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The Specialized S-Works Power with Mimic women's saddle is really light and very comfortable under the sit bones, but – for me, anyway – isn't always as comfortable up front as I'd hope. It's also not cheap – in fact it's more expensive than every entry in our best bike saddles guide, apart from another S-Works model…
Saddle comfort is completely subjective; as we always say in our saddle reviews, what I find comfortable might, to you, feel like sitting on a bed of nails, or what is uncomfortable for me might make you feel like you're floating on a cushion of air.
To illustrate that, we had a couple of reviews of Specialized's Power Expert With Mimic saddle not long after it had launched, in 2019: on off.road.cc Rachael loved the 143mm model she tested, describing it as an 'epiphany' as she was very happy with the sit bone area and the Mimic foam on the nose, while Emma could see the potential in the slightly wider 155mm model she reviewed for road.cc, but wasn't entirely happy with it for her.
The name comes from the foam being designed to mimic soft tissue, supporting the rider and alleviating pressure, numbness and discomfort – specifically, the problem of pressure on the labia of women cyclists.
Our friends at off.road.cc wrote a feature on it when it first came out in 2018.
Specialized says the Mimic technology 'perfectly adapts to your body to give you the support you need', but to be honest I prefer having no support up front.
Rachael said she couldn't see the need for a cutout on women's saddles, but I'm completely the opposite. I wouldn't even consider one without a groove or a cutout, and after testing this S-Works Power I'd say my preference is still for a cutout. Not least because, as Emma pointed out in her review, rain won't pool in it.
Here, though, I'm not sure a cutout would make much difference over a groove. While I found the saddle mostly comfortable – and very comfortable for short rides – I did find on some longer rides that the Mimic foam didn't do its job very well. I've occasionally had to 'rearrange' things mid-ride, and deal with some soreness post-ride.
The problem seems to stem from the groove – or 'supportive cutout' as Specialized refers to it – just not being quite long enough for my liking. I took a side-by-side photo of the Mimic saddle next to a Liv Approach; the difference between the lengths of the two 'cutouts' is quite marked.
Also, at the front of the groove in the Mimic saddle there's quite a step in the construction, which I find can rub – not always, but sometimes, and on road rides as well as rougher gravel tracks and trails. (The saddle is designed to suit all types of rider, from roadies to gravel and mountain bikers.)
I asked Specialized how the length of said 'supportive cutout' was decided upon, and though I didn't get a specific answer, I was sent diagrams of the standard Power saddle (first pic, below) and the Mimic model (second pic, below), which show how the hull of the standard saddle had to be altered to allow the construction of the layers that make up the Mimic.
It's certainly very tidily made, and this carbon-railed version is really light. You do have to be extra careful with fitting, though – don't forget your torque wrench! – and I'm a bit disappointed that my old Topeak seatpacks can't be attached, as the mount just doesn't fit with the rails. You'll need to invest in Specialized's compatible luggage for load carrying.
Talking of investing... within the Specialized Power world, the S-Works Power with Mimic is only outdone on the expensive front by the two 'with Mirror' models, namely the Power Pro with Mirror for £290 and the S-Works Power with Mirror for £390.
If you like the sound of the Mimic foam and you want the lightest option available, you might think it's worth it, but the Expert model (as tested by Rachael and Emma) adds only a little weight with its titanium rails and nylon/carbon base, but saves you a heck of a lot of money. The 143mm model weighs 198g (actually lighter than the claimed 213g) and is now £115. So that's around 30-40g heavier, but £140 cheaper.
Looking beyond Specialized, Fizik's short-nose Vento Argo 00 is £259.99 and weighs a claimed 134g – so if weight is a real concern you can make decent savings for just a fiver more.
Also check out our best women's bike saddles buyer’s guide, for more options to consider.
If you get on with the shape, this is a very good quality and very light saddle. As always with Specialized saddles, you can try before you buy – or at least buy but then exchange if you don't get on with it – so if saving weight matters more than saving money, and your posterior approves, it's hard to criticise.
Very light saddle that's comfortable in some respects, but not game-changingly so in all
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Specialized S-Works Power with MIMIC Women's saddle
Size tested: 143mm
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?
Specialized says: "For as long as there've been saddles, women have been having issues with them. But where some see unsolvable problems, we see practical solutions. With our patented design, MIMIC technology helps create a saddle that perfectly adapts to your body to give you the support you need.
"And when you combine this technology with our extremely lightweight S-Works Power saddle, with its stiff, FACT carbon shell and rails, you get a high-performance saddle that's designed to help you perform at your best. It still features all of the Body Geometry design characteristics you know and love, so you can be assured of superior, all-day comfort in any ride position."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Patented Body Geometry design is lab-tested to ensure blood flow to sensitive arteries.
Innovative MIMIC technology uses multilayered materials to maintain equilibrium and minimize swelling in soft tissue.
FACT carbon fiber shell is flex-tuned for support and ride compliance.
Ultra-light oversized FACT carbon rails.
Level 2 padding: Medium density foam for bike feel with additional cushioning.
SWAT™-compatible mounts molded into the saddle base allow for sleek and integrated storage solutions.
NOTE: Oversized 7x9mm carbon rails are not compatible with seatposts equipped with side-load clamp mechanisms for 7mm round rails.
Size 143mm / Weight 170g
Size 155mm / Weight 173g
I found it mostly comfortable... if not game-changingly so. A bit of manoeuvring around was still required at times.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well – mostly comfortable on three-hour-plus rides, and much lighter than the stock saddle on my bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The weight – or lack of.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The fact that it wasn't game-changing on the comfort front, as I'd hoped. I couldn't fit my seatpack mount to it, either.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
You can spend more on Specialized's top-end saddles - £290 and £390 on the two 'with Mirror' Power saddles - but £255 is pretty pricey compared with others that are only a little heavier.
Looking beyond Specialized, Fizik's short-nose Vento Argo 00 is a fiver more but weighs a claimed 134g, while Ergon's SR Pro Carbon is £179.99 with a claimed weight of 170g for the S/M, though our test one weighed 166g in 2019.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not – if I went for a Mimic I'd probably go for a cheaper option with a slight weight penalty.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes – especially as you can usually try out Specialized saddles before committing, to make sure you like them.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a good saddle; very light and very well made. But it's also expensive, and doesn't – for me – deliver that amazingly comfortable ride I was hoping for. Yes, it was comfortable, but no more so than other much cheaper saddles I've used. If it suits you, and weight is a high priority (and cost less so), you might well consider it an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Vitus Venon My best bike is: Paulus Quiros
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, sportives, general fitness riding,
Tass is our production pedant, who boldly goes hunting for split infinitives, rogue apostrophes and other things up with which she will not put. She joined road.cc in 2015 but first began working on bike magazines way back in 1991 as production editor on Mountain Biking UK, then deputy editor of MTB Pro, before changing allegiance to road cycling as senior production editor on Cycling Plus. She's ridden off-road but much prefers on, hasn't done half the touring she'd like to, and loves paper maps.