Last fall the new Aspide Glamour saddle from Italy’s Selle San Marco caught my wife’s eye when she read RBR’s Interbike coverage. Unlike many woman-specific saddles that tend to be short and lumpy, the Glamour is sleek and minimalist. It looks racy just sitting on the bike. Of course Deb’s big question was: Would it be comfortable? Many lightweight saddles look promising out of the box but subject the cyclist to ride-shortening pain after 20 miles.
I am eminently unqualified to test a woman’s saddle (can’t pass the required physical exam). But Deb was eager to give this sexy saddle a good workout. She rode it for 40 hours on her road bike (a LeMond Zurich), including several rides of 3-3.5 hours. Then we switched it to the stoker position on our tandem for a 3-hour ride.
Setup was different from her previous saddle, a Serfas Curva. The Glamour had to be pushed forward on the rails to get Deb in the proper knee-over-pedal-spindle position. Because the top of the Glamour saddle is barely above the rails, we had to raise the seatpost to get the correct saddle height. The top needed to be dead level too because the nose has a groove designed to ease pressure on soft tissue. If the nose was elevated it could cause pain, as Deb learned. (The two Glamour Arrowhead models have a hole in the nose.)
By the way, Deb is 5-foot-4 and weighs 112 pounds. She rides about 4,000 miles a year when not running, hiking or snowshoeing. Here are her impressions of the Glamour.
“The first thing I noticed about the this saddle is the sleek shape and flat profile. The Glamour isn’t boxy like many women’s saddles. It looks like the seat a male pro rider might use except for a bit more width for a woman’s sit bones.
“There’s no cutout, something I liked because those on other women’s saddles have tended to irritate me. The edges of most cutouts are too prominent and have a cookie-cutter effect. So the slight groove in the Glamour looked like a significant improvement. However, the edges of the groove protrude upward slightly. This ridge was painful if the nose was elevated even a small amount. With the saddle level, I still felt pressure when I was in the drops with my pelvis rolled forward.
“Padding is thin but dense, so I didn’t feel that my sit bones were bottoming out on the plastic shell. The Glamour was comfortable for the first hour of each ride but became less so as the ride continued. Weight is borne by the sit bones, great for eliminating pressure on soft tissue. But this means that weight is supported on two small points rather than distributed over a larger area.
“This effect was magnified when we moved the Glamour to the tandem. For some reason my sit bones became tender faster while riding the tandem even though we stand frequently and I have a suspension seatpost.
“The saddle’s wider shape worked fine for support but the transition from the narrow nose to the wider rear is a bit abrupt. It made a shelf that irritated the top of my hamstrings on longer rides.
“I liked the looks of the Glamour and the way it supported my sit bones. I didn’t like the pressure from the slightly raised edges of the groove in the saddle’s nose or the way it became less comfortable later in a ride. So for short, fast rides or racing, the Glamour is a good choice. For longer rides at a more leisurely pace, I wanted more cushion.
“I’d like to try the Glamour’s gel version. The extra padding might make this saddle better for the long haul.”
Coach Fred Matheny is an RBR co-founder who has four decades of road cycling and coaching experience. He has written 14 eBooks and eArticles on cycling training, available in RBR’s eBookstore at Coach Fred Matheny, including the classic Complete Book of Road Bike Training, which includes 4 eBooks comprising 250 pages of timeless, detailed advice and training plans. The Complete Book is one of the many perks of an RBR Premium Membership. Click to read Fred’s full bio.