One year ago, I reported that I had put a new saddle on my bike. After less-than-stellar experiences with hard racing-style saddles, I decided to go a different direction, and get something that offered more cushioning. I settled on the WTB Speed V.
It’s time for an update.
After riding the saddle for a year, I can report that it has done what I expected. The added cushioning makes for a more comfortable saddle (for me, anyway — I know that saddles are very personal things, and what works for one person might not work for another).
I have come to a conclusion about saddles, though. I think they all start to get uncomfortable after a couple of hours. I noticed when I did the LBJ 100 ride in March that no matter what saddle people were riding, many of them stood on the pedals while coasting — often switching the foot at the bottom of the pedal stroke. They were obviously doing what I have been doing — shaking out the mild soreness that takes over after sitting in the same position for awhile.
Fair enough. Otherwise, what I like about the saddle is its wider profile. It offers the platform for my bottom that had been lacking with my earlier choices.
What are the downsides to the Speed V? Take a look at this picture from today.
I took a fall back in September, and while it didn’t do any major damage to the bike or the saddle, it did cause some cracks in the vinyl cover. Those cracks have grown in number and spread a bit since then. In addition, the vinyl is starting to pull away from the embossed “Speed V” logo on the saddle’s nose. Neither of these problems affect the saddle’s comfort at all. They just don’t look good, and I can see that I might need to replace the saddle down the road sooner rather than later if they get much worse.
I’m not able to say if the surface cracking is the cause of my recent rash of saddle sores, since I get them on both sides, and the cracking is only on the left.
But it’s also important to remember that this saddle set me back a whopping $25 last year. I believe the advertised price at Performance is now up to $28. In any case, it’s a cheap saddle, and by that, I mean inexpensive — not shoddy.
Would I buy another WTB Speed V?
It depends. My friend David was intrigued by my original review, so he went out and bought the WTB Rocket V — what WTB calls an “enthusiast” saddle rather than a “recreational” saddle like the Speed V. He likes it. I might consider going that route, although it’s narrower than the Speed V, and I don’t seem to get on with narrow saddles. WTB saddles have gotten good ink in other venues, too, like Kent Peterson’s popular blog. So if I have to replace my saddle sooner rather than later, it will probably be with another WTB.
But if this one holds together for a little longer, and I can save a few more pennies, I might consider trying a Brooks B-17.