Bontrager Hilo XXX saddle review£200.00

Split-nose TT/tri perch with a touch of grip

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The Bontrager Hilo XXX delivers on the basics you’d expect from a high-end time trial/triathlon saddle: anatomic channel, light weight and abbreviated length. Whether it’s right for you depends on a few preferences.

    The saddle is noticeably firmer in the mid- and rear sections than others in Bontrager’s Hilo repertoire — which we certainly rank as a positive thing. The front third remains softer, on the seeming presumption that you will support most of your weight further back. But little grip dots partway up the nose seem to operate on the premise that you might need some traction when hammering away out on the pointy end.

    In our testing, we used a middle-of-the-road aero position and found the saddle comfortable for long efforts with the hips rolled somewhat forward and the sitbones situated about in the middle of the saddle.

    Combined with adequate sitbone support, the anatomic channel provided suitable pressure relief.

    The relatively wide (5cm) nose offers a little more fore/aft wiggle room — provided that you can abide the softer nose section. However, those with thicker legs might notice the extra girth of the nose when pedaling; this is exacerbated by the short siding on the nose. Taller leg glides would likely disperse this minor pressure.

    Bontrager hilo xxx's nose is 5cm wide with gripper dots: bontrager hilo xxx's nose is 5cm wide with gripper dots
    Bontrager hilo xxx's nose is 5cm wide with gripper dots: bontrager hilo xxx's nose is 5cm wide with gripper dots

    The Bontrager Hilo XXX's nose is 5cm wide with gripper dots

    In terms of shape, the Hilo XXX sits between a road saddle and a dedicated aero-position perch such as an ISM Adamo; although the nose is a little stubby, there is decidedly more length there than a chopped-off option like a fi’zi:k Tritone. Again, whether this is a positive depends on your preference. Those just transitioning to a dedicated TT/tri  saddle for the first time might appreciate the longer nose. Those who want to slam their seat as far forward as possible might not like the length when out of the saddle. One tester found the nose material grabbed his shorts a few times when starting from stoplights.

    The carbon rails are ovalized, so make sure your seatpost is compatible. Although claimed at 180g, we weighed our test sample at 190g. (Compare this with the 283g Adamo Racing II with alloy rails or 220g (claimed) Fi’zi:k Tritone with carbon rails.)

    The Hilo XXX tapers from 50mm at the nose to 140mm at rear, and is 265mm long.

    Bontrager hilo xxx's sides feature a bit of vertical siding, but not as much as on an ism adamo or a specialized sitero: bontrager hilo xxx's sides feature a bit of vertical siding, but not as much as on an ism adamo or a specialized sitero
    Bontrager hilo xxx's sides feature a bit of vertical siding, but not as much as on an ism adamo or a specialized sitero: bontrager hilo xxx's sides feature a bit of vertical siding, but not as much as on an ism adamo or a specialized sitero

    The Hilo XXX's sides feature a bit of vertical siding, but not as much as on an ISM Adamo or a Specialized Sitero

    Ben Delaney

    US Editor-in-Chief
    Ben has been writing about bikes since 2000, covering everything from the Tour de France to Asian manufacturing to kids' bikes. The former editor-in-chief of VeloNews, he began racing in college while getting a journalism degree at the University of New Mexico. Based in the cycling-crazed city of Boulder, Colorado, with his wife and two kids, Ben enjoys riding most every day.
    • Age: 40
    • Height: 183cm / 6'
    • Weight: 82kg / 180lb
    • Waist: 84cm / 33in
    • Chest: 99cm / 39in
    • Discipline: Road (paved or otherwise), cyclocross and sometimes mountain. His tri-curious phase seems to have passed, thankfully
    • Preferred Terrain: Quiet mountain roads leading to places unknown
    • Current Bikes: Scott Foil Team Issue, Specialized S-Works Tarmac, Priority Eight city bike... and a constant rotation of test bikes
    • Dream Bike: A BMC Teammachine SLR01 with disc brakes and clearance for 30mm tires (doesn't yet exist)
    • Beer of Choice: Saison Dupont
    • Location: Boulder, CO, USA

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