The usual pitfall of ultra-light saddles is that the loss of mass is matched by reduced comfort. Plenty of feathery carbon perches look like shards of hardened plastic – and, unfortunately, many of them ride exactly as they look.
However, Bontrager believe that with the Paradigm RXXXL they have cracked the code, marrying the unlikely partners of low weight and high comfort. At 154g it’s certainly light and, as it’s available in 128, 138 and 148mm widths, you should be able to find a dimension to suit you.
Plenty of the hull is exposed beyond the varying density padding. It might look like carbon but is in fact a carbon-reinforced polymer shell that gives a massive amount of flex – we could get 10mm of comfortable give from the centre of the hull either side of the cutaway channel.
The channel itself is only secured by a 23mm section at the rear, which gives a feeling that the shell is working independently – flexing either side in unison with your pedalling action.
Bontrager paradigm rxxxl saddle – first look
Video: Bontrager Paradigm RXXXL saddle – first look
When you’re riding it feels supremely comfortable, the gently arched shape and kicked-up tail creating a saddle you sit ‘in’ rather than on. This hammock-like flex adds a layer of suspension to your rear and, having tried it on a super-rigid bike, we can vouch that it transformed the ride when it came to comfort.
At 170mm long and with 65mm of available rail adjustment, it’s short compared with some, but we still found it offered just enough room to manoeuvre. Having said that, if you’re a fan of longer saddles you might find it a little short, and while oversized carbon rails help reduce mass, at 9mm deep they’re not compatible with all seatposts – plus, their ovalised shape can also cause issues with clamps designed for round rails.
Cycling Plus is the UK's best selling monthly road cycling magazine. Established in 1992, every issue is packed with expert reviews of the latest road bikes and gear, inspirational routes and rides, evocative features that take you inside every aspect of cycling and unmatched nutrition, fitness and training advice.