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Getting that perfect saddle can sometimes seem like a chore. Between all of the different brands, widths, and styles, it can be difficult to pinpoint the ideal perch for your bike. The demand for something a little more personal has helped companies like Meld step forward and offer a different take on a solution. They hope to make buying the perfect saddle, when it comes to weight, tech, and above all, comfort, easier by using anatomically personalized constructions.

It’s as simple as logging onto their page, and ordering a mold….

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The first step to getting your custom saddle is to order a mold kit from Meld’s webpage. The mold is used to get accurate sitbone spacing and placement. Next, after the mold is sent back for processing, they piece together a general saddle layout that is specifically made for your glutes. Meld assures that the following steps won’t affect the overall comfort, but can be considered for the style of riding you’re planning to do.

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photo c. Meld

After the bone positions have been mapped, you may choose from a full carbon build or a carbon shell with metal rails. Meld’s carbon shells are said to have some flex where you need it, hopefully providing some extra comfort. Then you’ll input your own needs and wants into the saddle, with options including the outline (general top view shape), which sitbone to mirror (for a symmetrical saddle), a flat or curved nose tip, and a channeled or cutout mid section. There are a few more options that include clipping the wings (side material), slopping the back of the seat, and a bunch of graphic options to make it yours.

Prices: $325 Full Carbon : $250 Carbon and Metal Rails

Meld3d.com

8 COMMENTS

  1. Hey Dirk, I hope your ankle is getting better. It’s a shame you missed all those Egan rides.

    Hi Andrew, we do not replicate saddle shapes from other manufacturers. We do offer multiple parameters which you can tweak to get (almost?) the same effect. We’re also happy to listen to any feedback, just drop us an email at (info at meld3d.com), or leave a message on Facebook (facebook.com/meld3d). Finally, we store everyone’s saddle model and anatomy geometry info indefinitely, so we shouldn’t have the issue of saddles being discontinued.

  2. The Meld3d concept is great – a custom seat with custom graphics at a very fair price. Unfortunately Meld does not offer understand customer experience and takes great offense if you ask questions about the art process or their seat measurement recommendations. Basically, you need to fit into their expected process or there will be no seat for you. Yes, Ethan and team cancelled my order, stating “You believe that your way of doing things is correct and the only way, and you believe that we have a team dedicated to working on exactly what you want.” This was in response to asking them questions about logo aspect ratios and why their seat width was 30mm less than what I ride on. These were legitimate questions about a product I’ve literally never seen regarding personalization recommendations I simply didn’t fully understand. Meld has no phone numbers anywhere, so you can’t speak to them in person. I even asked for a phone number, because email is not an ideal way to work through issues and was not provided one.

    My complaints aside, I still actually want the seat but was completely turned down. Here’s tips for those who like the concept as much as I do: For artwork, Meld does not take standard vector-based print formats (Illustrator), they ask for a URL to your artwork you have to upload separately. Keep in mind that web-friendly artwork (i.e. a cycling club logo on a website) is usually a substandard resolution for physical printing, looking like a home arts & crafts project. Their toolset auto-resizes your artwork, so try uploading a 2x or 3x higher resolution. Artwork running down the center channel is obviously a completely different size than a cut-out, but can look amazing with enough trial and error. Unfortunately, there is no information about print ramifications from Meld at all.

    Melds’ width recommendation is your sit-bone dimensions + 20mm. This formula either comes from or is validated by Cervelo engineers… but can result in a width recommendation that is a lot narrower than you’d expect (if you know to look in the first place). With the variations of seat shape, back lift, front rolloff, etc, this may not even matter… but it’s unclear within their process. I’m currently going through a custom bike build, where every measurement has both an impact and ultimately an explanation. The assumption that a personalized fit works out perfectly every time, but the reality is simply not that simple. Collaboration and education are vital to the success of custom projects. Hopefully others can learn from my mistakes.

  3. Hey Bill,

    We are sorry that you experienced issues with the graphics section of our online service. We are unable to provide specific dimensions for the image because it depends on a) the width of the saddle (which in turn depends on the users’ sitbone width), b) the shape of the saddle which depends on the outline you choose. We understand that for graphic professionals the lack of precision (with regards to size, layout and placement) can be frustrating, but our goal is to accommodate a large number of our users who need a quick way of putting images on their saddles and precision is not that important. For those interested in actual image dimensions, you can use our default logos as starting templates.

    Also: the only way we can offer custom saddles starting from US$250 is due to the fact that the aspects of what makes the saddles unique is handled in an automated fashion. We do listen to feedback with regards to changing how the automation handles certain aspects, but at the end of the day we cannot accommodate every single request. This simply does not scale and is not what we fundamentally do. It appears that there is a significant difference between what your expectations of us are, and what we can do, which is why we had no choice but to abandon the project.

    Finally, we determine aspects of the saddle model, such as saddle width, based on a great deal of testing and real-world feedback. The increase of 20mm from sitbone width works well, and we have had no reason to change it. From experience, narrowness of saddle can be due to a) the user sitting too far in front of the saddle, which we can troubleshoot and suggest changes, or b) getting up from the imprint foam before sinking fully into it. For the latter, after going through the troubleshooting steps, we will redo the entire process (sending another imprint kit, recapturing the imprint, remaking the saddle). So far, we have had no reason to deviate from the increase of 20mm. Furthermore, the option to increase saddle width is available as a parameter, so users can do that if they so choose.

  4. A quick note on custom bike building vs custom saddle design

    For a custom bike, we probably already know quite well details of the bike we want, such as the geometry. We convey this information to the bike builder: we talk, or do a short write-up of our requirements. The builder may have his/her opinions and feedback, and after some to-and-fro, we get the bike we want. This process works because the information we convey is correct and effective.

    Designing the right custom saddle does not work the same way. Many of us do not know our sitbone widths. Some of us sit on our perineums mistaking it for our sitbones. And in general, we most likely do not have the best points of reference with regards to saddles: the design we want is limited to our experiences with past saddles. We don’t know if, and how, saddles can be better, and we don’t know that we don’t know.

    As a result, if we convey what we want, in words or text, to the custom saddle designer, the information is probably incorrect and we’re very likely to get it wrong. This means we’ll have to redo the design, which means it ends up being a trial-and-error process. And even in that case, folks who know only about sitting on their perineums will continue doing so and end up with the least uncomfortable saddle, because that’s all they know about with regards to sitting on saddles.

    Hence, a lot of the design decisions going into making a saddle does not come from us, in words or text. Instead, we have to look at the ‘ground truth’, which is the anatomy itself. There are other factors, such as how we use the saddle (whether we move fore/aft a lot), which we can provide feedback for. But, we, as users, should not trust ourselves to fully decide e.g. how wide the saddle should be.

    By making most of the saddle design decisions based on the anatomy and not our verbal/written inputs, and by getting feedback on how to install and use the saddle (e.g. don’t sit on our perineums), we dramatically increase the chances of getting the saddle right the very first time. Trial-and-error, and the resulting frustration, is largely eliminated.

    This is the reason why Meld does not, and cannot, approach custom saddle design the same way folks approach custom bike building.

  5. I highly recommend reading Meld’s blog articles (meld3d.com/blog). They deepened my understanding of multiple aspects of the saddle.

What do you think?