Right, before we begin with my ISM PN1.1 saddle review, I want you to remember and picture one person: Chris Froome.
Now, onto the saddle. I’ve got to admit, I was a little apprehensive about trying this saddle. For the last few years I’ve been riding various forms of Fizik saddles. I’d read quite a lot about the ISM range, and also heard of its reputation among triathletes and time trailers and thought it’d be worth a go.
I found a noticeable difference in power output
Now we all know a time-trialler, or a triathlete, who spends what we believe is just a little too much time analysing position, equipment and fettling with their bike. On this occasion I’ll give it to them, they’ve got it spot on. Transitioning from a ‘standard’ saddle does take a bit of getting used to, but after three or four rides I found a noticeable difference in power output, without sacrificing comfort.
On the first ride I felt an instant change in my whole position, my cadence, the structure of my pedal stroke. It was odd, something you couldn’t quite put your finger on. The structure of the saddle means you sit on your actual seat bones, which due to some sort of physiological alignments far beyond my understanding, enables a more efficient pedal stroke every time. Now I know this Strava ride (below) isn’t anything to write home about, there isn’t even a KOM, but these are segments and roads I’ve genuinely gone all out on before, and out of nowhere, with very little effort I was rolling podiums and high average speeds.
As I’ve stated above, the saddle does take a while to get used to. Three continuous days into riding I really was thinking of having a rest day, or maybe even going for a run instead. Okay that’s a bit drastic, but in all seriousness, it does take a bit of getting used to but the perseverance pays off. Drawing on my cycling experiences I’d happily, and have, competed in TT’s, Crits, Road Races and longer endurance rides of over 4-5 hours with this saddle. It’s a brilliant little gain, a saddle that can genuinely improve your performance and efficiency without sacrificing your comfort in the long run.
So, Chris Froome, remember him? Well if you haven’t already made the link its startlingly obvious. Take a look at him, riding his bike, climbing a hill, your first thought? I’d take a bet on it not being particularly positive. It’s not a style filled with panache, it’s not flamboyant, it’s not even got a mass market appeal, but two Olympic medals, three Yellow Jersey’s and numerous other accolades later, it’s remarkably effective. The link to the saddle? Well I’ve just made it, it doesn’t have that mass market appeal, it’s not a recognised historic cycling brand like Fizik or Prologo but it’s remarkably effective at what it’s designed to do, what more can we ask for?