Like a Pavlovian dog, I salivate at the sight of carbon fiber bike parts, and when Weston Snyder from Dash Cycles delivered a new crazy light saddle/seatpost combo to my office, my appetite was in full swing and a smile spread across my face. You have to experience this beauty in person to truly appreciate it’s minimal weight, lustrous finish and elegant design. Below I’ll address the weight, comfort, aesthetics, adjustability and cost. That’s my order of importance, and I’ll save you some time and say that if your priorities are opposite of mine (you care mostly about price rather than weight) there’s no need for you to read any further – this saddle/seatpost combo is not for you. But if you’re a fellow weight-freak, and you spend more on your bike than on your car, then read on.
Weight: Let’s cut to the chase. The post and S.4 saddle that Dash Cycles delivered to my office tipped the scale at 125 grams for the saddle AND seatpost combined. The S.4 saddle alone was 44 grams and the post was 81 grams. To put that into perspective, my Cervelo R5 VWD came with a carbon 3T Doric LTD seatpost that weighs 181 grams, and if you combine that with a Selle Italia SLR Team Saddle at 157 grams, you end up with a combo weighing 338 grams. The Dash combo is 213 grams lighter than the more conventional, but still considered light by most cyclists, 3T/Selle Italia setup. But how about compared to other real weight-weenie options? I pulled the AX-Lightness Europa seatpost off of my bike, which is currently fitted with a Becker carbon road saddle, and that combo weighs 180 grams. (See photo gallery at the end of this review) So the Dash combo is 55 grams lighter than my already crazy light AX/Becker setup. AX-Lightness used to make a custom non-adjustable (the seat was bonded to the post so you couldn’t change the seat angle nor the fore/aft of the seat) saddle/post combo that was lighter, but I have a feeling that they no longer make these, and I don’t know of a lighter, currently available, adjustable system on the market today.
Comfort: The pros in the Tour don’t skimp on their saddles, and for good reason. Spending 3 weeks on less-than-stellar European roads, riding 120 miles per day, with the majority of their weight on their behinds, explains their rationale. This Dash S.4 saddle is by no means a cushy gel-filled seat designed for women embarking on their first century ride. I would say that comfort-wise it fits right in there with my Becker and AX-Lightness saddles, which is to say that I can do an 80+ mile ride on it, but it takes some getting used to and it’s not as comfy as my Selle Italia. That said, I’ve found that the padding in my shorts is more important to me than the padding in my seat. I also haven’t tested out any of the Dash padded saddles (they know that I prefer low-weight to comfort) and it’s quite likely that those saddles are on par with my Selle Italia. Remember that selecting a saddle is like selecting a spouse – it’s entirely personal and what floats one man’s boat might sink another’s. (My wife has virtually no padding at all.) The saddle does have a perineum relieving recess, which worked quite well for me, and I didn’t experience any of the dreaded numbness that men cyclists know all too well. My training buddy, Kevin Nicol, did tell me that from behind he could see the saddle flexing quite a bit, and I think that actually makes the saddle more comfortable, absorbing road vibrations and such.
Aesthetics: Yes, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but in my book this thing is quite good looking. The 3k carbon finish on the saddle is shinny and lust-worthy, the unidirectional carbon on the seatpost is smooth, simple and blemish-free, and the understated Dash decals add a touch of bling. Dash clearcoats the upper portion of the seatpost and leaves the lower section, which is inserted into the frame, naked so as to add more friction between the post and the frame and help prevent slipping. I don’t have any major complaints with the way it looks. There are a few very minor things that I think Dash could do to make the system look even better, such as sculpting the bottom edge of the saddle more (it’s pancake flat) and beveling the interface between the seatpost and the saddle, but those are so minor. I wanted to compare the aesthetics of the Dash combo with my AX/Becker combo, so I took photos of both and posted them in the gallery at the end of this review. I’d love to hear what you think.
Adjustability: Dash has a patent-pending design here which I think is brilliant. I decided that it would be easier to make a video of how this works rather than trying to describe it in words. If you’ve ever spent an hour trying to adjust the angle of your seat, because it noses up or down when you tighten a bolt on the seatpost, or if you’ve struggled because your ideal angle is between two predefined notches, you’ll love this design. Just watch the video below…
Cost: This is a classic “don’t tell your spouse how much it costs” bike part. It’s $1,000 for the combo if you want a padded saddle, and it’s an extra $100 if you opt for the saddle sans padding. I asked Weston why the padding reduced the cost and he said it’s because they have to spend twice as long finishing the top visible carbon surface on the non-padded saddles, whereas the padded ones have the top all covered up. While there’s no way around the fact that this is expensive, another way to look at it is that people spend $5k more to go from a Cervelo R5 to a Cervelo R5 California Project, and if you calculate the grams/dollar for that upgrade, the Dash saddle/post combo is a bargain. I’m hopeful that Dash will come out with a less expensive version or perhaps license it’s design to another company, so that it’s slightly more affordable. If there were a way to cut the price in half, and add 30g, that would still be quite desirable.
Aero seatpost versions: The biggest weight savings will be for those riders on Cervelo P2/P3/P4/P5/S3/S5 aero bikes. Dash’s seatposts for these bikes range in weight between 100 grams and 120 grams, which is way lighter than the stock Cervelo seatposts. I just did some Googling and it looks like Cervelo S3 aero posts weigh upwards of 250 grams. I don’t know of any other aftermarket Cervelo aero seatpost options.
Photos: Below I’ll post a photo gallery showing the Dash saddle/post on my bike, compared to my old Becker/AX-Lightness setup, and a number of various angles.