One Year Later: The WTB Saddle

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.

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7 thoughts on “One Year Later: The WTB Saddle

  1. I use Brooks, have done for years, I have a Brooks on all 3 of my bikes. They are expensive, but they last a lifetime and only get better with age. Unlike us! But it is a fair wad of cash to shell out if they’re not for you.

    The other plus point is that they manufactured in my home town and I work literally around the corner from them. So if my old saddles need a fix I can take them in and they get repaired while I wait!

    I blogged about them here.
    http://www.massivemtber.co.uk/?p=119

  2. +1 on the Brooks. When I do 100-milers, while most folks’ derrieres are crying “bloody murder”, I can concentrate on everything else going on, because I am not thinking about the saddle :)

  3. Have you looked at the Pure V? I’ve used it for a several years and like it (and it’s still in pretty good shape!). Brooks isn’t a bad option either… I have a B17 as well and think I like it but don’t have the seat time in yet to know for sure.

  4. Has it really been a year? Still diggin’ the Rocket V. You know how much I liked my Forte ProSLX. So I figured if the Rocket V was a bust I could go back. Cyclists are hard wired to try and make their ride better and Performance has a good return policy. Zero break-in time, and it still looks new. At $60 it was a good value when you compare weight and comfort. I just get on the bike and never think about the saddle. And I got that goin’ for me, which is good.

  5. I have the same model saddle on both of my mountain bikes and I just checked them. I am happy to report that after thousands of miles both saddles show relatively little wear and tear, and certainly not the cracking you are experiencing. However, I do keep the bikes in the house so perhaps they are subjected to the kinds of temperature extremes that “shed kept” or “garage kept” bikes may be exposed to. I am seriously considering getting yet another one of these saddles for my road bike.

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