Earlier this year we got chance to visit Prologo’ s production and Prologo’s driving force GM, Salvatore Truglio, came along for the ride and to take us through the brand’s short but highly successful history.
- Alberto Contador's final Tarmac at the Tour?
- Peter Sagan’s Specialized Venge ViAS
- Prologo introduces saddle fitting system to ease choice
“We started Prologo back in 2007, with the aim of leading the market as a technology brand and producing innovative saddles differently from the established brands”, explains Truglio.
“I thought we should be about technology, whereas most saddles have been made the same way for decades. I also wanted us to be closely involved with professional racing and right from our first product, the Prologo Choice, we started to have winners. The Choice had the first patented interchangeable covers so you could get different characteristics from the same saddle; firm, soft, smooth, textured. Carlos Sastre [former Spanish professional cyclist] rode using the Choice when he won the Tour de France in 2008. That’s just been the starting point for Prologo’s success.”
Truglio believes that one of the reasons for their success is the production relationship they have with their partner Velo, and Prologo’s strong R&D department.
The R&D department has the advantage of being able to use Velo’s vast manufacturing expertise, which can be called upon as back up for Prologo’s design team, wide ranging testing program, and research into production techniques. Velo produces around 15 million saddles per year, but they reserve their most important tech for the Prologo project.
In recent years Prologo has introduced CPC connect technology. This special polymer material comprises small volcano shaped hollow pieces that actively grip you as you ride. Thanks to the ‘volcano shape’ it provides shock and vibration absorption, and because they separate you from the saddle’s surface the technology also increases airflow.
Prologo has a worldwide patent on this saddle technology, and Salvatore tells us “We saw this technology being used elsewhere [on grips for F1 gloves and seats] and thought we’d test it on saddles. It’s proven very successful with a lot of our pro-athletes opting for CPC.”
The CPC Polymer was something Prologo first tried way back in 2009. “We developed a dedicated time trial saddle with the help of Fabian Cancellara, the Nago EVO TTR. It was the first of its kind with a gripping texture and a thick padded nose,” explains Salvatore. Obviously the TTR was a success as Cancellara took that year’s Tour time trial and the World’s riding the TTR saddle.
“We then moved the design on with pro rider input to the Zero TT, a lighter more compact saddle that this time pioneered the use of CPC. Orica Green Edge used the Zero TT to great success too. We introduced a complete line of Products dedicated to TT and triathlon; the T-Gale saddle. I’m pleased to say that it has been chosen by all of our pro Tour teams for time trials and by pro-triathletes Fredirik Vanlride and Sebastian Kinle,” says Truglio.
We asked Truglio if Prologo's professional sponsorship is about brand exposure and he told us: “Yes of course, that’s a major part, but we have always had a good relationship with riders. The Nago Evo design was finalised with input from Bradley Wiggins, Alberto Contador and the Schleck brothers.
“The Scratch is the saddle of choice of Peter Sagan, who now helps develop the design, and this was the saddle chosen by Cancellara and Tom Boonen who both provided vital feedback.
“We also had Chris Froome riding the Zero2 along with Purito Rodriguez. We take feedback from riders we sponsor very seriously, they spend so long on a bike racing and training they are great judges of what makes a good saddle great. The Pro teams are important because they are the final road test.”
For this year, Prologo produced special saddles for both Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador. Contador tested a wide range of Prologo saddles before choosing the all-new Zero C3 PAS CPC saddle.
This 149g race perch features pretty much all of the latest Prologo innovations, including a new carbon bonded hull and rail, the PAS perennial relief channeling, and the latest airing CPC surface.
Choose your own saddle
Truglio goes on to tell us how difficult it is to choose the right saddle for most of us, as pro riders get to try out the whole range before deciding. This problem did however lead them to develop their own saddle choice software, which combined with pressure sensitive seat hardware, can measure your sit bones and use the selector to choose your correct saddle. “We hope to have these in all of our premium worldwide dealers.” says Truglio.
At this year’s Tour de France Prologo’s fortunes were a bit of a mixed bag. Peter Sagan continued to get himself seen almost every day, while long time Prologo rider Contador didn’t fair so well with injury forcing his retirement early on.
Truglio is not discouraged by this though, “We see the Tour de France as the last part of our laboratory, it’s the final road test, we can see how well they work here and find where to improve too.”