Product Reviews April 6, 2012

Why is Charge's Spoon Ti saddle different to the rest?

Judging by other saddle reviews it would seem making an article last more than about 200 words will be a challenge. Let's see. So how do you go about choosing a new saddle and why buy the Spoon Ti? In this instance I had the benefit of trying a new saddle out when I bought my Genesis Day One a couple of months ago. Having spent some decent time on the Genesis now, I have concluded the saddle is one of the elements that makes the bike such a comfortable ride. 

Saddles are strange things. Non-cyclists (yes, amazingly there are such people) often comment at the sight of my Specialised BG143 (on the Allez Elite) and ask how can I possible ride a bike with a saddle like that. I'll be honest, it does look aggressive. Its sleek, got an enormous cut out the middle and is rock solid. At best, it's uncompromising. So on this basis, a couple of points. Firstly, it's all in the shape. Whilst different materials can alter it's weight, the shape is what defines the level of comfort for the rider. The centre cut out 'channel' is essential for blokes as it helps the blood circulate around your perineal ridge. Anyone whose sat on a saddle all day will know unless you're careful it's easy to get numb down there and the shape of the saddle will help manage this. 

Secondly, the width it also important to get right. Ensuring the right balance between the three contact points on your saddle, two in the ischial area and one at the front of your perineal area is the key to a comfortable ride.You want the saddle to sit comfortably across your pelvic bones. One way to find out which width saddle will suit you best is this simple test. Find a piece of aluminium foil and lay it out on the stairs. Sit on it, lean forward and assume a cycling position. Then lift your feet. The major indentations in the foil will indicate your sit bone width. Measure this and you should be able to relate that to a saddle width. If you are a larger rider then it's likely you'll want a slightly wider saddle; 130mm, 143mm and 155mm are the standard widths. Finally, don't be fooled by padding; finding the right shaped hull is much more important. Now when I sit on my heavily padded mountain bike seat it feels uncomfortable. And unless you have purchased a perch from old school manufacturer Brooks, you shouldn't need to break the saddle in either. 

The Bontrager branded saddle that the Trek (Single Speed) came with is 143mm wide, has a brown leather upper and has what should be a sufficient amount of padding. Unfortunately though, this saddle is simply uncomfortable to sit on for any length of time. In the light of this, most rides over two hours become more about a battle of wills and endurance than anything else. As a consequence, I've been looking to change it for an example more sympathetic to the shape of my posterior.

I've been looking specifically for the Genesis saddle to replace it. Under close inspection, the Genesis saddle is practically identical to Charge's Spoon Ti - apart from the material/detail stitching at the rear and it's slightly narrower (130mm). In terms of profile and more importantly the subtle pressure relief channel - it looks the same. The Spoon is fitted with Titanium rails which help absorb road impact. It's leather covered (so treated with care it should last) and has just the right amount of padding. Interestingly it's also 143mm wide. From a race bike perspective, it weighs 246 grams, contributing to decent all round performance. This puts it in the middle ground in terms of weight. If you really want to lighten the load then you need to be considering the latest offering from San Marco, the 'Aspide Carbon FX' which weighs 127 grams (but costs £135) or Fizik's 'Arione CX' which costs even more (£160) and weighs 169 grams. Bare in mind the wider the saddle the more prone it will be to rocking or flexing, especially as you sit further back on it. 

Where the Spoon really scores heavily is value for money. Whilst it might weigh 100 plus grams more than the previously noted competition, it's nearly a third of the cost of the Fizik and less than half of the San Marco. At £47 this saddle is hard to beat. If you are on a tighter budget than Rayleigh's RSP Pro Race FX gives the Spoon a run for its money, costing £35 with an leather upper, Titanium rails and weighs just 216 grams. Definitely worth a consideration. Nevertheless, the Spoon Ti is tried and tested as the feedback on the Internet will attest to. Being leather it will stand the test of time plus it's built to last. The stitching is of good quality but more to the point, it's immediately comfortable. Buy one and your bottom will be a happy one. Anyone want a Bontrager saddle.....? 

Product Features

- Super light performance saddle, weighing 246 grams

- Perforated real leather cover

- Titanium rails

- Lightweight padding

- Pressure relief channel

For more information see www.chargebikes.com. The Charge Spoon Ti can be purchased from all major on line retailers and any good bike shop. I bought mine from www.wiggle.co.uk. 

For additional reviews see below;

http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/category/components/saddles/product/review-charge-bikes-spoon-leather-titanium-10-37391

http://road.cc/content/review/457-charge-spoon-ti-saddle

Sources:

"Are you siting comfortably" P.130 to 131, Cycling Plus May 2011 Issue 248

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