Hi All - I promised a review of this saddle a while back, as per this thread:
Move to Full Carbon Saddle
Sorry for the delay, here it is...
REVIEW: eBay Full Carbon Saddle (SD-005)
-PRICE AND SHIPPING-
I paid about $50 US for it, plus shipping to Canada. Given the price of carbon saddles from known brands, this is a great price. That said, there is some inherent risk in purchasing what amounts to a no-name saddle from Hong Kong, so the price reflects that.
The seat arrived in less than 2 weeks, which was actually faster than I was expecting, so no concerns on that front.
-WEIGHT AND INITIAL QUALITY-
The existing listing for this saddle (pictured above) indicates a weight of 110g, which is exactly what mine weighted on my scale. However, I seem to recall a posted weight of something in the 90g-ish range in the initial listing, but it is no longer active. In any event, the posted weight is right on the money, which is actually rare - and surprising to be honest.
The weight was exactly half of my 220g (on my scale) WTB Rocket V Team Race saddle (longest name of a saddle, ever), so it offers nice weight savings.
I should also point out that the currently listed saddle seems to have branding on it now, whereas my original order was bare weave with gloss finish - see photo below:
Caption: Always smart to work on your bike near your wife's glassware.
In terms of quality out of the box, there were no rough edges or gouges, the weave seamed uniform, and the coating was even and smooth.
There are no metal components to speak of - the carbon rails are fused into the seat itself.
No surprises here. I installed it on an S-Works carbon seatpost which is pretty flexible in what it can accommodate. The rails themselves are round, so there is no concern about oval ones not fitting a given clamping system.
[EDIT] - I had another look at the saddle rails and the appear to be slightly oval. So, just FYI, the profile is not perfectly round.
The rails are metered - as shown in the eBay photo - so that's helpful, although I think it will scrape off rather easily - it doesn't seem to be under the coating.
There is one part that scared the b-geezus out of me: applying the specified 80 in-lbs of torque on the rails. I held my breath as I did the final tightening, but there were no creaks, and most importantly no cracks! Haven't heard a sound from the saddle or post since install. (Do yourself a favour and use carbon assembly paste where required.)
-COMFORT (OR LACK THEREOF)-
OK, so you know I'm going to tell you that eveyone's butt is different, so a saddle that works for my ass may not suit you.
The reason I picked the "SD-005" is that is most closely resembled my previous WTB Rocket V Team Race (sorry, like I said it's the longest saddle name out there). As you can see in the photo, they are at least similar and both have the "nut channel" in the middle. The carbon saddle is thinner though:
Caption: Like my fancy paper towel display/saddle holder? Classy.
As reference, I wear a removable chamois, and wear it inside of my riding shorts that already have a chamois - although it is usually in rough shape. So let's call it a "1.5x" chamois coating on my ass. I ride a StumpJumper hardtail, so no cushioning from the suspension here.
In addition to normal bush rides, I run a 30k loop that consists of mixed asphalt, gravel, and flat trail. It was this loop where I first tested the saddle.
For the first 20 minutes everything was perfect - surprisingly so. No pain, no discomfort. However, things got uncomfortable after that, and I started to get uncomfortable for the rest of the ride. Let's face it - during this loop I'm in the seat almost all the time, and I'm running a freakin' hardtail - doesn't get much worse in terms of seat time.
However, my next few runs were in the woods and the seat wasn't even an issue. I'm obviously out of the saddle quite a bit, but runs of 1.5 to 2 hours were no issue at all. Would I use it on an endurance race? No way. But for a typical outing you would be fine.
On a related note, I do not find myself slipping out of the seat due to the gloss finish. I think this relates more to seating position than anything though.
I should also discuss the flex in this saddle. There is actually "some" flex that you can detect to the rear, where the seat is split. You cannot really flex it by hand, but with your full weight on the seat you'll notice some flex over bumps. Some folks in this forum have indicated that the Totem carbon saddles have quite a bit of flex, but I can't speak to the "SD-005" relative to it. All I can say is there is "some" flex, which I'll gladly take.
I'll finish this section of the review by telling you that I've run the "flat loop" at least half a dozen times since the first, and my ass was fine for the full hour. Not sure what happened, but I'm fine now. Maybe my ass is harder now. (Not sure what that means.) Your mileage may vary of course.
This purchase was a bit of a risk, and while the price was reasonable I could have essentially thrown $50 out the window. However, I do have about 6 saddles in my basement (some OEM, some purchased later), so wasting money on a saddle that just doesn't work for you isn't anything new to any of us.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fit and finish, and personally, I'm glad I was able to find one without the recent branding. Not that the colours look bad on the existing one, but I prefer the raw with gloss look.
To be honest, I half expected this thing to crack as I torqued the rails to spec, but it didn't, and as mentioned above I haven't heard a peep from the saddle (or seatpost) since the installation. That's probably the biggest surprise.
It's still on my bike, and I haven't changed the saddle back, so I suppose that is saying something.
Cheers - hope you found this useful.
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