Last year ISM began the transition from using product names for their saddles to using an alphanumeric system. With their 2016 line, all saddles now reflect the new naming convention.
The ISM Naming Convention Cheat Sheet
The first part of the new naming conventions is how ISM has broken their line into multiple categories. The categories are:
- Performance Narrow
- Performance Long
- Performance Short
- Performance Recreation
- Performance Mountain
- Comfort Fitness
- Comfort City
(Note that the Short, Recreation, and MTB are all essentially one big family with the same base shape. Recreation has extra padding, and MTB has a sloped rear end. However, these saddles all share the same front-end shape, which is where the rider primarily sits)
As triathletes and road cyclists, we are typically going to concentrate on the Performance Narrow (PN), Performance Long (PL), and Performance Short (PS). Of course a saddle is very much personal preference, so you may find that any of the other saddles meet your need just as well as these three.
The complete ISM naming system is a three-part system that identifies the saddle category first, then the type of chassis, and amount of padding. For example:
- PN = Performance Narrow
- First digit = Designates the type of chassis (shape / style of the base mold)
- Second digit = Amount of padding (higher # means more padding)
PN 1.0 vs PN 1.1
- Both in Performance Narrow category
- Same chassis, shape, overall design
- PN 1.1 has more padding
PN 1.1 vs PN 2.1
- Both in Performance Narrow category
- Same amount of padding
- PN 2.1 has a different chassis, with rear triathlon transition hook
New Saddles for 2016
For 2016, ISM is adding or renaming
six eight (turns out we missed the PR 3.0, and Xterra/MTB focused PM 2.0 when we first published) saddles in their road \ triathlon lineup (adding to the already existing PN 1.1). All of these saddles are going to be available in black or white. First up is the PN 1.0. This is a new Attack featuring new graphics and will have a MSRP of $249.95.
The PN 2.1 takes the existing PN 1.1 and adds a rear transition hook and upgraded Chromoly rails and will have an MSRP of $189.95.
The PL 1.0 is the new version of ISMs previous Breakaway saddle (like the PN 1.0 it also gets new graphics). The MSRP will be $189.95.
To replace the Prologue, ISM is introducing the PL 1.1 with new graphics and an MSRP of $189.95.
The PS 1.0 is the new Time Trial and is getting new graphics. The PS 1.0 will retail for $224.95.
Finally we have the PS 1.1, which is the replacement of the much loved Road. The PS 1.1 now has sloped front arms like the rest of the performance models for improved hip rotation. It will retail for $189.95.
When we first published we missed the PR 3.0, and Xterra/MTB focused PM 2.0. The PR 3.0 represents the space filled by the original Typhoon and features new graphics. The PR 3.0 has the widest rear end and softest options of ISM’s Performance saddles. The PR 3.0 is only available in black and will retail for $129.95.
The PM 2.0 is designed for the Xterra athletes among us and replaces the Peak in the ISM lineup. It features a sloped rear end for body clearance over obstacles. Available in black it retails for $189.95.
If you are anything like us, this new naming convention had you a little flummoxed. We are hoping this primer helps bring a little clarity to the situation. Personally, we like the new names as it helped clear up the difference between each of the saddles, where the old names just left us guessing. These new saddles, combined with the already existing PN 1.1, look to give a ride range of options to anyone considering an ISM saddle. For those thinking about making a switch, head over to your Local Bike Shop and make sure to ask about a saddle demo program. ISM (like many good saddle companies) works with bike shops to make sure they have options available for loan so you can see if a saddle is truly right for you. And make sure to stay tuned to AeroGeeks as we head to Interbike in two weeks to get our first good look at the 2016 ISM lineup.