Specialized's S-Works Power with Mirror saddle is as stealthy and comfortable as it is refined
Class-leading rear-end support and comfort
Stealthy colourway that's easy to clean
Refined build quality
Tried-and-tested Power platform
Heavier than expected
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Specialized may have been pipped to market by Fizik but the Big S was working on its 3D-printed saddle long before the Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive was in the works - in fact, planning had started back in August 2018.
We first got word of this ground-breaking 3D-printed Mirror saddle last year, a full month before Fizik announced its version at Eurobike and the two companies have been playing a game of oneupmanship ever since. Naturally, we've been itching to get our hands on both saddles - at the same time - so you can imagine our delight when the new Specialized S-Works Diverge arrived with one clamped to its dropper post.
Over the past 20 years, Specialized has mastered the Body Geometry concept with Retül and believes it has fabricated the ultimate saddle in terms of comfort and performance thanks to the implementation of a revolutionary 3D-printed polymer, the density of which can be infinitely tuned.
Having spent innumerable hours riding the new Mirror saddle back-to-back against its Fizik rival on the same roads, trails and bikes, we've reached a verdict as to which of the two is the most complete saddle of its 3D-printed kind.
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Design and aesthetics
Like its rival, the S-Works Power with Mirror saddle takes on a rather intriguing appearance but looks more like a finished product with a refined and stealthy design language that should find favour with all cyclists regardless of the bike they ride - no in-your-face Specialized monikers here. Instead, a white 3D-printed 'S' takes residence at the rear of the saddle under the centrally arranged honeycomb webbing.
There's no lime green colouring here either but that wasn't always the case. During the initial run of prototypes, the 'green' polymer was the only option available at the time from Carbon, the 3D-printing company that also produced the Fizik Antares Adaptive. Specialized, however, managed to get permission from one of Carbon's other clients to use a special black pigment in its Mirror saddle - a move that subsequently worked in its favour.
Visually, it comes as no surprise that the Mirror shares a lot of its DNA with the Power and Power Arc models - a proven recipe when it comes to seated support and an even spread of pressure. It's only under close inspection that you can tell it apart from its stablemates and that's because, unlike the 3D-printed Fizik Antares Adaptive, the Mirror employs an outer sheath or cover that keeps it more traditional in look and feel while promoting better grip.
The saddle is constructed using what Specialized and Carbon calls CLIP technology (Continuous Liquid Interface Production) - a process that utilises light and oxygen to 3D print the lattice structure before a chemical reaction in a forced-circulation oven cures the material's final properties. This lattice structure takes the place of traditional foam which is secured to a lightweight, Textreme carbon base.
The implementation of space-age manufacturing techniques and 3D-printed materials has culminated in tuneability levels that go way beyond the limitations of regular foam saddles. In fact, over 70 different prototypes were printed and tested before the S-Works Power with Mirror saddle you see here was signed off.
What makes the feat all the more impressive is the fact it went from an initial concept sketch to a rideable product in just 10 months. Specialized was able to individually tune the lattice structure by using variable density windows in the saddle's 'soft pockets' to craft a structure that cradles the sit bones aiding in decreased soft-tissue pressure and improved stability and comfort in both men and women - especially when the rider is in an aggressive position with hips rotated forward.
In terms of dimensions, Specialized offers the Mirror in the most popular width options of 143 and 155mm. The saddle weighs 192g (143mm).
In terms of performance, the S-Works Power with Mirror saddle offers impressive support and cushioning. We've tested the saddle in nearly every setting imaginable given the current lockdown situation, from indoor racing on Zwift to gravel trails and extended road rides and our consensus remains the same. It's super comfortable.
While longer, narrower and flatter saddles are usually better-suited to my sit bone structure the Mirror took me by surprise - and in a good way. The short-nose, broad platform has never really worked for me in the past but the way Specialized has managed to tune and dial in different densities into the lattice - something which has created a very comfortable and supportive platform - has won me over as far as pressure performance and comfort goes.
The low-speed compression around the nose helps dissipate any pressure when riding in an aggressive position on the tip of the saddle, while the firmer, high-speed compression sections in the rear of the saddle help provide extra comfort when traversing bumpier more corrugated terrain.
It feels more supportive than the Fizik Antares Adaptive, too, offering a greater sense of shock absorption and pliancy regardless of your riding position. Like the Fizik the cushioning returns to its original shape when pressed and has shown no signs of excessive wear and tear just yet - and we've ridden on some harsh gravel terrain to date. Speaking of gravel, you'd expect something as intricately designed and with so many crevices, nooks and crannies to be a nightmare to keep clean but a simple spray down with a hose is all that's required to keep it clean.
The S-Works Power with Mirror is a superb first attempt at the 3D-printed saddle concept by Specialized. Yes, Fizik was first to market but its urgency to outsmart the firm from Morgan Hill has highlighted a few concerns that weren't very evident when we first tested it a few months ago.
While both offer superlative levels of comfort and support, the Mirror is by far the better of the two offerings in this respect utilising its 20 years worth of Body Geometry data and experience to stitch together some of the best support and pressure dissipation measures we've sampled to date.
Another area the Mirror shines is when it comes to surface grip, a direct result of the dimpled outer cover which also doubles up a tasteful design addition. The aesthetic qualities of the saddle are also truly next level.
If you’re the rider that enjoys lengthy stints in the saddle, the Power with Mirror is the way to go. Its broad shape and skinny, snub-nose design don’t provide much room to move around but the platform is stable and supportive.
At £350, it's by no means cheap but, for what it's worth, it's nearly £20 less than the Fizik equivalent.
Tech spec: Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror saddle
- Price: £350
- Weight: 192g (actual)
- Width: 143mm
- Rails: Carbon
- Shell: Carbon with plastic cornicing
- Cushion: Digitally printed polymer lattice
- Colours: Black
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Aaron was the Tech Editor Cyclingnews between July 2019 and June 2022. He was born and raised in South Africa, where he completed his BA honours at the University of Cape Town before embarking on a career in journalism. Throughout this career, Aaron has spent almost two decades writing about bikes, cars, and anything else with wheels. Prior to joining the Cyclingnews team, his experience spanned a stint as Gear & Digital editor of Bicycling magazine, as well as a time at TopCar as Associate Editor.
Now based in the UK's Surrey Hills, Aaron's life revolves around bikes. He's a competitive racer, Stravaholic, and Zwift enthusiast. He’s twice ridden the Cape Epic, completed the Haute Route Alps, and represented South Africa in the 2022 Zwift eSports World Championships.
Rides: Cannondale SuperSlice Disc Di2 TT, Cannondale Supersix Evo Dura-Ace Rim, Cannondale Supersix Evo Ultegra Di2 Disc, Trek Procaliber 9.9 MTB