What is it?
A short-nosed, gender neutral, aero-specific road saddle designed to give riders maximum power and comfort in the most aero of positions.
- The Scoop shape offers reliable support when the riders hips are forward.
- Gender neutral design that will fit many body types.
- Softcover F-24 material is pliable and conforms to the backside with ease.
- Austenite rails are lightweight and proven to be durable under demanding conditions.
- Saddle integrates seamlessly with Bontrager Blender accessories, lights, and saddle bags.
- Black is the only color option currently available - though we hope to see more.
- The wide nose may not an exact fit for some riders, especially those that require less than a 144mm width.
- The scoop design may not work for riders with an upright riding position.
- Blender accessory mount requires an additional purchase.
No matter what the saddle - carbon, aero, gel - saddle reviews can be difficult and scary. The saddle is arguably the most intimate touch point on your bicycle, and a slight change of angle or fluctuation in seatpost height can send a ride down the drain. For all, I approach with caution and follow manufacturer recommendations to the T, making sure I get the correct experience and not rush the process. For the Bontrager Aeolus - I took the same approach but instead of a quick dial-in ride around the block - I went and rode the Belgian Waffle Ride - rolling the dice - all on a saddle I road once in a parking lot.
New short nose style
I am a fan of the short nose style saddle - I have them on many of my bikes and like the position for both my road and mountain bike setups. The Aeolus shares some design similarities with others in the short saddle space, but the addition of an extra wide nose is what took me a bit by surprise. The Bontrager Aeolus has a nose width of 44mm and a total length of 250mm for a 145 width saddle. For comparison; The Specialized Power Arc Expert, measures in at 37mm nose and the Shimano PRO Stealth measure in at 40mm. That 4mm difference could translate to a lot, but all I could discern was extra padding and support.
What is austenite
The Aeolus Elite retails for $150 and weighs in at a respectable 219g. Bontrager shaved some weight with help from new austenite rails, a metal that is claimed to be lighter and more resilient to crushing than hollow titanium rails. Aeolus is also available in a top of the line Aeolus Pro version. The Pro saddle utilizes oversizes carbon rails, and lighten up the saddle to 170g for a 145 width. That weight comes at a price though, retailing for $230 - that's $80 for 50g or $1.60 per gram saved.
The Aeolus differs in shape slightly as well and has a distinct scoop. This shape is said to be the fruits of much biomechanical research. Bontrager claims it can nearly eliminate soft tissue pressure, maximize power, and sustain comfort for riders in an aero road riding position. Hefty claims for a new saddle for the company, but I haven't found it false.
The install of the Aeolus is like other short nose saddles, Bontrager recommends that you set the Aeolus back 10mm from the position of your traditional saddle. If you are replacing a shorter length saddle already (which was my case), I would go with the measurements from your current saddle, adjusting as needed. I didn't need much adjustment though, after the initial setup, the padding adds about 1-2mm of height to the overall volume of the saddle and will require a small bump down in saddle height - no real overhaul of the fit though. The scoop shape is a feature that I enjoyed right from the start. I ride in a more aero position already - what stood out is the padding and the ability to move my pelvis freely - like a joint.
Bontragers F24 padding is exceptionally soft and conforms to the underside like a glove. While suffering on the gravel sectors of the Belgian Waffle Ride, the extra padding was a godsend. I usually don't equate an aerodynamic position with comfort, but the Aeolus does the trick - allowing for micro adjustments while keeping that locked and loaded feeling on long stretches of road. The overall shorter length with a full cut-out works very well on relieving any perineal pressure or hot spots that arise on long rides. The saddle integrates Bontrager Blender compatible accessories from with a small clip that mounts under the saddle at the very rear. The clip adds little weight but a lot of peace of mind - with lights and accessories that snap satisfyingly into place. The Blender mount does not come with the Aeolus when purchased so if you're interested - allot an extra $15 for the overall purchase.
I'm glad I rolled the dice on the Aeolus Elite and took it on miles of Northern California gravel for its inaugural ride. There I was able to feel every subtle detail in design and put it through the wringer. After miles in the gravel, road and even some mountain bike - I can unequivocally say that this is an excellent saddle for anyone who enjoys the ride of a short nose saddle. Those who are curious and are thinking of a shorter saddle - give some time to get adjusted and dial in your fit and hip angle. The comfort and feeling of absolute power when hammering the pedals will overcome any lost time in the dial-in process. I recommend the Aeolus Elite for any rider that rides in a lower or aero position - especially those who own aero bikes. This saddle is ideal for anyone looking to maximize their comfort while hammering their heart out on the road.
Available in sizes: 250 x 145 mm(tested), 250 x 155 mm
For more information hammer over to: Bontrager.com