the front end of this recessed section has a star-shaped split to allow for a little extra flexibility at the crucial end of the comfort scale, all sound and well-proven technology. There’s also a pair of star shaped “splits” beneath the rear of the saddle, close to where the rails attach, which adds a little flex and comfort to the rear end.
So, how does it fare out on the road? Well, it looks great, and is clearly very durable and tough, unlike my under-used (of late) butt cheeks. The saddle definitely gives a rigid ride, aimed at performance – and it delivers in that respect. There’s not a whole lot in the way of front end flex, which is great for skinny racing snakes, but can feel a little harsh after a long spell spent riding more heavily padded saddles (as I have).
The Silverado is pitched as both an elite road and XC MTB saddle, and is definitely made for those with a competitive leaning, and who are used to performance related seating. For the average weekend warrior it could take a little hardening of the butt to get used to – but I have to admit that after a few days even my aging cheeks succumbed to the saddles “more experienced” ride characteristics, which are far more comfortable overall than other high-end saddles I’ve ridden of late.



The “bottom line” – a big thumbs up, as a high-end race (and sportive) saddle; a durable, and well thought out super-lightweight.
For weekend warriors maybe the slightly weightier nicro railed version would make more economic sense, or even a slightly more padded WTB saddle.
I have a couple more saddles to test over the next month, but have a feeling that this one will be going back on my seatpost soon after.