Yesterday, I detailed the process of getting a custom pressure map analysis to optimize how I sit on the bike. But of course none of that matters without the right saddle. So here it is: the GebioMized Sleak 145. It’s not super lightweight, it doesn’t look super fancy, but paired with the analytical GebioMized setup, this Sleak delivers exactly what it says on the cover… next level fit.
GebioMized Sleak road saddle offers Next Level Fit
To get the full detailed lowdown on why biomechanics & bike fitting experts GebioMized have their own small saddle line-up (this Sleak, plus the Area & Stride), check out my review of their custom fitting process. Suffice it to say, when you are custom fitting saddles for every winner of the past five editions of the Tour de France, it helps to have saddles to address any issues that might come up (and to invite them into your Secret Saddle Club.)
The way GebioMized starts to look at saddle classification or individual saddle preference is slightly different than I’m used to seeing. The first step is pretty similar, riders can pick from the flatter Sleak (above) or the more slightly rounded Area (see further below) based on their own personal preference. For time trials & triathlon, they pretty much start with their Stride.
GebioMized Sleak 145 V-Shape saddle – Tech details
But then in the next step, two width options for the all-around saddles present slightly different shapes. My 145mm version is called a V-shape, with the central portion of the saddle tapering from the nose as it approaches the wings of the wider back of the saddle. This tapered shape is “particularly suitable for athletes who ride with the load mainly on the pubic area”, generally associated with more pelvic rotation which shifts weight distribution slightly forward.
A more narrow 135mm model of the Sleak is referred to as T-shaped, and features more parallel sides through the middle as it connects to the wings. GebioMized says that one is optimized for riders who “predominantly stress the ischial area” aka the sit bones, generally from less pelvic rotation shifting weight slightly back.
(Curiously, the 145mm model of their Area saddle has a similar V-shape, while its wider 155mm model is apparently considered the T-shape.)
Once you’ve picked the saddle & shape, the 250mm long Sleak uses a carbon reinforced nylon composite shell, thin lightweight variable density foam padding, and gets hollow titanium rails. This is the same construction used for all of GebioMized’s saddles, and means they all end up with the same price – all models retail for 180€ though their Secret Saddle Club network of bike fitters.
The GebioMized concept is about fit, and fit only. They aren’t weight weenies and they aren’t overly worried about budget. If you want a cheaper chromoly railed saddle or a lighter carbon shell & carbon rails, you are best looking elsewhere.
GebioMized X Syncros production partnership
But you may have notice that the underside of the saddle carries the Syncros name. That’s because they are the ones who actually oversee the manufacture of the GebioMized saddles. That partnership allows GebioMized to stay focused on fit & design, and let someone trusted produce them. It also means that if you hunt carefully through the Syncros saddle catalog, you’ll find three GebioMized-designed saddles there with more affordable pricing options.
The Sleak is pretty much a direct analogue to the Syncros Tofino which is helpful if you want a lighter weight version, since Syncros offers a 195g option of this width with carbon rails. GebioMized claims a weight from 210g for the narrow Sleak, but our 145mm model comes in 10% heavier at 244g on our scale.
The Area (see below right) is analogous to the Savona, which Syncros markets as a women-specific saddle. But GebioMized says is more endurance or granfondo oriented, due to its slightly thicker padding a design for a more upright riding position.
Both the flat-topped Sleak (left) & slightly curved top Area (right) saddles are available either with a full pressure relief cutout (left) or a simple pressure relief channel (right). In the process of pressure mapping and riding, I’ve tried the 145mm V-shape versions of both saddles and the fit is very similar. The more curved top of the Area is a pretty subtle difference.
But in the end, the regular Sleak 145 (no cutout) provided my quantifiably ideal pressure mapping comfort result, which seems to agree with my perceived comfort while riding out on road and trail.
Riding Review: GebioMized Sleak 145 saddle
What does it actually mean to ride a custom fit saddle on for road, gravel & cyclocross? The GebioMized pressure mapping determined that the Sleak 145 should be my ideal saddle. But even before that, I had bolted the Sleak up to a number of bikes over the last half a year. And I’ve put in the kilometers as I’ve forgotten about the saddle beneath me. Even before reducing the max pressure on my sit bones by 20% back in December, the Sleak was already one of the most comfortable saddles I’ve ridden.
The long flat top suits my style of being able to move around a lot on the saddle (a byproduct of me riding road, cyclocross & gravel bikes on everything from smooth tarmac climbs to some slightly sketchy singletrack.) The full length pressure relief channel isn’t deep but seems to work well to keep me comfortable, even for extended periods where I stretch out forward & low over the bar, rotating my pelvis further and shifting weight forward.
Then, by perfectly dialing in the saddle position via pressure mapping, the Sleak has completely disappeared under me. Removing those little hot spots just means that I no longer notice the saddle at all. It isn’t comfort able or not, I just don’t feel it. I have a similar disappearing feeling with the Rapha Pro Team saddle for road riding, but the Sleak is much more versatile across any terrain. Even when I beat up my back and shoulders by riding a bike over more technical terrain than I should, I still don’t feel any saddle pressure with the Sleak.
So what do I really want out of a road and gravel bike saddle… one that I can forget about and get on with the ride. And that’s why the GebioMized Sleak 145 has taken over the reins as my go-to choice for mixed surface dropbar rides.