While most new saddles are reshapes of the norm, 3West Design hit the market in 2016 with a completely new concept that lets you customize the nose’s firmness with an adjustable air bladder. The tail offered firmer support for your sit bones, and in between was a divot that kept pressure away from a man’s sensitive tissue. We reviewed it and loved it, particularly for cyclocross.
Now, it’s getting a new, more simple option for roadies. The upcoming 3West Design Halcyon saddle takes what was good about that original Reprieve design and makes it better looking and, honestly, easier to market.
It also looks better. Founder Jon Marcelano says rider feedback included a desire for darker rails and logo graphics, basically it had to look more modern. Which meant muted graphics.
He says pure roadies didn’t like the air bladder. While we found it very comfortable, it wasn’t so much the fact that it was an air bladder as it was the recess in the middle. Founder Jon Marcellano says there are performance benefits to using an air bladder in that it easily flows with your movement, but there are limitations.
The rear section keeps its medium density foam, but the nose gets a new foam that’s much softer. And it’s flat. Here’s why:
When you’re sitting on a bike saddle, about half of your body weight is on your sit bones. The nose isn’t really meant to be a load bearing part of the saddle, but your body has stuff there. For men, the middle of it is the Bulbospongiosus muscle, which sits between the Ischiocavernosus muscles. Imagine flipping the saddle over and sitting on the rails – those would line up pretty nicely with the Ischiocavernosus. So, they gave that very soft central foam a firmer foam perimeter, providing padded support for those perimeter muscles.
Unlike the Reprieve model’s air bladder that conforms to your body, this one has no “bubble” of soft foam because you don’t really want anything pressing on that perineal area. So, this new version creates more space for your junk. Measurements remain the same at 143mm wide x 270mm long. Final weight is TBD.
I rode this prototype on a spirited gravel/road ride and liked it. A few things will probably change before the final production models ship, but I’m excited to try it as it really did seem to support me in the right spots. And it carried over the performance benefit I enjoyed on the original, namely, keeping the pelvis in a more powerful forward rotated position.
What else is new?
Not shown, there’s also a new Trinity triathlon model that adds more foam to the rear section where your weight is. Because triathletes have their pelvis tilted (or rotated) more forward, the extra padding lifts the sit bones up a little and creates a deeper central cavity for your sensitive bits to rest in. Dimensions will be 155mm x 270mm.
Price will be around $175 for both, actual MSRP is TBD, and they should be available by early summer 2018. Look for a Kickstarter in early summer to get the Halcyon off the ground.
He’s also working on a new women’s saddle, which adjusts the size for the smaller perineum of the female body. After talking to a lot of women, the feedback led to a wider, flatter rear section with the “V” of the recessed center coming further back. Jon says the nerve path runs right along the bottom of the sit bones and leads directly to the very, very sensitive bits. So, the nose is a bit shorter, there’s a deeper recess in the middle, and it uses varied foam densities to put softer foam where it’s needed without creating too-soft spots that end up crushing right onto the saddle’s shell.