Recently, I tested Fizik’s Adaptive saddle, which, like this Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror saddle, uses technology from Californian company Carbon 3D in place of traditional foam padding: a polymer matrix originally seen in Adidas’s running shoes.
Specialized has based its design around the short Power saddle shape. The upper is a complex structure of 14,000 individual struts and 7,799 nodes, all of which are tuned to offer different levels of elasticity.
At 188.2g (155mm width), it’s a little heavier than the standard S-Works Power (145g), but is still light.
On the bike, the Mirror saddle is very special. The variation in padding ‘tension’ throughout the entire upper makes for a different feel to a standard one.
I used to judge a good saddle on whether or not it became ‘noticeable’ after a few hours of continuous riding; it’s a good sign if you’re not feeling any discomfort. The Mirror, though, is something else. You know it’s there because it’s moving perfectly in unison with you, providing comfortable support at every point in your pedal stroke.
It is without doubt one of the best saddles I’ve ever used on a road bike. It combines the brilliant shape of the original Power with a textured surface, which adds in a level of compliant padding that boasts outstanding performance.
It’s a truly fantastic piece of equipment, but it’s not without its downsides.
The first – and biggest – barrier is the price: £350 / €400 / $450 / AU$700 is a huge amount to pay for a saddle, even though Specialized tells us of professional riders who have ridden well over 10,000km on it and it’s still performing as new.
The second is the nature of the upper: with its open matrix-style design, in summer conditions it’s perfect. But introduce rain and road grime and it’s not going to be quite so easy to clean.
Specialized explains that the matrix is designed with water channels throughout so you can hose or spray muck and grime from the upper. Given the changeable UK weather, I’d be wary of fitting one to a cyclocross bike or gravel machine.
The saddle does have SWAT (storage, water, air, tools)-compatible threaded mounts on the rear, so it’ll take a SWAT saddle pack or direct-fitting lights. I’d like to see a direct-mount mudguard added to the range to protect rider and saddle alike from the elements.
The S-Works Power with Mirror is truly one of the most comfortable and supportive saddles I’ve ever tried. Hopefully, as 3D printing tech matures, the price will fall accordingly.
Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror saddle details
- Mirror mirror: So named because it “perfectly reflects your anatomy”, Mirror technology is 3D printing a polymer to create a matrix of tuneable density
- Body geometry: This saddle incorporates Specialized’s Body Geometry design characteristics, such as the cutaway, for assured comfort
- Carbon cues: It has carbon composite rails and a carbon shell that features SWAT-compatible mounts on the rear for attaching lights or a seatpack