Strengths: Durable enough, good price, light weight, comfortable.
Weaknesses: some scuffing on the front from botched cyclocross mounts. Must wear cycling shorts for best results.
Most comfortable race saddle I've ever ridden. I use it for Cyclocross too. Not very comfy if you don't use cycling shorts or bibs. Spreads your body weight well without hot-spots and pinching if you get the right size.
Non-obtrusive to pedal stroke.
Rewards flat, aggressive position or getting in drops.
Weaknesses: Fussy to set up (In my case I had to throw out all of my pre-conceptions about saddle setup and start anew).
Slightly different area of contact may require some getting used to.
I have ridden many, many different saddles, some for just a half hour before I knew it wasn't going to work, and some for months, or even years, before I began searching for something that I liked a little better. I originally purchased a bontrager inform R for my commuter bike. I rode it for my 30 mile round trip commute for the last 6 months or so. My initial impressions were that it was a "good" saddle . . . ok for my commute but not quite comfy enough for the long distances I do on weekends. Then, almost by accident, I visited the bontrager website and read the part where is says to set up the saddle absolutely level. As I normally set up my saddles with a very slight downward angle (or just the nose of the saddle level), I decided to follow their instructions to see if it made a difference. Once I leveled the saddle, the true comfort of the saddle was immediately apparent. Once I had the inform R saddle dialed in properly (level, fore/aft, etc.), I immediately went out and bought an RL for my weekend bike. It is absolutely the most comfortable saddle I have ever ridden. The RL replaces the coveted and highly rated Fizik Aliante (a close second in comfort). The Bontrager saddles require a bit of tinkering to find the right setup, and I encounterd a bit of a break in period because you do tend to sit on it differently than other saddles - rather than directing all of your weight onto your sit bones (I used to get two very pronouced hot spots on my sit bones with other saddles),the bontrager rewards rolling your hips forward and keeping a flat position on the bike. Your center is rolled forward (apparently onto the pubic rami as the bontrager marketing might suggest), but there is no one place that seems to be a "hot spot". It does seem to effectively spread out your weight over a larger area - It feels like it was custom molded for my bottom with absolutely no discomfort to my soft tissue. Super comfortable, but it is definitely a race oriented saddle - because it rewards an aggressive, flat position, and because the shell is very firm. That said, riders who do not have many years on their legs (or bottoms) may find the transition a little harder. It is a well made, well designed product, and a relative bargain at $100.
Strengths: - Comfortable
- Cheaper than most high-end saddles
- multiple widths
Weaknesses: - Uncomfortable (hard) before breaking in
I feel like I can't go too in-depth on this subject, since I don't have too much experience with other decent saddles, but I tried out a Specialized Toupe and Alias while in the shop and they were way less comfortable for me than the RL. The Toupe and Alias felt like they were focusing all of my body's weight onto the sit bones, while the R and RL seemed to distribute the weight across a wider area, and felt much more comfortable because of it. I have very narrow sit bones, and I'm extremely skinny (no natural "cushion"), but the RL offers enough padding to keep me comfortable. However, the first week with this saddle left my butt sore, as it feels very hard at first, but after about 2 weeks, the saddle was very comfortable. Overall, I'm very happy with this saddle, especially for the price, and I'll probably be buying another for my new build.
(misc note: Tri-Sport is the best shop in Fresno. I went to a couple others, and Tri-Sport was the only place that let me try out any of the saddles being sold. The worker there fit me on my bike and switched out saddles for me, even a little past closing hours, and then cut 30 bucks off the MSRP -- awesome service.)
Similar Products Used: I've only really ridden 2 saddles before this one. One of them was a stock saddle that was terribly uncomfortable for anyone who rode on it, and the other, which the RL replaced, was a ridden-to-death Selle Italia Flite, which I bought used for 5 bucks.
Bike Setup: Leader 735R road bike converted to a fixed gear, Fuji carbon road fork, IRO wheels (made by Kinlin), Conti Gatorskins, Easton EA70 bars
Strengths: Good shape for wider sit bones, decent padding
Weaknesses: None really -- just make sure the seat is positioned front-to-back where it should be for your sit bones and riding style
Great saddle. I was riding Specialized Avatar 143s on all my rides, but after back-to-back centuries my butt was killing me. It turns out I needed a wider saddle and my LBS gave me a great deal on the RL - in white to match my bike -- and on the next century I was pain free.
Similar Products Used: Specialized Avatar, Selle Italia Gel Flite
Bike Setup: Rocky Mountain 70 ST w/9-speed Ultegra, FSA bars and cranks, Thompson stem/seatpost, DT Swiss wheels, Quattro SL pedals, InForm RL saddle, Continental GP 4-season rubber
a Recreational Rider
Date Reviewed: December 5, 2008
Strengths: Very cool looking saddle, reasonably light weight.
Weaknesses: The plastic shell is too rigid. Quality control needs work. The cover glue attachment on the underside was coming loose before testing the saddle on a ride. Typical of most saddles from the Far East.
This saddle might work for younger men (say 40 or younger), but is definitely not a good choice for older men. That soft padding in the nose area has an unforgiving hard shell under it. I tested this saddle on my routine 35 mile loop,stopped @ mile 11 & adjusted the nose down another 1.5 degrees (like you'd do with a Fizik Arione), didn't help, aborted the ride and headed for home. If Bontrager modified this saddle with a middle cut-out (like Specialized), they might have a tolerable saddle. Also, a 146mm Inform RL fits like a 130 mm saddle. Mine now lives in a spare bike parts box. Gone back to a Terry Falcon Y. Sorry Bontrager.