Last November, I received the Dash Strike 9, a noseless saddle with full carbon fiber construction and a well padded split shell. They gave it their reinforced, heavier duty layup for my 185lb body. And it weighed in at just 111 grams.
Surprisingly, the odd shape of the saddle didn’t take too long to get used to. Basically, it’s just a truncated bike seat without the full nose, so all the important sitting parts are there, plus a vestigial tail. It did take a bit of work to get it adjusted to the right position, though, which was forced by the design of this particular unit, but something Dash can overcome since each one is hand made.
Sit in for the full review…
The difficult part about fitting the Strike 9 to a bike is that the front of the rails merge into the shell pretty far back when compared to a traditional saddle. I tend to push my saddles forward a bit (not triathlon forward, but a good centimeter or two more forward than most of my riding buddies), and even so it took a setback seatpost to get it into the right position.
Fortunately, there’s plenty of room for the 90mm rails to move forward or aft.
And Dash is happy to do just that if you want. Fortunately for me, ENVE’s 25mm setback post worked perfectly, and it comes with both standard round and oversized rail clamps.
UPDATE: From Weston at Dash regarding the rail position: “We actually did change a few things on the saddle since the version you have. We adapted the rail position and tweaked the nose shape just slightly. It gives the same overall feel but makes it so you don’t have to slam the saddle all the way back to get your position.”
The part that makes contact with your sit bones is pretty traditional, and pretty comfortable. The “love channel” is wide enough to be effective, I can’t recall any numbness while riding it. They offer two different levels of padding to suit your preferences.
Where it gets different is the lack of a nose. Shown here next to a normal saddle, it’s pretty obvious how much further back on the bike the Strike 9 sits.
A couple more viewpoints. Click to enlarge.
On a mountain bike, having the nose between your thighs helps quite a bit with steering. Less so on a road bike…for me, anyway. Most of my road bike riding doesn’t involve parking lot slaloms or dodging reflectors, so not using my crotch to push the bike around tight corners or carve berms doesn’t detract from this saddle’s functionality. Thus, the freedom of movement is all plus, no minus…and that’s the thinking behind the design: Remove any friction or intrusion for the thighs so there’s unrestricted movement for the hips.
Unlike most carbon saddles, Dash’s use 7mm round rails rather than oblong ones.
White shorts beware, there’s no stopping the rain from leaving an extra long, slightly punctuated skid mark.
Overall, I really like the Dash Strike 9. It’s a unique design done for the sake of functionality over form, which is cool, but ticks all the other important boxes, too: comfort, durability and light weight. I also like that it doesn’t feel abnormal. The only “learning curve” associated with riding it is getting the measurement and positioning correct. Once that’s done, it feels like riding a normal saddle, just without anything protruding between your legs. I can’t say that I feel a whole lot more freedom in my hip’s range of motion, and going back to a regular saddle isn’t suddenly awful. So again, all upside. Plus, I get a lot of comments, which helps start conversations and make new friends.
The only downside is the price. It’s $465, but that includes your choice of color accents in the cover, rails and logo, padding thickness and custom layup based on body weight (some changes add a bit of lead time). To make it a bit easier sell, Dash will let you test one of their saddles for $100 plus shipping. Like it and that’ll go toward your purchase, or just return it and you’re only out the shipping and handling.
I rotate through a number of saddles either for their own reviews or on complete bikes we have in on test, but this one’s found a permanent home here. It’ll definitely be on my build for the climb-a-liscious Hincapie Gran Fondo this fall.