Profile Design Tri-Stryke
5.19.05 by Dan Empfield

There are a lot of things I just don’t much care about. Nine speeds or ten, ti or steel, round or aero, Italian or Japanese, I just don’t sweat these things. I can ride anything that I don’t physically touch and one thing's pretty much the same as any other, as long as it's well made and conceived..

I’m tactile. I don’t care what color it is or what the logo says but, damn, if I’m feeling it against my body I’m going to have a strong opinion about it. That's when I get picky. As such I have strong opinions about cycling shoes and socks, handlebar tape, armrests, cycling shorts and jerseys, helmets and, above all, saddles. Do not ask me to ride an uncomfortable saddle and don’t think that because it’s ridden by European professional cyclists this means anything to me. I’m unimpressed.

In fact, much of what is generated for professional cyclists is of no real interest to me, if it’s tactile-specific. Pursuit bars, aero bars, saddles and the like, don’t seem to work for me unless they’re really made specifically for triathletes—designed for multisport—not road models retrofitted for triathlon. Certain saddles have proven to be exceptions to this. Tri saddles built on the Selle Italia SLR, Selle San Marco Azoto, and Fixik Arione platforms are quite good. But they’re all still saddles built on shells originally designed for road riding.

As far as I know, Profile Design’s Tri-Stryke is the first saddle ever designed from the ground up specifically for triathletes. How often do you hear a company making a claim that its saddles has, “areas on both the front and rear that make it easier to rack your bike.” Now, this is not the sort of feature that makes me want to go out and buy a saddle, but it’s nice to know somebody’s actually thinking about this kind of stuff.

The Tri-Stryke is also priced so as not to extort large sums from our marketplace, as this titanium-railed saddle with all the whistles carries an MSRP of under $80. Were this saddle from Europe it would cost $130.

My whole adult life I've chafed at the cop-out I hate the most, that everybody should just do what they feel is best. The morality/truth/god of your own understanding is what's right for you. Screw everyone else is what I take this to mean. Bringing that horse pucky down to our sport, it's "ride them all, or swim in them all, or [fill in the blank] in/on them all, and buy the one you like." What a cop-out that is and, actually, no, there really is a bike geometry, a wetsuit, a nutrition, various technologies, that is best for most people (and I am not shy about telling you what it is).

But there really does seem to be one thing that is extraordinarily individual, and that is the saddle and, presumably, the anatomies of those who ride atop them. So, it's hard to tell somebody, "Buy this saddle." That established, this particular saddle is made in the style I tend to like—big, fat, high-density padding all over the nose, flat across the top—and it's a terrific exemplar of this style.

Many saddles that feature a lot of nose padding do not choose wisely in the foam or gel density, and should the density not be sufficiently high the padding just compresses down, and you feel the plastic shell underneath. Not so the Tri-Stryke. Also, the entire saddle is flat across the top, and is long, much like the Arione, except longer yet. And, the rails are long, giving me about a centimeter more forward adjustability than the otherwise most adjustable saddle out there.

Simply put I've got a new favorite saddle. Do not assume that my reality is right for you, however. At least in saddles.