Tioga’s original Stratum saddle comprised a web-like shell with no padding at all, and many mountain bikers – Tioga’s core market – found it plenty comfortable enough.
As the name suggests, the Stratum Undercover sees that design mostly covered with a thin X-Pad SL closed-cell EVA foam pad, which is as much about aesthetics as comfort.
Whereas the original Stratum’s SpyderWeb shell used two durable plastics for a supple, springy feel, the Undercover uses just one. With the foam layer taking care of vibration and posterior conformity, the shell’s major role is to flex, something it does extremely well.
Hand pressure alone results in significant flex in all areas of the 285mm x 140mm shell, but this model’s carbon rails maintain a rigid foundation. Cheaper, heavier CrMo and titanium rail models are also available, with an open-cell foam topping.
Weighing in at less than 1g per pound, the Undercover’s feathery 145g is extremely light for a saddle designed to take a pounding.
The initial feeling is like sitting on a firm hammock, so obvious is the deformation due to your weight, but the webbed structure ensures that the shell retains its form, while giving just enough to alleviate pressure.
When shifting your weight in the saddle, the Undercover’s localised flex doesn’t reduce its support, providing impressive comfort.
It’s rare to find a saddle that stays comfortable for hours on end, whether on the tops or deep in the drops, but the Undercover delivers a supple ride on any terrain, helped by its 136mm x 20mm maximum central oval-shaped cutout.
There can be a slight bounce at high cadence on a road bike, but on larger volume tyres it’s hard to notice and, after five minutes aboard, wasn’t something that bothered me at all.
Tioga Undercover Stratum specifications
- Material: Bio X-Pad SL
- Rail: Full carbon
- Size: 285mm x 140mm
- Weight: 150g
- Colours: White, black
- Price: £170