A History Of Saddles
I started mountain biking in 1986 and road cycling in 1992. I don’t remember what saddles were on my first three mountain bikes. I sat on what the manufacturers specced for those bikes. In the early 90ies that changed with Selle Italia’s iconic Flite saddle. It was a minimalist, long, slim saddle with a rounded top and a flexible hull. Equipped with titanium rails it made for a comfortable perch. It was a revolutionary saddle for the time, and I liked it a lot. Over the next decade, I stayed faithful to the brand and moved on to the even more minimalist, narrow-sided SLR. The SLR’s proﬁle ensured minimal pedaling interference, but to be honest, while it felt good with padded shorts or bibs, it was a horrible saddle to sit on without any padding.
In 2011 I switched brands. I rode Fizik Antares saddles in various models for the next eight years. There were R1, R3 with carbon braided rails or less expensive K:ium metal rails. My 44 Kid Dangerous 29er and my 44 Big Boy fat bike were given the top-of-the-line Antares 00. An Antares VS was on my red Volagi, and an R1 Versus EVO still sits on top of my beige Volagi. When I rebuilt my Ritte Snob Disc road bike, I gave it the latest generation Antares 00. The Antares uses a generously proportioned rear and a relatively firm carbon-reinforced shell. Its flat shape meshes well with my anatomy and offers excellent long-distance comfort.
In 2019 the third saddle transition unfolded with the construction of my Nordest Albarda. After years of extra-long saddle designs, several manufacturers introduced saddles with a sawed-off nose. Prologo was one of them with the 245mm short Dimension. That’s 30mm shorter than the Fizik Antares saddles I was used to. The Prologo Dimension Nack has a big pressure-relief channel, plenty of high-density padding, and a superbly comfortable, stepped nose. It was an immediate love affair. When it came to picking a saddle for my Stooge MK5 rigid 27.5+ mountain bike, it was a no-brainer that the choice fell onto another short Prologo saddle.
Because I don’t find open-channel saddles practical for dirt or gravel riding, I selected the Scratch M5 for the MK5. Prologo says that the rounded shape of the Scratch M5 allows the pelvis to rotate naturally. It favors the distribution of pressure over a larger surface area, creates stability, and supports the lumbar region. I’m not expert enough to confirm that, but my butt definitely likes sitting on it. My Marin Gestalt X12 will be equipped with the same Scratch M5, while both Fortyfours will say goodbye to the Antares 00 to welcome the latest of the Prologo saddle family, the Scratch NDR with Nack rails. The ergonomic Scratch NDR is the off-road evolution of the Scratch M5 and is specifically designed for XC and marathon riding.