Earlier this year we got chance to visit Prologo's production. Prologo's driving force GM, Salvatore Truglio came along for the ride to take us through the brands short but highly successful history.
Salvatore explains, "We started Prologo back in 2007, with the aim to leading the market as technology brand & producing innovative saddles, differently from the established brands. I thought we should be about technology, whereas most saddles have been made the same way for decades. I also wanted us to be closely involved with professional racing, and right from our first product, the Prologo Choice we started to have winners.
"The Choice had the 1st & patented interchangeable covers so you could get different characteristics from the same saddle, firm, soft, smooth, textured, Carlos Sastre rode using the Choice when he won the Tour in 2008. That's just been the starting point for Prologo's success."
Salvatore believes that one of the reason of our success is the production relationship with Velo (their Producer partner), that with our strong & R&D dept. they have the advantage of using Velo's vast manufacturing expertise, which they call upon as back up for ProLogo's design team, wide ranging testing program, and research into production techniques. Velo produce around 15 million saddles per year, but the Prologo project is where they reserve their most important tech.
In recent years Prologo have introduced CPC connect technology, this special polymer material comprises of small volcano shaped hollow pieces that actively grip you as you ride, thanks to "Volcano shape" provide shock & vibration absorption and because they separate you from the saddles surface also increase airflow.
Prologo have a worldwide patent on this technology for saddles, Salvatore tells us "We saw this technology being used elsewhere (on grips for F1 gloves & seats) and thought we'd test it on saddles, it's proven very successful with a lot of our pro athletes opting for CPC".
The CPC Polymer was something Prologo first tried way back in 2009.
"We developed a dedicated time trial saddle with the help of Fabian Cancellara, the 1st & real TT saddles Nago EVO TTR, it was the first of its kind with a gripping texture and a thick padded nose. Obviously the TTR was a success as Spartacus took that years Tour time trial and the Worlds riding the TTR."
Salvatore continues, "We then moved the design on with pro rider input to the Zero TT, a lighter more compact saddle that this time pioneered the use of CPC. Orica-GreenEdge used the Zero TT to great success too.
"For this year we introduced a complete line of Products dedicate to TT & TRI; the T-Gale saddle, and I'm pleased to say that has been chosen by all of our protour teams for time trials and by pro Triathletes as Fredirik Vanlride, Sebastian Kinle."
We ask Salvatore if the professional sponsorship by Prologo is about exposure of the brand, "Yes of course that's a major part, but we have always had a good relationship with riders, the Nago Evo design was finalised with input from Bradley Wiggins, Alberto Contador & Schleck brothers," he replied.
"The Scratch is the saddle choice of Peter Sagan, who now helps develop the design, and this was the saddle chosen by Cancellara & Tom Boonen who both providing vital feedback. 'We also had Chris Froome riding the Zero2 along with Purito Rodriguez. We take feedback from riders we sponsor very seriously, they spend so long on a bike racing and training they are great judges of what makes a good saddle great, The Pro teams are important because are the final road test."
For this year they've produced special saddles for both Peter Sagan and Alberto Contador. Contador tested a wide range of ProLogo's saddles before choosing the all-new Zero C3 PAS CPC saddle. This 149g race perch features pretty much all of the latest Prologo innovations, including a new carbon bonded hull and rail, the PAS perennial relief channeling, and the latest airing CPC surface.
Salvatore goes on to tell us how difficult it is to choose the right saddle for most us, as the pro riders get to try out the whole range before deciding. That led them to develop their own saddle choice software, combined with a pressure sensitive seat hardware you can measure your sit bones and use the selector to chose the correct saddle. "We hope to have these in all of our premium worldwide dealers".
At this years Tour Prologo's fortunes have been a mixed bag, Peter Sagan has continued to get himself seen almost every day, and looks set to continue. Long time Prologo rider Contador hasn't faired so well with injury forcing his retirement early on. Though Salvatore sums things up "We see the Tour de France as the last part of our laboratory it's the final road test, we can see how well they work here and find where to improve too".