My friends, there once was a time I thought a lightweight race saddle was going to be a relatively hard saddle that had to be put up with, rather than enjoyed, over a long haul.
I had a beautiful Selle Italia 110 gram saddle on the Trek, then on the Venge, that was close to fantastic but it was in the realm of the hard saddle that had to be put up with when the mileage bounced over 50. It was nice enough, and was a huge weight improvement over my 274 gram Specialized Romin saddle that goes on the Venge. It was an even bigger advantage over the $25 mountain bike saddle I had on the Trek, though that mountain bike saddle was comfy.
The Selle Italia started out on the Trek at the beginning of the year, then went over to the Venge when I decided I wanted to get all weight weenie to see how light I could make it. I loved it on the Trek, early in the season. It wasn’t great on the Venge, though. I just couldn’t get comfortable in it on the longer rides. As I put more miles on my butt throughout the season, I became less and less fond of the saddle on the Venge so I switched it back to the Trek. That magic I’d felt early in the season was gone. With 4,000 miles on my hind end, what was once fairly wonderful became a bit like riding on barbed wire after a metric century. The saddle had to go – I’m not paid to ride and I’m not putting up with an ultra light saddle just so I can say my Venge weighs 15-1/4 pounds instead of 15-1/2. Better, it’s the difference between 18 and 18-1/2 pounds on the Trek. Folks, 18 pounds is 18 pounds, and I need something I can be comfortable in on the long haul rides, because that’s what the Trek is for.
On a fluke I happened on a sale on the Bontrager/Trek website. They had the Montrose Pro on overstock sale, $100 off. I paid $120 for mine – a fantastic deal for a high-end saddle.
The profile is almost a perfect match to the Specialized Romin on the Venge that I absolutely love. A little less rise on the nose, but otherwise, a spot-on match.
After the storm, the clouds parted and the sun shone…
After a couple of test rides I took the saddle and my Trek up north on a road trip with two of my best cycling friends. 77 miles on day one, 67 on day two. The saddle is my new favorite. It’s a fantastic balance of bounce and padding – and my 5200 needs a little help in that regard. It’s a pretty stiff ride for a carbon fiber frame and fork.
There’s about 50 grams difference between the Montrose and that previously mentioned Selle Italia saddle, and it all went into padding in the perfect places, and no more than absolutely necessary.
I am not all that flexible (I’m no spring chicken) and I ride an aggressive setup, so having the right saddle, that allows my hips to rotate a little so I can get low enough, is a requirement. That’s exactly what the Montrose’s profile does.
I’ve always wanted the 5200 to be just a little more comfortable than my Venge so I’d ride the Trek more… and I’ve always felt that was impossible. The Specialized is fourteen years newer so the technological ride advances are huge. Not only do they make today’s bikes light and aero, with a little manipulation of the lay-up, they can make today’s frames stiff where it’s needed for power transfer, but compliant where that’s needed for ride quality. Not to mention, the Trek will only fit a 24mm tire while the Trek will easily fit a 26… more volume in the tire means a better ride.
The Trek has one thing going for it over the Venge; the Trek is just a touch more vertically compliant than my Venge. Vertically compliant means I’m not quite as low-slung on the Trek. Add the Montrose Pro to the mix, with 24mm wide tires, and what was once thought of as impossible is now a reality. My 5200 is slightly more comfortable.
The Montrose Pro is a fantastic saddle and decently light at around 160 grams. It’s an all-day saddle that, once properly set, keeps me comfortable for hours. I am perfectly pleased with it and can’t recommend it highly enough.