After laying off cycling for 18 years, I came back to a good bike but after painful rides, found I needed a saddle upgrade. Technology and fitting has come a long way over those years, and I did the research to find the right product. I found that my "sit bones" are relatively close together (I didn't know!) and chose the Stratos partly for that reason. Of course, the reviews helped. The saddle was much more comfortable than the old, right from the first ride and increasingly through use. I almost forget it's there.
pIf you're looking at this saddle, you're probably drawn to the center cutout relief area and the pocket most SMP saddles have between the flared up tail and sloped nose. I felt the same way, having found some old Bontrager and Titec saddles pretty comfy, so I took this one out for about 25 miles. p
pFor comparison's sake, I often use an ancient, pre-Gel-flow Selle Italia SLK (no longer made) with a full split all the way from the back up to just before the nose, and I find the Fizik Antares shape to be very comfortable, too. I've ridden a bunch of WTB saddles and usually find them to be a little wide (even though I'm a fat guy). p
pFirst ten miles on the SMP were extremely comfortable. Probably never had a saddle seem like such a natural fit. And it stayed pretty comfortable, but what I found at about 20 miles was that the advantage-the pocket-became a bit of a disadvantage. I couldn't find many other spots that were as comfy as one specific area.p
pApparently, I move around a bit and that works with saddles with a more gradual valley or pocket, but the walls of the SMP were a little too high, if that makes any sense.p
pI'm still considering giving it a second chance based on how comfy it was right from the start and how little time I spent tinkering with angle and fore-aft position. It was pretty incredibly comfy in that one sweet spot. But I did go back to my old saddle, which gives me a few more viable spots and a little easier movement.p
My first three rides with the Stratos were 75, 75 and 124 miles respectively, and this saddle has been awesome so far! I've suffered no pain, discomfort, chaffing or saddle sores. My sit bones are roughly 85-90cm apart and they are well-supported by the 131mm width of the Stratos.
Setting up the Stratos was easy, but required some experimentation with the angle. I achieved the best balance of comfort and performance by levelling the center portion of the sadle rather than levelling the highest points on the saddle. With the center portion level, the rear ramp will be the high spot. This creates a nice stable platform for my sit bones; and because of the curvature of the saddle it does not push me forward. My hands are relaxed on top of the hoods, and when I get into the drops the high point towards the nose of the saddle does not put pressure on my soft bits. The Selle SMP saddles are not inexpensive, but I'm on my bike 5-6 days per week and need a saddle that provides ultimate comfort without sacrificing performance. The Stratos is awesome!!!
I need a saddle with a good relief channel and I've been using the ISM PN1.0 and 1.1 for a couple of years. However, I needed a bit more curvature to keep my support my hips and keep my body from wanting to slide forward. The Selle SMP Evolution family seems to work well for me, as it seems to have the "least slop." I have an Evolution on my road bike now and a Stratos on my gravel and CX bikes, as they are similar in shape, but padded a bit more. It took a bit of trainer time to nail the angle, for sure, and when compared with my ISM saddles (which seem to be set quite a bit back) this saddle seems to be set quite a bit forward, and I had to change from setback seatpost to a zero-offset seatpost.
This saddle just works for me. Bought in 2008, still going strong. I like that SMP has different sizes/models to match your pelvis size (ischial tuberosity width), and using their size chart dialed it in for me (I ordered the next size up as well to be sure, but using their size chart nailed it). Took a couple rides to dial in the tilt. Comfortable for long rides and no numbness. It has minimal padding, which I prefer, relying on the bibshorts for cushion. It could be a little lighter (250g), but then, it might cost more. They are a bit spendier than your average price, but I don't think you should cut corners when it comes to saddles......
I have one on my road bike and one on my gravel bike. I have slim hips and this fits me perfect.
My friend who recommended it say's it's a bucket seat for your bike...I don't move around on it like others, feel more planted which gives you more power.
It's certainly not cheap but it's without doubt the best saddle I have used. Now have a collection of basically new saddles on shelf from Specialize, Fizik, San Marco etc and the SMP stays on the bike full time. Saddles are a personal preference but I do not hesitate recomending this one, lots of 3 hour plus rides on it.
Great seat! I've tried many others in the past and have found this one to fit the best. Follow the measurement recommendations for the proper fit and choose the Selle SMP seat that fits your needs the best. Quality product worth the cost.
I've had the first seat on my bike for over 2 years now and purchased another for my second bike.
Fantastic, comfortable saddle once you get it dialed in correctly - it took me some experimentation to get it right. I've been riding on it for 2 seasons now. My sitbones measure 112 and the Stratos fits me better than the Evolution or the Glider.
I needed a saddle that would eliminate numbness and this did the trick. After much searching and a leap of faith, I went with this one. I concur with other reviews I've read in that it takes a while to get truly comfortable with this saddle but it 100% eliminated my numbness. I've now had it for 6 months and I'm perfectly comfortable in the Selle on long rides, it's my only saddle. Definitely worth the money.
A must use for older riders, cradles your soft tissues extremely well. You have to ride and adjust 3-4 times before you dial it in but after that it becomes part of the bike. The saddle is well constructed and thought out.
This saddle is super comfy as long as you don't move. Unfortunately I move around a lot. With the way the center of the saddle dips you can not move fore or aft without great discomfort, and heaven forbid you hit a bump in the road while not perfectly centered. I gave it 2 stars for the amazing build quality and it actually is amazingly comfortable as long as you stay put in one spot. But if the pace quickens and you scoot forward to get more leverage you are in for a world of hurt as your boys rest right on the top of the eagle beak which as you can see is curved the wrong way for that kind of maneuver.
I discovered the Selle SMP series when searching for a saddle that provided adequate, even exaggerated perennial relief. I was riding a bulky, cushy, $50 bontrager and had adjusted it so that I had no issue with numbness or tingling, but nonetheless my genitals felt squished, I would feel an uncomfortable smack going over bumps, the area under my thighs right at the pelvic joint rubbed uncomfortably against the seat, my lower back got very sore, and I constantly had to shift and adjust my riding position to alleviate these discomforts. Some of the saddles I saw in a catalog went as far as to split completely down the middle providing two free pads for your sitting and nothing in between. These, however, were in the $400-500 range and I had no way of knowing how they might feel.
I could just tell by looking at the form of the SMP saddles I would remedy at least two of my issues. The deep cut channel allows for no upward force back into your crotch, even over bumps, because there is only empty space there. The thin valley ridges only put a light pressure into your thighs at the pelvic joint, and the eagle beak nose ensures leaning forward isn't cumbersome. I consulted this very thorough appraisal and explanation of the Selle SMP series
I first tried the Selle SMP evolution because I am 5'6 130 lbs and it was one of the narrower, sleeker models recommended for smaller riders. I found the evolution felt too hard and there was not enough sit area and thus felt I had little wiggle room to keep my balance in the manner I was used to. One thing I was not aware of from the picture that I discovered much to my liking is the back pads really do accommodate the sit bones directly and little of anything else. The only significant upward force directed back into your body targets your bones and no soft flesh is mashed nor does it chafe anywhere. With a little more time I could have easily adapted to be one with the Evolution, but I could tell the Stratos would have the minor adjustments I yearned for. Sure enough it did. After a week of riding I can already feel it has broken in some and my sit bones have grown used to the pressure they are exerted to. I am more eager to ride and no longer dread longer rides because the saddle has the exact same feel after two hours as it did in the first five minutes of taking off. My lower back still gets sore, but I think that is an issue of my stem being too long and leaning so far forward so that my spine bows outward.
All in all this saddle is superb for perennial and genital relief, sit comfort, and weight. Many brands advertise with a catchline of pseudo-medical jargon about how their saddle is designed to anatomical studies and will consequently feel
This is my second selle smp stratos, I got a second bike. They are terrific and I have several high end saddles around which I don't even bother with anymore. I was chatting with a friend who owns a store and races and he too said they are much underused. The price here and service was excellent.