Working for a bicycle company that prides itself in collaborating with our customers to provide a superior riding experience requires a lot of knowledge and expertise. Jack has 39+ years of experience in the industry. He has seen the ups and downs. Thus, we strive to provide sound insights into the products we may recommend going along with our built to order Jack Kane bicycles. This review is on the ISM Adamo Racing saddle and why it’s what I (Zane, the Marketing Manager) ride on my Jack Kane time trial/triathlon bike.
ISM, short for “Ideal Saddle Modification”, created a rather unusual looking saddle that has been around since the end of the 90ss. When I first told my co-workers what saddle I selected for my Jack Kane time trial bike, they were like “What saddle? One of those funky looking ones?” The reason I was interested in it is because I’ve dealt with numbness issues in the past and no longer wanted to play around with the risks associated with that. A smart person can check his/her ego.
I had to search a little harder than I thought I should have to find reviews of the saddle (thus I am writing one of my own) before I made my purchase. There are some from a few years ago, but no newer ones. Of course, the issues with saddles are that no two people feel the saddle the same way. What works for me may not work for you. For the most part, the reviews were positive, but the negative reviews I read weighed a little more on me than I would have liked. Issues like the â€œprongsâ€ rubbing the inside of one’s legs mattered to me (I was known in college as Man of Quads, but I’ll save that story for another time) or that instead of hurting your soft tissue, it hurts your sit bones. Nevertheless, the positive reviews outweighed the negatives so I took a chance because this saddle, simply put, made sense.
Fitting the Saddle:
For riders that do not have easy access or do not want to pay for a fitting, ISM provides a video on its website (http://www.ismseat.com/videos.htm) on how the saddle should be positioned and fitted. I would highly recommend watching it as it fits differently from traditional saddles. For example, most likely, you will not want the rails to be level for maximal comfort. A slight tilt up is more comfortable. Another aspect is that you almost sit off the front of the saddle.
Adjusting to the Saddle:
The main trait about this saddle is that it rests the rider’s weight on his/her sit-bones, not on the ever-precious soft tissue. For my first ride, I planned on only doing ten to fifteen miles and I’m glad I did. Near the end, my sit bones started to hurt. Just like when you lift weights for the first time in a while, the muscles are easily tired. The next day when I went to ride, they were sore! It took me about two weeks to become acclimated to the saddle entirely. Reading on Slowtwitch and Beginner Triathlete, some people only have a couple rides worth of soreness or none at all, so it took me a little longer. I’m not sure if it’s because I have been a serious cyclist for nine years and just conformed to a normal saddle or what.
After a couple rides I noticed I would slide forward and have to keep scooting myself back. As a result, I tilted the saddle up a little bit more and that resolved my issues. Tip: Bring an allen wrench with you for a few rides in the event you need to tinker.
Racing on my Adamo:
My first race was an Olympic triathlon with some flats, rolling hills, and some moderate climbs. At no point did my saddle hinder my rhythm. In the past, the triathlons I participated in, I would be so focused on remaining aero that when I stood up, I realized that well, numbness was there. That was not the case on my Adamo. Coming into transition two, I felt amazing and had no issues. The rack mount built into the saddle is fantastic! I do not have to worry about my bike falling off. Then, starting a run without having any saddle pain is both mentally and physically very positive.
I recently completed a half-iron distance triathlon on my Adamo and it worked like a charm. No numbing what-so-ever. The only issue I had was that I have not done enough longer rides in the fifty-plus mile distance on this saddle, so it did start to become uncomfortable. That is my fault, not the saddle’s.
Observations over the Past Three Months of Riding:
Occasionally, I do have slight chaffing on my inner thighs. If you have shorts with seams going down the inside of your leg that touch the saddle, it will become uncomfortable. As a result, you can either put chamois cream there or simply wear a different short.
It is nice to be able to go ride for a few hours and not have to worry about numbness or pain. I do find I need to ever-so-slightly move around on the saddle from time to time just to move things around. But, we do that with any saddle.
Saddle Description from ISMâ€™s site:
“Designed for aggressive riding in the 0* to 30* hip angle position (aero bars). This seat offers superb comfort in a normally uncomfortable position. The Adamo Racing is completely UCI compliant for time trialing. It even sports a nifty transition rack hook on the back for racking your bike. Uses light weight foam and gel pads with titanium alloy rails. 245mm long and 130mm wide.”
Odds and Ends:
- When you need to sit up on the saddle to climb/stretch/drink/etc. it feels fine and there is support. But, I wouldnâ€™t try to sit too far back because it is shorter than most saddles.
- Since you sort-of sit on the nose of the saddle rough roads can be slightly challenging.
- In February 2011, they came out with a time trial specific saddle, which I have not tried, but I have been told it has a sloped nose to eliminate the chaffing issue.
- MSRP $199.95
- For those wanting medical information/studies, here is the link to their website. http://www.ismseat.com/medical.htm
- Rarely any numbness
- Remain in the TT position much longer
- Triathlon bike rack MOUNT!!!!!
- Aesthetics (depends on who you ask)
- Heavier than I would like
- Chaffing on inner thigh when stitching on shorts aligns with saddle
- Aesthetics (depends who you ask)
- Could potentially wear your shorts through
Saddles are a very personal thing and what works for one may not work for another. However, when customers are spec’ing their Jack Kane time trial bicycles and asking about saddles, I will be recommending the ISM Adamo Racing. More and more top triathletes are racing on them and they ride a lot more than most age groupers (AG), so that tells you something. No saddle is perfect and riders should always get out of the saddle every once in a while. Nevertheless, the longer you can remain aerodynamic, remain comfortable, and most importantly, remain numb-free, you will be more successful and enjoy riding.
2012 Update: If you ever feel like you are sliding forward when you’re riding, try angling the saddle up a little. The prongs won’t protrude into certain areas.
If you have any questions or want to share your stories, post in the comments.
Brand Marketing Manager