Thursday, January 22, 2009

The return of a classic...

The WTB SST seat has long been a favorite of mine. There were several variations of this seat. Starting with my favorite, the original SST, there was the SST-X without the droopy nose. The SST 98 was a very nice Italian made version with a cut-out in the shell to relieve pressure in the "sensitive area" (more on this topic later). The SST 2k was a Taiwanese version of the SST 98. And then they were gone. So I started hoarding and buying when I found them. And now WTB is remaking the SST.

I just got some in the shop and they do look every bit the same as the original model. The ti railed seat is $134.50 and the cro-mo railed seat is $39.50. I didn't weigh them, but neither one feels heavy. The cro-mo railed seat looks like it has a nice leather-like vinyl cover while the ti railed seat has what looks like real leather.

If I didn't already have a stash of original SST seats, I'd use one on my bike. I would say they would be interchangeable.

Now after riding my Ibis last weekend with the WTB designed Specialized Pro Long saddle, that may be my new favorite. While talking with Steve Potts today about the Pro Long he commented that that was one of his favorites too and that the design process with Charlie Cunningham and Mark Slate sure did turn out a great seat.

Okay, what is it that saddle makers think that a cut-out in the nose of the saddle (still covered by foam and cover) the size of a Vienna Sausage creates pressure relief and instant comfort whilst perched on a saddle? I mean, if you are an average sized dude, you've got a good 120-150 pounds (I didn't count legs because they are somewhat supported by the pedals) sitting on about 8 sq.in. of saddle. If you've got your weight perched on top of that little cut-out and not evenly distributed between the back and middle of the seat, I'm willing to bet your bars are too low. Sit up. Let the saddle cradle and support your sittin' area. It'll probably be more comfortable. And if you ride with your bars way up in the air above the saddle, you probably just need a wider seat. The higher up your hands are, the wider you want the seat as you put more weight on your sit bones.


(What's playing: Hank Williams III Wild & Free)

12 comments:

wESd said...

Always been my favorite as well. Just plain fit and have a great contour.

cyclofiend said...

Most Excellent! I agree that they hit the right dimensions on the WTB SST. I had been saving some of my thoroughly worn through ones with the intention of recovering them. Nice to see an excellent product return.

jkeiffer said...

I still really want to try this saddle. But what is the other one you mentioned, the "Specialized Pro Long saddle"?

jkeiffer said...

Oh I think the other saddle is much older. Is that right? I guess I'd still like to compare the Devo with the SST... Thanks!

blackmountaincycles said...

The Pro Long was a seat that Specialized only made for a couple of years in the early 90's.

cajamichael said...

Did Specialized make different versions of the Pro Long saddle? The grey one that I have and used for a while is soft; almost too soft. The SST 98 that I have used is just about right. I wonder if there was a better level of Pro Long that I missed out on.

blackmountaincycles said...

There were different versions of the Pro Long. The first saddles were designed by WTB (I think this was 1991) and they were firm saddles like the SST.

When Specialized started making saddles based on their own design after WTB came out with their own model (the SST), they continued using the Pro Long name. There was a whole range of Pro Long saddles from cheap OE models to higher end. They were softer than the original.

Anonymous said...

The drop nose is oh so comfy for those steep climbs when you've got to slide up to the tip of the saddle. I would imagine that's what it is for (the odd nose), but haven't asked Charlie.

Love the SST, but the Prolong not so much.

blackmountaincycles said...

That was the design intent, and it wouldn't snag shorts either.

mc. said...

This is fantastic news Mike...thanks for the heads up. The SST was/is wonderful + what I'll always recommend.

jkeiffer said...

Do you think the almost $100 price difference is worth it? Is the basic difference most just a bit of weight?

blackmountaincycles said...

That's a matter of personal preference. After a time, the vinyl seats can start to look all raggedy. Your anatomy probably won't notice a difference.

If it's going on a dream bike, spring for the ti/leather saddle. If it's replacing the seat on a $400 bike, go with the $40 seat.