Thursday, May 09, 2019

The Undercover Saddle

There is a hint in that cut out which tips you off as to what is "Undercover" here.
Bicycle saddles are a big business. Why? Because we are all so different, ride different types of bicycles, and sit in different positions. That's why. There is no "one" saddle for everyone, and there never will be, except for the one that fits you. 

Out of the gazillions of saddles out there, it may be difficult, expensive, and painful to find "The One", but when you do, you will know it. No one has to tell you.

Fortunately today there is more to whittling down the pile of prospective posterior perches than there used to be. Twas once upon a time that you spoke with the local honch rider and asked him what he found worked for him and his 5,000 mile a year habit. Then all you could go on was hearsay, legend, and healthy doses of bovine excrement masquerading as advice. Now we have sit bone measurements and marketing B.S. masquerading as advice.

Okay.....not much has changed. Anyway.......

In my quest to find "The One" I have gone through a few contenders. There was the WTB SST, the Bontrager Inform, (the OG ones, NOT the second gen ones), then I found WTB Pure V's, and Brooks Cambium saddles. Last year I came across a new contender- the WTB Silverado in the wider, 143mm width. What a great perch.

The original Tioga saddle, the Spyder, is the ancestor of the Undercover. Image by Capt. Bob.
Now there are more saddles coming out everyday, and just recently I was asked to check out a saddle by Tioga. You might remember that brand from the old mountain bike days. They have a tire I am checking out now for called the Binary. Anyway, this is their newest saddle offering. It's dubbed the Undercover. I think I know why.

You see, over ten years ago I was sent another Tioga saddle called the Spyder. It essentially was a hogged out saddle shell with no cover. This new saddle has a very Spyder-ish looking undercarriage with some integrated cushioning material which is all under a cover. get it? Undercover?


While the original Spyder was suspect for its cheese grater-like look and propensity toward cracking at the webbing, this Undercover saddle looks more logical. Plus, it seems to be right in the ball park of what the WTB Silverado is for length, width, shape, and contour. Obviously, they are not exact, and the Undercover has a lot more going on tech-wise, but initial impressions are good right now.

Plus, Grannygear is doing a shoot-out of saddles for Riding Gravel. This Tioga saddle will be featured in it. So, it will get pitted against some stout competition, and we will have more words to look at to decide if one of the pile-o-saddles Grannygear has might be "The One" for you. Or it all may be a steaming pile of bovine excrement. One or the other. In the end, (see what I did there?) a saddle choice is so personal that it might seem ludicrous to do any sort of "review" of a saddle. But that won't stop Grannygear and I from trying.

Note: Tioga sent the undercover saddle for test and review to Guitar Ted at no charge. He was not paid, nor bribed for this post, and he will strive to give his honest thoughts and views throughout.


Phillip Cowan said...

At 6 feet and 230lbs I'm firmly in the clydesdale class. I think sit bone measurement is a useful starting point but for big guys it's necessary to get enough square inches under your back side to limit and distribute pressure. 135mm ass hatchets need not apply. The other trick that comes with all those square inches is finding a shape that doesn't chafe on long rides otherwise you could just steal the saddle off your cousins '36 Knucklehead. One saddle that's worked well for me is the Brooks C19 carved. I have them on three bikes now. This isn't a recommendation though because everyone has to find their own perfect fit.

Ari said...

I wanted to comment that a saddle that fits today might not work in a few years. Our bodies change over time. I had San Marco Rolls on my bikes and rode hundreds of miles on them. Today they dont work at all for me. Unfortunately saddles are a trial and error thing still.

Guitar Ted said...

@Ari- So true. I was thinking the same thing as I wrote this post. That's a great point that I will bring up in the next update on this saddle.

Rydn9ers said...

I was "Gifted" one of the original Spyder saddles, wasn't a big fan but the redesign looks interesting. Looking forward to reading what you thought of it.

steve said...

nice alliteration