Bontrager Sport Saddle Review
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Bontrager Sport Saddle
$37.00 at REI
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$86.91 at Amazon
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|Pros||Comfortable, anatomical groove and cutout, versatile, economical||Lightweight, comfortable, durable||Lightweight, supportive, comfortable on long rides||Lightweight, comfortable, reasonably priced||Competitive price, versatile design, comfortable, durable|
|Cons||Heavy, not as stiff as high performance options||No anatomic relief channel, lacks versatility||No pressure relief channel, limited colors||Unique shape may not be for everyone||Heavy, not as stiff as racing saddles|
|Bottom Line||A Jack or Jackie of all trades, comfortable for any riding style in any situation, this affordable saddle ranks competitively with higher-priced alternatives||A high-end, ultra lightweight racing saddle that blends comfort and performance||A comfortable, affordable saddle great for long-distance cruising||A high-performing saddle that provides lightweight comfort and a unique design||Versatile and comfortable, this saddle is great on roads, trails, commutes, and easy on the wallet|
|Rating Categories||Bontrager Sport Saddle||Fabric Scoop||Fizik Aliante Gamma...||Prologo Dimension||WTB Speed|
|Specs||Bontrager Sport Saddle||Fabric Scoop||Fizik Aliante Gamma...||Prologo Dimension||WTB Speed|
|Dimensions||L 275 mm, W 163 mm||L 282 mm, W 142 mm||L 265 mm, W 142 mm||L 245 mm, W 143 mm||L 270 mm, W 145 mm|
|Weight (grams)||350 g||195 g||252 g||191 g||379 g|
|Rail Material||Steel||Carbon fiber||Alloy||Tirox||Steel|
|Shell Material||Foam||Nylon, PU foam||Nylon Carbon Reinforced with Twin Flex™ center||Light foam||Plastic|
|Seat Cover Material||Microfiber||Waterproof Microfiber||Synthetic||Microfiber||Synthetic|
|Anatomical Cut Out or Channel||Yes groove and cut out||No||No||Yes, full cut out||Yes, groove|
|Target Use (mountain, road, etc.)||Road, Commuting, Touring||Road||Road||Road, Mountain, Cyclocross||Mountain, Road, Cyclocross|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bontrager Sport saddle affordably provides all-day comfort to those looking for a comfortable upright riding position for commuting or town riding. This saddle is very competitive with many higher-priced saddles in versatility and comfort. While this saddle will be snubbed by the more weight-conscious rider or those who spend most of their ride forward of the bars or in the drops, our less competitive readers will love the multiple comfortable riding positions and low cost. Those who cannot commit to spandex cycling shorts just yet or a high price tag will find this saddle comfortable without the need for padded riding shorts.
The Bontrager Sport was a welcome break from the more aggressive saddles in our lineup for our testers, who were grateful to have a rest from firmer smaller models. This saddle provides riders of various anatomies comfort, with the widest point measuring 163 millimeters at the slightly down tapered broad wings. A barely upward angled rear scoop provides the rider easy movement forward and back in the seat to find the perfect position. The stitching around the rear of the saddle does not impede during casual strokes. The wider rear is less recommended for hours of aggressive riding than a skinnier competitor. As far as absorption, the steel rails are rigid, and the seat depends on the foam interior to absorb the cracks and jostles of cracked asphalt and gravel roads.
The Sport is a traditional shape with a long tapered nose and a round rear with a large platform wide enough for most ischial tuberosities or sit bones. It has a groove that gently increases in depth towards the center of the seat, where it gives way to an 8 x 1.5-millimeter cutaway that Bontrager calls the Contour Relief Zone Plus (CRZ+). The CRZ+ provided comfort in forward and upright pelvic positions and was very appreciated on longer rides to provide pressure relief. Our testers found that the cutaway also provided cooling and ventilation on hot rides. The flatter rear with a minimal taper in the wings adds to upright comfort but minimizes power transfer in a forward position. It was also noticeable when pedaling hard downhill. That being said, it didn't interfere or cause any chafing for our testers.
The soft, tacky microfiber cover is plush and easy to move around on. The material is water-resistant and protected the foam from saturation when we left the saddle out in a late spring snowstorm. The plastic undercarriage is stiff, promoting better performance with moderate flex. The dotted texture on the surface of the shell also adds grip while moving around in the saddle.
The Sport is not the highest performing saddle in our lineup. The flexible plastic structure, ample foam, and wider scoop take away from the energy transfer from the rider. Useful watts of power are absorbed by the softer design elements causing bouncing in hard pedaling. Riders more concerned with power transfer and responsiveness should look to other higher-scoring saddles in this metric.
For riders commuting or those not ready to suffer the rear training of higher-end saddles, then this will please your toosh. Casual city riders, long-distance tourers, or cross country mountain bikers will enjoy the extra comfort and probably be less concerned with lost efficiency or extra weight. It is also nice to hop on a more comfortable saddle in a pair of casual shorts and not don the shammy every ride if you are just cruising around town.
The Sport is a very versatile saddle. Our testers enjoyed it on every type of ride, from single-speed beach cruisers to high-speed carbon road bikes. It really shines in the relaxed position of a long tour, city commute, or cross-country mountain bike ride. The thick padding and flexible plastic construction also absorb the jostles of gravel rides as well.
In regards to the versatility of rider positioning on the saddle, the Sport ranks very high. We enjoyed moving around this flat saddle to find the right position for whatever ride our testers took it on. The flat profile allows for easy movement and multiple positionings for different anatomies. This saddle is perfect for riders who want to maximize comfort over race times or speed.
The Sport survived our neglect in storms, our punishment on long rides, and our abuse when we dropped our bikes. The wear and tear we subjected the saddle to represent normal use, and it held up extremely well with no tears, scuffs, or visible damage. There is some exposed stitching at the rear of the saddle at the angle change towards the underside. The stitching was soft and not abrasive but could present problems over time if stitches came undone or cut.
Many of the more affordable saddles use a plastic port for the rail to sit in. Our heavier testers (100 kg) did not experience any breaks or cracks in this design. Considering that this seems to be a ubiquitous albeit less than ideal design choice across brands at this price point, we did not knock any points off in our scoring. We had no issues with any part of this saddle during our testing period. As noted in other saddle reviews, the plusher foam, the more room for it to pack down. We would expect that eventually, the foam would break down after years of use and be less supple. We did not notice any decrease in comfort or quality in the foam in our months and many miles of riding.
The Sport isn't the Sumo equivalent in the world of saddles, but it's no featherweight either. Steel and foam are among the heaviest materials to build a bike saddle from. The microfiber saves some weight versus other heavier materials like leather. The riders who will benefit most from this saddle are probably not concerned about 150 grams and aren't looking to use this saddle for racing. As stated before, the casual rider will enjoy the comfort and not even notice the weight. Who cares about a steel rail on your saddle if your frame is steel? At 350 grams, our testers did not decry the weight of this saddle, and the joys of its comfort silenced any would have.
The all-day comfort, versatility, and price of the Bontrager Sport promote it above other saddles in its class. If you are looking to upgrade the cheap stock seat on your commuter or road bike, look no further. Of course, some saddles in our lineup scored far higher in certain metrics, none compare to the low-cost benefit of comfort and saving yourself from agonizing hours in an uncomfortable saddle. This product is a bargain for what it provides and should be highly considered by the casual road rider or novice who doesn't want to spend too much on a saddle just yet.
The Bontrager Sport steals away the award for the most affordable and comfortable saddle we tested. If you are looking to upgrade that old tattered saddle or want to replace the uncomfortable stock saddle on your new bike, look no further. This plush throne is perfect for 100-mile rides across the countryside or your daily commute to work.
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