British stalwarts Raleigh have built some very impressive bikes in their 125-year history, and particularly in the past few years, but the company also produce a huge range of their own kit, much of it bearing the RSP name made famous by Raleigh’s earlier racing machines.
The RSP Pro Race saddle seems to offer a lot for a modestly priced product. Not only does it have a leather cover – unusual at this price – it also has titanium rails, which are lighter and offer more comfort than the chromoly steel rails found on most similarly priced seats. The result is an extremely comfortable saddle with quite a traditional shape.
It weighs just 216g – again, good for the money – and measures 270x130mm. There’s a shallow pressure-relieving groove running from about halfway back, and although the RSP logo is pretty prominent, there’s no uncomfortable stitching on the surface that you can feel through your Lycra, which isn’t true of all saddles.
The seat is quite deeply padded, which is perfect for sitting back in, and though there’s less padding on the nose, even riding with your weight further forward proved to be very comfortable. As for appearances, the RSP Race looks great in white – at least it does when new. White saddles do their work in the bike shop showroom, but after a short while riding on grubby roads and gaining some scuffs, they look rather less pristine.
We’d have liked the option of black, the colour of the Pro Race’s little brother, the RSP Elite Race (this is the same design but with chromoly rails, a tenner cheaper and just 10g heavier). But as it stands, the RSP Pro Race is a saddle that’s going to take a lot of beating.
It demonstrates that if you're going to have anybody manufacture your own-brand parts, you might as well plump for one of the biggest and best companies. Velo have been manufacturing saddles for over three decades, and they've put that experience to good use, creating a saddle that should appeal to a wide range of cyclists – racers, commuters and leisure riders alike.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.