The new Women’s Power Saddle with MIMIC technology from Specialized is a pressure relieving seat that has eliminated soreness, created a saddle epiphany and simultaneously thrown a spanner in the works (in a good way) of the type of saddle I thought worked for me.
Recently launched, the new saddle has memory foam technology called MIMIC. Its goal is to relieve pressure when riding for women cyclists. The saddle aims to mimic the soft tissue, supporting the rider and alleviating pressure, numbness and discomfort for mountain bikers, road riders and gravel cyclists. We took a good look at the saddle and its history when it was launched, you can read that here.
I tested the 143mm Power Expert saddle on both mountain bikes and gravel bikes with similar results, the mainstay of this being comfortable and happy lady bits. The short nature of the saddle means that it is easy to adopt a more aggressive riding position, this doesn’t mean it was uncomfortable when riding other less aggressive bikes, far from it. This saddle has been on my long travel Cotic Rocket for most of the duration of the test, where it will stay for the foreseeable future.
The nature of short saddle, however, mean that you tend to stay in one position on the saddle throughout the ride. This ‘sweet spot’ is perfectly comfy throughout shorter and lengthier rides, the plush MIMIC tech ensuring that no pressure points were created and at no point did I experience any numbness. There’s not too much room for manoeuvre when climbing though if you like sliding onto the front of the saddle for steep pinches, the short nose means you’ll have to use your upper body to this effect rather than move around on the seat. If you do move around the dropped nose is slightly wider than other saddles I usually ride on which make it a less precarious place right on the end of the saddle and the smooth dropped nose stops clothing getting snagged on the way back.
The MIMIC memory foam areas of the saddle are easy to spot, being the shinier chequered part at the nose and also where the cut out would be. I don’t see the need for a cut out on women's saddles personally but I do like a concave shape rather than a convex one. I was interested to hear that Spesh thinks along the same lines, there’s no logic in the potential for sensitive women’s tissues to disappear through a hole in the middle of the saddle. Here there is a concave section to allow space for all shapes and sizes of labia, this section is made of supportive foam to softly cushion and maintain blood flow and therefore prevent numbness. It certainly seems to work, its soft without being so soft that you sink too far into it which would create soreness or chafing.
In a more upright position on a long travel mountain bike I found myself sitting on the rear portion of the saddle which was supportive for the sit bones too. I did still drop the nose of the saddle as I do with most for a better climbing position, the MIMIC has been superbly comfortable in this position when grinding up long ascents. Whilst on a gravel bike with my body rotated forwards I made more use of the memory foam at the front portion of the saddle. On the gravel bike I was aware of a certain level of vibration damping too, the construction of the saddle and the padding used tends to diminish buzz more than other saddles I’ve used.
This saddle does throw up a conundrum in my world of saddle testing. Before the Spesh was fitted to my bike I was a fan of the long, thin Fizik Luna X5 MTB saddle, two saddles that are a dichotomy if I ever saw one, but proving that it might not necessarily be the shape of the saddle that riders get on with but the materials it’s made from. One thing I would like to see on the Spesh saddle is slightly more flexible wings at the rear as the Fizik offering has. Although the Women’s Power isn’t any wider than the Fizik, it felt it just due to the flex in the latter, it wasn’t something that caused a problem though.
There’s a range of options for the Women’s Power Saddle with different price/weight ratios. I tested the Expert with hollow Ti rails and a nylon/carbon base which costs £100 and weighs 198g. Not cheap but pretty light and you can take the worry out of making an expensive mistake as Spesh offer a 30 day 'Satisfaction Guarantee.' Provided you keep the original packaging and receipt, if you decide you aren’t a fan after a couple of weeks you are able to return it and exchange it for a different Specialized model.
If you are after a supportive perch that won’t turn your ‘downstairs numb’ in a two hour ride and won’t leave you suffering with chafing or saddle sores for days after a good ride then check the Women’s Power Saddle with MIMIC technology out. That said, if you are just saddle curious and up for a change, give it a whirl even if you don’t think it’s the right shape for you. You might be surprised, I was.
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