The ISM Saddle – we’ve heard a lot about it over the last couple of years but we admit – the rather ‘uncool’ design kept us from putting it on our bikes and testing it. Be honest – the first time you see the saddle you think: ”Not exactly a beauty and who needs added saddle comfort – that’s for old people” At least that’s what we thought.
However, the ISM saddle stuck around and at the end we were way to keen on testing out some new stuff! Traded our Fizik Aerione Tri in and put a ISM Adamo Racing on our bike!
Let’s have a quick look at what the boys from ISM have to say about the Adamo Racing.
”THE ORIGINAL – and still our top-of-the-line performance saddle for triathletes and time trialers. Designed for aggressive riding in the 0* to 30* hip angle position (aero bars). This seat offers superb comfort in a normally uncomfortable position. The Adamo Racing is completely UCI compliant for time trialing. It even sports a nifty transition rack hook on the back for racking your bike. Uses light weight foam and gel pads with titanium alloy rails. 245mm long and 130mm wide.”
We first road the saddle earlier this year during a training camp on Mallorca – meaning we went from 0 miles on that saddle to a hell lot in a blink. The saddle felt rather unusual the first couple of miles before really starting to hurt about 40 miles into the ride – that’s we’ve heard from quite a few athlete before – most of whom turned their back on the ISM after just a couple of rides, returning to their old saddles.
However, we decided to give a chance and rode through the pain for the next couple of days and after about week the comfort was getting way better. The pain itself didn’t really come as a surprise – in order to avoid the ‘usual’ pressure points on a standard saddle the ISM has a split nose thus producing new pressure points we’ve never trained before. Those areas did hurt at the beginning but after a while we did get used to it. A major mistake we made when initially testing the saddle was trying to ride it like any other saddle – which you shouldn’t. The ISM really needs to be ridden as closely to the tip as possible.
What came as a surprise during those weeks on Mallorca was how relaxed the rest of the body was feeling after the bike rides – at this point we credited this to good core training and solid stretching sessions during the winter. The weeks went by and it was good riding on the ISM saddle but nothing that felt particularly spectacular. The one great thing about the saddle though was – it really took away the discomfort you sometimes experience especially in the aero position.
Back in Germany we returned to using the good old Fizik and that’s when it hit us – sometimes you need to see how bad something is to see how good something else is. The discomfort of the saddle tip stuck between your legs appeared right away again, the Fizik saddle suddenly felt really uncomfortable and our legs where significantly more tired after riding. Somehow the whole position on the bike didn’t feel right anymore and when we checked closer it became apparent. The ISM saddle allowed our hips to open up way better then the Fizik saddle and therefore producing a much more relaxed position when riding aero. The lower back, hips and legs are far more relaxed than on any other saddle we’ve ridden so far.
Summary: Let’s start with the points we didn’t like all that much about the ISM Adamo Racing. 1. The looks but then again: You’re butt is covering the saddle when riding your bike – so get over it! 2. the as they say ‘nifty’ transition rack hook on the back of the saddle. Come on boys at ISM – who really still racks their bikes on the saddle? This hook is a real pain when it comes to attaching rear hydration systems. Other than that for us the ISM saddle is definitely the best saddle we’ve ridden so far producing a much more relaxed and therefore more powerful ride. Less discomfort when riding, relaxed lower back, open hips and strong legs when getting off the bike are just a few benefits of riding ISM. We can’t really say much about the medical facts ISM is offering on their website – stating riding ISM makes you less prone to erectile disfunction. Let’s put it this way – there still seem to be a lot of cycling dads out there who made it happen even after riding some other saddle 🙂 Yet, why take the risk if you can avoid it. Right?
The growing community of triathlon and cycling pros as well as the growing number of podiums achieved on ISM saddles in international races speak for themselves. We’ll keep on riding the ISM cause the benefits are obvious even if you’re not a doctor or a scientist!
More info on ISM saddles: http://www.ismseat.com/index.htm