Saddles are, by their very nature, a personal choice; what one athlete loves, another may find unusable. Fitting a saddle comes down to not only an athlete’s body type, but their position and preferred event as well. But, if you’re like Mike, who lusts for a minimalist saddle that provides the bare minimum of support yet retains the split nosed design that has become so popular with triathletes; the Dash Cycles Tri.7 may just be the perfect saddle for you.
In our first article (here) we covered the customizability of the Dash Cycles lineup. Dash Cycles allows you to choose between 7 saddle colors, 6 logo colors, 4 rail colors, 3 padding choices, 3 widths, and 3 rider weights (saddle builds) to choose from, in total that makes for 4536 combinations. The one option we would most point out however is the padding choices. On our test saddle we went with the triple layer padding which provides just the barest minimum of padding (we suffer nightmares thinking about the dual layer padding). If and when we build our next saddle with Dash there is little doubt we will go with the four layer version. Assuming the shape of the saddle works for you, there is no doubt you will find a build combination that will make the saddle truly yours.
But customization is not the attribute that the products of Dash Cycles have become associated with; weight is. Dash quotes the Tri.7 at an absurdly light 79g, however ours weighed in at a full five grams lighter than even that – 74g. For comparison’s sake, the titanium skewer that comes with a set of Mad Fiber Clinchers weighs in at 22g, and the skewer that comes with a pair of Reynolds Strikes comes in at 60g. So, depending on what wheels you’ve got in the garage, the Tri.7 could be around 2/3 their weight – now that’s minimalist.
Dash Cycles is also synonymous with another adjective, however: price. There’s no way to sugarcoat this; the Tri.7 will set you back $465. Yes, you can get an Adamo Attack and an Adamo Road and have some change left over for the same money. From talking with readers and other cyclists we know the price is a bit of a turnoff, and we get that. “$500 for a saddle?!” they scream, but we think it’s worth putting that price into perspective. This is one of the three areas where you make contact with the bike, and the pedals and bars can easily be similarly priced, if not more, once extensions and shoes are factored in. These three areas must provide the cyclist with the most aero yet comfortable position as possible (because, let’s face it, if you can’t stay in the tuck for the whole ride, you need to talk to your fitter). We know athletes will easily drop $300+ on a set of Speedplay pedals or $900 plus on a new Profile Design Aeria bar knowing full well that there are cheaper alternatives to be had. The difference between Aerobar X and a Vuka Stealth isn’t just about the data – there’s a choice that goes into all of this, equal parts asthetics, performance, and that extra something which makes a product special. We are not trying to justify to you the price tag of the Tri.7, just putting it into perspective as an important, yet often overlooked, component in your aero setup.
One of the questions we received mid-review was whether the Tri.7 had any issues with rear hydration. Dash Cycles offers a Tri/TT saddle with the built in ability to hold a single bottle (the TT.9) but our reader wanted to know if the Tri.7 could support a standard rear wing. We asked Dash and they informed us that it would be no issue “As long as you use carbon paste and keep the bolts around 5-6nm.” As part of our testing we have used both a XLABs Delta 200 single carrier and a XLABs Turbo Wing and found there to be no issue.
When it comes to Mike’s choice for a saddle, the Tri.7 is the one for him (though he will be ordering one with just a touch extra padding). Yes, the price isn’t cheap, but considering how many long hours he puts on the bike, a few extra dollars for absolute comfort is worth it. We agree.