Reviews You Can Rely On

Specialized S-Works Power Arc Review

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
Specialized S-Works Power Arc
Photo: Specialized
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Price:  $300 List | Check Price at Backcountry
Pros:  Very light, supportive, comfortable
Cons:  Not versatile, expensive
Manufacturer:   Specialized
By Ryan Baker ⋅ Review Editor  ⋅  Jun 9, 2021
  • Share this article:
Our Editors independently research, test, and rate the best products. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Learn more
77
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#7 of 15
  • Comfort - 30% 7
  • Performance - 30% 9
  • Versatility - 20% 6
  • Durability - 10% 7
  • Weight - 10% 10

Our Verdict

This ultra-light saddle encourages the rider to tilt forward and allows for good power transfer with little energy loss for those looking for a minimalist carbon saddle. The S-Works Power Arc will give you hours of comfort with a generous cutout and angled wings that reduce friction. The firm padding provides pleasant support for those accustomed to aggressive positions and the generous flex in the carbon construction provides a great introduction to those looking for their first aggressive race saddle. If you tend to rise out of the saddle in pursuit or are looking for a comfortable yet aggressive alternative, consider the Power Arc for your next saddle.

Compare to Similar Products

 
Awards  Editors' Choice Award Top Pick Award Best Buy Award Best Buy Award 
Price $300 List
Check Price at Backcountry
$134.73 at REI$100.50 at Amazon$95.31 at Amazon$35 List
Check Price at REI
Overall Score Sort Icon
77
85
82
79
76
Star Rating
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
Pros Very light, supportive, comfortableLightweight, comfortable, durableLightweight, supportive, comfortable on long ridesLightweight, comfortable, reasonably pricedComfortable, anatomical groove and cutout, versatile, economical
Cons Not versatile, expensiveNo anatomic relief channel, lacks versatilityNo pressure relief channel, limited colorsUnique shape may not be for everyoneHeavy, 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 comfortA high-end, ultra lightweight racing saddle that blends comfort and performanceA comfortable, affordable saddle great for long-distance cruisingA high-performing saddle that provides lightweight comfort and a unique designA 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
Comfort (30%)
7.0
9.0
8.0
9.0
8.0
Performance (30%)
9.0
9.0
8.0
8.0
7.0
Versatility (20%)
6.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
9.0
Durability (10%)
7.0
8.0
9.0
9.0
8.0
Weight (10%)
10.0
9.0
7.0
9.0
5.0
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.

Performance Comparison


We were impressed with the comfort provided from minimal padding on...
We were impressed with the comfort provided from minimal padding on long road rides and mountain climbs.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Comfort


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 large cut out impressed us by providing pressure relief where we...
The large cut out impressed us by providing pressure relief where we need it most.
Photo: Ryan Baker

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.

Performance


Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge

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 light aggressive shape made this saddle more at home on fast...
The light aggressive shape made this saddle more at home on fast road rides but we also enjoyed it on tours and long rides due to its increased flex and anatomic cutout.
Photo: Ryan Baker

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.

Versatility


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.

The carbon rails proved to be sturdy throughout our testing and the...
The carbon rails proved to be sturdy throughout our testing and the carbon frame provided additional flex to contribute to comfort.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Durability


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.

Weight


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.

All-day comfort and ample support on long mountain rides brought us...
All-day comfort and ample support on long mountain rides brought us a smile bigger than the saddle.
Photo: Ryan Baker

Value


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.

Conclusion


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