ISM PN 3.0 – Review

We’ve said it before—saddles are a very personal choice. But when it comes to comfort, ISM is usually a pretty safe bet for us. So when ISM introduced the PN 3.0 this year, we were pretty stoked to give it a try.

The PN 3.0 started from ISM’s Performance Narrow chassis, and was further tweaked based on feedback from ISM’s professional athletes to make the best saddle design possible. They ended up with a slightly wider 120mm rear and an updated shape. Similar to ISM’s other saddles in the Performance Narrow, or PN, line, the 3.0 offers better thigh clearance. This extra room allows you to shift your hips and move around the seat freely.

The primary tester for the 3.0 was our multi-sport editor, Tracy. The ISM Adamo Podium, which was retired back in December of 2015, was one of her favorites. The Podium we used here at AG HQ was actually so well-loved that we had to officially retire it ourselves earlier this year—it had literally been ridden to the point of deterioration. So we’d been looking for a new ISM addition that would fill that void.

Truth be told, Tracy had tried the PL 1.0 and it simply didn’t work for her. She suspected it might be the length, so she was eager to give the PN 3.0 a try since it was shorter. To compare, the PL 1.0 measures in at 275 mm from front to back, and the PN 3.0 measures in at 255 mm. The PN 3.0 is also 120mm wide, compared with 135mm for the PL 1.0. Again, the narrower shape allowed for plenty of thigh/hamstring clearance.

We installed the PN 3.0 on Tracy’s Shiv test bike over the summer, and she’s rode with it through November. At first, we thought the 3.0 padding felt a bit on the minimal side, but it didn’t feel like that once we road it. It actually had more give than we thought it would, but not so much that we were sinking into it.

Thanks to the PN 3.0’s larger cut out, we didn’t experience uncomfortable pressure and numbness in soft tissue areas. The saddle’s wider shape in the rear also allowed us to feel more comfortable and supported as we shifted our hips throughout the ride.

One thing we did notice was that the PN 3.0 is a saddle that rewards you for holding your aero position. Tracy found it to be far more comfortable when aero than when she sat up, which isn’t a bad thing when you’re aiming to hold your position for longer.

ISM described the PN 3.0 as a saddle so comfortable that it would “disappear” underneath you. While we’re not sure we’d quite describe it that way (let’s face it, nothing quite disappears after hours and hours in the saddle), it certainly is comfortable and has become a favorite around the AG office. And let’s just say that Tracy’s not taking it off the Shiv anytime soon.

The PN 3.0 weighs in at 257g and is available in both black and white and retails for $224.88.

6 responses to “ISM PN 3.0 – Review

  1. It looks like in the pictures above has the seat at quite an angle tilt instead straight. Does that also help the comfort of the seat underneath you?

    • It actually isn’t nearly as angled as it looks. It looks like we tried to get a little artistic with our photography and instead just made the saddle look angled…

    • We haven’t ridden them back to back so its a little tough to do the comparison. And with both saddles never had an issue in aero or on the pursuits. The best answer we can give you is that these saddles worked well enough for our editors that really only a trial through your local bike store will give you the real answer.


    I would guess it’s wider. I have PL 1.0 and PN 3.0 but the latter feels less wide.
    I experienced chafing with PL 1.0, but not with PN 3.0.
    I have also tried PN 1.1 and to me, the PN 3.0 is by far the best of the three. I ride it at my gravel bike and it’s the best saddle i have ever used.
    (I have tried over 21 saddles)

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