ISM Adamo Podium Saddle $224.95
If you've been keeping your eyes on the pro peloton over the last decade, you've surely noticed how handlebars have dropped like a bad stock. It's as though stem spacers are to euro-pros what reflectors are to weekend warriors. It goes without saying that we emulate our heroes, so now scores of regular folks suffer from numbness and pain arising from a position on the bike that compromises normal circulatory function. The ISM Adamo Podium Saddle is designed to give you the freedom to get low and aero in your drops and the comfort to stay there.
ISM saddles are distinct in that they forego a traditional saddle shape in favor of a design that includes a forked tip or nose. In between the two forks, the Podium Saddle has a sizeable cutout that relieves the pressure put on the perineal artery by many of today's typical racing saddles. Testing shows that the ISM saddle design maintains upwards of 95% of your normal blood flow to some pretty important body parts in comparison to the 5 - 10% of normal blood flow values for other standard racing saddles.
The Adamo Podium saddle also has a notable difference in the fore and aft location of the wings, or the widest portion, of the saddle. The Podium has this width about 2/3rds of the way back from the front. Most other racing saddles have their greatest width at 3/4ths of the length from the nose. This means the ISM Adamo design will better support your sit bones as you inevitably roll your hips forward when you are riding fast and in an aerodynamic position. These two things -- the cutout, forked front portion and the location of the wings ensure that your weight is supported by your skeletal system and not your soft tissue. A testimonial from the ISM website says it all, "the only pain you should feel after a long ride is in your legs."
The ISM Adamo Podium Saddle is available in Black with Grey trim on the rear portion. It has lightweight titanium rails with a 65mm flat section to offer great fore and aft adjustability. It's a full length saddle at 270mm and it's 130mm wide.
Reviews & Community
Great idea needs better execution
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I demoed this saddle for a month this summer (2014) after riding the Adamo Road for over a year. It takes a while to get used to either saddle. I'd suggest 1-2 weeks of shorter rides to build up the areas you wouldn't ordinarily put so much load on. It isn't comfortable, but it is more comfortable than any alternative I have found yet for perineum soreness.
Setup is very tricky as the range of rideable positions is narrow and it's easy to improperly position or simply to ride on the wrong part of the saddle. I found that having someone video me helped me figure out where and how to sit. I strongly recommend getting a pro fit for this saddle. With the cutout, it's possible that the reduced surface area will put more rather than less pressure on your sensitive tissues.
I strongly prefer the Podium to the a Road model for its length. It feels closer to a typical saddle. It is most comfortable in more upright positions, though you can perch on the nose for bigger efforts, and there are viable in between positions. I'd prefer this to the Road model for long rides. The padding is spongy and reactive which might be too soft for some, but is nice where the road is rough.
My demo ended when the foam on one of the forked ends simply deformed. I had ridden a few hundred road miles, but I'm nice to my gear and I'd never seen a saddle degrade this quickly. My Road saddle also expired early. After a few thousand miles, a rail bent slightly and left the saddle listing to the right. I still like these saddles because I haven't found a good alternative yet. My Podium was shipped back as defective. Be aware to test your Adamo and look for signs of trouble early. The forked nose adds design stress that probably makes problems more likely.
I'm around 6' 200lbs. A lighter rider may have fewer problems with the durability and design of the product. I'm testing an SMP, but could easily end up with the Podium in the hope that the defect was an anomaly.
Best Saddle I've Ever Ridden
- Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
I've been riding this saddle everyday since mid-August, and I absolutely must say that this is the most comfortable and capable saddle I've ever used. I've long used the Selle Italia saddles with the anatomic cutouts, but I still would face that dreadful tingling sensation mid-ride. With the ISM, any sort of pirenial pressure is a non-issue. I ride generally 30-35+ miles a day, enough time to put any componentry through the wringer. I feel stronger on the bike, as more blood can flow to my legs, and feel infinitely more comfortable in general.
That being said, when you ride this saddle for the first several outings, you will feel pain--though not in the same area as a traditional saddle. With the ISM, you are perched on the muscular tissues, and as with any muscle, they need time to adjust. Give it a few days, and you will feel surprisingly refreshed, even during the hardest rides.