Our preference for a stubby is still the Power as the shape with the slight rise at rear and the position of the padding is just more comfortable for our backsides, but the PRO Stealth is well worth a look if you’re on the market for a short saddle.
- Uncomfortable on longer rides
- Wider nose didn’t work for us
About the Manufacturer
With the likes of Specialized Roval and Trek’s Bontrager breaking the mould with what people thought of own brand accessories and parts, Shimano have started entering the aftermarket and upgrade party with their own Pro brand. The brand covers a huge range of parts and accessories across cycling disciplines (including Tri and MTB) as well as workshop and travelling equipment. Of course, all of this is made with Shimano’s regular quality and attention to detail.
In the world of cycling the pursuit of incremental gains marches ever onward as does the desire for the consumer to purchase the latest and greatest to put on their own bikes. The humble bum perch is no exception to this with the latest and greatest fad being lopping the nose off by a few centimetres in the pursuit of comfort and performance. Despite that sounding quite cynical, to date we’ve really got on with the “shorties” we’ve reviewed including the Specialized Power and the Tri/TT specific ISM PN 3.0, although we’re certainly not qualified bike fitters and can’t help but think that a lot of the appeal is that they just look cool.
On review we have the top of the top PRO Stealth with Carbon rails in our preferred 142mm width. Unlike the rest of the PRO range where there’s a choice of having a cut out (anatomic fit) or not, the Stealth comes with a very wide cut out in the saddle meant to improve comfort and bloodflow in aggressive riding positions. Compared to other stubby saddles we’ve ridden, the Stealth is very flat and much wider at the nose – presumably helping in racing/tri positions and to more easily move around the saddle. Given this is a carbon railed saddle you’d expect it to do well on the weight front and it tipped our scales at 178g – very competitive.
From a looks perspective – we really like the matte finish of the upper and the blacked out brand logos – although we couldn’t help thinking it would look better of the model logos were also blacked out.
We’ve been using the PRO Stealth for a couple of months across a Trek Emonda and a Giant Propel – it may not be wholly surprising but the Stealth definitely found a more natural home on the Propel doing intervals and TT training. Comparing the Stealth to the yardstick that is the Specialized Power, we found the PRO saddle to be an initially comfier ride, with a noticeable increase in padding.
Positioning is as important as quantity when it comes to padding and while the Power is light on it, we found it more supportive with the kick at the rear of the saddle. Using the Stealth for normal rides, we found it uncomfortable to use for anything over 80km with the super flat top; we also found the wider nose to be more uncomfortable over longer rides.
If saddles are a personal preference that that seems to go double for “shorties”. Many of our riding companions fall vociferously into a couple of camps split between the Power, the Stealth and the ISM for our masochistic time trailing friends. For us, ISM saddles are great products that fit a certain purpose. Our preference for a stubby is still the Power as the shape with the slight rise at rear and the position of the padding is just more comfortable for our backsides, but the PRO Stealth is well worth a look if you’re on the market for a short saddle.
- Width: 142mm
- Weight: 178g
- Material: Synthetic upper, carbon reinforced shell, Ti rails