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My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:03 pm
by refthimos
By way of background, I've been riding for over 20 years, with varying levels of mileage over that time. For much longer than I should have, I stubbornly held on to my Flite saddles, despite the fact that it got to the point that I was really limited to rides of 40-50 miles max on that saddle, with my region being so numb and beat up that I would need several days off the bike for such "marathon" (haha!) sessions.

About 6 months ago, I did my due diligence and tried the ISM Adamo Podium. Sit bones a little sore the first couple rides, but even with that, from the first minute on that saddle, I said "oh yeah, this is it." Within a month all 4 of my "real" bikes (beach cruisers excluded) had these saddles (I did go with the Peak model for my mountain bike).

I really, really love this saddle. It's been a revelation. But not one to leave well enough alone, I came across the Stage.9 saddle from Dash ( It seems to have great reviews, and its design principles follow that of the Adamo - in fact, the consistent feedback is that if you love the Adamo, you will likely love the Stage.9 (and its cousin and predecessor, the Tri.7).

The Stage.9 has two advantages over the Adamo Podium - 1) it's way lighter and 2) it looks way cooler and removes any "Fred Factor" that one might argue applies to a bike adorned with an Adamo saddle. BUT I was adamant with myself that I would not sacrifice comfort in any way for this saddle (or any other for that matter).

So luckily Dash has a demo program where you get to try out the saddle before you commit to it's $465 price tag (no, that is not a typo!). I ordered my demo about 3 weeks ago and it arrived Tuesday night. Was doing a group ride Wednesday morning and didn't want to experiment with a new saddle so waited until Wednesday night to slap it on my Cervelo R5. Rode it this morning (Thursday) for a short 20 mile ride before heading into the office.

Initial results are mixed, but I'm not sure it is fair to judge this saddle after just one short ride. It's certainly a similar "feel" to the Adamo. I'm not "hurting" after this morning's ride. I was never really "uncomfortable" on the saddle. I'm going to have to continue to side this saddle, experiment with riding position, etc., before I decide how it works for me. One thing I did notice was that the saddle seemed to work better the lower I got, i.e. it felt really good in the drops, if it felt like this all the time I would say it's a no-brainer, this saddle is going on all my bikes (bank account says ouch!), it felts pretty good on the hoods, it felt fine on the tops, but when I rode no-handed for a while, sitting all the way up, it didn't feel great. So I need to figure out if all of this is just something that I need to get used to or if it's really a TT-only saddle (I am 99.9% sure that no matter what my final verdict is for this saddle's road worthiness, that I will be keeping it for TT use).

I got the "wide" version (it isn't really all that wide), which Dash recommends as closest in "width" to the Adamo Podium. Claimed weight is 99g (probably for the "standard" version), and mine came in at 107g. This thing is silly light. Oh and did I mention how COOL it is? It just is, can't deny that.

That's what I've got so far. Will probably stay off the bike tomorrow and look to get >100 miles on it this weekend. Will post thoughts. Anyone else riding one of these on their road bike?


Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:42 pm
by quattrings
Good thing someone is putting this seat to the test. As for as I know yours is the first one on WW.
I've been thinking of getting the stage 9 for my TT bike as la piece de resistance. I'd like to test the adamo first and if that ok for the backside, ultimately purchase a Dash saddle.
what seat did you get (wide or normal, triple or double padded)?

Have you got any side pictures of it on your bike? Would like hearing your further thoughts about this saddle (+1h comfort and durability of the seat in particular)

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Thu Jul 19, 2012 6:48 pm
by prendrefeu
refthimos wrote:Anyone else riding one of these on their road bike?

I look forward to the continuation of your ride review.

In a similar vein of saddle, I'm currently putting the Merek NPS saddle on test - 2500km so far - and will be writing a full review later in the fall after a 300km day. As it is a bit wider, it does allow for sitting up (no hands) comfortably. It weighed 91g before I took off the logos.

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Fri Aug 03, 2012 10:36 pm
by refthimos
A little delayed in my follow-up post, but here is where I am with this saddle:

Thurs, July 19: Short ride just to test out the saddle. Didn't feel as comfy as my Podium, and I was worried I was starting to develop a sore spot, but figured it was a new saddle so we'll see if the body adapts.

Friday, July 20: Took the day off. Figured this would give the region time to freshen up for more extensive testing over the weekend.
Saturday, July 21: Rode 55 miles, flat, then rollers with a little climbing in the middle (2653 ft of climbing on the day). The sore spot got a little worse, I definitely started worrying that the saddle wasn't working for me.
Sunday, July 22: Not the smartest move. I left the Stage.9 on and went on a 72 mile ride (3967 ft of climbing on the day). Things definitely weren't feeling the way they should have powering the flats - strangely enough, climbing I found that I wasn't really feeling the now-developing saddle sore, but that was probably because either (i) I was suffering enough climbing that I didn't notice the crotch discomfort or (ii) I was sliding forward on the saddle and this was alleviating the rubbing that I was experiencing. At any rate, on the last mostly flat 20 miles I found myself getting out of the saddle every couple minutes to alleviate the discomfort. We weren't quite at the level where I would call it truly "painful," but it sure didn't feel good. Definitely not acceptable, and looked to only get worse. I definitely have a saddle sore on one side of my region and the same location on the other side isn't as bad but it tender.

Monday, July 23: Took the day off.
Tuesday, July 24: Stayed off the bike one more day to let things heal up, got in a SUP session.
Wednesday, July 25: Back on the Podium, things feel good again. A little residual tenderness, but difference is night and day.
Since: No issues down there. Podium doing its job.

So on Tuesday, July 24, I sent the saddle back to Dash along with an explanation of my experience and results. I explained that due to the location of my saddle sore and tenderness, I thought the problem was either that (i) the saddle was a little too wide for me (I did order the "Wide" version based on the idea that is is close to the width of the Podium) and that that was causing right where the "crotch/leg crease" begins, (ii) the saddle didn't have enough padding for me (I realize that there are those who ride carbon saddles with zero padding, and while I am by no means a guy who rides those squishy gel seats, I can tell you that the Adamo has a lot more padding than the Stage.9 - the padding on the outside corner of the Adamo's prongs is also pretty giving at that point, while the padding on the Stage.9 is more on the top of the prongs, not so much the corners or side - so I thought that might be causing the rubbing as well) or (iii) I just needed to stick to the Podium and not mess with the Stage.9 anymore.

I told Dash that I was open to their suggestions and that I understood if they didn't think it made sense to send me a second saddle to demo. I was pleased to get an email a couple days later that they were going to build me a "standard" width Stage.9 with 4-layer padding (stock is 3 layer) and it is scheduled to be delivered today.

I won't be able to demo it this weekend (Tour of Big Bear tomorrow - don't want to mess around with a new saddle for that - and paddle board event on Sunday), but should be on it next week and will see if the changes work for me.

Just to be clear - the Stage.9 is designed as a time trial saddle and NOT a general road saddle, so I am clearly using it on an "off-label" basis. So it's not exactly fair to say this saddle has failed me when I am using it in a way it was not intended to be used. With that said, I am very much looking forward to trying v2.0 and hope it works for me. If it doesn't work for the road, I am then going to stick it on the TT bike and see if works there (as I noted initially, it does feel best the lower and more rotated my upper body is).

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 3:29 pm
by monkeyburger
Dash saddle as used by Michael Creed at USA Pro Challenge;




Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 6:26 pm
by AGW
Have you tried a Toupe or demo'd some SMPs?

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:07 pm
by refthimos
AGW wrote:Have you tried a Toupe or demo'd some SMPs?

Not a Toupe, but yes to the SMP Glider, the Romin Evo and the Selle Italia SLR Superflow.

Basically, what I have concluded is that now that I am on the Adamo Podium, I can't go back to a saddle with any kind of middle section, regardless of how large the cutout is. Oh sure, I can tolerate a saddle like that for 25-30 miles without much problem, but any combination of longer distance, time spent in the drops/pelvis rotated forward means discomfort. With the Podium, I can ride on and on mile after mile in the drops or pelvis rotated far forward with zero pressure issues.

The only issue I am having with the Podium now is a slight chafing issue on one side - I think I am currently in the process of solving that by zip tying the saddle rails in order to slightly narrow the saddle prongs. So far, it's feeling better.

The Stage.9 I think I have concluded will only work for me on the TT bike. It gives me the opposite issues as the Romin Evo, SMP, and Superflow, as it works really well in a low, rotated drops/TT position but then not so well sitting up. My theory is that it just isn't padded enough, even with the 4-layer padding Dash included in my current demo saddle. This is definitely an area where YMMV, as some riders say they are OK riding an unpadded saddle over great distances - I guess I'm just not one of those guys.

I would love to see Dash make a saddle that was basically two Adamo prongs with their carbon bridge front and rear - basically a much more padded version of the Stage.9. And the saddle base and padding would be designed so that the edge of the saddle (ie the outside edge, where your leg can rub), would be a little more padded and not as "sharp" (press the outer edge of an Adamo saddle and do the same on the Stage.9 and you will see the difference.

One other annoyance with the Podium is that when I am out on front hammering on the prongs, I can get them out of alignment pretty badly (this happens with certain types of seat clamps, like on my S5). Just yesterday, this happened to me and towards the end of the ride I felt a little extra chafing - sure enough, the prongs got twisted and one was maybe 3/4" higher than the other. Once I backed out the seat clamp bolt just a little, the prongs snapped back into place (I torqued down the clamping bolt even more this time), but I do like how the front bridge of the Stage.9 keeps the prongs from getting misaligned.

One last thing - while it may well work for many riders as a road saddle, the Stage.9 is really designed and marketed as a UCI-legal TT saddle, and it works really, really well for that purpose IMHO. Criticizing it as a road saddle is inherently unfair IMHO, as it was not designed for that use.

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Mon Aug 27, 2012 7:55 pm
by dj97223
Looks more like a hot dog bun than a saddle.

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 5:59 am
by kulcha
Many thanks to refthimos for the write ups. I'm on Adamo Trial and eyeing on Dash as well.

Re: My Experience with the Dash Stage.9 Saddle for Road Use

Posted: Tue Aug 28, 2012 12:22 pm
by grid256
Good luck getting a Dash. Mine took two months to arrive and I'm in the States!