Thursday, September 14, 2023

WTB (New) Silverado Saddle: Review

NOTE: WTB sent over a Silverado titanium railed saddle to Guitar Ted Productions at no charge for test and review. I was not paid, nor bribed for this review and I always strive to give my honest thoughts and views throughout. 

Recently I found out that WTB had redesigned its evergreen model, the Silverado. This model is, I am pretty sure, the longest running current model saddle that WTB still offers. It also happens to be one of my very favorite saddles. Especially so since WTB has offered the 143mm wide version. 

So, when I heard the news I was a bit dismayed. "There they go again! Taking away a dead simple choice for me and now I guess its back to trying new saddles again!", which is always a fun adventure. Hours and hours of riding might have to be done just to figure out if a saddle will work or not. So, when you find "that" saddle, it is time to get ahold of several, because when you least expect it, that saddle will go out of production. 

Great! Just great.....

But my contact at WTB also loves his Silverados and told me he was very critical during the design process and wanted to make sure "his" saddle wasn't ruined by the redesign. He claimed that WTB had succeeded in that effort. 

We'll let my behind be the judge of THAT! (HA!)

The New Silverado:

The new Siverado is one of the new-school saddles which are shorter in the nose, but not so much as far as the typical wide rear end that most newer shorter nosed saddles have. Kind of a hybrid here. WTB also used the same technology they used on the Gravelier called "Fusion Form". It is WTB's balancing of stiffness and flexibility which is achieved by using varying amounts of reinforcing fiber in the nylon base. This allows WTB to tune each model of their saddle range to their intended purposes.

The Silverado is tuned for an aggressive, forward leaning rider much like the Gravelier. Fusion Form also allows the padding to be recessed into the base more creating a thinner profile saddle without sacrificing comfort. 

Pressure mapping revealed to WTB's designers that a flatter profile and shorter nose length were optimal for the new range of Silverado saddles. So, these are 265mm in length now, but you do have the choice between narrow (133mm) and medium (143mm) widths in four rail configurations (CroMo steel, Stainless Steel, Titanium, and Carbon Fiber) The Titanium railed, medium width Silverado tested retails for $142.00 USD. For more details see the website.


Okay, so looking at this thing, the new Silverado, and then looking at the old Silverado, well, it is almost comical. That silly looking thin, long nose on the old one seems out of place now. Kind of like when I see a 1990's 135mm stem on an old 26"er. I guess this new-school short-nosed saddle thing is becoming more and more "normal" looking to my eyes.

I wouldn't call this "flat", but it is less dished out than the old Silverado was, for sure.

The padding on this new saddle seems a bit more plush than it does on the old Silverado, although WTB claims the padding is the same thickness. Must be a Fusion Form thing, I guess.There is the "Comfort Zone" cut-out underneath, a feature used for quite some time on WTB saddles now, and the Microfiber synthetic cover is always a nice touch. 

I have a Gravelier, and to my old eyes, the Gravelier seems a bit wider through the mid-section than the Silverado does, but both are the same short length. I could see that the new Silverado was flatter in profile, but it isn't completely flat. There still is a slight "kick-up" to the tail, but nothing like the older WTB saddles which were really dramatically kicked-up at the tail-end. 

The "Comfort Zone" cut-out.

I was replacing a fairly current Volt titanium railed saddle and when I compared weights, I was a bit taken aback. In fact, I noted straight away that the new Silverado had more heft than the Volt I was removing had. The scales proved this out to be true.

The Volt weighed in at 216 grams and the new Silverado? 246 grams. That's a significant difference, but hey! Who cares how much the saddle weighs if it is a pain in the butt? So, on the bike it went and I torqued it on per spec for the seat post, then it was off for a very brief test ride. 

More Impressions:

Okay, so like I said up there in the beginning, it may take hours and hours of riding to figure out whether or not the new Silverado is an improvement or just a painful experiment. Initially all I can say is that it has no glaring faults. I think I could ride this for a bit, at any rate. More will be said later on the subject of long ride comfort. 

Overall the Silverado seems similar to the old Silverado in the back half, but that short nose is evident. The padding seems nicer on the new one. That should bode well. But where is that extra 30 grams coming from? Seems odd. If the dimensions are smaller then "less" should equal "less", not more

I have a query in to WTB concerning my questionable math. We'll see what they say. Until then, it is time to ride this thing. I'll be back with more soon...


NY Roll said...

WTB needs to drop that comfort zone and relabel it the Danger Zone. yes, you too can thank Kenny Logans for the danger zone in top gun.

Tman said...

Bring back the SSTi!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Still riding them almost 30 years later

Derek said...

That would be an interesting read, why can't or won't WTB just re-release the SSTi? Cost, manufacturing location, etc, what would it take and how much would be the eventual retail price? They could probably sell a few hundred or a thousand of them (?) at $300-400 a pop.

Guitar Ted said...

@Derek - Fans of certain products often ponder why it is that (a) the product went out of production, and think (b) that "thousands" of sales are being left on the table due to Product A being off the marketplace.

The reality is somewhat different. I recall in the nid to late 2000's when WTB couldn't give away SST's and they were fire-saled at incredible discounts and could be had used on eBay for pennies on the dollar. So, you might understand why WTB discontinued that saddle.

Secondly, the SST is wildly radical compared to what is the "saddle du jour" of today. It's probably so weird to the younger rider that they would laugh at it, (guessing here, but I'm probably not far off), and a certain segment of old WTB SST fans "might" buy one for old time's sake, but those folk's bodies have aged and that SST probably wouldn't be what they are looking for.

In other words, the world has progressed to newer, more ergonomic choices which are better and more advanced than an SST. My feeling is that WTB could maybe sell a limited run for the old fans, but it would be expensive (REALLY expensive!) and probably not a money-making venture. In these times of overstocked warehouses and soft sales at retail, the chances of that happening are even less.

Tman said...

WTB HAS done a limited run of SST's in brown leather.They would probably sell worse now, h*ll, they were weird in the mid 90s! Everyone thought they looked like Gonzo the Muppet!

I guess I fall into the "older" category now but don't feel it. I was in my 20s then and early 50s now and still ride the same saddles. I HAVE tried others but my old WTB and Flites are still great for me. I also have an old Selle in leather that some of the pros rode back then that is super comfy.

Derek said...

I read awhile ago that wired earbuds have a following/ cool factor among young people. And the car companies can't redo/ release out-of-production models fast enough, i.e. Bronco, Charger, Challenger, etc. Maybe not the same interest for old model bike parts.

scottg said...

"In other words, the world has progressed to newer, more ergonomic choices which are better and more advanced than an SST."

Then there is Brooks, making the exact same ass hatchets since 1066.
I do have a couple Gilles Berthoud saddles, Brookish without
the chrome plated hardware.
And Ideale is back in production

Guitar Ted said...

@scottg - There is that, yes. There are a LOT of different saddles out there, and thank goodness for that, as there are a lot of different types of bodies on bikes.

And sometimes things are designed and are so well done that they are copied and last in the marketplace for years. (Brooks, etc.) Just because something was really well done decades, or even centuries ago, doesn't make it "less good", or inferior due to the age of the design. Bicycle technology is an exemplary example of such things.

But in terms of lightweight, "performance based" saddles, the trend is more like what we are seeing with the Specialized, Ergon, fizik, and WTB types of saddles.