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Bontrager Serano RL saddle – review

Bontrager’s Serano RL saddle couples classic looks with modern technology. From a company that’s renowned for creating advanced and durbale components, the saddle is the epitome of understated performance - a real racing workhorse.

There are two Serano saddles in the Bontrager range. This one, the Serano RL, has a carbon-reinforced shell with titanium rails for £89.99, while the upscale Serano RXL Carbon has carbon fibre rails to bump the price up to £149.99.

The Serano has a rounded profile fore to aft and a slight scoop at the sides. At the front there’s a slightly rounded nose that rises to the central area, before rising once again to the back of the saddle, which is the highest part. The fairly deep sides come almost down to the rails and the shape is intended to promote a low and forward position on the bike, with the turned up tail providing a platform for a rider with an aggressive fit.

Covering the saddle is a microfibre fabric that looks and feels a lot like leather, without actually being leather. Coupled with the titanium rails and a carbon reinforced shell, it provides excellent strength and a reasonable amount of flex while still being pretty light at 210g for the 128mm-wide saddle.

Speaking of which, the Serano RL comes in three widths and the curved shape changes according to the whether you choose the 128mm, 138mm or 148mm option, so most people should be able to find something that suits, and Bontrager dealers should be able to help anyone who’s unsure. Otherwise, there’s the Saddle Selector tool on the Bontrager website.

It would be underselling such a good saddle to say that you don’t notice it while riding, and there’s always an element of subjectivity to saddle reviews, but it’s time-tested shape and understated black looks mean that it’ll do its job perfectly well without causing any obvious problems, and look good when you’re not on the bike.

Out on the road I felt right at home on this saddle straight away. It felt planted and aided a more aggressive position while still offering enough comfort for long rides. There is some flex from the body, and the crucial central area is well covered to avoid numbness, and that comes into its own the longer your ride. Bontrager’s ‘Zone Density Padding’ refers to the saddle’s multi-density padding (including the central perforated area) that contributes to the superb comfort the Serano RL provides.

Conclusion

A saddle is a very personal choice – and one that’s very important to get right – and finding something like this which, for me, required no transition period to get used to, is great. It also suggests that when you find something that works you should stick with it (this one is similar to my preferred Selle San Marco Concor). In the Serano RL, Bontrager have created a saddle which combines unstated looks with modern materials and a shape which is well-suited to an aggressive position on the bike.

Pros

– Classic looks
– Size-specific curvature
– Well-suited to an aggressive position
– Smartly padded to provide comfort

Cons

– Nothing much

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