In search for the perfect saddle

I made a bad decision to upgrade from the WTB Nano to the white Specialized saddle a couple of weeks before the Mindoro trip. I thought, "what can go wrong? It's a Specialized saddle, right? It's gonna fit me like a glove." We all know how that ended up - me on the brink of giving up after the first day because my butt hurts like hell. Lo and behold, after more than a year of riding that saddle, it's still not as comfortable as what I'm expecting Specialized to deliver. And with summer already here, it's time to give one of the few contact areas some lovin'.

I went online and searched for what possibly can be a good saddle for me. The first candidate is the new saddle from Ergon. A brand known for championing proper bike equipment ergonomics, their new saddle could possibly end the discomfort that I feel when riding the Specialized. Unfortunately, it's not yet available in the Philippines, according to Edmund of All Terra. And so we move on to the next one.

Candidate number two is a saddle that I saw from one of the bikers in La Mesa. It has a weird shape - it looks as if it has two noses instead of one! A few quick searches on the net revealed that it's the ISM Adamo saddle. It looks comfortable and that impression is supported further by the reviews of people who have made the switch. I've yet to make trips around the bike shops in Manila to see if there's anyone selling this already. Otherwise, I may have to buy at Amazon and have it sent to a friend in the U.S. I'm making this my back-up plan.

When I opened my Facebook account, I discovered that Edmund left me another message. He suggested that I try the saddle that he's using now - the Allay. It's made by Topeak, he said. Being a Topeak user and someone relatively familiar with their website, I don't recall seeing a saddle in their line-up. A quick type on the browser confirms this - under products, there is nothing between Repair Stands and Storage & Display. I needed to do a quick search to reveal Topeak's secret.

If you're not familiar with the Allay comfort strategy, think about a quick-rebound high-density foam on a carbon shell with a Reebok Pump at the nose to adjust the firmness. If it's too hard, there's a valve that you push to release air. In a way, it's a saddle for gadget geeks.


Curious as to how this performs, I bought one from the All Terra bike shop at Julia Vargas and installed it right away when I got home. The Allay sits a bit higher than my old Specialized saddle so I had to lower my seatpost. Unlike conventional saddles that should be parallel to the ground, Allay recommends that you point the nose two or three degrees upward. I learned that this helps you from sliding forward.

Despite doing several installation adjustments and tweaking compared to the other saddles that I had, riding the Allay seems to be comfortable for me. I only did a few leisurely laps around the Ateneo campus. But in those few laps, I can somehow hear my butt thanking me. With a price tag of P6,000 for a saddle, it should, right?

As with all saddles, only a lot of riding time will tell if this is the right one for me. I hope this is it so we can finally live happily forever after.