Chinese Carbon Fiber Saddles — Review
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Carbon fiber is a material that’s both strong yet lightweight. Both of which are features highly appreciated by cyclists. The main problem for Carbon fiber used to be high manufacturing costs and therefore a hefty price tag. Thanks to advances in manufacturing technologies the price of Carbon fiber bikes and components has gone down rapidly. In fact, today you can get a full Carbon fiber saddle online for less than 20$. Sounds good right? That’s why we’re reviewing two different models today.
Carbon fiber saddles
The first saddle I got for less than 20$ online. It arrived wrapped in some thin foam, in a plastic bag with nothing else to protect it. Right off the bat, I could tell one of the rails was slightly off, but installing it in place seemed to fix it. Other than that the finishing was beautiful and I couldn’t find any imperfections from it. It also felt really rigid.
Unfortunately, the first test drive revealed how terribly uncomfortable the saddle was. Rigidity is good for the durability of the saddle, but with no padding on these saddles, you need to have some flex to suspend the ride. After a month and a few hundred kilometers later I gave up on it. It was just too painful to ride on.
The second saddle I tried was again less than 20$ online. Just like the first saddle, it arrived with very lacking packaging with only some thin foam protecting it during shipping. Surprisingly it arrived in one piece, although this one had a lot more beauty mistakes. Maybe it’s just me but “HIGH-RIGIDITY CARBON FIBER ULTRA LIGHT CARBON” doesn’t sound or look that great, let alone when it’s off-centered. The rails had some imperfections too, mainly just some extra resin that chipped off eventually.
The flaws seemed to be only cosmetic so I installed it and went for a ride. The difference in comfort was staggering. This one had so much flex on it that I was afraid of it breaking down, however after two months and almost 500 kilometers later it is still holding up. I ended up ordering a third saddle just to have a spare. Without ugly decals this time.
After using the Chinese Carbon fiber saddles for nearly four months I decided to go back to regular saddles. The reason for this was that the carbon saddles weren’t the most comfortable on longer rides. The tip of the saddle is also fairly sharp, and it really does hurt when you stab your back or thigh with it. The saddles also have very limited amount of adjustment range on the rails which makes it difficult to get the fit just right. For the price the saddles are great, but the lack of adjustment range can ruin them for many. I still recommend giving them a try if you want to lose some weight off your bike, they are very affordable after all.
Chinese Carbon fiber saddles are a hit or miss when it comes to quality, but their affordable price tag is enough to offset that. If you want to give them a try I recommend to try out a few different models and once you find one that you like, get a spare one in case they go out of production. Carbon saddles are not for anyone, but it’s a cheap upgrade if they work for you.
- Very affordable
- Surprisingly durable
- Quality can be a hit or miss
- Adjustment range on the rails is quite short
- Probably not the most comfortable saddle for many.
Curious to give a full Carbon Fiber saddle a try?
Here’s a link to a similar one I had.