A Saddle With Wings

A Saddle With Wings

As technologies go, slotted saddles are relatively new. Basically, 20 years. In that time we’ve learned a lot about where pressure needs to be relieved, how long a channel can be helpful and how to make the saddle stiff enough to still give solid support on a six-hour ride.

Another truth, if perhaps not so fundamental: I only began to find saddles with cutouts that I could ride comfortably in the last 10 years. Before that, they were all torture.

One other fundamental truth that you may not be aware of: there’s a very good chance that the saddle on your bike right now was made by Taiwan-based Velo, one of the largest saddle manufacturers in the world. I could spend the rest of this review citing for whom they manufacture, but that’s not really the point. The real point is that they have as much saddle know-how as the next two saddle manufacturers.

Velo’s newest line of saddles for the road market is called Angel. It’s a series of four saddles. Three have titanium rails and weigh in between 220 and 245 grams. There’s also a carbon fiber-railed version that weighs in at about half that, 122g. The three ti-railed versions (Angel Dive, Angel Ride and Angel Fly) all have a gel cover over a plastic base. The Y-shaped cutout extends from a bit behind the nose of the saddle all the way to the back. The Angel name owes to the revision of a previous saddle that enjoyed a similar cutout called the WOW, for Weightless Open Wing.

I’ve been riding the Angel Dive, which weighed in true to marketing copy at 220g. It’s a surprisingly supple saddle. It measures 285mm long and 127mm wide, making it a pretty traditional racing saddle. In terms of contour, it’s a very flat platform, so for riders who move around a lot on the saddle, this one allows for that, though thanks to the textured, matte finish, it’s not so slick that you slide around under hard efforts.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I’ve got a rather sizable trailer. I do best with wider saddles and would have loved to try the Angel Ride, which measures 144mm across. C’est la vie. What I’m pleased to report is that despite the combination of narrow, slotted design, I found the Angel Dive to be a very comfortable and forgiving saddle. Yes, I had to sit pretty far back on it—as far back as possible, in fact—in order to get enough support, but I did several four-hour rides on this without arriving home with wrecked reproductive department. In an effort not to form any early impressions, I mounted the saddle and rode it for a couple of weeks without reading the data. It was only after I’d concluded that it was a bit narrow for me did I confirm that impression by checking the press materials.

The Angel Dive, Ride and Fly each retail for $130, which makes taking a flyer on these perhaps not risk-free, but it’s not the substantive investment some saddles are. This might not have been the best saddle for me, but it came surprisingly close.

Final thought: These wings are better than Red Bull.

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