Saturday, October 27, 2012

Ritchey WCS Carbon Streem Saddle Long Term Review.

The bicycle saddle.  It’s that thing you are sitting on.  Some people blissfully don’t give it a second thought, and some folks think about it often in a most unpleasant, painful way.  In other words, the saddle can be your best friend or one of your fiercest enemies – All depending on your choices, of course.  And, it can be quite a battle just to find that elusive, oh-so-hard-to-find “Sweet Spot.”  Well, after a year and a half, I am still enjoying that sweet-spot, however, it just took me a little while to find it.

The Ritchey Carbon Streem saddle was designed for maximum comfort, combined with light weight and good looks, all in an effort to help cyclists find that sweet-spot.  They got two out of three right, save for comfort which is solely the objective opinion of each riders’ bum (that’s how the British eloquently say “Ass”).  This is just the nature of the beast called saddle selection.  This, however, does not imply the Carbon Streem is a beautiful torture rack – Far from it, actually.

A lot of reviews on anything are brief, very subjective musings on a donated product purely for evaluating purposes.  However, in the real world of cycling, we all have to plunk down our hard earned cash and must live with the consequences of those decisions.  This describes the Ritchey Carbon Streem saddle perfectly in my case (It also describes how this blog works and evaluates products).  Thus, before we get much further, here are the specs:
  • Patented Vector Wing design dissipates pressure more evenly (It actually works! Editor’s comment)
  • Low profile design and narrow carbon fiber injected shell for stiffness and lightweight
  • Micro fiber cover and super light foam
  • Rails: Carbon Fiber, Rail Dimensions: 8x8.5mm
  • Saddle dimensions: 270x130mm
  • Weight: 145 grams
  • Available in Red, White or Black
  • Retail $189.95
If you have been around the proverbial block more than a few times, you understand saddle placement is far more important than any other factor.  Yes, this includes, style, color, and even price.  To paraphrase the Bible, you can give a man any saddle and he’ll be happy for a day, but teach him how to properly shop for the correct saddle, and he’ll be happy for a lifetime.  Well, I finally got it right, however, it took six months of breaking-in and fiddling with position before my behind gave the Carbon Streem two-butt-cheeks-up. 

The Carbon Streem’s strengths are it ability to dampen road shocks, its light weight, and its outright durability - It looks as good as the day I bought it.  Also, if used with a Ritchey one-bolt seatpost, mounting and adjustments are so easy, it is almost ridiculous.  The price is competitive, the weight light, but not so light it cannot endure day-in, day-out use, and the looks are, well, flat-out sexy.

Final Notes

Bottom line, it took a long time to break-in (about six months), and once it did, combined with proper positioning, I have found a saddle, which for the most part, completely disappears under me. 

I know Ritchey is not the first name when one goes saddle hunting, but I strongly suggest you give them a try.

As stated in the Ritchey catalog, if using this saddle, be mindful of the rail dimensions, which are 8X8.5mm.  They are “Ovalized” rails, so if used with a RitcheyWCS one-bolt seatpost, use their Carbon Clamp Kit to properly fit the carbon rails to the post without crushing them.

In addition, I have also tried the Ritchey carbon clamp with Selle Italia oval, carbon railed saddles, and it worked out perfectly.  

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