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Saddle choice can be a very personal thing. What works for some may certainly not work for you. You may buy the most expensive one available on Earth, but that doesn’t mean you’ll have the most happiest butt on the planet. SBR.ph compares 3 cycling saddles created and developed by one of the best aero gurus out there, John Cobb. Read on as SBR .ph test drives the Cobb Cycling V-Flow Max, the V-Flow Plus, and compares it against the “tri-standard”, ISM Adamo.
For most triathletes, John Cobb is God sent when it comes to aerodynamics and now, saddle comfort. His first foray into saddle creation was when he collaborated with ISM and helped develop the ISM Adamo saddle. He then ventured on his own and created Cobb Cycling.
I’m very picky when it comes to cycling saddles. So picky that up to now, I’m still on the lookout for the perfect saddle for me. Chafing, soreness, numbness (you boys know what I mean), saddle sores, you name it, I’ve experienced them all.
I used to ride a Fizik Arione Tri2 saddle and you all know how it can be unforgiving to your junk. No matter how many times I adjust it and reposition it, I just can’t find its sweet spot especially when you’re down in the aero position.
When the ISM Adamo first came out, designed for the ultimate saddle comfort and nut happiness, I became an instant fan. I bought it as soon as it landed here in the Philippines… cost be damned.
I rode the ISM Adamo Race for almost 2 tri seasons and was really happy with it. But as with most triathletes, I’m never satisfied and still not 100% happy with it. I still get numbness and occasional saddle sores. So I’m still always researching and scouring the net for other options.
I then read about Cobb Cycling and I was ecstatic! I knew having helped develop the ISM Adamo, John Cobb wont settle for anything less. He has to top the ISM Adamo in all levels. In comfort, price, and and durability.
ISM Adamo may be good, but it sure has its own flaws and doesn’t work for some as well. For it to work, you have to make sure your sit bones align on the 2 tips of the saddle. I’ve read lots of reviews that in some cases, one of its pointy tips starts to sag and droop and becomes uneven. In some cases, (for girls usually) they resort to zip tying the rails in front to make the tip narrower. If you’ll look at the used Adamo’s of some of the bikers, they rub so hard on the tips that the leather cover is already torn.
I first got my first Cobb Cycling V-Flow Max Saddle on www.cobbcycling.com. I ordered direct from the site and got the V-Flow Max. It’s touted to be the top product of the company and of course, you want nothing but the best for your boys. =) I was eager to find out if it will finally be the ultimate saddle that I’m looking for.
Comfort wise, it is. Once you hop on the V-Flow Max, you’ll feel that the comfort and cushioning is simply superb. Like the Adamo, your sit bones, if possible should be almost exactly on top of the front rails. I got my saddle just 2 months before Ironman Western Australia and was really happy with it. I rode my bike in aero position for 5:40+ hours and felt zero numbness. It was great and really comfortable.
It may not be the sexiest or lightest saddle on the market (270g), but if you’re gunning a lot of bike miles it could be worth the investment. The lowered nose, combined with the deeply cut pressure-relief trough is designed to reduce pressure on the perineum, which includes a man’s prostate area and a woman’s most sensitive soft tissue. The width of the tip of the max measures at 40cm which is almost identical to the Adamo. It’s pretty wide.
Cobb Cycling released a little brother of the Max called the V-Flow Plus. Unlike the max, the front tip of the plus is just 38mm. It’s designed for people with a narrower sit bone width and I’m gonna go out on a limb that this is maybe the perfect saddle for womens.
I’ve been wanting to try the Plus because I want to confirm that the Max is really the saddle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love the Max, but as my quest for the ultimate nut seat heaven is a never ending task, I’m always open to try the new saddles out there. I’ve been thinking of purchasing the Plus but was hesitant because if it didn’t work for me, I’ll be wasting a lot of hard earned money.
Enter Light’N Up Marketing.
I was lucky to get in touch with David Almendral. Big cheese of Light’N Up Marketing which distributes Cobb Cycling saddles here in the Philippines. He gave me a Plus and let me use it so I can test and review it.
In the states, Cobb Cycling offers a 180 day guarantee or a test period. If you didn’t like the saddle, you can simply return it and you’ll get a FULL REFUND. How awesome is that? Says a lot about the company and John Cobb’s confidence in his seats right?
As of posting time, I’ve yet to confirm with if David he offers the same warranty or test period for the saddle.
So what’s the verdict on the Plus?
My hunch was 100% correct. With its narrower tip, If you find yourself adjusting your sit bones all the time in the Adamo, or if you want the tip to sit more between your ass so to speak, then this is the saddle for you.
The comfort level is the same as the Max. The nose is nice and squishy, but not overly plush. The padding of the Plus is thinner than the Max too.
If you loved the Fizik Arione Tri2 saddle, You’ll definitely love the Plus. It offers the exact same feel. Just a little better because you can stay longer in the aero position because of the cut out and the tilt in the nose. Not to mention it has a thicker foam too! For women who want a narrow seat or for those who zip tie the front of the Adamo to make it narrower, this is the seat for you.
(The pictures show the said saddles attached to my bike )
ISM Adamo Saddle.
Testing period: 1x Ironman, 2 tri seasons, road rides as long as 200kms, and one half ironman.
Fit: The Adamo takes a little getting used to and if you’ll scour the net for reviews, almost everyone will mention that it really has a break in period. I ordered the Race version so padding was already pretty thin to begin with. I suffered huge saddle sores in it. Its okay, but I’m not really 100% comfortable with it.
Style: Pretty ugly. Slap this seat on your road bike and you’ll know what I’m talking about =)
Durability: Mine got pretty worn out. In some riders the leather of the tip is almost gone. The foam padding got really thin too.
Cobb Cycling V-Flow Max.
Manufacturer: Cobb Cycling
Model: V-Flow Max
Testing period: 2x Ironman, 1 tri season, road rides as long as 200kms, and 2 half Ironman. Heavy trainer use including a couple of 5 hour trainer rides.
Fit: I didn’t suffer from the break in period hell that you’ll have to endure with the Adamo. I dunno if this will be the case also for those who haven’t tried the Adamo yet and will jump straight right into the Max. You do have to adjust it a lot in order for you to find its sweet spot. But once you do, oh Lordy. The comfort is just pure heaven. I rode Ironman Western Australia in with on the aerobars 90% of the time for 5+ hours and felt really comfortable.
Style: The Max is a pretty sweet looking product. Unlike the adamo which has just two pointy tips, this looks like a regular saddle. It just looks different enough that it stands out. Which is just exactly what I was looking for.
Durability: The foam of my Max is still solid. The leather is still pretty intact. So far so good. I have the black, so I’m not sure how the white would hold up.
Cobb Cycling V-Flow Plus.
Manufacturer: Cobb Cycling
Model: V-Flow Plus
Testing period: 4 weeks. A couple of 100kms ride.
Fit: Like what I said above, the tip is narrower than the max so for those who love the width of the Adamo but want a slightly narrower tip, then this is the saddle for you. The feel is almost like the Fizik Arione, but with better padding and a front cut out. The padding is a little thinner than the Max.
Style: The Plus looks pretty much the same as the Max. It looks really nice.
Durability: Given that I’ve just tested the Plus for 4 weeks, I can say that its holding up pretty good. Though not enough to give it a durability review. The white color, as expected, tends to get dirty after a couple of uses.