- 3D printing has much promise for the cycling industry. And Specialized has found an additive manufacturing application for its accessories.
- Using the benefits of 3D printing, Specialized has created a new generation of saddles, going beyond traditional foam padding.
- And the latest version of its 3D printed saddles uses titanium seat rails for better mountain biking durability.
When mountain bikers are budgeting for upgrades, saddles are hardly top of mind. But they should be.
Once you trigger a discomfort point with your riding perch,
there’s no solving the issue. You’ll have to suffer for the rest of the ride.
Advanced construction techniques have introduced a new generation of saddles, which look futuristic and promise greater comfort.
Mirror tech is peak 3D
A saddle with a mirror? Not quite. Specialized’s Mirror technology is a 3D printed liquid polymer matrix, which replaces traditional foam, as the saddle structure.
It looks radical, and with 14 000 individual material structs and 7799 nodes, Specialized believe there is no way of being uncomfortable on one. The saddle structure can shape and react to your weight, body shape and riding style in many ways traditional foam can’t.
Tougher rails for mountain biking
Since its introduction, two factors have mitigated against broad adoption of the Specialized S-Works Power saddle, with Mirror technology. It’s expensive (R9 000) and with carbon-fibre seat rails, it might be terrifically light, but a touch too fragile for mountain biking.
Specialized has addressed these issues with its new Pro version. Titanium rails replace carbon-fibre, reducing the price while increasing the weight by a small margin.
The Specialized Pro Power saddle, with Mirror technology, weighs 240g (for the 143mm size) and 251g (if you want a larger 155mm version).
Pricing? Global shipping and supply chain challenges are still very much in place. Expect the Specialized Pro Power saddle, with Mirror technology, to be around a quarter cheaper than the S-Works version, when it arrives locally.