New Ultra-Light Saddle/Seatpost Combo from DASH

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.

Tire Rolling Resistance

Here is a link that we have been using for a long time to determine what the lowest rolling resistance tires are. Thanks to Al Morrison for doing all the hard work, maybe he will come out with a new list soon? I would love to see some wider 25c tires tested, and maybe a section for lower end training tires. Also a column for the weight of the tire, including rim strip and tube for clinchers and the weight of the glue for tubulars.

This list is definitely something that any weight weenie worth his salt will look at. At this level of precision you need to start balancing the weight of the tire vs the amount of rolling resistance.

 

Lightest Crank Based Power

Here we have a set of THM M5 Cranks with an SRM on them. The total weight was only 698g, which is only about 110g more than the cranks would weigh with out the SRM. These are a bit heavier than average also because they are 175mm cranks and they use a BBright, which are heaver than the standard english bb cups that the cranks come with. The reduced weight does not come cheap though, the cranks retail for $850 and the SRM power meter, which has to be shipped to the US from Germany, goes for $2695. The total will be around $3600 with the bottom bracket, but hey, how good does that crank look?

The spider is also a bit funky on the SRM with a 110bcd outer ring and a 130bcd inner, which limits your chain ring options a bit.

 

 

Crumpton Ultralight 9lb 8oz

 

9lb Di2 bike anyone? We partnered with Nick Crumpton to build a super light Di2 bike. The final weight on our scale was 9lb 8oz, and that is with everything but pedals! Imagine how light this could get if we used SRAM Red instead. The frame is fully custom made to spec for our customer and the components are some of the lightest and most beautiful from around the world.

I can honestly say that if this bike was my size I would have no qualms about riding it. Some people scoff at the thought of riding a 9lb bike but all of these parts are of the highest quality and Nick Crumpton called this frame an every day rider. While I wouldn’t go that far, on a nice day when the weather is right I would take this bike into the mountains and PR all of my regular Strava segments.

Call or email us and we can build one for you too!

Components:

Frame Crumpton Ultra Light Frame
Fork Enve 1.0
Wheelset AX-Lightness SRT-42 w/ Extralite Hubs(Ti Spokes)
Tires Tufo Elite 120
Deraileurs Dura Ace Di2
Brakes THM Fibula Brakes 
Brake lever Dura Ace Di2
Handlebar MCFK Compact Road Bars 
Stem Extralite OC Stem
Saddle Dash F5
Crankset THM Clavicula 172.5 w/Extralite Chainrings
Cables & Housing Nokon Brake Cables and Housing
Cassette Recon 10s (11-27)
Chain Kmc X10SL
Skewers KCNC Ti

Peter Sagan TDF Stage 3

A couple things about Peter Sagan:
1. He is a monster, i just read that he won the slovak national MTB cup by borrowing his older sisters bike.
2. He is so eastern european it hurts.
3. Enough with the “he’s not a slovak he’s a fastvack”
4. While his celebration at the end of stage 3 was kinda goofy, I dont think it was disrespectful. If the peleton wants to shut him up then beat him in a sprint.

Bus Driver Blocks Escape of a Bicycle Hit and Run Driver

As a cyclist it can be easy to lump angry drivers and good drivers into the same category of people who annoy us. When i was a bike messenger busses were often the subject of my  scorn. In this video the bus driver sees a car hit a cyclist and drive away, and instead of letting the driver go the  bus driver blocks their escape. Its really good to see a someone make a difference like this, especially when you dont normally think of that person as a friend.

Dash and Mercury light weight aero wheels

Last week we got our hands of a set of Dash’s latest wheel build. Dash calls them the Aero Race Wheels. And they were awesome. Super stiff and really great at cornering.

Specs:

Dash  Mira/Monica Hubs (39g/120g)

Sapim CX-Ray Spokes

Mercury M5 Tubular Rims 20/24

Full disclosure, I have not ridden very many deep profile carbon tubulars but these made me want to sell my plasma, bone marrow and hair to get some.  Ive ridden tubular tires for a while now and I can honestly say these wheels out did all of the other tubular wheel sets I’ve ridden. For rims so deep these came in at an unbelievable 1080 grams for the set.

The lightness does come with a small price, the wheels were a bit pulsey when going down hill at high speeds, 30+ mph. I think that comes from the rims being a unbalanced at the valve stem. They were also a bit noisy, the spokes on the drive side have a tendency to rub together where they cross, but Dash says on newer models they have added some plastic compound that eliminates the excess noise.

Overall I think these are a great. If you are looking for 1 all around wheel set this may be it. Deep enough for TT’s and light enough for hill climbs. If you need a set you can get them from us here.

We also gave the wheels to our friend Keith Harper (thats Keith at the head of the pack) to try out. Here is what he thought;

Recently I had the chance to test out a set of Dash ultra light race wheels in a race situation. The wheels gave my machine a new lightness that I’ve never felt even with my high end race wheels. In first getting on the wheels, they were noticeably aero, responsive and buoyant. It took little effort to get them up to speed and once there, they felt solid. Once I added a bit of lube to the spoke crossing on the drive side of the rear wheel, the set had a nice hum with no weird ticks or creeks that often come with light equipment. The wheels cornered great and had a nice torsional stiffness while out of the saddle but I think what sets these wheels apart is their vibration absorbing characteristics. They give a great feeling of connection to the road while still speedily floating across the terrain. This makes for great corning confidence and allows the ridder concentrated on putting power to the peddles without pause for bumps and road disturbance.

Basically I loved these wheels and was at a significant advantage in the race; However, there were a few convenience items in setting up the wheels that tripped me up a bit. Firstly, in changing the freewheels I found that aluminum on the free hub was a bit soft and the cogs would get pressed in and stuck when trying to remove them. It seemed that this could become more problematic through the life of the wheel. My second difficulty was that, on the drive side, there wasn’t quite enough spindle sticking out which put the chain nearly up against my frame while in the 11 sprocket. I put a washer on the spindle to give it more room.

While these wheels weren’t drop dead perfect,  I did love them and shed a small tear when removing them from my bike. If the convenience factors get taken care of, these very well may one day be some the planets most desirable wheels.

Keith

KMC X10SL 10 Speed Chain DLC

We just got some of the KMC DLC chains in stock and I have to say, It comes in a really nice box. Not sure if the DLC will really improve the functionality or the durability of the chain. It does look really cool though.

Looking for reviews online didn’t really turn anything up, Anybody out there use this? Thoughts? Reviews?

Enve 3.4 Alchemy Hubs

These are the prettiest wheels we have built up, maybe ever. I love how the sliver Alchemy hubs look and they spin like butter.
They weigh in at 1231g. Not the lightest but they make up for it by being so stiff and aero.