Specialized’s Power Pro with Mirror saddle takes the 3D printed ‘padding’ matrix of the £390 S-Works Power with Mirror and sits it on a heavier base and rail chassis. It’s still reasonably light but insanely expensive.
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So I set about riding it as much as possible from MTB to gravel and road to see whether the comfort gains can possibly justify the cost compared to other conventional saddles from Specialized and other best mountain bike saddles.
Design and specifications
Specialized isn’t the only company producing a 3D printed saddle (Fizik offers its Adaptive tech in Argo and Antares spec for gravel/road) but the brand takes a distinctive approach. The liquid polymer upper is printed to form an almost conventional looking perforated ‘skin’ with the 14,000 strut, 7799 node (Specialized’s numbers, I’ll admit I haven’t counted them) honeycomb visible through the body and tail of a fish-shaped central cutout. The shell underneath also uses a partially recycled nylon mix so it’s slightly less damaging to Mother Earth too.
As the name suggests the Power Pro is based on Specialized’s very popular, shorter, broader ‘Power’ profile but it’s slightly longer, with a rounder rear end. There are two widths available listed as 143mm and 155cm, though I actually measured the 143mm at 148mm at the widest part of the drooped edges.
The key difference between the £390 S-Works Power with Mirror and the £290 Power Pro with Mirror are the titanium rails on the ‘cheaper’ saddle. This opens up use on mountain bikes not just gravel and road like the carbon railed S-Works and means you can use any sort of saddle clamp. At 242g it’s slightly heavier than the claimed weight of the £259 3D printed Fizik Vento Argo R3 Adaptive and both are a lot heavier than a properly lightweight saddle at the same price.
Presuming the weight is OK and you’re lucky enough to be able to afford it, the Power Pro with Mirror is spectacularly comfortable. The upper actually feels way too soft when prodded with a finger but gives a firmly supportive, pressure spreading feel when you actually sit on it. I mean that’s what most saddles do these days so it’s not particularly surprising and the central cutout does the numbness beating job they normally do.
The big difference is that most soft saddles give you much contact and become a mushy, sweaty butt aching nightmare as the miles increase, while narrower, bonier seats need increasing amounts of shifting about on to manage painful pressure spots or creeping numbness.
The longer I sat on the Power Pro with Mirror though, the more it refused to give me any of the sort of comfort issue I expect on long rides. It didn’t even seem to care what shorts I rode, whether it was thumping around on a trail bike or rattling across hard baked cobbled and rut tracks on a gravel bike. Even when I went well outside my comfort zone and put in a 365km mixed road/off road stint in over an evening and a very long, hot day I never once felt compelled to stand up or hover for the sake of my rump. No waddling numbness, no back pain, no painful plumbing compression or worryingly delayed peeing function, just hour after hour of totally trouble free riding.
While not everyone will agree, I liked the way the slightly grippy printed surface kept me stable in the optimum position but didn’t grab so hard that it turned my shorts pad into an orbital sander. While it’s not as open as the Fizik 3D matrix I had no obvious sweat issues either and the more closed surface means mud is less likely to clog up the honeycomb on dirty rides. Hanging bike packing seat packs off it or dropping its host bikes on the ground a few times didn’t bother it either, although it doesn’t have any specific scuff protection.
Saddle comfort is a very personal thing, but if you’ve got an issue with it, then finding the solution is potentially priceless. And while I can get on fine with a wide range of seats and designs for a decent distance, the Power Pro with Mirror definitely extended the comfort zone far further than normal. In fact I can’t even define how far that is, as despite pushing some personal records recently I’ve never had a single uncomfortable ride on it.
So while it’s still relatively heavy and painfully expensive, if you’re suffering with saddle pain on everything else you’ve tried so far, there’s a very real possibility the answer is staring you in the face with Power Pro Mirror.
Tech Specs: Specialized Power Pro with Mirror saddle
- Price: $325 / £290 / €370
- Sizes: 143 or 155mm
- Weight: 246g (143mm)