By Ed Pavelka
Buying a new saddle can be difficult. Typically, experienced riders seek a replacement with a similar shape and padding density to their former favorite. But no matter how closely you approximate old reliable, the new saddle inevitably feels different. Shape can be deceiving, padding may feel harder to sit bones than to probing thumbs, and one small seam in the wrong place can wear you raw.
Testing saddles is a similarly dicey business. The saddle that I rate highly may be purgatory for you simply because everyone’s pubic structure is different. So any saddle review should be taken for what it is — one tester’s personal opinion.
With that in mind, the Koobi PRS (“personal ride system”) saddle has promise based on its wide, flat rear section, quality leather cover and a groove the entire length. Similar features have worked for me in the past.
It also has interchangeable elastomers designed to ease road shock for riders of varying body weight. Koobi claims up to 0.4 inches of travel from this shock-absorbing system.
The PRS is aimed at ultra riders who spend hours on their bikes, so designers made the rear of the saddle fairly wide for all-day support. I measured it at 14 cm while Koobi claims 14.5. For comparison, a Flite is 12.5 cm and a classic old Turbo is 13 cm. Then there’s the leather Brooks B.17,perhaps the best long-distance saddle ever made, with a widest point of (you guessed it) 17 cm.
Sit bones Support
Looked at from the rear at eye level, the Koobi’s top is flat. THere’s no dome pushing up into your soft tissue. Koobi saddles also feature a trademark full-length groove. These design elements worked admirably to keep my important parts happy. I experienced no pressure or numbness in my centrally located soft tissue because the saddle supported me on my sit bones. Nothing else seemed to touch.
That’s good for soft tissue, but in my case it was hard on sit bones and the skin directly over them because that area bore all the pressure. After an hour, I got sore. After two hours, I was decidedly uncomfortable. After a total of three hours on two rides, I was too tender to ride the saddle again for several days.
I’m not sure why my rear end and the Koobi didn’t get along. The saddle’s shape and quality seemed to predict that it would work well for me. I think our incompatibility stemmed from three factors:
- The saddle’s padding is harder than I’m accustomed to. Koobi rates it “firm,” an 8 on a 10-point scale.
- I installed the softest elastomers but they didn’t seem to provide any suspension. At 155 pounds, I might be too light to fully activate them.
- The saddle’s groove has a seam along its length on each side. The seam is flat and looks unobtrusive, but the groove’s edges were still noticeable.
The leather cover is thick, so Koobi recommends a break-in period, just like with a traditional leather saddle. I’m suspicious of claims that a saddle with a plastic shell and dense foam padding can be broken in, but I’m willing to be convinced that more miles might resolve my discomfort.
Should you buy this saddle? don’t let my equivocal experience discourage you from considering it. If the Koobi fits your posterior’s shape better than it did mine, it could be a fine choice.