Specialized Oura Expert Gel saddle review
The women-specific Oura Expert Gel is part of Specialized’s Body Geometry series, which is based around the idea of achieving optimum personal fit through precise measurement and calculation.
Highs: Comfort, support, efficiency
Lows: Uninspired looks
The Oura comes in three widths – 168mm (218g), 155mm (207g) and 143mm (198g), the size tested – enabling you to get a saddle that’s as close as possible to the perfect size for your derrière, so your sit bones are correctly positioned for comfort and efficiency.
To keep weight down, the rails are hollow titanium (a carbon-rail version is available too). A carbon-reinforced shell gives it both the stiffness and flex required for power transfer.
But the Oura also offers decent levels of padding (it has a padding level of three on Specialized’s own one-to-six rating), with the lightweight EVA foam and gel inserts giving all of the comfort and support but none of the friction-inducing bulk that can be found on saddles offering similar cushioning. Also assisting in this is the short and narrow nose, while the large central cutout relieves pressure, even when you’re leaning forwards on the drops, so that numbness and soreness aren’t an issue.
Perhaps the Oura’s most significant feature, though, is the way it curves upwards at the back and downwards at the nose, so only the middle third of the saddle is level. These contours, created with the female shape in mind, are designed to put you in the optimum position for comfort and pedalling efficiency.
On our longest ride we certainly felt well supported throughout, the upward rear curve providing good support and helping to seat us naturally forward on the bike, with our sit bones in just the right place. It still felt comfortable after a few hours, with no shifting about required to reposition or relieve pressure as the miles clocked up.
While it feels great, it’s not the snazziest-looking saddle. But the silvery grey is fairly inoffensive, and ultimately, when choosing such an important accessory, a saddle’s aesthetics shouldn’t really be high on the priority list – even if it does slightly spoil your bike’s red and white livery…