Thursday, November 8, 2012
Review: ISM Podium Saddle
When I got my new tri bike, I was ecstatic. Setting into the aero position felt like second nature, and the ride was so much smoother than anything I'd ever experienced. I knew this was key to training for my first 70.3.
After a few rides though, something became abundantly clear: my saddle hurt. More accurately, I was experiencing saddle sores and a general all-encompassing saddle pain.
I tried to wait it out. I thought I just needed to get my seat back, like you do when you haven't ridden in a while. But it didn't get better, and my rides were getting longer, and I was missing miles because I couldn't stand to be in the seat. It was time for something different.
I decided to check out the TriSports.com demo program, as I could get a better range of saddle options there than I could from my LBS.
I had eyeballed ISM saddles before, but just wasn't sure about them. So I first tried the Fizik Vitesse saddle. It felt better than my current saddle, and in desperation I went ahead and purchased it, as I was becoming increasingly worried about my inability to do long rides and the time in the saddle I was missing.
After a couple more rides, I realized though that this wasn't going to fly either. It was time to try the ISM. I went on their website, and used their saddle selector. After a little more research, I decided I would first try the Breakaway. Right away, I knew the general nose-less design of the ISM was right for me, I just wasn't sure if the Breakaway was ultimately the right saddle. It felt a little wide to me. On one of my longer rides during the demo, I experienced a little chafing. I returned that saddle and did a little more research, but couldn't decide. I was split between the Breakaway, the Podium, and the Prologue. And what about the Racing?
So I emailed ISM. I had read a couple different reviews where people said the folks at ISM were super helpful and quick to respond, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Sure enough, Dave at ISM got back to me within on a couple hours, on a Sunday no less! I told him my height, weight, mileage and a little about my issues. He referred me to a woman on staff who is also a triathlete. This was such a huge help. I talked through all my issues, and she recommended the Podium saddle. After much hemming and hawing, I decided to just go for it. No demo, no nothing.
And I love it. It's a little firmer than the Breakaway, which did cause me some initial soreness, but nothing that kept me from riding. To date, I've put about 200 miles on the saddle, and I'm increasingly happy as it breaks in.
It's also a hair narrower, which seems to be a little better for my petite frame. I can't stress enough what a convert I've become. I won't ever be able to go back to a "regular" saddle after this.
I've had to tweak the height and positioning a little bit, and the fit video and diagram on ISM's website was helpful in figuring out how things should be positioned.
Overall, I would highly recommend this saddle if you are someone who finds a lot (or even a little) discomfort in a traditional saddle set up.