It’s against the rules (No. 61). It shouldn’t work. My butt should be aching after 20 miles. It should be like riding on barbed wire after 50. I should hate it.
But I don’t. I really do like it.
Rule 61 allows for 3mm of padding on a saddle, with a special 2mm carve out for those who are fighting with saddle sores. That Bontrager saddle has 4mm, but those 4mm work. Of course, I have 1mm, maybe 2, on the Venge’s Romin. If the two were combined, I’d be alright, no? 6mm combined padding, divided by two saddles… 3mm each.
All silliness aside, the saddle on my Venge is hard. I figured all saddles should be like that one because the Romin saddle is butter on the Venge. It was a good saddle on the Trek too, but all of the road vibration went straight through to my keister. The 5200 is a harsher ride than the Venge (if you can believe that). The extra three millimeters of padding on the Bontrager saddle make the 5200 an incredibly plush ride – almost as nice as the Venge.
There’s an important caveat though… I had to raise the saddle a couple of millimeters to account for the thicker padding so I wouldn’t bounce when I pedaled, but the bike is smoother than it’s ever been – and smoother means faster.
So whatever the case may be with The Rules, I’m going to justify the thicker padding on the saddle because it makes an already decent ride, plush.
I never thought I’d suggest this, but try it, you might like it! Just beware, this can definitely be taken too far in a hurry. If you’re thinking you need a gel pad to go over your saddle, there’s something wrong with your setup or the saddle is completely wrong for your physiology.
Oh, and if you really want to know the funny part: I think the shop owner got that saddle off of a kid’s bike and had me try it as a backhanded joke because I happen to be a little finicky about saddles. To quote Donald “Duck” Dunn in the original musical, The Blues Brothers, “If the $#!+ fits, wear it”.