Saddles are the bane of my existence, as they are for many people who put in long steady distance rides. In contrast to short, fast rides that require repeated bursts of high-intensity pedaling—often out of the saddle—on longer rides you often sit…and sit…and sit. A comfortable saddle is a must.
I’ve preferred the Brooks Swallow for a long time now. It’s narrow enough to fit neatly between my thighs and has a flat profile, which suits my skinny ass well. Like other leather saddles, it appears rock hard, but there’s a bit of a trampoline effect that provides a cushion, particularly when the saddle is new. I like it enough that I use it on wildly inappropriate bikes, like my English, which really deserves a 100-gram wonder saddle.
I’ve tried other saddles without success, including the Fizik Kurve, which—despite claims that it offers the benefits of a Brooks in a modern saddle—has all of the initial drawbacks of a Brooks without the benefit of being able to break it in after a few hundred miles.
However, I still experience some pain, particularly when I’m in the saddle for longer than 10 or 12 hours. As importantly, the Swallow tends to collapse after seven or eight thousand miles. Not good if that’s about how far you ride each year, and especially not good considering that it costs more than $300.
This is the Rivet. It looks like a Brooks Swallow and, in fact, has almost identical dimensions, but it also has a cutout in the center.
If you’ve got your saddle set up properly, there’s no need for a cutout because you’re not sitting on your perineum. However, the slot offers one key benefit: It allows greater flex and permits the saddle to move naturally with your pedal stroke.
I received the titanium-railed saddle a few days ago, and my initial impressions were favorable. In particular, the leather appears to be thicker than on the Brooks (closer to a Berthoud saddle) and is at least equally well finished.
I went for a 35-mile ride today with the saddle with positive results. It has been a year since my last Brooks Swallow, so my recollection may be off, but the saddle was comfortable immediately, unlike the Brooks which takes at least a few hundred miles to break in. This may or may not be a good thing—if it is comfortable immediately, as the saddle breaks in it may become less comfortable.
Only time will tell if the Rivet is more durable than a Brooks. If it is—and it continues to perform—I’m a convert. So far, so good.
I’ll report back after a thousand more miles, and PS, the Kurve Bull is for sale, if anyone wants it.