We gave you an overview of what to look for in a saddle last week. We also said how hard it was to recommend a specific saddle to people. That said, some ranges have quite a few different shapes. One such range is the Cosine saddles – Wiggle’s own brand. They were kind enough to send us a couple to check out.
I have generally shied away from very cheap saddles with the impression that something so important to my riding comfort should not be skimped on. However, the Cosine saddles are pretty cheap, ranging from £14.99-£29.99. Does this mean they are not very good? Well, no, as you shall hopefully see.
All the saddles are covered in single piece of waterproof fabric on the top with some simple indentations and texture. This is great as it means there are no seams or edges to create friction and wear down your trousers too quickly and you do not have to suffer a squelchy ride home after a rainy day.
Whilst I admit this may not be interesting to everyone, I think it is informative to compare and contrast a couple of these saddles. It is an exercise in functional spot the difference that really helps you to start understanding what to look for in a saddle when they can generally seem pretty similar. My musings go as such:
This is the one that I have, unsurprisingly, found the most comfortable and therefore the one that now lives on my main bike. It is has a good sized cutout on it and is 141mm in width, which whilst somewhat narrow for a women’s saddle, works well for my wider than average pelvis. I have been riding on this one for a few weeks now, exclusively in jeans, and it has proven to be quite comfortable for me. It is slightly convex but has a fairly flat profile front to back, unlike others of a similar design I have tried which kick up at the back. The rails are cro-mo steel and as such it is a little weighty, but by no means heavy at 327g.
One thing I have noticed with this saddle over others I have tried is that I did not have to shift my position around a lot. With other saddles I don’t always feel in the right place when I sit down, even if I move it backwards or forwards. This saddle has a very uniform surface and I have found that once I sit down coming off a set of lights, I don’t think about it again. The disappearing saddle is the mark of a well matched saddle/butt combo!
The Men’s Endurance is a little longer than the women’s version and the sit bone area is more square while the women’s is round. It has a pretty deep pressure relief channel rather than a full cutaway, although there is a cut out in the plastic shell, meaning that even the bottom of the channel is fairly soft. This helps if you ride around town a lot in regular jeans as it will stop the seams digging in as much.
It is fairly wide at 143mm, 2mm wider than the women’s. Holding the two together, they do look a bit different, even though on paper the only variations are a few mm in length and width. Something that proves that it is not all about the basic dimensions when it comes to saddles. I found this saddle to be pretty comfortable, although I did notice the differences enough between the men’s and women’s enough to prefer one over the other.
As it has titanium rails, even though it is slightly larger than the women’s, it is 50g lighter. This may not seem like a lot, but at 277g and £29.99, this is a good value saddle if you are trying to slim your bike down as much as possible on a budget.
This is a more svelte saddle than the other two. It is narrower and lighter and more suited to a somewhat aggressive riding position. It is quite convex and so works best with the natural reduction in pressure between the sit bones that comes from leaning over a lot. It does not have any kind of pressure relief channel on the surface, but it does have one in the shell, so there is a little more give in the middle for comfort.
This shape of saddle is not for me, but it is not the most uncomfortable thing I have ever sat on (that award goes to the stock saddle that came on my touring bike). My position on the bike is not well matched to such a saddle, and I am far too used to a cutaway to find anything that actually points upwards to be comfortable.
This saddle is built for speed in many ways as it is quite low profile and the sides are slim enough to not chafe or restrict fast leg movement. Coupled with its weight at 224g and it is actually a pretty worthy contender for entry level performance bikes and serious club riders – particularly when you see its £23.99 price tag.
As with many things in life, pure measurements are not the whole story. Going off dimensions I would have though that the TI Endurance saddle was for me and that the width was more important than the intended rider sex. Trying these three saddles has also confirmed to me that I am firmly wedded to a cutaway in my saddle.
Aesthetically they are nothing special, but they are not hideous either. My one major gripe is this: why does the women saddle not get titanium rails too? It is £11 cheaper than the TI Endurance is nice, but that does also mean that they could have upped it to the top end, which lets face it is hardly backbreaking anyway, and reduced the weight quite a bit, bringing it more in line spec wise with more expensive women’s saddles. Ultimately this is not a weight or performance penalty I really notice on my steel touring bike, but still – equality is nice.
I think the Cosine range offers pretty exceptional value for money and allows you to play around with your saddle choice a bit. Want one for going fast on weekends in padded shorts, and one for easy commuting in regular clothes during the week? Not going to break the bank. I am not the only one to think good things either – they have some pretty good reviews on their product pages.
Only time will tell if these stand up to abuse in crowded cycle racks, but so far so good. I appreciated the waterproof fabric when I suffered no dampness from riding my bike after it had been significantly rained on. Certainly worth a look if you want to try a different high performing saddle without spending a huge amount of money.
The Cosine saddles can be purchased online from Wiggle.
Do you have a Cosine saddle? What is the one feature in a saddle that you cannot compromise on? Let us know!