Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Red Wall Review: Bontrager Inform RL Saddle

Well, I've done a lot of changing as of late when it comes to my bikes. Lots of shifting of parts and the Le Tour is now actually just a frame [it was parted out to build up a fixie for a friend] if you look closely on the picture from the beast you can see the frame that now has all the goods.

Because of this, I got to pull out my very first fixie. Still don't know have a name for her but she does have a special place in my heart. I finally dialed the gear ratio in [with the help of Geoff] to a 39x15 from the 39x17/20 I was running with the Surly Dingle cog on. The 39x15 is basically gear nirvana for me, it fits my natural cadence extremely well.

Since the Brooks has been taken off to go on the Ferrous, and the Brooks B17 is a bit hard to get my hands on as of late, I decided to venture out and purchase the new Bontrager Inform RL 146mm saddle, in white of course. I finally stumbled onto a formula for saddle preference that has given me success with the last few that I've tried. When I purchased the Brooks, I'll admit it was more for the look of it on the bike than knowing if I'd actually like it. I'd heard all the horror stories from them, but in all reality, from the moment I sat on it, it was perfect. No complaints. I couldn't pin point this until these new Bontrager saddles came out which come with a measuring system to help find the proper size.

It measures the sit bones [but the actual part that you sit on for riding is not the same part of the bone but one further in] and from there helps point you to the direction you should go for a new saddle. I found that after taking that test, and comparing the suggested Bontrager saddle to the Brooks they were extremely similar in size. [I'll show in a picture in a later post to better explain this].

With this in mind, I decided to roll the dice on the saddle. Granted the 90 day Comfort Guarantee is what made me finally commit because of the price: $99.99 MSRP for the RL, is a bit high. These seats I must stress aren't for the casual rider or mountain bike rider for that matter, these saddles are built with the road rider in mind. Because with the first leg over the saddle this morning my first response was 'Damn, I'm sitting on a brick' which I might add is the first thing that ran through my head with the Brooks.

Now, given that I only have 14 miles saddle time so far, this review will change. So this is my first impressions. As with any saddle What was needed for me was a little adjustment of the positioning [front to back, not angle for this saddle Bontrager does not suggest changing angle unlike the Specialized, level is good]. There has been no numbness or discomfort while in the saddle, granted there is little jell in it, with a padded short it performs great! I am surprised to be writing this to be perfectly honest because from the get go with this system I've had the 'prove it' attitude with it. So far, I highly recommend this saddle to anyone looking for light [215 grams compared to 250g on the same price point Specialized BG Alias saddle], performance road saddle.


Robert said...

Thanks for the great write-up. I just bought the white RL Inform yesterday and mounted it on my Trek Pilot 5.0. (I also changed the black handlebar tape to white, so the combination is sweet.) Though I haven't had any saddle time yet, I did throw my leg over it and thought the same thing as you - this thing is a brick! But a good saddle needs to be broken in, so I'm hopeful (and confident) that this will turn out to be a great saddle. And I've got 90 days to evaluate it - can't beat that!

a.lo said...

The 90 days got me too... I noticed a dramatic difference in the saddle when I moved it forward about 2mm while leaving saddle flat. It seemed to have gotten my sit bones on the the wider section and totally aided in comfort.

Thanks for the comment Robert.

Eric said...

The kid at my LBS just handed me this saddle the other day and said "bring it back if you don't like it." Don't know if I owe him $100 or not. He's dating my daughter, so maybe not.

Anyway, I've used it on two rides so far, totaling about 65 miles. I think it's great--better than the stock saddle on my '08 Giant OCR1.

The old joystick was a little numb last night after a 44-mile run, but it's never been an ongoing problem for me with previous saddles, so I expect that minor (well, maybe not minor) problem to disappear shortly.

Anyway, I'm pretty happy so far. Price was sure right.