A surprisingly versatile saddle that offers a perfect balance between stiffness and compliance, delivering a comfortable ride and efficient power output that will appeal to racers, time-triallists and casual riders as well.
Lightweight and stiff but surprisingly comfortable
Women-friendly short nose design
Tail-up design offers more stability and power transfer through climbs
Integrated accessory mount for lights or tools
Very versatile design works for most riding positions
Wide nose can cause inner thigh rub
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Pro is a subsidiary company of Shimano that produces finishing kit and componentry. Its saddle range is largely divided into traditional road saddles and triathlon saddles, with the Stealth model effectively bridging the gap between the two.
Designed with input from Team Giant Alpecin - now known as Team DSM, the Pro Stealth Carbon saddle adopts a shape that will be familiar to many by now, with a short nose, a wide and rounded heel, and a particularly large cut-out along the centre.
I’ve been using the Stealth Carbon saddle in a range of conditions over the past few months to see how it competes against the best road bike saddles on the market, so read on to find out whether it’s worth the investment.
Design and aesthetics
The saddle is constructed around a carbon-reinforced polymer in-moulded base, topped with mid-to-light EVA foam and a polyurethane (PU) cover. The model I tested came with carbon fibre rails, though there are stainless steel and titanium rail models available as well.
As mentioned above, the Stealth straddles the line between traditional road saddles and triathlon and time-trial saddles. The short, snubbed nose is wider than similarly shaped saddles like, for example, the Specialized Power saddle, and is designed to alleviate pressure on sensitive tissues when adopting an aggressive ride position, helping the rider to stay in the drops for longer. Meanwhile, the wide and rounded back end of the saddle is slightly raised to provide more support through climbs.
One of the most noticeable features upon first glance is the huge cut-out in the centre, which measures 130mm in length and 35mm at its widest point. This sizeable channel is designed to alleviate pressure on the perineum while seated and pedalling, and the gap it produces in the surface of the saddle is reminiscent of split-nose TT saddles, which again harks back to that bridge between road and tri/TT.
The Pro Stealth saddle is unisex, and in my experience, it's a real contender for inclusion in the best women's road bike saddles despite not being a women-specific design. It’s also a pretty practical design that’s actually quite versatile. It may be racy, but it can serve just as well in a more relaxed position on the bike.
At the rear, you’ll also find mounts for Pro’s saddle accessories, which it’s designed to be compatible with. These include race number mounts, a camera mount, clip-on mudguards, and a mount for carrying CO2 canisters.
In the hands, it feels very stiff, but on the bike it strikes a good balance of stability and compliance, making it a surprisingly comfortable seat. The PU cover is smooth and seems to let Lycra slide over it without any friction, which allowed me to move freely and comfortably. The PU coating is also non-absorbent, which means when left out in wet weather it’s easy to wipe it dry after a downpour, and avoids that awful soaked chamois feeling that nobody enjoys.
The EVA padding is quite minimal but does an excellent job of absorbing road chatter. Anyone with a preference for thicker cushioning might find the Stealth Carbon a little intimidating at first, but I’ve found it really good to ride with.
At 173g, it’s very lightweight, while the stiffness of the carbon-reinforced base feels super stable while you’re laying down the power. The slightly lifted tail cups your rear end and holds you in place on the climbs, while the rigidity of the saddle helps to deliver efficient power transfer.
Having ridden some fairly long rides with it, I’d definitely recommend relegating it to the race bike for the most part - after a day of continuous riding, it did start to feel a bit rough on the delicate tissues, though I would argue that it’s no different to any other traditional road saddle. It’s not designed with long-distance riding in mind, but seeing as it can deliver a comfortable ride over the course of several hours, I’d argue that the Stealth Carbon is surprisingly versatile, whether you’re leaning right on the nose, or riding in a more relaxed and upright position.
After several months of use in a variety of weather conditions, it’s shown itself to be hardwearing and well-constructed, showing only very minor signs of wear and tear in the decals.
Despite being designed with pro team input and marketed towards the racing community, I would posit that the Pro Stealth Carbon saddle is an excellent choice for many road-going cyclists, thanks to its well-made construction and considered design. It delivers a comfortable ride, supports the sit bones, removes pressure from more sensitive areas, and is plenty stiff for efficient power transfer while also sporting enough padding to absorb road chatter. It's a superb all-rounder.
While it shares much of its shape with the Specialized Power, which has proven to be immensely popular with riders of all genders, the Stealth’s nose is wider and therefore, I’d argue, more supportive of the pelvis. Meanwhile, that huge cut-out alleviates any perineal pressure and provides a lot of relief, as well as a decent amount of airflow.
It’s a solid option for experienced road riders who are used to using firmer saddles, especially those looking to get into racing and wanting to update their road bike setup to save some weight and wasted watts.
Even better, it comes with Pro’s 30-day fit guarantee, which makes the pain of saddle trial and error that little bit more bearable.
Tech Specs: Pro Stealth Carbon saddle
- Price: £174.99 / $229.99
- Material: Carbon base, PU cover, EVA padding, carbon rails
- Weight: 173g
- Sizes: 142mm, 152mm (tested)
|Design and aesthetics||Aesthetically it's simple, though the white accents might be off-putting to some who prefer an all-black aesthetic||8/10|
|Specification||At 173g it's lovely and light, thanks to the all carbon foundations. However if you're after a more planet-friendly option, go for the stainless steel rails, which add about 30g to the weight overall.||7/10|
|Comfort||Surprisingly comfortable despite the minimal padding, thanks to the shock-absorbing properties of the EVA foam, plus the shape is excellent for soft tissue support.||9/10|
|Performance||It's plenty stiff enough to optimise power transfer, particularly through the climbs, thanks to the carbon-reinforced base and scooped up tail.||9/10|
|Value for money||It's a bit pricey, but for carbon rails and a saddle that performs like this, it's cheaper than buying a Specialized S-Works Power saddle with carbon rails.||7/10|
|Overall rating||Row 5 - Cell 1||80%|
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