A British company is claiming its novel new bike seat design, dubbed SaddleSpur, could be "the next evolution in bike saddles". With the founders claiming that the SaddleSpur could redefine comfort, performance and efficiency, a study by Anglia Ruskin University has also found merit in the design, and we're told the first shipment of SaddleSpur saddles will begin towards the end of this month.
The very base of the SaddleSpur saddle seems normal; it's a flat profile, short-nosed design with a pressure relief channel and flexible base. There is only one 130mm width available, the shape should suit both men and women, and the saddle comes with aluminium rails.
The full creation tips the scales at a claimed 310g, which is not particularly light. But it's clear this saddle is not going for the lightweight market, and it's at the rear that things get interesting...
Its main selling point is rather obviously the spur, prodding out at the back so prominently. While this isn't the first time we've seen bike seats with backrests of some sort (Raleigh Chopper, anyone?) such designs were presumably aesthetic without any claims of improved cycling performance attached.
The SaddleSpur's 'spur' should further support your pelvis when pedalling and thus make you more efficient, claim the people behind SaddleSpur. How it would work with say, cyclocross mounts, or even just adjusting your position on steep descents is up for debate. Nevertheless, SaddleSpur claims its creation provides "a platform to enable you to focus your energy on an enhanced cycling experience".
The saddle has also been subject to some scientific study. Scientists from the Cambridge Centre for Sport & Exercise Sciences of Anglia Ruskin University tested the saddle's performance on 16 participants completing two 10-mile time trials, comparing time, comfort, cadence and other metrics with a standard saddle vs a second 10-mile TT with the SaddleSpur.
According to SaddleSpur's website, the Anglia Ruskin researchers said that the saddle is “a unique invention that has the potential to reshape the cycling industry”. Though, from what we can see in the full study, the researchers concluded that while results were "promising" and participants were on average 14 seconds quicker in the second trial, they were unable to conclude if this was down to the benefits of the SaddleSpur, course familiarity or a number of factors. "Overall, these findings do show that the [SaddleSpur] could have a huge potential for the cycling community through the reduced discomfort of riding and the potentially enhanced efficiency when riding up steep inclines," said the conclusion.
The study also noted that SaddleSpur's design is not exactly novel, referring to the legendary Raleigh Chopper saddle that somewhat resembles that of the SaddleSpur.
"These though were not for any performance or physiological gain,
rather they serve as statements of the era and provided the rider with a seat that
mimicked the cruiser motorcycles of the USA. This notwithstanding, the application of a spur to the rear of a saddle to gain a performance/physiological edge is innovative, and to date untried," the researchers continued to say.
The full study is set to be published in the Journal of Sports Sciences*, with the date of publication yet to be confirmed. You can already see it here.
SaddleSpur's website indicates that the saddle is available for pre-orders, priced at £125, and founder John Downing told road.cc that shipping will begin in approximately late November 2023.
Let us know what you think in the comments. Is this saddle really going to reshape cycling?
* The original article, and SaddleSpur's website, stated that the study would be published in the 'Journal of Sporting Medicine' in November 2023 - however Anglia Ruskin University has now confirmed that the abstract is set to be published in the 'Journal of Sports Sciences', and the date of publication is TBC.
Suvi joined F-At in 2022, first writing for off-road.cc. She's since joined the tech hub, and contributes to all of the sites covering tech news, features, reviews and women's cycling content. Lover of long-distance cycling, Suvi is easily convinced to join any rides and events that cover over 100km, and ideally, plenty of cake and coffee stops.