Back in the saddle, and still searching for "the one" to put my bum at ease.
We find ourselves going in circles, spending time and money looking for that one saddle that fits us, and not us fitting to it.
With mountain biking, it's even more difficult to find a good saddle because you're constantly up, down on the side and moving all around your bike. It's difficult for a saddle to fill your fidgety riding discipline.
Nonetheless, you need a good fitting saddle to support you on those sluggish climbs and centre you when you ride. After all, your bum is one of the 3 main contact points you have with your bike, so it's important to keep it happy.
From the highly acclaimed cycling brand, Madison, we've been testing the women's Strata Enduro Saddle for the past few months, and now the honeymoon period is over... is it a keeper?
Madison saw huge success with their award winning Flux and Prime model saddles. Using many of the same design concepts, they've created the Strata for women and added a pressure relief channel.
- MTB: AM / Enduro
- Cr-Mo Rails
- Pressure Relief Channel
- High Density Impact Foam
Madison have designed this saddle to withstand long enduro and sportive riding for women. This means it's designed to be light, comfortable and geared towards performance.
It's light and stylish to handle, and I immediately noticed the rounded back end which is constructed to cradle the sit bones in a cushion of multiple density foam.
Cr-Mo rails are an industry standard, and widely used for their durability and strength. However, you can now opt for more expensive and lighter alternatives such as carbon.
I've had this saddle for a few months now, and it's seen me through downhill days, trail rides and a number of leisurely pootles around the countryside.
Like all saddles (and shoes), there's a breaking in period to push through so it can mould itself to you over time. Once the initial hardness sank away, I began to feel more at ease and a lot more comfortable with the Strata.
For me, a good saddle test - and my most hated - is how a saddle fairs during a long uphill climb. When we climb, we sink ourselves into our saddles and rely on them for much needed support. This can be a great way to decide whether a saddle is right for you.
After many gruelling uphill battles, I've found the Strata saddle to be my ally, and not my foe. It's quite comfortable, as far as saddles go. Even with the descents, it's slim enough to quickly shift my weight behind without any rubbing or obstruction.
While the Madison Strata saddle has successfully passed the honeymoon period, it's too early to say whether it's a keeper for life. I'll still keep my eyes open for a better fit, just in case.
Measuring at 142mm x 268mm, this feels like an appropriate size for me, although it isn't available in any other sizes which is a shame for those with wider sit bones.
When shopping for a new saddle, it's always a good idea to get your sit bones professionally measured and ensure the saddle you're looking for it suitable to your riding style.
Don't be disheartened if at first you don't succeed, there's plenty more saddles out there in the cycling sea.
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