We’ve had a month aboard the PRO Falcon Saddle.
Its use has come exclusively with the RCUK Winter Bike, whose aluminium chassis, while light and responsive, was not expected to deliver the comfort associated with frames fashioned from steel, titanium, or even exotic carbon lay ups.
To discover the story behind the PRO Falcon Saddle (its weight, measurements, position in PRO’s range etc) check our ‘first look’ article. We’ll concern ourselves here with the performance delivered.
Saddles are very much an object of personal preference. Anatomy is the overriding factor in determining whether a perch is comfortable or not. Like Fizik, PRO, a division of Shimano, has attempted to remove the guess work with a degree of ‘cutomisation’ i.e. the measuring of sit bones and the subsequent recommendation of one of three saddle shapes.
PRO differs slightly from Fizik in the phrasing of its offering. While Fizik’s options are based on what it describes as a ‘spine concept’ (flexibility in bending from the waist), PRO focus on ‘riding style’, specifically the extent to which a rider is likely to move in the saddle.
The Falcon tested here is recommended for riders who move little, and therefore don’t require a saddle shaped to hold them in place. The Falcon is recommended for ‘flyers’ – riders of slim build.
I found its flat platform mildly uncomfortable to begin with, but this proved to be little more than my body adjusting to the shock of the new. Over the course of several hundred miles, I have warmed to it.
My initial discomfort owed much to the carbon base, which yielded little, but the gradual process of acclimatisation enhanced my appreciation of its stability. Be warned, however: there is little in the way of flex here, and if you like the base of the saddle to move with you, other options should be explored.
The padding was similarly firm (although more yielding than the carbon base, naturally), at its thickest beneath the sit bones, but present along the nose, either side of a thin and shallow channel, which, while not quite the open recess of a ‘flow’ saddle, proved an aid to comfort and staved off numbness on longer rides.
The Falcon keeps its pledge of allowing freedom of movement to those who move little. I was able to slide forwards to the nose of the saddle easily enough on seated climbs and during concerted efforts in the saddle on flat roads. Its flat base and rounded nose proved unobtrusive, and offered none of the entanglement with shorts that sometimes occurs even with well-fitting garments.
While on the subject of clothing, we tried the PRO Falcon saddle with lined shorts from De Marchi, and bib-knicks from Endura and Rapha. The De Marchi emitted a faint but insistent squeaking; one that was entirely absent when ridden in the other garments, suggesting the sound owed much to the shorts and little to the saddle. A similar freedom of movement was offered in each, indicating that PRO have judged the Falcon’s microfibre cover about right.
Finally, its appearance. A saddle can make or break a cycle’s silhouette, and we think the PRO Falcon adds more than a little to the pleasing impression created by the RCUK Winter Bike. Its match for the TK3’s white decals are an added bonus, but the sleek platform lends our winter rig a much-needed suggestion of speed.