Some things take time to get right; setting your saddle position is one of those things. Tiny adjustments – fraction of a degree here, millimeter there, can suddenly transform what was once an unbearable position into bike leg bliss. This, in short, is what occurred on our first rides with the Gen 2 from Cobb.
To start with, it is worth mentioning that the Gen 2 is not billed as a triathlon saddle, and John Cobb (yes, that John Cobb) notes that the sport was not his intention when designing it. Instead, the Gen 2 is a road racing saddle, with a fairly large sweet spot for finding comfort on the hoods or with a more forward-rolled hip position, such as one would experience when in the drops. This is important to note, as it is an incredibly comfortable and easy saddle to find your position in, as the “droop” in the middle of the saddle when viewed from the side cradles and helps to center your body without you having to really think about it too much. The channel down the middle is also long, though somewhat narrow, all by design, as according to John, the narrower the channel for men, the better. In our experience, it is difficult to argue his wisdom, as the Gen 2 excels at long-mile rides in a road position.
Where things turn interesting, however, is the moment the Gen 2 gets mounted to a TT or Tri-specific bike. The same curvature of the saddle that helps the road rider is, if not altered, can be punishing due to the vertical swell fore of the “seat cup” having an unpleasant effect on the male anatomy and, as a result, seems somewhat poorly suited to the road-bike-with-clipons crowd, unless they plan only to ride in one fashion or the other the vast majority of the time. It’s a shame, really, because the Gen 2 has some real surprises for a TT rider who is willing to take the time to get it correctly positioned on the bike.
On the Cobb Cycling site, there is an excellent video about exactly this. If you are set on using a more traditional saddle shape on your TT machine, then look no further than the Gen 2… but please, drop the nose far, far lower than you normally would. This is a saddle that absolutely rewards aggressive positions by allowing you added adjustment in terms of the angle of the saddle relative to the rest of the bike; the lower, the better. Our normal recommendation would be to stay within a degree or two of level for any saddle you choose; for the Gen 2, this translates into something like negative four to six degrees, and when you do, the whole interface between rider and bike changes. Suddenly, there is a saddle that is not just under you, but slightly behind you, as well. That same cradle that helps the road cyclists is suddenly doing double duty for a TT position and keeping your pelvis cemented and stable, which solidifies the entire bike underneath you. The difference is absolutely transformative.
The Gen 2 is certainly finicky and the setup for a TT machine somewhat unconventional, but the rewards for getting it right already seem well worth it. We are going to continue riding the saddle for another few weeks to see what other surprises the Gen 2 has in store. Make sure to stay tuned to the WiR for updates and as always shoot us any questions or ideas you have for our testing!