A high-quality performance saddle that offers no-nonsense comfort for road and gravel
- Comfortable straight away
- Universally likeable shape
- Well suited to on- and offroad riding
- Some may find the edge of the cutout too hard
The Bontrager Montrose saddle range isn’t going to garner much attention for technological advancements or unique selling points. Designed for performance cycling both on- and off-road, it sits in the middle of the range between the steel-railed Comp and carbon-railed Pro.
Design and aesthetics
There is no futuristic 3D-printed padding or radical shortening for the Montrose, this is a saddle design that will appear familiar to many riders. While most en-vogue saddles seem to be getting stumpier - particularly around the nose - the Montrose’s carbon gives a more traditional length of 270mm and comes in width options of 128mm, 138mm and 148mm.
That’s not to say Bontrager hasn’t put any thought into the shape. Bontrager grades its saddles based on its inForm BioDynamic philosophy which was developed by studying rider position, pressure-mapping sessions and high-speed video analyses. The inForm BioDynamic is based on a rider’s posture on the bike which determines the area of the pelvis in contact with the saddle and thus the support that is needed. The Montrose is a Phase 2 which denotes it as a performance saddle on the Bontrager’s scale and suited to those who ride in an aggressive position and seek stability towards the front of the saddle.
The Montrose Elite shares the same carbon-reinforced body as the Pro version and features a full Contour Relief Zone Plus cutout to relieve pressure around the soft tissue of the pubic rami.
Padding is slim and firm at the nose, and gradients to increased give toward the back. The padding around the cutout does form a firm area and while this wasn’t an issue for me, others may have a different experience. A microfibre finish feels plenty durable and should clean up well, although the riding recently hasn’t seen much mud to put this to the test.
The rails are made from hollow titanium and are then suspended at the rear of the saddle which Bontrager claim increases compliance over the flexibility of standard titanium. The Montrose offers 55mm of rail adjustment to dial in the right riding position.
The Montrose immediately found it’s home on the gravel bike where it would see a broad range of riding. It may have been simple luck but mounting the saddle horizontal was comfortable from the off and I never felt any need for tweaking or readjustment.
Titanium rails always offer a pleasantly smooth ride quality and the Montrose is no different. The test miles undertaken on this saddle were offroad and the titanium rails combined with Bontrager’s suspended rail design help over chattery surfaces, although its impossible to say how much extra comfort is offered from the suspended rail system.
The shape happily accommodated any readjustments depending on the terrain that was being ridden and there wasn’t any feeling of obstruction when pedalling. For me, the padding struck the right balance of enough cushioning for comfort without sacrificing stability. The cutout, which is visibly narrower than other saddles on test, still did its job relieving pressure where required. While this saddle saw a lot of offroad action, it still offered comfort and surety when dispatching tarmac miles, even when forced to hunker down over the handlebars when battling headwinds.
You know what you are getting with the Montrose. It doesn’t disappoint and delivers performance and comfort in a predictable and likeable manner. Some saddles take some climatising to find the sweet spot but the Montrose was instantly familiar and while the layout may not offer true high-end performance, it’s a saddle that I would happily ride day in and day out on most bikes, and is truly deserving of a place in our guide to the best road bike saddles.
Tech spec: Bontrager Montrose Elite
- Price: £90 / $150 / AU$170
- Rails: 7mm
- Widths: 128mm, 138mm, 148mm
- Length: 270mm
- Material: Carbon base with titanium rails
- Colours: Black
- Weight: 222g (216g claimed)
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