ISM Saddle for road bike?

Like many I am in search of the perfect saddle. Specialized power was on, tried the Romin and currently on the Bontrager Aeolus. I like it but don’t love it. I had someone recommend the ISM saddle and was curious if anyone was using them on road bikes. I ride a fairly aggressive position and would be willing to look past the looks of it works.

A lot of “standard” looking saddles with a cutout for relief should work fine.
The fact that you don’t like them usually has to do with

  1. Gotta get used to it. Give it a month of consistent riding and see if you still don’t like it. If I stop riding for 3 weeks I come back and it feels like a whole new saddle that I don’t like as much. Then I get used to it again and everything’s perfect.
  2. Your bike fit has issues. A lot of saddle issues are really bike fit issues. Have a listen here: What's the best Saddle for Road Cycling? - BikeFitTuesdays - YouTube James is a great bike fitter and has a lot of good insights.
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Depending how I think the race is going to go I’ll use an ISM PR3.0 during 100+ mile gravel rides. It’s a saddle that is suitably comfortable over that entire distance in an upright pos’n, for sure, but my normal specialized power pro saddle would do for that. The ISM PR3.0 allows me to comfortably ride in the aero bars for 5+ hours as well…so if I’m gonna ‘go long’ or if it’s likely I’ll have to ride an extended time in the aeros I’ll switch to the ISM saddle.

I used this strategy earlier this month & road the ISM saddle to a podium finish in a 100 mile gravel race. That just proves that it CAN work for SOME people. Saddles can be very individual…and I would characterize myself as a macro absorber rather than a micro adjuster…but I say give the ISM saddle a try. If your bike shop are worth their salt they’ll let you give it a try on a trial basis.

How aggressive are we talking?

IME the saddle itself is just one part of the equation.

I changed my stock seatpost to a zero setback, raised the post, shortened the cranks, and slammed the stem.

My Power saddle went from feeling good to great when riding in the drops.

I have been using the ISM PL 1.0 (previously known as Breakaway) on my road, TT and track bikes for years (all in different positions RE setback). I love them and have found them just as good on the ‘normal’ positions compared to the TT position.

Unsubstantiated insights. Potentially a collection of vaste knowledge and experience, but rarely gives clear data to support his assertions. Listening to bike fitters online is an exercise in trust and marketing, from what I’ve seen.

I’m sure “your guy” is better. Best of luck.

Follow Up Question:

How much Seat Tube Angle does the ISM Saddle make up for? Apparantly ISM advices to shift their saddle back by 5-8 cm. If I keep the Saddle position, this should result in a steeper Seat Tube Angle, correct?

  • 5cm gives me around 3.5° steeper Seat Tube Angle
  • 8cm gives me around 5.5° steeper Seat Tube Angle

This would help me to get a better position on my Cannondale SystemSix with clipOns