The short saddle for road riders is a relatively new concept, but with Specialized’s Power proving very popular and San Marco entering the fray with its Shortfit models, the snub-nosed design looks to be here to stay.
PRO, Shimano’s component subsidiary, designed the new Stealth saddle with input from Team Giant Alpecin, as an option for aggressive road riders, and, of course, it wouldn’t look out of place on a time trial bike either.
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The shape, which features a wide nose and a substantial deep and wide channel, is claimed to allow you to spend more time in a more aggressive riding position — on the rivets, as old-school roadies might say.
The padding atop this 174g Stealth is pretty substantial. When you’re not up on the nose powering along, the wide, semi-rounded heel makes for a very comfortable place to be when you’re riding with your hands on the hoods. You tend not to move around quite so much when you’re in a lower, racier position and, despite initial reservations, I warmed to riding in the more ‘fixed’ position that the Stealth encourages.
Obvious parallels will be drawn between this and the Specialized Power, but I rode them side-by-side and found that the Stealth’s broader, softer nose made for a better place to be when really putting the hammer down.
On the Power, I felt a bit more stable when rolling along spinning the pedals thanks to its curvier overall shape.
The carbon-infused hull offers a fine blend of compliance and stability, and built into the hull are mounts for PRO’s own accessories, like a handy clip-on guard, a CO2 pump and canister, race number holder and even a camera mount.
If you like to go fast and prefer the ride position of an out-and-out race bike and haven’t yet tried a shorter saddle then I’d highly recommend it, and the PRO is certainly my favourite I’ve tried so far. It’ll also be a welcome novelty to be able to use the same saddle across both race and time trial/triathlon bikes.
At a penny shy of £175 it is expensive, though PRO does offer a stainless steel-railed version for £129.99 (210g). PRO also backs up its saddles with a 30-day money-back guarantee, so should you find the Stealth doesn’t suit you you won’t lose your cash.