A Review: Body-Customized Meld Saddles

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
C36
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

I just placed an order. It was a long time i was not as interested in a product. 40 years ago you could customise your brook, either by adjusting tension or reshaping it. When you think about it, you can have a custom frame, custom shoes insole but where you sit, 95% of the time remained std despite the recent width option.
Going for a short carbon rails version on normal shell.


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refthimos
Posts: 104
Joined: Fri May 25, 2012 6:02 pm

by refthimos

antonioiglesius wrote:Btw the pic you posted from Photobucket isn't showing up, it seems they want you to upgrade your account or something.


Thx, yes I saw their FB post, and as they noted, I put very little space (essentially none) around my logo so it came out larger than most of the others I have seen on their site. It's still a relatively small area, compared to the entire saddle and bike, so it's definitely not overpowering or anything like that. I plan on sticking with the same logo for future saddles.

Yes, I need to get away from Photobucket. That site has been getting worse and worse for a long time. I posted a link to the photo, not sure yet how to embed in the post but if you click you can see the photo.

https://photos.app.goo.gl/c6vjRB4V2BGAtQEM2
EVO Hi-Mod | 9070 Di2 | Rotor 2Inpower | Aeolus TLR 3/5
P5 | 9070 Di2 | Rotor 2Inpower | Aeolus TLR 7
T1 | Power2Max Type S | Rolf Prima FX58/Zipp Super 9 Disc
SuperX Hi-Mod Disc | Sram Red | Power2Max NG

by Weenie


antonioiglesius
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

C36 wrote:When you think about it, you can have a custom frame, custom shoes insole but where you sit, 95% of the time remained std despite the recent width option.


I *think* I saw someone had a customizable option a few years ago. He had this mold which can be mounted on a bike, then the rider pedals for a while with the mold capturing the body shape. I believe the mold is then used to make the carbon shell. Went for US$500-ish I believe.


refthimos wrote:I posted a link to the photo, not sure yet how to embed in the post but if you click you can see the photo.
https://photos.app.goo.gl/c6vjRB4V2BGAtQEM2


That looks waaaayyyy better.

thumper88 wrote:And if there are no issues, what now that you are a few months down the road are your thoughts about build quality and quality materials?


I took the saddle off to get another look and take a picture (don't mind the dirt):
Image

General thoughts:

1. It looks like it's not 3d printed, at least I don't know a printer that does this. The closest is one that lays carbon tow, the surface of the saddle looks like normal weaved carbon fiber. It looks like it's made using conventional methods, probably some sort of compression is involved (i.e. not hand layup). I don't think I heard any cracking sounds, which is always a good sign.

2. The adhesive used to stick the rail cover and rail ends onto the shell are pointed to by the blue arrows. There is some gap between the parts. The adhesive appears to be somewhat elastic. If say we use some kind of epoxy, with an additive to make it non-sagging and space filling, that'll crack over time from the vibrations and general fatigue (as the saddle flexes) since epoxy is generally brittle. I expect an elastic adhesive to last longer. Perhaps dampen vibrations a little (??)

3. The edge pointed to by the green arrow is curved, not sharp. That combined with the adhesive (in point 2) looking like it's 'cleaned up' are the little details which say they put some thought and effort into the finishing. Sometimes I see carbon saddles with huge blobs of adhesives: the worker probably just took the shell, blobbed the adhesive, plonked the rails onto that, and moved onto the next saddle. In this case they bothered to clean up the excess adhesive. Maybe it's not a big deal in the end, but it says something.

4. The shell surface is not processed. In some of the videos taken in bike component factories, we see the workers scrubbing carbon parts then painting over them. This gets rid of any surface irregularities and generally makes things look good. There's none of that in this case. It says that it's not something made in other factories since it's unique, and I think it says that the way they handle/cure the carbon fiber is good enough that further processing is not that necessary. I'm sure there are people who prefer the more 'normal' looking, smooth carbon look though.

5. The general thought I have is that carbon, if made properly, can handle fatigue (normal flexing) pretty well. So, if properly taken care of, we should be able to use it for many years. This is as opposed to say nylon, which can deform over time. The problem is impact, e.g. when we hit potholes there's a large amount of force exerted on the saddle over a very short period of time. There's that thread where someone's aluminum top-tube was hit by a falling conker, and it looks like the frame was trashed as a result. How much impact should any component be able to reasonably handle in the real world? Is it reasonable to assume components can handle abuse, which isn't easily quantifiable (it varies from person to person)?

I mentioned in another thread that I don't think a component used by a pro in a race implies that the component is good enough. If say a carbon frame is used in Paris Roubaix, I'm pretty sure that that's a brand new frame and it probably won't be used again after the race. Cracks can develop during the course of the race, but not grow over that relatively short period of time and so nothing goes wrong on TV. For stage races, the mechanics most likely thoroughly check each bike and replace where they suspect there might be issues. Contrast with normal consumers who usually ride a frame for at least a couple of years: they're going to continue using that frame after riding on the same cobblestones, giving any cracks formed the chance to develop and result in the component ultimately becoming unusable.

I'm digressing but I guess what I'm saying is that I'm not sure where to draw the line with regards to how much abuse we should expect equipment to handle in the real world. Also, from the manufacturer/dealer/retailer's point of view, it might not always be possible to know how the damage actually occurred anyway.

If anyone has any thoughts about any of this, it'll be great to listen to them.

random101
Posts: 79
Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2014 10:15 pm

by random101

Hey guys,

Thought you'll all be interested to know we can get a group deal going if we register WW. we maybe able to get a 10% discount. (10+ orders) - 5% for 5 orders.

Bspecialized
Posts: 1
Joined: Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:43 am

by Bspecialized

Meld unfortunately offers terrible service. The customer is always wrong. I have purchased a saddle and asked for some changes and the company keeps spitting out excuses like, you are sitting wrong, your frame is too big. They have gone as far as to say "it's not our fault". I recommend not purchasing a sale with them because they do not give the services they promise on their website front page.

jever98
Posts: 811
Joined: Wed Feb 18, 2009 12:02 pm

by jever98

Bspecialized wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:47 am
Meld unfortunately offers terrible service. The customer is always wrong. I have purchased a saddle and asked for some changes and the company keeps spitting out excuses like, you are sitting wrong, your frame is too big. They have gone as far as to say "it's not our fault". I recommend not purchasing a sale with them because they do not give the services they promise on their website front page.
Doesn't square with my experience. Had very good results and good service from them.
----
No longer in the industry

antonioiglesius
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

Bspecialized wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 7:47 am
Meld unfortunately offers terrible service. The customer is always wrong. I have purchased a saddle and asked for some changes and the company keeps spitting out excuses like, you are sitting wrong, your frame is too big. They have gone as far as to say "it's not our fault". I recommend not purchasing a sale with them because they do not give the services they promise on their website front page.
Lol! Ultra-super-aggro-ed. If you are indeed in the process of resolving an issue with them, I suggest that you first calm down, then take some time to think very, very carefully about what they are saying. I've encountered enough bike riders (as customers) to also say: don't let your ego get in the way.

IIRC they mentioned on FB that roughly 3% of their users have bike sizing issue. If your frame is too big, the saddle cannot be pushed in front enough and you end up sitting on your perineum. Personally, I don't understand why your choice of the wrong bike frame/components is their fault?

I thought about them fixing this type of issue before, but it's a very slippery slope: suppose I'm meant to use an XS frame, but somehow I ended up with an XL. The saddle shell and rails probably will have to be awkwardly long. I think they'll have to limit things somehow...

TheKaiser
Posts: 480
Joined: Thu Sep 05, 2013 3:29 pm

by TheKaiser

antonioiglesius wrote:
Fri Feb 23, 2018 4:24 pm
IIRC they mentioned on FB that roughly 3% of their users have bike sizing issue. If your frame is too big, the saddle cannot be pushed in front enough and you end up sitting on your perineum. Personally, I don't understand why your choice of the wrong bike frame/components is their fault?

I thought about them fixing this type of issue before, but it's a very slippery slope: suppose I'm meant to use an XS frame, but somehow I ended up with an XL. The saddle shell and rails probably will have to be awkwardly long. I think they'll have to limit things somehow...
Did he say the issue was that the saddle won't go far enough forward, or are we just assuming that?

If the shell is a good shape for the customer and truely the only issue is that the saddle won't go far enough forward then the customer should be able to simply but on a zero offset post, or even a layback post flipped so it is offset forward. That is a lot easier than reenginnering the whole saddle rail/shell relationship to some odd orientation to mimic a short nose tri saddle. Having said that, I very much appreciate when companies are generous with their rail length, and so if Meld has gone unusually short on the adjustment range then it would behoove them to extend it.

C36
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

At the light of this post I ended up ordering a Meld saddle and so far the discussion has been very positive. They have been quick in answering my numerous questions, discussing my Guru fit and after the imprint reviewing latest details (at my request they l even started the shell before I decide on the aesthetic design since my new frame colour was not yet decided... so good flexibility on their side).
Got the saddle yesterday, but won't be home to install it before next week. Finish is good (somehow thought it may look quite "artisanal") and design exactly as expected. More next week after first ride.


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antonioiglesius
Posts: 247
Joined: Sat Oct 15, 2016 9:08 pm

by antonioiglesius

They've been looking at various improvements, a while ago they sent me this photo of a trial attempt for a different way of creating the graphics:

Image

It looks good except 1) the graphics cracks when stretched and 2) they don't think it will withstand rubbing, so they'll have to continue using a lamination layer, which means the benefits of this alternate method diminish and aren't really worth the cost.

************

I was also pointed to a discussion on Veloptimal recently. It's in French but, like Dr Strange, I'm fluent in Google Translate which gives me the right to pretend I understand everything that's said on that thread. It feels like a balanced discussion with inputs by people who gave the issue some thought. For instance, someone raised the issue of factors (e.g. flexibility) that arise in a season which results in sitting in different postures and hence requiring different saddles. Then another replied that a saddle that can support the different postures at all times will be always be valid, since the pelvis itself doesn't change.

*************

It would be great if there's some metric, some way of measuring comfort. E.g. for saddle weight we can weigh it and compare with others. But there's no measurement for comfort. This makes it harder to convince people.

C36
Posts: 201
Joined: Fri Mar 03, 2017 3:24 am

by C36

antonioiglesius wrote: I was also pointed to a discussion on Veloptimal recently. It's in French but, like Dr Strange, I'm fluent in Google Translate which gives me the right to pretend I understand everything that's said on that thread. It feels like a balanced discussion with inputs by people who gave the issue some thought. For instance, someone raised the issue of factors (e.g. flexibility) that arise in a season which results in sitting in different postures and hence requiring different saddles. Then another replied that a saddle that can support the different postures at all times will be always be valid, since the pelvis itself doesn't change..
Indeed part of the discussion turned around how an imprint taken vertically can be translated into a saddle to sit in a "race" position or fit for the different races positions.
- for the vertical imprint it is a question of consistency in taking the imprint.
- for the different positions, my understanding discussing with Meld team is that you have 3 width they adjust, Image and that can provide support for sitbones rami and pelvic bones (there is a picture showing the tree positions on they main page) depending on hip rotation and position on the seat. I will have the opportunity to check this next week but it makes sense that a saddle is not just a "130" or "143" or "15x" (it explain the popularity of the wide nose saddles, it's an option that didn't exist before).



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