Thursday, November 12, 2009

A Review from Bike Diva

ISM Triathlon Specific Racing Saddle

I recently purchased my first triathlon bike, a Cervelo P2C. You can read all about my experience in getting fit/setup for the new bike in a previous post to the Bike Diva blog: Bike Diva's Getting a Triathlon Bike. Although the seat that came with the bike, A Fizik Arione Tri 2, is a very highly rated, triathlon specific saddle, it just didn't work for me.

Here's a picture of the seat that came with my tri bike. It's a Arione Tri 2 by Fizik.
I was having a lot of problems with being pinched in my lady parts, and was experiencing quite a bit of discomfort, even on my shorter rides. I did quite a bit of research on triathlon specific seats, and decided that I wanted to try the ISM Adamo racing saddle.
Using the ISM Adamo Saddle
The ISM Adamo saddle looks a bit strange at first glance. It looks like the front inch or two of the saddle has been chopped off, then split down the middle. But it's wider width, compared to a traditional, pointy nose saddle, makes a perfect platform for your front sit bones. So now, instead of being supported on your soft private parts, you are being supported on the front of your pelvic bone.

ISM racing saddle in red. Some of my friends think it looks like the cross section of a salmon fillet.
I purchased my tri bike from Racer's Edge, in Boca Raton. They are an authorized ISM saddle dealer, so I took my bike to them so they could put the seat on for me. I could have put the seat on myself, but the ISM Adamo racing saddle geometry is a bit different from a typical bike seat, so I wanted to make sure I had it setup correctly. I was getting ready to race in my first 1/2 Ironman duathlon at Miami Man on November 8, so I wanted to have my bike perfectly setup.

ISM racing saddle on the Bike Diva's Cervelo P2C triathlon bike.
After my first ride on the new saddle I was in heaven. No more pinching or squashing of the tender lady bits. Most of the reviews of the ISM Adamo racing saddle were written by men, but this saddle is perfect for women triathletes too. I did have a problem with elbow and forearm pain after putting the new saddle on, so I went in for a bike fit readjustment the next day. Again, Miami Man was coming up so I wanted everything dialed in perfectly.
The saddle is working great. I competed in Miami Man on November 8th, and came in 3rd place Female Masters in the 1/2 Ironman duathlon. Not too bad considering it was a horribly windy day - winds averaged 18-21 MPH, with gusts up to 30 MPH, for the entire 56 mile bike portion of the race. My butt and lady parts were happy the entire time on the bike.

Side view of ISM Adamo racing saddle.
About ISM Saddles
ISM stands for Ideal Seat Modification. I visited their website to find out more information on their saddles. They offer a variety of saddle designs, including the racing saddle, road saddle, and touring saddle. I decided that since most of my duathlon races are sprint distance, that I wanted to try out the ISM racing saddle. The saddle is also available in a road saddle, which has a bit more padding. The racing saddle is designed for triathletes and time trialers that like to ride in an aggressive forward position.
The ISM Adamo racing saddle retails for $199.95, and is available in black, gray, white, red and blue. I went with the red model, which has gray accents, to match my red and gray Cervelo P2C frame.
Tampa Bay Recreation LLC
PO Box 271531
Tampa, FL 33688

Another view of the ISM Adamo racing saddle.
Bike Diva's Final Words
Since the ISM Adamo racing saddle is radically different from a traditional triathlon seat, I highly suggest testing one out before plunking down the money to buy one. Most bike stores in my area let you test out the bike seats they sell before buying one. You may have to give them a credit card number, or a cash deposit to test out the seats, but the cash deposit is refunded once you bring the seat back, or credited towards the purchase of a new seat. Check your local bike store to find out if they are a ISM Adamo saddle dealer.
Although the ISM Adamo saddles are also available for road bike racers and century bike riders, I wouldn't suggest this saddle geometry for road biking. Your position on a road bike is much further back on the saddle compared to the forward position of a triathlete. I think the ISM Adamo racing saddle is the perfect bike seat for anyone doing time trials, triathlons or duathlons.

Lynn (Bike Diva)

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