Quick Take Review

To replace or not to replace, that’s the question. When should an original OE bike saddle be replaced? Lots of reasons can lead to a “yes” answer to that question. The saddle could just not comfortable. Too wide or too narrow, too long or short. A fit specialist can help you but you’re the ultimate judge of what works or doesn’t. Or the saddle could simply be tired, with the top cover frayed and worn out. Whatever the reason, when the time comes to open your wallet and purchase another saddle, there are many, many options.

I did a little shopping recently to replace mine Marin OE mountain bike saddle. The criteria were pretty straightforward: mid-width (my sit bones are in the 130 millimeter range), provide moderate padding (preferably gel) and include a cut out. It also could not break the bank (must hit a sub-$100 price point). I looked at a number of different offerings, and ended up with the Forté Contour XFC men’s saddle, one of Performance Bike’s in-house brand offerings.

Cover: Synthetic
Rails : Chromoly
Weight: 395 g

The Forté Contour XFC measures 155 millimeters wide and 280 millimeters long, making it on the slightly larger size of mens saddles. Not outrageously so, but definitely not svelte either. Weight is up there too at nearly 400 grams, but that really didn’t factor into the decision. Gel padding is evident but not overwhelming. And Performance designed the cutout and center channel aggressively to eliminate pressure points.

Over the past several weeks, the Forté Contour XFC proved itself to be a worthy replacement of that OE saddle. The gel padding provides a welcome addition on the road and trail. The cutout delivers just the right amount of pressure relief. And this house-brand design didn’t break the bank. List price at Performance Bike was just under $50 but you can find it on sale for less than $35.

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide.