ISM saddles and Crits?

Does anyone use an ism saddle (and what exact model) on their road bike specifically for crits or short aggressive road races?

Been thinking of getting one of these due to the soft tissue relief properties these saddles are claimed to have. I can ride in the drops for 2-3 hours with no back issues, but when it comes to the gentleman’s region its a bit of a different story :wink:

They are quite expensive where I live so any and all relative info would be much appreciated as it would clarify whether I should go ahead with the purchase.

I haven’t used them for crits but have one on my commuting bike. They’re good if you like an aggressive position. No good if you like to sit more upright as your inner thighs rub. Crits sound like a perfect use. It’s the all day long rides I’d worry about.

Edited for auto-correct error

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I use the tt version for er…tt if I didn’t ride tt I wouldn’t use them - I don’t have them on any of my road bikes - they are only really good when you are along way forward IMO

Have you looked at snub nose saddle like the PRO or Specialized Power?

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Use for crits, no complaints (from anywhere). Use PN 3.0.

Jeff from Norcal Cycling also uses ISM

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When I ride I basically always stay in the lower grip, so I would guess this sort of saddle would be really good.

I actually have a Specialized Power knock-off from china. It’s around 1,5 years old now. Initially it felt really good but now I assume it either sagged or maybe I got (my butt that is) tired of it as it started to be uncomfortable.

If the ISM saddle would to turn out uncomfortable then I guess I’ll get an original Power as its shape was the most comfortable out of all the saddles I’ve tried.

Happy to hear that. I pulled the trigger on just that exact saddle. If it won’t work then I guess I’ll get something else. How are you finding it on longer rides and not in the drops? Is it still comfortable in a more upright position?

Longer rides (3-4hrs) I just stay majority in the drops because, well, it’s comfortable to do so. I’ve done all day jaunts in the alpes and your intuition is right, sitting upright on long (2hr) climbs isn’t as natural as a traditional saddle, but definitely wasn’t to the detriment of my enjoyment or comfort (no idea about power).

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I ride an ISM PL1.1 on my road bike, which is used for everything from crits to long road races. Done rides over 200km with it, no issues. Also done long days in the Alps with it, including >5000m elevation. Very comfortable in the drops, but no issue sitting up for long climbs either.

I do have a fairly aggressive position, spend a lot of time in the drops, and ride TT and triathlon quite a bit. And have had ISM saddles on all my bikes for about a decade (TT bike currently has a PR2.0, my winter/commuter bike has the Prologue which was the predecessor of the PL1.1). My road and TT positions are pretty similar, TT position is just rotated forward around the BB. So I guess I’m both well suited and well adapted to those saddles. If you’re new to that saddle type, or prefer to sit further back on the saddle, it might not work so well for you.

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I would check out this video before putting an ISM saddle on your road bike. It might work for some people, but a short nosed saddle such as the specialized power, pro stealth, most lynx etc is more likely to give you the supportive base you need to be powerful and comfortable.

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Lots of opinions very little actual basis for said opinions.

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I’ve always naturally gravitated to siting on the front of the saddle as opposed to the rear, so I guess I might have a natural pull for those types of saddles. Only one way to truly find out :wink:

Unfortunately there is no demo program in my region for trying it out and then deciding. Worst case scenario - if it turns out not to be good then I’ll just send it back and get a refund or try to sell it with a small profit as I got a fairly good deal on it :slight_smile:

I’ve seen that video, plus a lot of others with this bike fitter. A lot of it is quite good and informative. But honestly sometimes his approach comes of as arrogant and as someone’s who thinks he knows best. But then again it might just be me :slight_smile:

When it comes to actual power, I’ve actually always had best results when sitting more to the front. When I move more to the rear I do see a drop off in what I can actually push through the cranks. It of course might not only be down to the saddle but the general geometry of the entire bike and how a particular saddle interacts with the whole geo, but as a general observation I see that I’m stronger when on the front of a saddle.


I have the PR 1.0 and cant fault it.

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I have the tt on my tt bike and really like it. I have to use tri shorts with it though. If I wear a bib with a regular chamois, feels like I’m being punched in the taint. Seems like there is just too much material so it’s having the opposite effect. I use the Shimano stealth saddle on the road and like that.

Another thing to try is the Specialized Power Mimic saddle. It called a women’s saddle but I read that men were also using it. So when I had tenderness problems I gave it a try. To me it feels almost exactly like the standard Power except that the hard edges of the cutout are gone. It worked for me.

I had a PL 1.0 last year with great comfort on the road bike. Until I went for a two day ride (180km each day). It was rubbing on my cheeks and developed a nasty rash that put me off the bike for 2 weeks. I used it later in the year, ~100 km ride in the alps (~3000m elevation) - same issue with rubbing. I am so let down by it, as it was excellent comfort!

On my triathlon bike I use a PS 1.1 with no significant issues after I ‘break-in’ a bit. However, I tried to use the saddle on my road bike and I still get quite a bit of numbness. That saddle is made for TT position.

Would anyone have experience with reducing the PL 1.0 rubbing?

I have an ISM Adamo that I got used, and for a while it worked very well for me. Then my weight changed and I got a different bike, and it started to rub and became extremely uncomfortable. I’d be happy to part with it for very cheap if you were interested.

Swapped to a PN 3.0 last year due to problems with numbness in the gentleman area. Best decision I’ve made, I find it so comfortable. Use it on two bikes from crits, road races, turbo & 8+ hour rides. Hopefully it works out for you

Not sure which one you have but the one I ordered is the one with less padding, marked 30, there is also a 40. I guess it will also come down to the actual shape and width of the saddle. As I’m a big dude I opted out for the narrow saddles line (big thighs and such, trying to avoid rubbing) :wink:

Interesting approach, if my LBS will have it I’ll try to check it out.

If you didn’t notice any rubbing prior to those big days then maybe its down to the way you sit on the saddle now? Not sure, not a bike fitter :wink: But it is strange that it used to be good but now it is not, and nothing (I am assuming) changed in terms of your bike geometry etc.

That’s the one I ordered, we’ll see how it goes :slight_smile: Have you maybe tried the more padded 3.1 version by any chance for comparison?

How have you been liking the PN 3.0? I’m thinking about buying one. I recently tried the Fizik Argo Tempo but it felt a little too wide at 150mm and a bit stiff for my liking.

I have a prologo that came with my CAAD12 that causes some serious pain after about 25 miles. The weird thing is that it comes and goes and there is no soreness after my ride so it may be my position.

Does anyone find that the ISM saddles are good for relieving soft tissue pressure?