Specialized S-Works Power Arc Review
Cons: Not versatile, expensive
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Specialized S-Works Power Arc
Check Price at Backcountry
|$134.73 at REI||$100.50 at Amazon||$93.76 at Amazon||$35 List|
Check Price at REI
|Pros||Very light, supportive, comfortable||Lightweight, comfortable, durable||Lightweight, supportive, comfortable on long rides||Lightweight, comfortable, reasonably priced||Comfortable, anatomical groove and cutout, versatile, economical|
|Cons||Not versatile, expensive||No anatomic relief channel, lacks versatility||No pressure relief channel, limited colors||Unique shape may not be for everyone||Heavy, not as stiff as high performance options|
|Bottom Line||This saddle provides comfortable support for the road racer looking to shed grams or the weekend warrior looking for a more aggressive saddle that doesn't sacrifice comfort||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||A Jack or Jackie of all trades, comfortable for any riding style in any situation, this affordable saddle ranks competitively with higher-priced alternatives|
|Rating Categories||Specialized S-Works...||Fabric Scoop||Fizik Aliante Gamma...||Prologo Dimension||Bontrager Sport Saddle|
|Specs||Specialized S-Works...||Fabric Scoop||Fizik Aliante Gamma...||Prologo Dimension||Bontrager Sport Saddle|
|Dimensions||L 155 mm, W 143 mm||L 282 mm, W 142 mm||L 265 mm, W 142 mm||L 245 mm, W 143 mm||L 275 mm, W 163 mm|
|Weight (grams)||141 g||195 g||252 g||191 g||350 g|
|Rail Material||FACT carbon||Carbon fiber||Alloy||Tirox||Steel|
|Shell Material||FACT carbon fiber||Nylon, PU foam||Nylon Carbon Reinforced with Twin Flex™ center||Light foam||Foam|
|Seat Cover Material||EVA, Body Geometry||Waterproof Microfiber||Synthetic||Microfiber||Microfiber|
|Anatomical Cut Out or Channel||Yes, full cut out||No||No||Yes, full cut out||Yes groove and cut out|
|Target Use (mountain, road, etc.)||Road||Road||Road||Road, Mountain, Cyclocross||Road, Commuting, Touring|
Our Analysis and Test Results
The S-Works Power Arc fits your form for hours of comfortable support in a limited amount of riding positions. If you are a rider who is looking for a fast light racing saddle riding low in the drops, then this model will please your posterior.
The Power Arc is offered in a slim 143-millimeter width and a wide version at 155 millimeters to accommodate varying body sizes. As with any short-nosed saddle, there is limited room to move around. The aggressive shape pushes the rider into a more forward position. We found that the medium density EVA padding accommodated our rears nicely and offered much more comfort than one would expect, given its thickness. The slight rear scoop and steeply dropping wings allow for easy pelvic rotation into low positions on the hoods or drops. The curving wings fit nicely into the gluteal crease limiting friction and chaffing after hours of hard pedaling.
The EVA foam coupled with buoyant FACT carbon rails makes for a saddle that can absorb a good deal of road vibrations and jarring shocks. While this is not enough to absorb everything angry asphalt or gravel can throw at you, our testers commented that this saddle was noticeably more forgiving than others in its class. The pressure relief cutout and saddle groove also were a favorite of our testers, allowing for swelling and reducing cramping on long rides.
Specialized states that Power Arc has improved body geometry, to which our testers agree. The sloping rear saddle forms to your sit bones and allows your hip joint maximum range of motion while still support your sit bones. This allows maximum power transfer without the saddle catching at the top of your hamstring on full extension. This shape also encourages the forward tilt of the pelvis, maximizing power in the lowest positions. This also makes moving up out of the saddle and, more importantly, back into it like putting on an old worn glove that contours to your body. Out of the box, we appreciated how quickly we slid right back into the most comfortable place on the saddle. While there are not many options for moving around the saddle, the sweet spot is like honey on a long ride.
The tradeoff of this comfort and the flex of the carbon is a small loss in performance. We found that in a hard pedal downhill, the flex of the carbon contributed to an annoying bounce on every leg pump that was hard to avoid. Riders who aren't trying to pass or competing won't mind this and just go into a tuck on the descent. If you are aggressively trying to gain speed on the descent, there are firmer saddles in our lineup that don't have this drawback.
The attributes that make the Power Arc such a pleasurable race saddle are exactly the values that make it less adept at other applications. We tested this saddle mountain biking and on long tours, and it performed well due to its flex and medium-firm foam. But this saddle excels at low positions in road cycling and speed, and other saddles with more surface area are better for upright positions, and any cutout can create a mess on muddy mountain bike trails. The ergonomic shape that we praise for its comfort in a forward position means that it becomes less comfortable as your pelvis rotates more upright.
This saddle lacks scuff guards or any significant protection for the cover. The carbon rails were reported breaking by some users though our heavier testers (95 kg) did not experience any failure in hundreds of miles. Overall this saddle held up well to rough handling and typical abuse.
The Power Arc is one of the lightest saddles we've ever tested, weighing in at a scant 141 grams. The lightest materials are used in this product: Specialized FACT carbon rails, carbon fiber body, and EVA padding. Of course, the price reflects the high-end materials, but weight-conscious racers or those looking for a light, comfortable, aggressive saddle need to look no further.
The Power Arc is an expensive saddle but one that is comfortable out of the box. This saddle's high performance and comfort make it worth the cost to serious riders looking to gain the edge over the competition or set a new personal best. Still, many other high-performing and more affordable options are available for those looking to save some cash.
The S-Works Power Arc is not a versatile saddle, but it shines as an aggressive race saddle. Those looking to spend hours low on the hoods or drops will appreciate the firm support and mild flex of this high-quality carbon saddle.
— Ryan Baker