The Bontrager Inform Saddle — Revisited

Guest poster Jeff Hemmel updates his review of the Bontrager Inform saddle — and likes it.

Regular readers may recall that last year I posted a review of the Bontrager InForm RL saddle, a relatively new design that had been getting a lot of attention due not only to Bontrager’s “size-to-fit” concept, but also designer’s choice to forego a cutout in favor of what they considered proper weight distribution to combat numbness.

Though I was never a gushing fan of the saddle, I was pretty happy with it overall…at least for several months. Then, for reasons that eluded me, I started to get that dreaded numbness. No, it never lasted after I got off the bike thankfully, but it got to be a real pain — literally and figuratively — during nearly every ride. By summer, I was finding it really annoying, and wondering if the seat’s foam had somehow broken down.

I asked Trek about it and they asked the obvious questions: had I changed my position, etc. Each time I analyzed the situation I couldn’t think of a single thing I had changed. Not my position, not my brand of shorts, nothing. I started to just think the saddle wasn’t that hot after all, and began researching alternatives.

A funny thing, however, happened over the winter. Here in Florida, it was one of the coldest in history, and as a result I did a lot of riding bundled up in far more clothing than I normally would. And somewhere in the midst of those cold, windy rides, I began to notice something. The numbness was subsiding. Ultimately, it went away for the most part. And that relative comfort has continued into the spring.

Like an on-again, off-again relationship, my saddle and I are once again an item.

Why the change of heart? At first I had no idea. But after analyzing things for a while, I think I found the answer. And I think part of it is the result of all that cold-weather riding in tights.

No, it wasn’t more padding, or a different chamois placement, or anything like that. I continue to wear my regular shorts, pulling on chamois-less Pearl Izumi tights over them. Those tights, however, are made of a more slippery material than my shorts. As a result, I found myself sliding around a little more in my seat. And what I discovered was that I was ultimately settling into a position a little further back of where I had been riding as of late — a position that spread more of my weight on my sit bones at a wider portion of the seat.

Why, or how, had I moved forward? I have no idea. But without any big conscious effort, I was now moving back a fraction more…and finding that riding could once again be a pleasurable experience.

Yes, I occasionally force myself to scoot my butt back just a little on the seat, but for the most part my body has now just adapted to this new position.

Long story short? I once again think the InForm saddle is worth my money, and I’m in no rush to replace it. I also have a fresh appreciation for that advice you so often hear about saddles — they need to support your weight on your sit bones, those two bony parts you feel when you sit on a flat, hard surface, and not on the perineum, that area of soft tissues between your legs that house all those nerves and arteries that you need for other, more important things.

I still think people should try different saddles to see which fit them best, and yes, I think a professional bike fitting is a great idea for any serious cyclist. But if you’re just not happy with your saddle, you might want to move around on it a little bit before you go shopping for a new one.

In other words, you might want to put a little work into your current relationship…before it leads to a pricey divorce.

  • Bontrager inForm Nebula Plus Saddle
    Bontrager
    Bontrager originally designed the inForm Nebula Plus saddles for the more upright riding position associated with hybrid and fitness bikes. But we found that anyone who rides upright, be they a mountain biker or a roadie on the new breed of more upright road bikes benefit from the Nebula's design. They feature Flex Form Technology, a rubber elastomer that allows the saddle to rotate subtly from side to side to accommodate the natural movement of your pelvis while pedaling. They also come in 3 different widths that give you superior skeletal support for the ultimate in comfort.
    $74.99 from Idaho Mountain Touring
  • Bontrager inForm Hilo XXX Saddle
    Bontrager
    Ride faster, farther, and in greater comfort with the advanced ergonomic support of Bontrager's inForm Hilo XXX Saddle. The Hilo features a full-length CRZ+ channel that allows you to stay in the aero position longer, rotate your hips farther forward, and unlock your power. Zone Density Padding places multi-density padding in strategic areas for optimal comfort and performance. That, along with the inForm BioDynamics, optimizes your natural movement for better efficiency. Oversize carbon rails and a carbon shell keep the weight down to race-day levels, too.
    $279.99 from Idaho Mountain Touring

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