Flow's seating surface is 100% open to the air, which allows moisture to be wicked away from the body. You can't do this with a conventional saddle, and anyone who tries to tell you that a "vented channel" does the same thing might consider a career at a TV shopping network. That's like saying a bike helmet is vented the same as a hairnet...not that we'd ever compare Flow to a hairnet.
a Cross Country Rider
from Milano, Italy
Date Reviewed: August 14, 2006
Strengths: beautiful object, very innovative quite perfect in its idea... light too.
Weaknesses: I could'nt ride this saddle more than a test because of its rigid edges.
The idea is great but need more time to be developed in reliable product for everybody. The first feeling was not good and I tried several adjustments to fit a little confortable. I've also tried with different cycling shorts.
Favorite Trail: Peloponneso mountain offroad in Greece
Duration Product Used: Tested or demo'ed only
Purchased At: SaddleCo
Similar Products Used: Fisik Aliante, Gobi; Selle Italia SRL; Brooks ti; Becker Carbon
Bike Setup: 10 HP from italian FRM Bicycle Technoloy. wwwfrmbike.com
a Weekend Warrior
from Gainesville, fl
Date Reviewed: August 30, 2005
Strengths: soft middle sweet spot cooling airflow
Weaknesses: hard plastic edges that are a pain if you have a big sit bone
cool concept but it just doesn’t go the distance for me. You should get something else if your sit bones are wide but if you can rid in one position and you have small sit bones this one would be great.
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: July 20, 2005
Weaknesses: frame pinches shorts occasionaly. Long hard nose.
Nice and comfortable. I must have gotton lucky, as I have not had any problems with quality or setup. As a rider who has a reputation for becoming separated from his rig on nasty downhills I can attest to the saddles toughness. This is my 3rd season on the saddle and apart from the hard nose occasionly try to give me an early prostrate exam. I feel it is a superior product to most. Most people are reluctant to take a chance at $100 bucks to try something new like this, but it has been a worthy piece. Ya, guys who still think hardtails rule won't buy it, but I would recomend it to the rest of you. Finally, because of the hard narrow nose I have been reluctant to use it on my road bike.
Similar Products Used: Many saddles from Terry, WTB, etc.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: October 3, 2004
Strengths: Easily the most comfortable saddle
Ventilation for the Nether regions
Weaknesses: It broke again.
The side edges are hard and abrasive. Definitely not inner thigh friendly
This is SaddleCo Flow number 2 I'm using, a replacement for the 1st one after it broke less than 7km. Managed to clock more than 500km on it. The unique characterisitics of the Flow quickly won me over, with excellent ventilation and cushion support that my Selle XO on the other bike never managed to give. However the ghost of the past resurfaced, after an overly enthusiatic road ride where I spent extended time on the fore portion of the saddle, the side edge chipped again. And I understand quite a few Flow users suffered from the same defect in their saddle. Time to go back to the Drawing board SaddleCo.
Similar Products Used: SDG Ventura Comp Selle Italia Radius and XO Bontrager C10
Bike Setup: Highly modified GT LTS2 and Giant NRS3
from Bristow, VA, USA
Date Reviewed: September 28, 2004
Strengths: Cool (as in temperature you knuckleheads), easy on the sitbones, and the aesthetics.
Weaknesses: Not feather light, perimeter of saddle is hard and sharp, nose is hard and sharp, and it is finicky to set up.
For reasons I can't explain, on my 34th birthday, my butt began to rebel against every saddle I owned (road and MTB). I went on a quest to find a saddle that worked and the Flow was one of the ones I tried. I ran the saddle for a few weeks in Florida and Alabama where it is flat and managed to get it set up right (it is really finicky about pitch angle). My sore and bruised sit bones healed up quickly sitting in the hamock material. Occasionally, I missed the hammock and took a knock on the perimeter, but I thought that was a necessary evil at the time. There is no climbing in either of those states (AL or FL). When I returned to the hills of VA, I was sold on the saddle, but quickly rejected it after riding on the rocks, roots, and climbs of VA. The saddle won't let you climb because you can't sit up on the nose with your weight forward as good technique dictates. You might as well be sitting on a concrete spike up there. Also, the trails are so rough here, even with 4" travel in the back, I would occasionally get thrown around enough that I missed the hammock by a 1/2 inch and hit the hard plastic perimeter. Ouch! No good. Those hits will leave you sore. The bottom line is if you don't ride hard or you don't ride in any gnarl, the saddle could be for you. I'm thinking it might be a good road saddle, but I can't recommend it for MTB use. By the way, I settled on a Terry Fly for my road bike and a Terry Butterfly for my Truth as crazy as that sounds. The extra width on the butterfly makes a difference if your sit bones are wide enough. I know. I know. Bring on the girlie man jokes. Hey, comfort is king. I'm in touch with my cycling masculinity enough to put a yellow butter fly on my Truth.
Favorite Trail: Hollywood Farms (Fredericksburg, VA)
Duration Product Used: Less than 1 month
Purchased At: Bike Shop in Niceville, FL
Similar Products Used: Selle San Marco, Terry, Specialized, etc.
Bike Setup: Ellsworth Truth w/ Rohloff Speedhub, 5th Element shock, and Manitou Minute 2:00 fork.
a Cross Country Rider
from San Luis Obispo
Date Reviewed: September 4, 2004
Strengths: Absorbs road "noise" or small paved road shocks well. Fairly comfortable, no "break-in" period needed. Can ride for long periods without feeling any pain in the rear-end. Light in weight. Very clean profile. Excellent "visibility" of seat post area below saddle due to the open weave. Open weave should provide excellent drainage during wet weather and good ventilation otherwise.
Weaknesses: Weak construction--does not appear ready yet for daily, routine or long haul use; did not survive "dynamic" loading from relatively mild pavement defects one can find everywhere and anywhere at any time. "Non-smooth" weave prevents quick, easy fore-aft and side-to-side repositioning while sitting in the saddle; have to rise out of the saddle to reposition every time: this is totally unacceptable if one is wearing ordinary work or street clothing--which I do and insist on doing. Inner frame, to which the weave appears to be attached, separated from the outer frame of saddle, at the rear, after only 3 months of mild riding; I was able to drill 4 holes and bolt the two frames together with stainless-steel hardware (#10-32 button-head cap screws). Weave at the nose is starting to part from its frame even though there is normally no body contact whatsoever in that area. I weigh about 140Lbs (dressed) and only ride on pavement; the saddle's packaging "fine print" indicates an upper weight limit of 200Lbs. If I had read this before purchasing I would not have bought it. Such a weight limit should sound alarm bells in any serious-thinking person's head, and in my opinion is a tacit admission of product weakness.
An excellent idea but flawed execution; not yet ready for routine or heavy-duty use; best suited for infrequent rides on good roads by light-weight riders. Brooks leather saddles are smooth, provide a similar shock absorbing ability, are much stronger, but may need some softening or break-in (minor, in my opinion), and require some care to protect the leather from weathering (will dry and crack like shoe leather w/o proper care). This is not to suggest that the Saddleco Flow is immune from sunlight and heat damage over time--I don't know, but I would not be at all surprised to learn that the weave weakens over time with exposure to intense sunlight and heat.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: August 28, 2004
Strengths: Float in the clouds.
Confidence Inspiring Ti Rails
Weaknesses: Lasted not more than 7km before:
One of the press fit came off.
causing the reinforced edge on the right side to chip.
Result: a very expensive piece of metal and plastic scrap.
At 85kg, i must admit I'm not a light rider. But for someone who was on a commuter ride carrying the bare load, I do not expect this saddle to last less than 7km. And I'm confident to say the total load plus my weight does not exceed 90kg. Nevertheless, it remains to see whether this particular saddle i got had Quality Control problems. Otherwise Saddleco should lower the max recommended weight to 80kg! Kudos to Bike and Hike to offer a one to one exchange and so far after 20km, the replacement saddle has held up well.
While it is the most comfortable saddle i ever used, it would take a while before I start to ride this saddle with confidence.
Strengths: Innovative design and not too heavy (titanium rail model). Waterproof.
Weaknesses: Rock hard plastic nose and frame. Quality control questionable. Only one size or design.
I'm 5'10" and about 160 lbs and ride and race about 8k miles to 10k miles a year. I really wanted this saddle to work because it seemed similar to the Herman Miller chair I have that has made being chained to a desk at least bearable.
I used my first one about 6 weeks before the webbing started to separate from the nose. This has evidently been a problem for them as well as the rails being slightly too close together to fit in seat tube brackets without some jamming. Saddleco replaced it immediately and my second has held up for 4 months with no problems.
From the start though I just couldn't get comfortable in the tucked position and tried every kind of adjustment possible. I use some well padded shorts and I still got some really nasty pain in those places where you REALLY don't want to feel it. Sitting up was just fine for 10 minutes at a time but that was the limit for me because I'd start to feel numbness at my sit bones. Even then there only seemed to be one position that worked and the sweet spot was very narrowly defined. It just didn't fit me and the hard frame edge chafed my crotch even though I used chamois cream.
Don't buy one based on reviews alone like I did. If I'd been able to go to my LBS and try one for 10 minutes and compare it to other saddles (I'm now happy with a Fizik Aliante) I would have saved some time and had longer more comfortable rides this spring.
Still want one? Check ebay for a good deal on mine.
Similar Products Used: Fizik Aliante Selle Italie Flite Selle San Marco Era etc.
Bike Setup: Klein Q pro XX full Dura Ave 10sp Bontrager Race X Lites
a Cross Country Rider
from Goodyear, AZ USA
Date Reviewed: May 29, 2004
Strengths: COMFORT!!! Top notch construction--no flaws here!
Weaknesses: none that I can see (or feel)
Wow! It's about time I found a saddle that works. I first saw the Flow at Interbike last fall, and rode the sample. I picked up a saddle at Sea Otter this spring, and once I had it set up on the bike, it was clear to me that this saddle is the answer. I did not have any problems with the plastic frame, and the mesh fabric is extremely comfortable. I have had everyone try this saddle (from the bicycle industry legend to my elderly, overweight neighbor) and reviews have been uniformly positive. It would be interesting to see this design configured for touring, recumbent and possibly even for a "spinning" bike, given its potentials for comfort and cooling--just a thought yanno. For me, at least, this saddle is a value, considering all the money spent trying to find the right saddle. Give the Flow a try--I was pleasantly surprised!
Similar Products Used: 30 years of different bike saddles--tried em all! Currently using Terry Flys on my commute bike and road bike, but going to change these out to Flows. How great it is to fine something that works!
Bike Setup: Lodestar Magnesium w/ XTR, Avid Arch Rivals, Spinergy Xaeros w/ Geax Sedonas, High Zoot bars, no name post, Alium pedals
a Weekend Warrior
from Shelton, CT,USA
Date Reviewed: March 21, 2004
Strengths: Relatively light weight, more comfortable than any other seat I've owned, unique styling.
Weaknesses: None thus far
The saddle that my bike came with was uncomfortable and downright painful with any ride greater than 20 miles or 1+ hour. You might say I was desperate. I tried the Sella Italia and immediately found it to be similar to the Specialized. I read about this saddle and thought the concept was pretty unique. So I thought I'd take a chance and order it. Results...........After 150+ miles and rides up to 2.5 hours I actually forgot about the saddle I was sitting on and enjoyed the ride. It does have a different feel to it, but I'm pain free while on my bike. One point mentioned in another review....The rails were not open enough to easily fit onto my seatpost. But I let the clamp on the seat post set the appropriate spread as I tightened it down.
Similar Products Used: Sella Italia Genuine Gel, Specialized BG
Bike Setup: Specialized Allez Elite 27 Shimano 105 Gruppo Speedplay Zero pedals Planet Computer
a Cross Country Rider
from Boston, MA
Date Reviewed: January 9, 2004
Strengths: I purchased a ‘second’ (minor blemishes) from the company before it was available to the general public after seeing the saddle at INTERBIKE and trying it on a trainer for 10 minutes. I have never tried a saddle before that fit so well right from the start. This is by far the most comfortable saddle that I’ve ever used. Being a weight weenie I was a little put off at the saddle’s weight of 296 grams. Not that that’s a lot, but there are sub 200 gram saddles out there. And over the last 6 months I’ve ‘tested’ a few. But I keep coming back to the Flow. And the reason is comfort. You hardly know you’re sitting on anything.
Weaknesses: The saddle has a hard plastic shell around the edge to hold the mesh. If you don’t position the saddle in the right place you’ll find yourself sitting on the shell. This is not a good idea as the shell doesn’t give at all. I’m 6 foot tall and weight 175 lbs and I’ve had no problems. It's expensive.
Get this saddle. You won't be dissappointed. I expect that this saddle would be even better on the road than it is in the woods.
Similar Products Used: Nothing is really similar, closest thing to it that I’ve used is the Terry Ti Men’s race saddle. My second favorite saddle.
a Weekend Warrior
from Columbus, Ohio, USA
Date Reviewed: January 5, 2004
Strengths: Fantastic comfort, light weight, relief of pressure on seat arteries, way cool styling
Weaknesses: Probably a questionable fit for people with a large body frame. ie Over 200lbs.
All I can say is fantastic! I read alot of online comments at various websites about the Saddleco saddle. Some of them extremely positive and some not. If the saddle is set up properly and the bike fits your frame, there is no other saddle on the market that is this comfortable. I had an off brand saddle that I used for years on my Trek after throwing away many uncomfortable saddles. I just got a brand new Cannondale R3000 and it came with a new Selle Italia SLR 135g Ti which retails for $125. The Selle Italia is the worst saddle I have ever used as far as comfort. 25 miles into my ride I had to stand every mile to relieve the pain. I just put 40 miles on the Saddleco saddle and my buttocks feels great. And the pressure put on my arteries in my seat area, which contributes to global population decline, was nonexistent. I am a believer. I'd like to add a few comments which may help those who complained about the Saddleco. I could see how the seat could cause pain IF 1) Your bike is a compact geometry (top tube) or undersized, 2) You have a large frame or 3) You don't set the Saddleco back far enough. I had alot of people try to sell me on a smaller frame when I went looking for a replacement for my Trek. Their reasoning was that all you needed to do was extend the seatpost if it was a little small. This sizing is a common practice in bike shops. It is wrong. The top tube length isn't taken into consideration in many sizings. So if you chose to put a Saddleco on a bike that is too small, your tail bone is going to ride the back of the saddle on a very uncomfortable spot on the seat not meant to be sat on. The same holds true for those who are large framed in the seat area which is probably one of the reasons for the Saddleco weight limits posted by the company. There is no perfect saddle in the market but this is far and away the best I have ever used. And I have used alot. Plus the company stands behind the product with no questions asked. How can you beat that? It's funny but a week before I bought the Saddleco I went to the local bike shop and had a know-it-all salesman tell me how great the Selle Italia SLR TI was. Of course, he didn't know that was what I was trying to get rid of. Vote for your butt and your manliness and buy the Saddleco. It is truly different and superior than the traditional saddles. Anyone want to buy a new Selle Italia SLR?
Weaknesses: Plastic perimeter has no padding and is hard as a result. If you contact it while riding you can get saddle sores or just plain bruising. This saddle has a "fit" limit. It will work for some and not for others. Hopefully the manufacturer is working on other sizes of saddles to appeal to more riders. I also wonder how long it will last, but it does have a 1year wty, and the manufacturer really backs the product. The president emailed me with advice regarding my concerns about the rails of the Flow, which are a bit narrow, making the saddle hard to mount initially. His technical advice solved my problem.
It is a comfortable saddle for me. I am 155lbs, 5ft 10in tall. It took awhile to figure out how to set it up, but once in the proper position it is the best saddle I have ever used. Yes I rode a Brooks B17 for years too! I found that this saddle needs to be relatively flat and back on the rails enough that the hard frame did not contact my pelvis. I mounted it further back than my other saddles, but it works! I've ridden over 160 kilometers (or over 6 hours) on it with no discomfort. Previously I could only to about 100km on any other saddle I've owned. It is the Holy Grail of saddles for me!!
Similar Products Used: Brooks B17, Flite Trans Am, Terry Liberator Race, Pro Link Gel, Oktavia, Koobi Silver to name the best of the many I've owned and tried.
Bike Setup: 2001 Giant TCR0 Road bike.
from Kansas City
Date Reviewed: October 15, 2003
Strengths: The thing feels pretty cool, for a little while. Oooh-aaah factor.
Weaknesses: While it's not the most uncomfortable saddle in the world, it ain't the greatest. It's hard to find the right place to sit on this thing. There's definitely a sweet spot, and if you like to slide fore and aft you're going to miss it.
This thing has promise, but I don't think it's there yet. I put mine on the week before the big local century. I had one of the first ones, and the rails were too close together. I had to cut a piece of wood and hammer it in between the rails to spread them, and when it was finally installed, it was off-center. That may have messed things up a bit.
The century went OK. My naughty bits did feel better, but the hard plastic frame of the saddle really ate my inner thighs. Not good. Then, I developed a lovely cyst. The mesh started to separate from the frame, too, and I think that it was doomed had I continued to ride it. I took it off! The search continues for a comfortable saddle.
I'm planning a new set of wheels and would like to get some ideas. I weigh 190lb naked, I do a lot of climbing, long rides, trail/all mountain. I'm more concerned about durability than weight. But I'll choose the lighter option if durability is very similar. I don't run tubeless and won't even con ... Read More »
[B][U]Demo Flow Trail Project Update[/U][/B]
Since the completion of the Emma McCrary trail, MBOSC has been hard at work behind the scenes on the Demo Flow Trail project and we wanted to give folks an update on the status of the project and our plans for the summer and fall. We are starting a googl ... Read More »
Not having much luck trading these so may as well try to sell em. 400 takes em for sure but all reasonable offers considered.
[url=http://classifieds.mtbr.com/showproduct.php?product=87580]Flow 29er SS Wheelset - Buy and Sell and Review Mountain Bikes and Accessories[/url]Read More »
I had my front wheel built last season on a standard Flow. Now my rear wheel needs rebuilding. Is the Flow EX visibly different or should I go w/ the last model of the Flow ( found one online ). I know the EX is wider but I don't care for rims that don't match. Thoughts?Read More »
Does anyone have any general advice on designing flow trail, or know where I can get it? Through my club I have permission to build six miles of trail at a local state park. It's in a region that doesn't have a lot of flow trail and that is what I'd like to build. Just general info now- how t ... Read More »