Our Early Verdict
Stealthy, supportive and lightweight, the Specialized S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror is the company's most refined 3D-printed saddle to date
- - Stealthy aesthetics
- - Lightweight chassis
- - Impressive build quality
- - Tuned comfort and support levels
- - Compliant yet stiff carbon shell and rails
- - Compatible mounts for integrated storage
- - Some will find the price point hard to justify
- - Not compatible with 7mm seatpost clamps (7 x 9mm only)
The 3D-printing revolution is well underway and Specialized is a leading proponent, having already launched the mightily impressive S-Works Power with Mirror saddle in June last year. This new technology has literally turned the best road bike saddles segment on its head, achieving levels of support, comfort, and performance that were never before thought possible.
While others have followed suit, including the likes Fizik with its Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive saddle and Bjorn Cycles to a lesser extent, the Morgan Hill-based company remains focused on refining its saddle recipe by using its Body Geometry philosophy together with the almost limitless levels of tunability afforded by 3D printing from a liquid polymer.
The company has just unveiled its latest instalment in its 3D-printed saddle portfolio, the S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror, a perch it claims possesses unprecedented levels of sit bone support and performance. Let's take a closer look...
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While it shares its design blueprint with the regular Romin range, there's no mistaking it for anything but a 3D-printed saddle, what with its ornately structured lattice upper. Unlike the S-Works Power with Mirror saddle we tested last year, the lattice is more detailed and sculptural in appearance with the outer cover used only on the main areas of contact. This measure not only reduces unnecessary material but also unlocks the visual design intricacies that would otherwise be covered up.
Like its sibling, colour choice is limited to black - a proven hue that holds up well to scuffs and dirt not to mention complements all bike colourways, too. Like its stablemate, the nomenclature is minimal. In fact, there's nothing that pertains to its make or model except for a solitary 'S' that resides in the bottom rear section of lattice webbing - a touch that should see the saddle used more by riders of rival bike brands. The intricate, exposed webbing runs the entirety of the central channel and flows into the base and then around the flanks of the saddle. And while this webbing looks incredible, it does bring with it the possibility of irreparable damage in the event of a crash (The S-Works Power with Mirror saddle's outer cover is more comprehensive and protective in contrast).
The 3D-printed lattice padding is affixed to a concave-shaped, flex-tuned carbon fibre shell complete with oversized 7 x 9mm ovalised carbon rails. The Textreme base and rails not only look the part providing a complementing aesthetic to the boldly-styled padding but they also double up as a compliance measure.
Specifications and riding experience
The Romin Evo is a long-nosed saddle that is narrower (from wing to nose) than many of the options in Specialized's comprehensive lineup. It's 260mm long and can be specced in one of two widths: 143mm and 155mm, depending on your sit bone measurements. Of course, the overall weight is dependent on which width you opt for, but Specialized claims 190g for the 143mm option. On our scale, it weighed in at 185g, nine grams lighter than the S-Works Power with Mirror.
Looking at the design attributes, Specialized has managed to use a thicker Mirror print, thanks to the concave shape of the Fact carbon shell. What this has allowed is the real estate to dial in an extra 8,000 struts and 2,901 nodes over its sibling (22,000 struts / 10,700 nodes vs 14,000 / 7,799). What this does is essentially unlock more travel within the 3D-printed lattice which, in turn, provides better comfort and compliance.
The saddle length and shape is geared more towards riders who like an aggressive riding position. As such, the rear section ramps upwards but the nose area still offers ample padding and support. To further improve blood flow and support - specifically around the perineum area - the 3D-printed, web-covered cut-out helps distribute weight across the cushion rather than the soft tissue around your sit bones.
As a fairly slight rider (175cm/62kg) who prefers the more granular, aggressive riding position afforded by a long-nose saddle, one of the first attributes I noticed was the support levels of the cushion structure. Most of the time, the lack of support - particularly when riding on the tip of the saddle - can cause numbness and pain but the low-speed compression around the nose (and flanks for that matter) has added an extra layer of compliance that helps prevent having to constantly move around to find a comfortable position.
Another area that stood out is the way the lattice cushion and carbon base/rails work together as a system to soften road imperfections. Often, saddles with regular foam padding and a stiff carbon base have a propensity to buck a rider when hitting expansion joints or road dips. The Specialized S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror saddle helps soften these jolts to a certain extent, keeping you planted to the saddle and more in control of what's happening underneath you. In that regard, the S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror might be a genuine option for gravel riders, too.
At $450 / £350, the Specialized S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror saddle will set you back as much as its 3D-printed snub-nose sibling. It's also $210 / £175 dearer than the Romin Evo Pro with Mimic saddle upon which it's based.
While some will argue it's an unnecessary upgrade based on the marginal performance gains on offer, the comfort with performance levels are a tangible step up from foam-based alternatives and rivals, allowing you to become more at one with your bike rather than merely a passenger.
The S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror brings next-level support, pressure alleviation, and communication and transforms the way you feel, move and work with the bike - regardless of how much time you spend in the saddle.
Tech Specs: Specialized S-Works Romin Evo with Mirror saddle
- Price: $450 / £350
- Weight: 185g (actual)
- Width: 143mm (tested)
- Rails: Carbon, 7 x 9mm
- Shell: Carbon
- Cushion: Digitally printed polymer lattice
- Colours: Black
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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.
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