WTB has been making saddles since it started carving forms out of wood to dial shape back in the early 90s. A complete revamped saddle range gives the saddles excellent stealth looks as well as making bolstering durability. The new, super simple ‘suggested saddle’ Fit Right process seems to work really well to dial in ideal saddle width, too. There is a slight price premium though and not everyone will get on with WTB’s signature squarer shape.
According to WTB there’s a ton of research gone into finding a simple measurable metric that translates one easily checked number into a relevant result for your butt cheeks (or more accurately your sit bones). Measuring the width of your wrist (at the thinnest part for men, thickest part for women) is very easy to do - there’s even a ruler on the app. You then progress through diagram assisted riding position (leisure, performance, aggressive), body shape (inverted triangle, rectangle, triangle, hourglass) and preferred level of padding (thin, medium, thick) menu options before recommending which saddles should work.
It’s quick, simple, doesn’t need any special measuring cushions or third party trunk judging and our two female and male testers were both impressed with the results. That means our first, painfully boney tester with a preference for masochistically minimal padding was put onto a narrow SL8 or Silverado saddle, while our less intense female rider was nudged towards the medium width Koda seat. The WTB saddle range also has a much wider spread of options (127-174mm) than most other (134-150mm) saddle families so narrow and wide really are narrow and wide.
WTB has also revamped and sense checked its whole range from a construction point of view. Every saddle now gets the same microfibre upper fabric (some have perforation detailing) with all black (matt with gloss detailing) colourways and dimpled texture areas. All saddles get reinforced ABR corner panels for clean up/wipeout protection.
Even the 174mm wide ‘grocery getter’ Comfort saddle now uses the variable thickness polypropylene ‘Flex Tuned’ shell to naturally spread the load. Deeper upholstered saddles get HLX padding which WTB claim is 30%per cent more shock-absorbing than standard polyurethane. Some models then get extra Gel inserts and/or ‘Comfort Zone’ cut-outs in the nose of the shell.
Premium titanium and carbon-railed saddles which obviously appeal more to gram wary athletes use lighter weight ‘DNA’ padding for firmer performance support. Steel and Cro-Mo steel rails are available to less weight or more wallet-conscious riders and the different saddles offer a range of flat, curved or raised ‘Whale Tail’ rear shapes to choose from, too. WTB saddles always seem to have a squarer rear profile than many seats though which we know can cause pressure point for some riders.
The performance-focused SL8 road/gravel/XC focused saddle comes in narrow, medium and wide shapes as well as carbon, titanium and cro-mo rail options but only in thin padding. The Fit Right system put our boney tester onto the narrow version and WTB was kind enough to supply the top-the-range carbon-railed version. The slightly curved section and thin, firm DNA padding with shallow central ‘Love Channel’ for pressure relief were absolutely spot on in terms of initial fit. The Flex Tuned base allows decent G-Out/impact relief despite the deep rectangular carbon rails and we’ve run it comfortably on both short-travel mountain bikes and gravel bikes on rough trails. The upper is still totally undamaged despite a couple of spills and while the reinforced corners and perforation details sometimes need extra scrubbing the cover is easy to wipe clean. Grip levels are well balanced between too sticky (which can cause rub) and sliding all over the place so even with a relatively shallow ‘Whale Tail’ it’s a good saddle to work hard from. A milder version of the hooked nose that WTB introduced 25 years ago on the SST saddle makes it more comfortable when you’re slid forward onto the nose for vertical climbs too. We did find the comparatively square/flat rear could start to get intrusive on longer rides, but that’s definitely less of an issue than on the WTB Silverado. While prices are slightly high even the carbon-railed saddle gets the ABR corners for protection and at 157g it’s properly race light too.
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The Koda was developed as a female friendly saddle but as the resident seat on the northern workshop E-bike it’s been ridden with approval by all sorts of jockeys. The ‘Fit Right’ finder aims it at more upright riding positions where the wide ‘Love Channel’ and ‘Comfort Zone’ cut out in the Flex-Tuned Shell reduce central pressure. The Gel inserts enhanced HLX padding gives an immediately plush and comfortable feel even if you’re not in padded shorts. The slight raised rear, curved nose naturally puts you in the sweet spot too, with the same ‘just right’ grip from the perforated microfibre cover. The soft broad and slightly shortened nose also helps reduce ‘personal pressure’ if you roll forward, but it can’t compete with split nose or sawn-off saddle designs if that’s a real issue for you. The signature WTB square back end can also be a pain in the butt for some riders compared to a more rounded rump.
WTB’s new saddle range looks great, lasts well and covers most rider fit options in a - literally - much wider span than most other brands. The Fit Right system worked really well for our testers and it’s very simple to use too. The signature square rear end of WTB’s designs won’t always sit well with everyone though.
Tech Specs: WTB SL8 Carbon
- Weight: 157g (Narrow 127mm)
- Price: $250 / £179.99
Tech Specs: WTB Koda CroMo
- Weight: 302g (Medium 145mm)
- Price: $80 £59.99