Tuning (moding) an old saddle

Discuss light weight issues concerning road bikes & parts.
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Joined: Mon Jul 23, 2012 4:38 am

by Ringtail

I was considering ordering an all carbon saddle for my mountain bike, but first I decided to try out the feel of an all carbon saddle by modding one of my old mountain bike saddles first.

The saddle I chose was an old Fizik Aliante with ti rails:


As you can see, the cover was pretty worn and it weighed in at 250 grams.

I proceeded to peel off the leather cover and manually remove the foam padding by hand. This took a while as it was securely glued to the carbon shell. I then broke out the dremel with a soft wire brush to clean the remaining foam off the shell.

The back edges of the saddle were raised about 4 mm to provide a channel for the foam to rest in. I swapped in the sanding drum onto the dremmel and trimmed the edge flat.

Here is a picture post-mod:


As you can see I was able to shave almost 100 grams, but is it rideable?

The proof is in the pudding. I clamped it in place and hit one of our more rocky trails here in Tucson: Starr Pass. I did take along my usual mountain biking saddle (265 g Selle Italia Team) just in case the all carbon saddle was unbearable and I'd need to swap it out.

Amazingly enough, the new no-padding saddle is MORE comfortable than my usual saddle. I can feel the shell flex under me when taking hits while seated. Granted, we do ride with a very high quality chamoise in our team shorts, so padding on a saddle seems a bit redundant. After back to back days riding 12 mile loops on local trails I can now report very little soreness in my arse. Less so than normal. I do ride a hard tail as well.

Drawbacks: It ain't pretty, but I figure it's on a mountain bike so I don't mind my saddle looking a bit beat-up. I suppose I could clear-coat but why bother? The other issue I discovered is that the rear edges of the saddle are a bit sharp when behind the saddle in technical sections. I may blunt them with some foam or rubber if I decide to keep using it.



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