Essax, a Spanish saddle manufacturer that’s been making standard looking seats for many years, has sliced preconceptions the aptly named Shark, and it’s quickly making the rounds.
Where to begin…how ’bout the science. Essax says bad position on normal saddles can be a result of hip rotations, limb differences, inefficient pedaling techniques and more. And that traditional saddles attempt to correct these issues with wider platforms, more padding or center relief channels, but they say those won’t do the trick. Rather, and these are their words, the Shark “goes to the core of the problem”. It’s designed by Custom4.us, a biomechanics-based fit studio, then made by Essax. The idea is to help the cyclist evenly distribute pressure across the two ischia (sit bones) and, to a lesser extent, the perineum.
Their research showed that even when most cyclists felt comfortable, their weight was unevenly distributed across these areas, which led to decreased long term comfort and performance…
The fin simply helps situate the rider properly. They say if you can feel it, you’re not positioned right. It’s not meant to, um, divide and conquer. There’s no need for your bike fitter to say “bend over and spread ’em”. It’s simply there to facilitate a good position.
How it works with existing chamois pads remains to be seen – we doubt they’re designed with this sort of stretch in mind, but could make for an interesting test.
- Width: 130 and 140mm
- Weight: 195 and 200gr
- Height of the Fin: 40mm
- Length of the Fin: 100mm
Originally designed mainly to improve rider comfort and ergonomics, they’ve found it boosts performance, too. Samples have been submitted to the UCI for testing and approval for use in competition. Triathletes, who don’t need to worry about such things as “rules” as often as roadies, should love it since they’re in an aero tuck all the time. Not sure I’d wanna sit up for a stretch on this one.