I’ve had mixed success and comfort when riding saddles with a cut-out, but as the most personal of contact points, it’s worth getting right.
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Available in 142mm or 132mm widths, both 277mm long, this Aspide’s obvious feature is its large central cut-out.
At 160mm long, it opens out from 10mm wide at the front to 30mm near the saddle’s widest point, and continues as a deep channel until the saddle’s forked rear.
It’s almost a saddle of two halves. At first glance it appears only to be held together at the nose and tail, but a beefy structural stability bridge below the front half of the cut-out is intended to prevent excess flex.
The rails are XSiLite, made largely of silicone with titanium and carbon, and have a useful knurled seat clamp section. The shell is carbon fibre-reinforced nylon covered in a supple-feeling, perforated Microfeel fabric, that’s grippy and durable.
Alongside the hole, the key to this Aspide’s performance is the use of thicker than usual Biofoam padding, topped with a thin gel layer. The result is very plush, but still at an impressive 209g weight for my 132mm sample.
There’s quite a lot of shell flex, which, with very squishy padding, makes for great comfort. You tend to nestle into the saddle, which prevents unwanted forward slippage, but it supports well, and that long cut-out provides decent pressure relief, mostly thanks to its soft edges.
Hardened racers will be put off by the padding’s squirming and increased nose bulk, but it’s a refined and comfortable long-ride saddle.