Snub nose saddles first caught our attention a few years ago (around 2015), and have been steadily growing in popularity. While they were originally created as a road saddle, riders on the dirt have been making the transition in an effort to increase comfort and maximize performance.
WHAT DO SHORTER SADDLES OFFER THAT HAS RIDERS PRAISING THEM WITH A CULT-LIKE STATUS?
As bikes and riding styles change, so does our need to adjust our position. Fondos and long gravel events are putting riders in different positions compared to the standard aggressive criterium positions we were in years ago, and this requires that we adjust all contact points.
Of course, saddle size and shape is very unique to all riders. These new short saddles remove the length of the saddle’s nose, yet typically add width throughout the saddle shape. The result is a flatter, wider area to sit towards that tail of the saddle. The nose is also slightly wider too, giving a more stable platform to slide forward on during harder efforts. It can also make rotating the hips forward more comfortable.
With a shorter nose, many experience less “thigh rub” on the saddle’s nose, which can alleviate chafing on the rider’s inner legs.
But the magic in these saddles is the width. Simply put, our bodies are more comfortable sitting on a wider, more supportive platform. Our sit bones support our weight and help protect soft tissues from load-bearing pressure. Add a relief channel or cut out, and you’ve changed a critical contact point, making it comfortable to sit for hours on.
WHO IS IT GOOD FOR?
While these saddles aren’t targeted to anyone specifically, they can be beneficial to everyone that experiences discomfort. Riders that like to sit rather than stand when climbing tend to be more static in their position and seem to do well on them.
Short saddles can benefit riders that prefer a more upright position that places their weight on the wider portion, as well as those that like an aggressive position with their hips rotated forward because the saddle’s nose is wider and more supportive than traditional saddle shapes.
Like all saddles, they take time to fine tune their position. Our experience has brought the saddle forward in almost all cases. Occasionally, a set-back seat post needs to be replaced with a straight post to get the correct fit.
FABRIC LINE S (ELITE FLAT)
Width: 142mm / Length: 236mm / Weight: 238g
This new saddle is a springboard design off of Fabric’s Scoop line. What we like about it is that it has a very smooth, comfortable outer edge design with a significant amount of padding that is immediately noticeable. Riders with sensitive pressure points and prefer a ‘hammock’ side profile in their saddle (despite it being named “flat”) will likely appreciate this design. It’s comfortable and supportive, and the padding helps remove some of the road and trail shock and vibration.
Between these two test saddles, the Fabric took more time to adjust and find the right position.
FIZIK VENTO ARGO
Width: 140mm / Length: 265mm / Weight: 179g
The Argo is fi’zi:k’s answer to the short saddle. It’s designed from scratch, and is available with two levels of padding. The Vento is the more minimal option, while the Tempo has slightly more padding.
Riders looking for a true cut-out saddle may prefer this option. The cutout, by the way, is quite generous. The flatter nose lets the rider roll their hips forward. Those that also find themselves sliding forward on the nose during harder efforts will appreciate the flatter profile.
The Argo has noticeably less padding that the Fabric. While it has a comfortable shape, it was less forgiving for those that prefer to stay seated.
Short nose, snub nose, or short saddles – whatever you decide to call them can dramatically change your ride and open up a new level of comfort. The options for this component are growing, and we’re excited to add the Fabric and fi’zi:k options to our shop and our customers.