Strengths: Great fit and design (at least ergonomically)
Weaknesses: Defective design as rails become loose at back of saddle where they enter the shell
I've had 3 Phenom Experts and they ALL developed loose rails. I'm a little guy, 150 pounds and ride XC--it's not me, it's the saddle. Still the most comfortable saddle I've experienced. I upgraded to the Pro (carbon rails) and have had no problems. Great design, poor execution.
I opted to switch to this saddle after seeing all the positive reviews and research that Specialized puts into their saddles. I was having a major problem with numbness on my perrenial nerve (I believe that is the property terminology...) on longer rides which was killing my ability to continue to stay on the saddle beyond an hour or so. I wasn't having a problem with my butt getting sore, so this saddle with its sleek design and center cut-out seemed to be the best fit. It works perfectly! No more numbness and although its less padding than my stock seat it isn't very noticeable as long as I wear padded cycling shorts.
Strengths: Great to protect your "man goods" the Specialized Body Geometry is no joke I am 100% sold. Enough padding to help your butt stay non raw. Slight sweep in the back of the saddle helps hug your bum on the steeps. Light weight, looks good.
Weaknesses: Price, hard to find deals on these saddles, and they can only be purchased at specialized dealer shops. Early models also didn't have enough padding in the nose, but this has been fixed. Also needs a break in period like all high end saddles for you rear to get used to it.
Solid, one of the products i recommend to anyone that will listen.
Weaknesses: A tad expensive, need to get TI rail when you don't like the gel padding in the cheaper Specialized Phenom Comp saddle, rail mounting feels a little "loose", saddle has a tendency to creak (which can be fixed by spraying WD40 or whatever suitable where the rails meet the substructure)
After several years of (ab)use, I had to replace my Terry Fly that failed because of a broken substructure. The plan was to mount just another (new) Fly and be happy with it. This, however, was not the case. I just wasn't able to find a comfortable position no tilt angle seemed to work, moving the saddle along its rails didn't work either.
The saddle just felt rather soft and a strangely bulged (or "convex") which resulted in an unstable hip that tended to roll back and forth while pedaling. So I gave up, returned it and tried the Specialized Phenom Expert since I could live with CroMo rails but don't like gel cells in the cheaper version which add complexity and sources of error.
TI rails and a rather hefty price, okay...
After that, I had to decide whether to buy the 130 or 143mm variant. Thankfully, there's a copy of Specialized's "Ass-o-meter" circulating in the internet, so I didn't have to go to my dealer and sit on some sheet of corrugated cardboard (see http://specialized.custhelp.com/app/answers/detail/a_id/1181 for details).
It basically all boils down to the idea to measure you sitbone distance in normal riding position, take a saddle width of 130mm if you have 70...100mm, the 143 if you have 100...130 and the 155 (which is not available as Phenom) if you exceed that distance.
If in doubt, decide for the wider saddle if you ride rather upright and the narrower if you prefer the "Aero position".
So I got the 143. The saddle mounted well ontop of my NC-17 Empire S-Pro seatpost and looks decently manufactured - in comparison with the Fly which hat a few wrinkles, staples and glue residue here and there.
After a few iterations, I was comfortable with the saddle mounted pretty horizontally and the certain flex of it (which make me feel a little sceptical at first) turned out to be a big benefit. This flex might also be the reason why the titanium rails have a little play in the carbon-fibre enforced substructure. If it starts to creak there, just use a squirt of WD40, silicone spray or whatever you have at hand.
After some 60-100km rides on my MTB, I can say that this saddle is among the best I've bought, no risks of buttaches, no numbnesses.
If it can withstand my 85kgs and riding style, it really deserves 4 chilis, I would have given 5 if there wasn't the considerable price: 120€/165$ is way beyond middle class.
a Weekend Warrior
from Rockwall, TX
Date Reviewed: May 31, 2011
Strengths: Comfort, looks, comfort, and comfort.
Weaknesses: Could be lighter but then it may not be as comfy, price is a little high but worth it.
This is only my 3rd saddle but I can see why this is the top seller with the LBS. I got a 2011 model with Ti rails, weighs 238 grams. After my first ride it was noticeably more comfortable, the groove/hole in the center does wonders for longer rides.
Following some advice I tried an 8 mile ride with no padded/chamois in the shorts and they were even better. I proceeded to do 70+ miles over the weekend on this seat with simple polyester gym shorts with a swim liner and had absolutely no discomfort, my old saddle with the padded shorts and I'd have been hurting bad.
I wish I had spent the money on this 3-4 months ago, its worth it.