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The Cadex Amp saddle must be made of magic; it's light and as comfy as saddles that are twice the weight. How did Cadex do this?
If you're on the lookout for a new seat, do check out more options in our guide to the best road bike saddles.
First impressions of this Cadex Amp saddle: an impressive stealthy black box that closes with magnets. Nice. First glance of the saddle itself is underwhelming, though. It's £260, so premium, but I just can't help thinking it's a bit boring looking. It does look quite comfy, though – there are no aggressive angles, and no colour.
I'm currently riding a Prologo Dimension Nack which I think is a terrific looking saddle. Sexy even. Gorgeous shape, exposed carbon weave... it just looks racy, light and expensive. The Cadex, by contrast, is mute and not an attention-grabber. Perhaps a bit drab even. I don't want gaudy, but this is a go-fast road saddle. Seduce me a little.
And then you take it out of the box, and you're immediately struck by the witchcraft. This comfy commuter-looking saddle is arrestingly light. How does Cadex do that? So much saddle and so little weight? Cadex says 129 grams, and my scales concur.
Then you turn it over in your hands and get a look at the underside.... OK. Wow, that's pretty impressive engineering. The rails stretch almost the full length of the saddle, and the underside looks like it's one piece. Perhaps it's two or more pieces, but it really looks like one piece.
And did I mention it's really light?
Lastly, I plunged my fingers into the padding at where I estimated my sit bones would fall. Surely, at this weight, it's got to be a cursory covering of something shallow on top of unforgiving carbon fibre? But no, my fingers find way more plush (but firm) padding than they were expecting. OK.
Removing the Prologo from my bike and fitting the Amp, I'm filled with anticipation for the first time.
The Cadex is an identical 245mm in length to the Prologo which, to give it credit, has cemented my affinity with short, snub nose saddles that have become so popular in recent years, and it's been my most-ridden saddle this summer.
The blunt nose of the Cadex drops away in a gentle curve rather than the sudden downward ramp of the Prologo, and it's 2mm wider (145mm).
Allegedly, the rails are attached right at the back to increase the sprung distance of the saddle – there's more flex with a greater distance between where the rails meet the underside. Some cursory pushing before mounting confirms a pleasing amount of flex.
The rails are oval, 7x9mm, and their length provides decent fore/aft room for positioning. (That is, for a short saddle.) There's the standard roughness to the rails' clamping area to improve grip.
Saddles are sort of Marmite litmus tests; they're love 'em or hate 'em, almost immediately. If you hate a saddle immediately, I suspect you'll never grow to love it; if you love it immediately, take it for a good long spin and just check it doesn't rub you the wrong way after 50km, that no hotspots develop, and that blood flow is maintained. Also, the well-worn axiom that saddles that are too soft actually get uncomfortable over longer distances is true, so make sure the saddle isn't just a short-range crowd-pleaser that turns nasty and unsupportive over some proper mileage.
Well, I loved the Cadex Amp immediately. Really loved it. It's a perfect shape for me. It's reasonably curvy – not too much, but curvier than the Prologo – and certainly not as flat as a Fizik Arione or Vento Argo. It even kicks up a bit higher and a bit steeper than an S-Works Power, which I've also really enjoyed.
Notably, the rear is 'rounder.' A lot of saddles sort of come to a blunt point at the rear, where the Amp is more rounded. I'm rather conflicted about this. I think the blunt rears and interesting shapes of S-Works Powers, and Prologo's Dimension, look racier, faster, edgier. Both literally and figuratively. I think the roundedness of the Cadex is a shape I (perhaps incorrectly) associate with a cheaper saddle. Perhaps it's because it looks comfier? The truth is, well, it is. It was more comfy with a little bit more material out back.
I commented in my review of the Prologo that a smidge more padding would be ideal, and that's basically what the Cadex Amp is. A touch more padding, and a touch more flex.
Now the flex is not distracting, you can't isolate the feeling of it, and it certainly feels firm enough to push against, but holistically it adds up to a comfier saddle, initially. I remember thinking as I set off on a 40km loop, 'please please don't turn nasty...'
It didn't. It was my favourite saddle after 100 yards, and it still is my favourite saddle some 150km plus later.
The cutout works well; it's both airy and maintains blood flow, and the firm padding is brilliant. It reminds me of non-linear spring curves on nice suspension forks that get firmer through their travel. It feels firm beneath me, but supportive and forgiving, and there is no sudden 'bottoming-out' if I strike the carbon shell through a pothole. All really good.
The greater curviness of the saddle meant it needed a little fine-tuning after about 5km; I flattened it a little and let the saddle's natural curves do the work. There was still decent support at the back to push against, and the nose dropped away sufficiently, and the wings dived themselves without needing as much back-to-front decline. Once set, I haven't tinkered again.
Cadex is the recently revived sub-brand of Giant, and I'm really excited by this saddle. Here's why: sub-brands often start as a way for big bike manufacturers to spec their own components, but occasionally, that sub-brand becomes successful in its own right. The sub-brand gets to slipstream off the parent brand's R&D, economies of scale, wind tunnels, access to pro riders and so on, and before long are making components good enough to be sold as standalone products (rather than just specced on parent-brands' bikes).
The reason I say this is because this Cadex saddle isn't just a 'cheap' way for Giant to spec a good saddle on its high-end bikes without having to pay Fizik prices. I think this saddle is actually better than any saddle I've used and can call to mind. This is a statement of what Cadex can do and what it's aiming to be, and it's very exciting for consumers – another brilliant component brand bringing highly competitive pieces to market, moving out of Giant's shadow in the same sort of way that Roval has done with Specialized.
My only reservation (terribly shallow) is, I wish it looked a little better, a little less comfy and boring. Which is ironic because I love that it's so comfy, but there we have it. A problem easily solved by me just forgetting about it and sitting on the damn thing. It's just in my head, and it is the best saddle I've ever used.
There are cheaper saddles, and there are more expensive saddles, but on the light weight vs comfort vs price scale, I've struggled to find the Amp's equal.
There are plenty of 3D-printed saddles that could really burden/lighten your wallet, but they tend to run heavy – Stu tested and liked the Fizik Vento Argo 00 Adaptive, but that's 190g (and £399.99).
And the Prologo Dimension Nack is a little heavier (176g), a little stiffer, and a little cheaper (£226.99) – though still just gorgeous.
You can go lighter – if you're all about dropping as many grams as possible, the Bjorn Probka will save you 22g for the same price as the Cadex, coming in at 107g – but there's a weight limit, and cork is a personal choice.
Or if you need a saddle that's barely going to be sat on, Tune's Skyracer forgoes padding at 66g, and there are rumours that a member of the off.road.cc crew has a 34g perch for hill climbs...
The Cadex is a hard-to-beat intersection of light weight and comfort. Sure you can get significantly lighter, but these are very minimalist, unpadded affairs. The witchcraft of the Amp is that it's a very decent volume of saddle, and very comfortable, for not very much weight at all.
I gave the Prologo four stars, so this has to be better. It's a little more expensive, but it is a lot lighter. The Prologo tipped the scales at 174g, to the Amp's 129. AND the Amp is comfier. That's having your cake and eating it.
Very light meets very comfortable – if you're happy spending £260, the Amp is hard to beat
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Cadex Amp saddle
Size tested: One size: Width 145mm, Length 245mm
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Giant/Cadex says: "Designed to offer a broad range of riders comfortable support and compliance, and shaped for a powerful, efficient pedalling position...'
It's aimed at almost anyone who wants comfort, light weight and performance.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Giant/Cadex continues: "...the ultra-light Amp saddle features an Advanced Forged Composite Technology base and Integrated Rail Design. Comfort is further enhanced with high-elasticity Particle Flow padding, Lightweight Reactive Foam and a pressure-relieving ergonomic center cut-out"
It is very light, (given the comfort), in fact disproportionately comfortable to its feathery weight. Integrated rails are an engineering feat!
Impeccably constructed, raw carbon visible.
Very light. Very comfortable. Nicely supportive.
This has not been a long test so far, but I have seen no evidence of weakness or lack of durability proportional to its weight.
I've never come across a better intersection of weight and comfort.
One of the most comfortable saddles I've used. It's replaced a Prologo Dimension Nack, also a great lightweight comfy saddle, but the Cadex is even better.
It's 25% lighter than competing saddles, and more comfy. Yes it's expensive, but this is money well spent.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Exemplary. I've yet to give a perfect score, but this was close.
Just the right amount of flex for me, pressure relief channel was great, shape was great. I just wish it looked a little... more... impressive? Exciting? I think it's quite boring. Though this might appeal to those who want it to hide in plain sight.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The ultimate intersection of featheriness and comfort.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
A little boring aesthetically. That's it.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's about the same, perhaps a little higher than competing (non-3D printed) saddles.
Nonetheless, for performance and comfort it's superior. This is a worthwhile investment.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Quite simply the lightest AND most comfortable performance saddle I've ever used. Witchcraft, surely.
About the tester
I usually ride: Custom titanium gravel My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Tom is features and tech writer who's been writing and riding for over 20 years, and has had misadventures on almost every conceivable bike. From single-speeds, to aero race-bikes, gravel bikes, ebikes and mountain bikes, he's a big fan of almost everything that rolls on two wheels.