Saddles are a major, albeit, important issue in cycling. Your bum has to be perched atop one for a long time, and without a decent model, your not having such a good ride anymore (unless your riding trials). Most cyclists have at least some sort of opinion on what seat works for them, whether or not they know the intricacies of why. For most of us, especially road riders; getting your sit bones perched in a comfy spot is key to limiting damage to sensitive and fragile areas. This is a good thing to be sure, because those areas can come in quite handy on a moonlit evening after a few glasses of wine.
This brings me to the saddle in question: the Specialized Romin Evo Comp Gel 143. Before I even bother going into detail, let me just say that (so far) this is potentially the best road saddle I’ve ridden in 15 years.
I’m not bias towards nearly any cycling company or product (a fact my friends can verify), and being very critical, tend to find fault in nearly everything the cycling industry produces; so this saddle is still rather suspicious to me. There must be some sort of wizardry right? Well, yes, there is in a way.
First of all, Specialized offers most of their higher-end saddles in three widths, 130, 143, and 155mm. This is nice because we are not all of the same bone structure, even if you’re comparing several spindly pros of exactly the same dimensions. The easiest way to find out which one you need, is to go to your local Specialized dealer and use their “Assometer” which is basically a memory gel pad that gives an approximate reading of ischial tuberosity (sit bone) width in a seated position. Thus, you will be recommended to an appropriate size saddle. Nearly all their seats offer some sort of cutout in the middle to help promote blood flow and limit damage to those certain areas I mentioned already, and this one’s no different.
The original Romin was a good saddle, and the Evo has made it even better. The cutout seems slightly longer towards the nose, the nose and middle seem slightly narrower, and the sides drop down a little bit farther, which seems to help provide a bit more support at times and also provide a more gradual slope to the bottom edge of the seat.This last feature I found especially nice because of the fact that many previous seats I used had rather abrupt edges which, over time, dug into my inner thigh and hamstring, and started unthreading and chafing through my shorts. Shorts are expensive.
Specialized also spends a considerable amount of time and resources on designing a quality seat for nearly everyone. There are a lot of models to chose from, and some will certainly work better for some people. I found the upwards flare at the back of the Romin Evo to help allow me get in a lower, more aggressive position more comfortably and with slightly less lower back pain on longer rides. The flare allows your pelvis to rotate slightly forward and straighten out the spine. I run a fair amount of handlebar drop on my bike, so this was noticeable, however, if your bike is very upright, and your back is closer to 90 degrees, this saddle is not for you.
The Comp Gel model has tubular cromo rails rather than ti, and also a small patch of gel in the sit bone area, which I found quite nice while staying seated on rough roads and longer rides. At about 240 g it’s not exactly a flyweight, but if you prefer comfort and proper positioning, you’ll likely feel better over a longer ride which makes you faster anyway. That being said, this seat doesn’t allow you to move around a lot, but if it’s usable area works for you, then you really shouldn’t need to.
Compared to most other seats I’ve tried, I have the fewest gripes, if any, so far with the Evo. In the end, we’re all different, but if you prefer a fairly aggressive position, decent comfort for long rides, and a profile on the narrow side, then this seat is certainly worth a look.
Find out more at www.specialized.com.This Review was done by Leif Kruse. What could be described as a true modern-day Wheelmen, cutting his way from one bicycle adventure to another, with style and the heart of a 1890′s high wheeler. He can be found happiest of secretly training to crush his cycling rivals or humbling finishing up his latest piece of artwork.