Race Face Aeffect Review
Cons: Uncomfortable, rounded side to side profile, no anatomical relief
Manufacturer: Race Face
Our Analysis and Test Results
Race Face bills the Aeffect as "a lightweight, railed, do anything saddle". Seeing as this is the only saddle Race Face offers, it stands to reason that they think it is excellent for all applications. It's certainly a capable saddle, and testers used it on rides ranging from smashing short enduro laps with friends to long and grueling XC trail rides. While it proved to be great for more enduro and gravity oriented riding styles, testers felt it lacked the refinement and comfort of the competition for extended periods of pedaling.
Our comfort rating is where the Aeffect received its lowest score. It was outclassed in this metric by virtually all the other saddles in our test except for the SDG Circuit Ti-Alloy. This is primarily due to the saddle's shape which just doesn't seem to be well suited to extended periods of seated pedaling. At 290mm, the Aeffect is the longest saddle in our test selection, and it comes in only a narrower 132mm width. It is simply better suited to riders with narrower sit bones or who prefer a narrow saddle. When viewed from above, there isn't really anything objectionable about the shape; it has nice lines and a good amount of taper from the widest part to the tail.
When viewed from the side, however, you will notice that it is dead flat from tip to tail. This saddle has no cradle whatsoever, nor does it have much flex to allow you to settle into it. There is also no anatomical relief of any kind, so it puts more pressure on your sensitive areas than most of the competition.
When viewed from the front, you'll also notice the rounded side to side profile with a little flat in the middle. This rounded shape, when coupled with the narrow width, leaves a lot of your weight resting on the high point of the saddle in the middle unless you have quite narrow sit bones. Testers found this to be generally uncomfortable when seated for extended periods, resulting in a numbing sensation where you'd rather not experience it.
The overall performance of the Aeffect was clearly hampered by its lack of comfort. It did not do well is situations where seated pedaling was a big part of the equation. That said, when in its element, like bombing downhill, the Aeffect performed quite well. The slim profile and tapered tail made moving around and especially getting behind it quite easy with nothing to snag on the crotch of your shorts or hang you up in any way. The long nose of the saddle also proved to be nice for super steep sections of climbing where you want to get your weight as far forward as possible.
The Aeffect lost some ground to the competition in the durability metric due to its lack of tail protection. The microfiber seat cover, while it does seem as durable as the competition, wraps fully around the tail of the saddle and is attached underneath. The tail of the saddle is the most prone to damage from crashing and on the Aeffect it remains exposed.
Otherwise, the Aeffect appears to be quite durable. The seat cover is one piece and has no exposed seams or stitching. The Ti-Alloy seat rails look strong and well connected, and we've had no noise emitting from them to speak of.
Versatility is another place the Aeffect lost some ground to the competition. Due to the shape and comfort of the saddle, testers weren't wild about using it for long rides with lots of pedaling or extended periods of time spent seated. We'd be most inclined to use this saddle on an enduro bike or gravity bike where we're spending more time riding downhill than up.
Weighing in a 234g, the Aeffect is relatively lightweight. This is achieved by their use of Ti-Alloy rails, honeycomb shell, and lightweight padding. For comparison, the Aeffect is five grams lighter than our Best Buy Award winner, the WTB Volt Race, but 32 grams heavier than our Top Pick for Light Weight Award winner, the Tioga Spyder Outland.
At its retail price, we feel the Aeffect saddle is a good value for the right consumer. If you're a more gravity oriented rider who spends less time riding uphill than down, then this is a quality saddle that is lightweight and will probably suit your needs.
While it was far from our favorite saddle, the Race Face Aeffect does have its moments. It wouldn't be our first choice for any ride that involves a significant amount of climbing or seated pedaling, but it is a good option for people who do most of their riding from a shuttle or a chairlift. The saddle is comfortable enough for short periods of pedaling and has a narrow shape and tapered tail that allow the rider to move around it freely.
The Aeffect is available in Black, Red, and Blue (tested).
— Jeremy Benson