Specialized’s Romin SL doesn’t immediately come across as being even remotely comfortable, what with its stiff carbon-reinforced nylon shell and notably sparse padding, yet it’s proven to be one of the most comfortable road saddles we’ve ever tested.
The refined shape is the key here, with a mostly flat profile side-to-side, a slight kick in the tail on the otherwise flat fore-aft profile, and a full-length channel and cutout that extends all the way through the broad and flat nose.
That firm shell and sparse padding are essential ingredients for the comfort formula, feeling hard at first but lending superb support over the long haul while also preventing the shape from collapsing under load and diminishing its effectiveness.
As a result, the Romin SL virtually eliminates soft tissue pressure. It supports your weight on your sit bones but without creating excessive pressure there. Even on road rides of four hours or more, we never experienced any numbness or other soft tissue discomfort and found the Romin SL to be a fantastically pleasant place to spend the day.
Riders with especially aggressive positions should note that the Romin SL maintains those characteristics when hunched deep in the drops and we’ve even been using one on a cross-country mountain bike with no issues (just be mindful in technical terrain where the sharp rear end can snag baggy shorts).
Durability has proven to be quite good, too, and the synthetic Micromatrix cover offers just the right combination of grip and slide with most of the shorts we’ve used.
Add in the feathery 208g weight (spot-on with company claims), three width options to suit different pelvic dimensions, a trio of colour options, plus a fairly reasonable cost, and the Romin SL is a winner all around. If there are any major flaws here, we’ve yet to find them.