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Object of Desire: Vincenzo Nibali-autographed Prologo Scratch M5 saddle

An in-depth look at the Shark of Messina's perch of choice, the Prologo Scratch M5 saddle

What is a hands on review?
Vincenzo Nibali-signed Prologo Scratch M5 saddle
(Image: © Aaron Borrill)

Early Verdict

The Prologo Scratch M5 saddle blends comfort with performance and comes highly rated by WorldTour pros. What makes the one pictured here all the more intriguing is that it belongs to none other than Vincenzo Nibali

For

  • Unique, collector's piece
  • Authentic, hand-signed autograph
  • Lightweight
  • Unisex, T-shape design
  • Nack, carbon-fibre rails and underpinnings

Against

  • Aesthetics could be bolder. Perhaps a Shark-inspired theme?

Italian grand tour legend, Vincenzo Nibali, might be in the twilight of his professional career but the Shark of Messina will be looking to add to his Palmarès as he closes out his final chapter as a cyclist. After two seasons with Trek-Segafredo, Nibali finds himself back at Astana Qazaqstan - a team that helped him win both the Tour de France (2014) and Giro d'Italia (2016). As a result, he's on another bike - a Willier - and with it a new finishing kit and accessories. As the saddle sponsor of Astana Qazaqstan, Nibali will be using a Prologo Scratch M5 saddle for the entire season, and we've managed to get our hands on a one-of-kind signed version. Let's take a closer look at what's broadly considered as one of the best road bike saddles around.

Vincenzo Nibali-signed Prologo Scratch M5 saddle

Hand signed by the maestro himself (Image credit: Prologo)

Design and aesthetics

There's nothing intrinsically new to see here in terms of visuals. Apart from the black display box which adds a little theatre to the whole experience, the saddle is standard Scratch M5 when it comes to the design blueprint and colourway. It's fairly understated save for the Prologo and model nomenclature which is finished in a contrasting white hue. 

The big talking point is the signature - personally signed in white permanent marker by Vincenzo Nibali himself. As a signed item, it's something worth keeping in a collection but theoretically could still be used - the autograph happens to run across the PAS covering so it's out of the way of any significant touchpoints. The autograph itself is white in colour and picks up nicely on the other references, not to mention the textured pattern on the rear foam cushioning of the MSS (Multi Sector System).

The undercarriage and shell comprise carbon composite while the railing system uses the company's Nack carbon rail system (7x9mm) as a weight reduction and performance measure. 

Object of Desire series

Specifications 

The Scratch M5 can be had in one configuration only (140 x 250mm) and is unisex in application thanks to the T-shape design. This also means it could potentially double or triple up for use across mountain biking and gravel riding, such is the versatility of the medium-nose layout. There are two rail options available - Tirox (a titanium alloy) or Nack (carbon) pictured here. There's not a massive wright discrepancy between the two but the Nack version will save you around 30g, as well as provide a little more pliancy and comfort.

As a non-PAS model (PAS meaning Perineal Area System) the Scratch M5 comes without a central cutout but utilises five segmented panels for pressure distribution. These panels have been mapped in collaboration with the Politecnico of Milano, offering individualised densities that compress independently from each other - not to mention the overall rounded shape which promotes pelvic rotation, stability and lumbar support.

In terms of saddle weight, the Nibali-signed Scratch M5 tips the scales at a scant 164g.

Verdict

We're massive fans of the Prologo Scratch M5 platform. We've tested the Prologo Scratch M5 PAS saddle and came away impressed by what it offered - even in a slightly heavier Tirox guise. The saddle pictured here, however, is more of a collector's piece and should be treated and stored as such. It will serve not only as a reminder of his Grand Tour victories but perhaps represent something of a swansong, too, as he closes out his career at the team that elevated his status as one of the greats of the sport.

A standard Prologo Scratch M5 saddle retails for $149 / £175 / €205, which isn't cheap. Add a certified Vincenzo Nibali autograph and all the history that goes with it and a saddle like this will increase in value over time.

Keep your eyes on Cyclingnews' tech channel to find out how you can win a Vincenzo Nibali-signed Prologo Scratch M5 of your own.

Tech Specs: Vincenzo Nibali-autographed Prologo Scratch M5 saddle

  • RRP: $149 / £175 / €205
  • Weight: 164g (actual)
  • Dimensions: 140x250mm
  • Rails: Carbon
  • Shell: Carbon composite
  • Colours: Black

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Aaron is Cyclingnews' tech editor. Born and raised in South Africa he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. As the former gear and digital editor of Bicycling magazine and associate editor of TopCar, he's been writing about bikes and anything with wheels for the past 16 years. A competitive racer and Stravaholic, he’s twice ridden the Cape Epic and completed the Haute Route Alps. When not riding, racing or testing bicycles in and around the UK's Surrey Hills where he now lives, he's writing about them for Cyclingnews and Bike Perfect


Height: 175cm

Weight: 61.5kg

Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB 

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What is a hands on review?

'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.