Bontrager Aeolus Pro Saddle Review
There’s a trend happening with high end road bikes. No, not disc brakes, the trend is short nose saddles. I took a look at the Bontrager Aeolus Pro Bike Saddle to see what all the fuss was.
Modern road bikes have begun to borrow more and more technology from TT bikes. As the shift has happened it was inevitable that the short saddles would make the jump as well. The first saddles I saw people start to use like this were those from ISM.
Technology continues to flow from time trial bikes to road bikes and saddles are not immune.
To me the ISM saddles are a lot like Birkenstock sandals. Those that love them love them and they don’t mind wearing socks and sandals. Everyone else might wonder about the benefits but aren’t willing to make the stylistic leap. In the cycling industry other manufacturers stepped up and provided another option. Companies such as Bontrager, Specialized, Sella San Marco, and Prologo have all entered the market. They offer a blend between traditional road saddles and TT saddles. One of my all time favorite saddles was the Bontrager Pradigm XXX so when it was time to take a look at a short nose road saddle it made sense to check out the Bontrager Aeolus Pro Bike Saddle.
I was surprised how a short saddle benefited my riding.
I try to anticipate how a product is going to perform long before I ever reach out to a company. With the Bontrager Aeolus Pro Bike Saddle I was expecting a saddle that more or less felt the same as a traditional saddle, but shorter. If you look at the Aeolus it has about the same shape as other saddles except for the missing front. When I set it up I measured from the back of the saddle to the bars and matched that to my previous setup. This turned out not to work for me.
The setup with the Aeolus Pro that worked for me was not at all what I was expecting. I ended up moving the saddle forward a few millimeters so that it landed somewhere in the middle of where the previous saddle had been. This position means there’s still a bit of saddle nose for bike control. The position also moves where your sit bones land on the saddle. This part is where the magic of a short saddle shows.
With a short nose saddle you never have to feel “on the rivet.”
“I’m on the rivet” is a phrase I love. It comes from a time when leather saddles had a rivet at the nose holding them together. When you ride hard you slide forward so when your heart rate is through the roof and you are riding too hard to breathe that’s when you are “on the rivet.” If you look at what manufacturers actually say about short saddles there’s a lot of talk of maximizing power by opening up hip angles. I’m not going to say this isn’t true, I have no idea, but what I can tell you is that it’s not what makes a short saddle amazing.
It’s the placement of the sit bones that I found to be the best thing about a short nose saddle.
With a short saddle, and a more forward position, I end up with my sit bones right in the perfect spot. Instead of rocking forward and ending up with my sit bones near the back of the saddle nose I end up right in the widest part of the saddle. Meanwhile the front of my pelvis isn’t “on the rivet” because there’s plenty of room upfront.
I didn’t expect the ways in which a short saddle actually benefits my riding. What I did expect was the real advantage that the Bontrager Aeolus Pro has over other short nose saddles. At a claimed weight of 170 grams it’s not the lightest saddle out there. It all becomes worth it when you look at the system though. The Aeolus Pro has blendr integration. Not every seat post makes it easy to mount a rear light. With the blendr accessory mount attached to the Aeolus Pro you get a well made, and comfortable saddle, as well as a better way to mount one of the best rear lights on the market.
Blendr integration really sets the Bontrager Aeolus Pro Bike Saddle apart from the competition.
Bontrager is one of the best accessory manufacturers out there. The Aeolus Pro isn’t an exception to the rule. Attaching the rails at the very front and rear means there’s more flex. The available mount for my Flare RT means it’s easy to mount even on aero seat posts. It also places the light in the best location for visibility without blinding anyone riding behind you. On top of that, Bontrager has a 30 day no questions warranty so if it’s not right for you there’s no risk. It’s these reasons that have me choosing the Aeolus Pro as the best example of a short saddle.