This is not a saddle company, per se, and maybe this fact has allowed Profile to make what is in the minds of many or most the gold standard among tri-specific saddles thus far developed.
Its TriStryke is the first saddle, in my memory, that was designed for triathletes from the shell up. Just about everything you’d want in a saddle made for aero riding is in this one. It’s got lots of plush padding in the nose, for the nose-riders. This saddle is long, and it’s flat along its entire length, so as you move fore and aft your leg-length doesn’t increase (the backs of many saddles unfortunately lip up).
The saddle’s rails are also long, giving the rider a lot of seat angle adjustability. In particular, the distance from the back of the rails to the nose is long, about 21cm, and this lets a rider with a bike made not quite steep enough get his saddle's nose a couple of centimeters further forward.
The TriStryke’s flanges are not wide, and they only flare at the rear of the saddle. Triathletes who ride with a fairly flat back will like this, because these riders’ femurs tend to move back and forth, like a pendulum, as opposed to up and down, as is the case with road bike riders. Most saddle makers have a hard time grasping this fact, and this is why they think it’s sufficient to build a tri saddle atop a road bike saddle’s shell. Yes, this can work but, as is the case with much about road bike manufacture, it’s not optimized for aero bike riding.
This saddle has a cut-away in the middle of the saddle, as a place for the rider’s perineum (the notorious ‘taint). This, along with the flangeless sides and flat fore/aft aspect, makes the TriStryke one of the only models that can be successfully ridden mid-saddle, that is, instead of only on the nose.
Its rails are titanium, its upper primarily Lycra (or something very like it) bonded to Neoprene (or something like it). This makes the experience of riding this saddle akin to the feel of a De Soto or Quintana Roo saddle cover. The TriStryke does not have embroidery annoyingly sewn onto the upper in areas likely to chafe you, should you race in something with a competition bathing suit cut.
This is not a universally loved saddle. But no saddle is. It’s probably the single best saddle, overall, for use in triathlon today and, accordingly, is probably the most popular as of this writing. Among the sexes, it is especially the favorite of women. This, according to the retailers I’ve polled on the subject.
What the TriStryke does not have is a thin, spare, nose that’s flat across the top (from side to side). This is the style of saddle some riders prefer, and it can be found on the Selle Italia SLR and the Fizik Arione. You can’t have it both ways. There’s thin and spare, and there’s fat and plushy. Me? I’m in the latter camp, and the TriStryke is the best of that bunch.
More on this saddle can be found in our in-depth road test, and on Profile Design's website.
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