By CHELSEY GRIBBON
With hollow titanium rails, a “shock-absorbing” base, and a women’s-specific design — all for just $80 — the WCST-4 CARMA from Serfas Inc. peaked my interest right away. Bike saddles are a personal preference for many, and for avid riders it may take a while to find the perfect fit. After a few months testing, this saddle for me is fitting that bill.
I never thought much about my bike saddle until after I started multi-day adventure racing a couple years ago. In these races, you can be on a bike for up to 24 hours straight. After getting sores so bad that it made sitting down unbearable, I swore to do my research on saddles.
The WCST-4 CARMA was one of the first saddles I tested, and happy to say it has exceeded expectations. Weighing about 9.5 ounces, the saddle is not the lightest on the market, but for the price of $80 that’s not bad.
Serfas touts the CARMA saddle can be used on the road and for mountain biking. I mostly tested it on single track and rough dirt roads, as well as on recent adventure races.
Overall, it has performed great, the saddle’s women’s-specific “anatomical groove” keeping pressure off of my delicates, though with a nose not too wide to cause chafing.
The company’s dual-density and “shock-absorbing” technology provides a rubbery material under your pressure points that flexes with movement and in rough conditions. In my test, the design worked well, even during a long ride over bumpy washboard roads. While I still felt the bumps, they did not sting my sit bones or anatomy like other saddles have.
Bonus: Serfas Inc. offers a 90-day trial period with this saddle. If you don’t like the fit send the saddle back to trade it for another model or get your money back.
With an approximate size of 9.5 × 5.75 inches, the CARMA has more surface area when compared to other high-performance saddles. But never did it feel like there was too much saddle underneath.
Complaints? Just one: The white saddle color tends to pick up dirt and grime after a few off-road rides. But I’ll keep it on my race bike this whole year, its performance far trumping a few dirt stains on the seat.
—Chelsey Gribbon is a member of the YogaSlackers as well as the just-announced “Team GearJunkie/YogaSlackers,” which will compete in adventure racing and multisport events throughout 2011.