Bike saddles. When was the last time you considered yours? That’s what I guessed. Most people don’t give saddles a lot of thought, unless they find theirs uncomfortable. Personally I found a saddle that my undercarriage likes years ago and I haven’t looked back. So for that reason when the editor told me I was to be reviewing the XRD SL Carbon Saddle there was no happy dance of excitement in anticipation of it arriving. That said, the level of excitement quickly changed when a package containing the saddle in question arrived at my front door, and just like any overexcited kid on Christmas morning I ripped into that package like there was nothing more important in this world. But when the XRD SL Carbon Saddle fell out of the package it was met with mixed emotions. My initial thought was ‘this thing is ugly’. With its less than exciting dull black and grey colour scheme (it does come in a white option) and down-turned nose I couldn’t think anything else except perhaps ‘man, this thing is light’. It’s approximately 155g.
XRD (Extreme Racing Design) are the sister company of RAVX, manufacturer of low to mid-range accessories. XRD however take direct aim at the pointy end of the cycling peloton. One thing is clear, they know how to make lightweight products. The SL Carbon Saddle has not only a carbon fibre injected base but the saddle on test came with carbon rails, making the 155g weight possible. The SL saddle also has a titanium rail version with only a 60g weight penalty.
So the million dollar question is, how does it ride? It took a couple of goes to get the XRD SL saddle in the correct position. But when I did, oh did my undercarriage take full advantage of the ‘microcellular polymer foam inserts’ that are strategically placed throughout the saddle. These inserts are designed to help absorb the kinetic energy transferred from the road. This mixed with the carbon fibre injected base and the carbon rails not only make for a lightweight saddle, but also help soak up the road vibrations that lead to soreness and discomfort. Once I got the saddle in the sweet spot, all of its design features and technology went to work making it possible to forget what I was sitting on and allow me to focus on what really mattered; crushing the pedals.
To me a good saddle isn’t about what it weighs and what professional teams or riders are using it. The mark of a good saddle is something that you can sit on and forget about. The XRD SL Carbon saddle definitely has met this criteria and although it isn’t the prettiest of saddles, I for one will be keeping it in mind the next time I need to purchase a new saddle for my ride.
Distributed by FRF Sports