Most will love the Power Pro’s shape but my experience goes to show there is no perfect recipe for saddle design
- Large cut out relives perineal pressure effectively
- Neat SWAT storage options
- Black finish on rails comes off easily
- Heavy considering it has titanium rails and carbon body
There has been an ongoing trend of shorter and shorter saddles over the years and throughout this evolution, Specialized has been at the forefront with their popular Power range of saddles. Recognisable by its stumpy nose, wide shoulders and huge cut out it has been designed to suit a range of riding position but focuses attention on those that like to ride in the drops
Design and aesthetics
Specialized has taken a great interest in the way a human body interacts with the bicycle. Body Geometry denotes products that Specialized have designed and tested to improve their ergonomic performance. Specialized’s first Body Geometry product was a saddle released in 1997 and since then the Body Geometry concept has evolved into a wide range of saddles including the Power Pro.
The Power Pro is a unisex saddle and Specialized has satisfied themselves through their own blood-flow testing and pressure mapping that the Power Pro will offer comfort to both men and women alike thanks to the long wide central cutout.
The Power Pro comes in two colour options, an all-black option with subtle logos or for £10 more it comes in Specialized’s Chameleon finish.
Specialized has replaced the standard PU foam used on the other Power models with Elaston padding for improved comfort over the standard foam. The Elaston padding is made using small beads that are expanded into foam which Specialized describes as “the feeling of sitting on 1,000 miniature pillows”. Our test model uses Specialized’s level 2 padding which has a slim profile and feels very soft at the nose and progressively firmer towards the rear. Specialized only offer the Elaston padding on the Pro model.
The FACT carbon body is tuned to offer more flexibility or stiffness where required with flexible shoulders but little medially give. Specialized has moulded screw mounts on the base to mount their SWAT storage system giving added storage options for carrying road essentials or extra hydration.
Hollow titanium rails help reduce weight without passing on harsh road vibrations. The rails give 5cm adjustment, be careful when shuffling the saddle to the right position as the black finish, and adjustment markings, will easily scratch off making saddle adjustment more of a guessing game.
Having heard many raving reviews about the Specialized Power Pro I was looking forward to testing it myself. However, my experience was mixed and I struggled to find a comfortable position over two months of testing.
Designed to be set up with the nose flat with an upward rising tail I started in this position and went on to try a range of positions with varying results. Setup nose flat or slightly raised resulted in immediate discomfort that would slowly dissipate throughout a ride. Tipping the nose down would relieve initial pains but had the opposite effect, creating hot points on my sit bones, fatigue in my legs and numb hands as the miles racked up.
Despite numb hands, it must be noted that I never felt any numbness or discomfort to my delicates. I attribute this comfort to the wider cut out which does a good job of moving pressure away from soft sensitive tissue and avoided a loss of blood flow.
Of course, every rider is different and my apparent incompatibility with the Power Pro is but a blip in what’s otherwise a sea of rider praise, including fellow Cyclingnews tech writer Josh Croxton who has had many years of comfort aboard a Power saddle. With any touchpoint on the bike, it's always recommended to try before you buy if possible to avoid investing in possible discomfort.
I suspect that the wider and slightly flatter shoulders, when compared to the previously reviewed Prologo Scratch, is what causes my discomfort. There is a good chance that if you like a flatter saddle you will love the Specialized Power Pro and like so many others it could become your go-to option, it's just not for me.
Tech spec: Specialized Power Pro Elaston
- Price: £190.00 / $275.00 / €239.90 / AU$320.00
- Rails: 7mm
- Widths: 143mm (tested), 155mm
- Length: 240mm
- Material: Carbon base with hollow titanium rails
- Colours: Black or Chameleon
- Weight: 229g (231g claimed)
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