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Finding the right saddle has always been a daunting undertaking. Some of us get lucky and find a perfect match with the first saddle we try, and others are luckier still and can ride just about any saddle with ease. But for the rest of us, finding the right saddle is an ongoing journey that can feel like trying to find Cinderella’s glass slipper. In hopes of making finding that right saddle a bit easier, Bontrager is adding a new model called the Verse to the mix. It’s aimed at riders across disciplines—road, mountain bike, gravel, cyclocross—who want a light saddle for serious riding, but who prefer a slightly less aggressive position.
Like many saddle manufacturers, Bontrager divides its range up by riding style, for a total of five types—from upright cruisers to fully aero triathlon positions. Road and gravel riders will find themselves choosing between Bontrager’s second and third categories—the race position and the slightly less aggressive performance position. The Verse falls into the latter category.
The Verse puts riders into a position with a neutral pelvic rotation, which Bontrager says balances comfort and efficiency. It also features a center cutout running nearly the full length from the nose to the back for pressure relief on the perineal area.
And just as Trek has been moving towards unisex bikes recently, Bontrager is going gender neutral with the Verse, which replaces a women’s specific saddle, the Ajna, as well as the Montrose. Bontrager says it developed the Verse with both male and female riders to ensure it works well for all riders. Along with feedback from many athletes, the Verse was also developed with insights from the latest biomechanical research. To further dial in fit, it comes in four sizes—135mm, 145mm, 155mm and 165mm—to match riders with different size sit bones. It also features longer rails for more fit options.
There are three tiers of Verse saddles: the Comp with stainless steel rails, the Elite with lighter austenite rails and the Pro with oversize carbon rails. We tested the Pro version in a size 145mm, which retails for $220. Our sample weighed 192 grams, decently light but a bit heavier than comparable saddles. However, saddle choice is one area where comfort outweighs having the lightest possible components.
Saddles are easily the most personal and fickle component on a bike, and it’s really impossible to say for sure whether one will work for a given person. We can say though that this saddle has been excellent at offering relief from perineal discomfort. For a tester who frequently has issues with discomfort and even occasional numbness with some saddles, the Verse has joined a select group that work. If you are a rider who suffers from perineal pain or you prefer a less aggressive ride position and can’t quite seem to find the right saddle, the Verse could be worth a try. It has also been plenty comfortable over rough gravel roads and long road rides alike. And the optional Blendr light mount (sold separately) is a nice touch that makes integrating our favorite daytime rear light, the Bontrager Flare RT, super easy.
$220; 192 grams; trekbikes.com