WTB Speed V Saddle (Review)

It’s been a familiar pattern: Ride, get sore bottom. Ride, get sore bottom. What to do about it?

I’ve fiddled with different saddles.

Three years ago, there was a Trek gel saddle of some kind, that I appropriated from my wife’s bike when she got a new saddle for herself (an Avocet gel — too bad Avocet is no more). I knew the Forte Classic from Performance would be a big improvement. Nope. Then, the Specialized Alias that came with my new bike seemed to hold some promise. Until I did some really long rides on it, and started looking for an alternative. The Selle San Marco Ponza was the answer to my prayers — for about an hour.

Most of these saddles had one thing in common: Little padding. So when I decided to spring for a new saddle, I looked for something with a little more cush. A couple of lines in particular offer saddles with more padding than I’ve been used to: Serfas and WTB. I liked the looks of the WTB Speed V, so a couple of weeks ago, I paid a visit to the local Performance store, and bought one. The fact that it was on sale for $25 helped in the decision-making process, too.

The Speed V is wider across the back than the Ponza, which I figured I must need. I liked the feel of the Ponza’s narrow seat, but maybe a slightly wider platform would offer better support. The Speed V also has the distinctive WTB “Love Channel” (how could you not like that name?) — not a complete cutout, but not flat, like the Ponza.

It’s a comfy saddle, no doubt about it. I immediately liked the feel of the seat on my butt. The wide part of the seat has padding that gives, without being overly soft. The nose of the saddle is also padded more than I’ve been used to, which was welcome when climbing.

The first couple of rides were great. I actually went 16 and 18 miles without thinking about the saddle. But I knew the acid test would come on a long ride — something well over one hour.

That came last weekend at the Armadillo Hill Country Classic. I rode the 50-mile route, and was on the bike for over three hours, with only two short breaks. And I’ll admit it — there was some discomfort. However, I’m coming to the conclusion that the problem is not so much with the saddle as it is with my riding position.

The part that gets sore is my taint — that area between the boys and the uh, exit. On the Armadillo, I found myself standing on the pedals while coasting, just to take some weight off the taint. And it occurred to me that I shouldn’t be putting weight there anyway. After all, when getting fitted for a saddle by companies that use an ass-o-meter, or whatever it’s called, the key measurement is the distance between the sit bones — not where your taint hits the saddle.

I started deliberately putting more pressure on my sit bones, and sinking them into the Speed V’s padding. It helped. Ah ha! so this is the pelvic tilt I’ve heard about from time to time. Pressing down on the sit bones causes the pelvis to tilt forward, and relieve pressure on the taint.

Problem is, I’ve been riding the other way so long, it’s going to take some effort on my part to get the tilt down to where it’s second nature.

I figured I’d help it by adjusting the tilt of the saddle. I’ve always been meticulous about keeping the saddle level. After the Armadillo, I dropped the nose about half a bubble on the carpenter’s level. No definite conclusions yet.

For the time being, I’ll keep the Speed V. One of the reasons I bought it at Performance was their no questions asked return policy, so I do have other saddle options if the Speed V isn’t the answer to my saddle woes.

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11 thoughts on “WTB Speed V Saddle (Review)

  1. I have this saddle and like it… bought at REI a couple of years ago. I haven’t used it for many long rides – mostly commuting – but it’s one of the better ones I’ve used.

  2. When it comes to saddle adjustment I am “Mr. Millimeter.” Too much tilt forward, hands go numb. Too much tilt rearwards, other parts go numb. I finally had to buy a seat post where the clamp is on a smooth curve, instead of serrated little notches, since my ideal position always seems to be between two of the notches. I’ve really been impressed with the WTB saddle you have and it’s been comfortable for me so far. I spend an average of 5 miles out of the saddle (not all at once) on a typical 30 mile Veloway ride and that may help with circulation as well.

  3. Maybe I should try one of the fancier racing saddles, because every saddle I’ve ever tried puts pressure on my perineum. I gave up and went with a saddle with no horn at all – the spongy wonder. It’s a little heavy, and doesn’t help with stability, but there is absolutely zero pressure on the perineum. There’s not just a channel for your taint – there’s no material at all to cause any pressure.

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  9. New to your blog and was wondering if you could give me an update on the Speed V saddle. Is it still working out for you? I recently got back into cycling and my 15 year old hybrid with original saddle is not cutting it on the longer rides and after reading your review I am interested in trying this saddle. Cheers Simon

    • Everything I wrote still applies, although I have concluded that no saddle is comfortable for me after 50 miles or so. The vinyl cover cracked in a fall, when the saddle hit the pavement, but besides the cosmetic blemish, it has not affected comfort at all. I still recommend the saddle.

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