The Scratch M5 gives a wide range of comfortable positions no matter the intensity and effort
- Dampens vibrations well
- Locked in feeling
- Wide distribution of weight over the saddle
- Heavier than advertised
- The finish can squeak against certain bib short combinations
Launched as part of Prologo’s 2020 range, the Scratch M5 series is a range-topping saddle that follows the trend of short nose saddles and measures in at 235mm from nose to the end of the padding (250mm full length) with a 140mm width. The Scratch M5 is a saddle that features on an extensive number of pro teams bikes including Astana, Bahrain-McLaren, EF Education First, Groupama-FDJ, UAE Team Emirates.
Prologo aims its Scratch M5 beyond just road riding stating that the shape and design transfers to other disciplines including offroad activities and TT/triathlon. Available in both standard and cut out versions, it makes use of many marketing acronyms, one of which Prologo calls 4.0 technologies. While Prologo is vague regarding what these 4.0 technologies actually are, it all comes together to form a well-rounded saddle.
Design and aesthetics
The Scratch M5 uses a T-Shape which offers up more positioning options than its V-Shaped saddles, whether riding on the nose or looking to sit rearwards for comfortable climbing. As the seat is aimed at riders who want to spend medium to long periods in the saddle, the options for different seated positions makes a big difference to comfort.
The unusual segmented foam is more than an aesthetic cue. The segments form the MSS (multisector system), designed in collaboration with the Politecnico of Milano, which breaks the saddle up into independent zones. Each area has a specific level of foam density for tailored support based on pressures that have been mapped when riding in different positions. An unscientific prodding with a thumb doesn’t seem to show any discernable difference in density between these zones although there is certainly a depth change from the front to the rear.
PAS (Perineal Area System) denotes the cutout version which has been designed for performance riders who seek comfort on longer rides. Like other cutout saddles, the PAS is designed to relieve pressure from the prostatic-genital area and promote blood flow to stop numbness and discomfort. There is also a non-cutout version of the Scratch M5 available.
We tested the Tirox version which uses a light alloy for the rails to offer a balance of strength and weight. For an extra monetary outlay, Prologo does offer a Nack carbon-railed version which saves 56g. Rail length is 65mm and should give plenty of fore and aft adjustment when fitting.
Prologo claims the Scratch M5 PAS saddle weighs 185g although we weighed our version which came in heavier than advertised at 202g. The weight is still reasonably good for an alloy railed saddle especially if it’s to be used for gravel or endurance road applications.
The Scratch M5 uses a rounded profile and whether it’s this shape specifically, or in combination with the MSS padding but the result is a saddle that is very comfortable for a range of riding. We used the Scratch for a number of different length rides from short hour-long training rides to longer six-hour epics and didn’t feel any areas of discomfort. The saddle feels as if spreads the support without building any points of pressure.
When talking about comfort, Prologo refers a lot to the push and pull phases of pedalling which shows through in the saddles characteristics and creates a clean pedalling platform. When nosing off the front, there was plenty of freedom for pedalling and the shoulders giving a secure locked-in feeling when sitting towards the rear of the saddle for climbing.
The carbon base of the saddle feels on the stiff side yet the Scratch M5 has a forgiving ride quality especially when compared to other carbon saddles that we have ridden. Vibrations felt dampened and evenly distributed across the saddle rather than focused on a single point.
The only irritating experience I had was on one ride where my bibs kept squeaking against the saddle as I climbed. This only happened once and I have clocked up many miles since completely squeak-free.
While some saddles require a little fettling to find their sweet spot, the Prologo Scratch M5 was comfortable almost immediately. Set up with a flat orientation, the saddle is accommodating across a range of seated positions. This let me naturally settle into the desired orientation without much thought or after adjustment that could be distracting from the riding experience.
No matter the length of ride or roughness of the road surface, comfort levels were impressive and coming to the end of a long shift in the saddle there was little need to shuffle around in an attempt to ease fatigued areas. Not only does this lend itself well to endurance riding, but the Scratch M5 would also work well on a gravel bike.
Tech spec: Prologo Scratch M5 PAS Tirox
- Price: €135.00
- Material: Carbon base with alloy rails
- Rails: 7mm
- Widths: 140mm
- Length: 250mm
- Colours: Black or white
- Weight: 202g (185g claimed)