Featured User Review: Selle SMP Stratos Saddle Review

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Featured User Review: Selle SMP Stratos Saddle Review
by Simon

Price: $300.00 at Ride ‘N’ Style
Overall Rating: 5 of 5
Value Rating: 4 of 5

Bike Setup:
Cervélo S2 2009, full 2011 SRAM Force, Fulcrum Racing 3′s, SMP Stratos.

Favorite Ride:
Perth Hills – Pickering Brook

Summary:
Follow the sizing guidelines on their website and then… Just buy it!!

Yes, you’ll have to adjust it. Yes it will take a while to get used to (in some cases 3 months) but persist – it feels totally unlike any other saddle. Yes, it’s expensive, yes it’s ‘heavy’ vs. others. Yes… it is THE BEST saddle you will ever ride!! Once you dial it in, you will forget you’re even sitting on a saddle, it’s like being cupped by the hand of the lord (I’m not religious). The support front to back is simply unsurpassed.

You’ll notice this most when you get up and give it a blast then sit back down and there is NO pressure and you feel totally supported! The shape mirrors the curve of your pelvis, unlike flat saddles; you will get used to it.

Most saddles have no support for the rear of the sitting position, this does. So don’t be confused in to thinking this means something’s not right, it’s intentional and over time, fantastically comfortable for your glutes lower back and the rest. This is an ALL DAY saddle.

You can move forward or back slightly depending on if you’re climbing or in the drops. You will feel NO pressure on your nerves, just your sit bones (learn to tell the difference). Over time, the sit bones sensation totally disappears and becomes a familiar, reassuring feeling. It gives you back all the power in your hamstrings and quads. I was able to try multiple versions before finding the right one. The shop owner (the local distributor) encouraged this and I settled on the Stratos because of the padding; takes the burn out of the ‘rear-points’ of your sit bones (for me – not necessarily for others, had tried the Composit [same as the carbon but with leather] before).

Follow the instructions. Start with it totally level and adjust the way you sit, not the saddle. If you do adjust, just by millimetres, tiny amounts, don’t throw it forward too far (unless you’re time trialling). Best advice – roll your hips forward and sit your hips in the centre of the saddle as a starting point, this will orient you with the sweet spot of the saddle. IMPORTANT – take all your measurements… this is a shorter saddle than the Arione for example. Find out where the back of your sit bones are first, then mirror this with the SMP. It is much further forward if you’re on an Arione at present. You don’t sit as far back on this as you do a Fizik. If anything, further forward; which gives you more power over the bottom bracket. And frees up your hamstrings and quads… trust me you’ll grind away for hours with all the extra power you get back… love the burn!

Once you’re done, it will be your legs and lungs that can’t keep up; not your comfort level!! Enjoy!

Strengths:
Pure, everlasting comfort and support. Does what is says it will do. Amazing comfort, that keeps getting better.

Weaknesses:
Weight, if that’s a concern for you. Price, vs. other saddles – but worth it… once you go SMP, you never go back. Time to adjust… give it time!

Similar Products Used:
Fizik Arione, Token Slim Channel, Selle Italia Gel Flow.

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About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.


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