One of the best parts about being a small independent business is that I can offer my customers products that I have used (in some cases abused) and recommend. One such range of products is ISM Performance saddles.
Over the years I have tried dozens of saddles from a variety of manufacturers. I swore by the Specialized BG range for a while, in particular the Toupe and Oura, then I started getting problems when riding longer distances whilst using them. I love the Prologo Scratch for Cyclocross and MTB and short road rides, but after a couple of hours in the saddle I started to get hot spots and numbness.
With this summers TCR creeping up on me I decided to try something different. The ISM range of saddles is as different as it gets.
The guys at Upgrade bikes provided me with 2 demo saddles, one of the Performance Short range (Road model) and one of the Performance Narrow range (Attack P1.1 Model), the Short range is designed for TT's and anyone sitting in one position for hours on end, the Narrow range is designed more for climbers and road riding. Being much narrower than the Short saddles there is a lot more room to move around.
Setup is different to a traditional saddle as the ISM saddles are roughly 2 inches shorter in the nose, so saddle position relative to the bike needs to be adjusted, but the results are nothing short of miricaulous.
One short ride was all it took for me to be convinced. It's a very different feeling and totally pleasant, the nose (if you can call it that) is wider but you sit further forward so you don't feel it. Your sit bones take the weight with absolutley no pressure or even contact with your soft tissue. I had to drop my saddle by 6mm to accomodate the higher profile of the ISM and I moved the saddles back from my traditional saddle position of 54.5cm nose to bar clamp to a huge sounding 59cm, but with no nose the relative position is almost identical to a traditional saddle. There is contact with the saddle that you can feel but it's not uncomfortable, i'm sure after 2 or 3 rides and a couple of tweaks it will be spot on.
To sum it up; For a traditional saddle that will be used on my 'Cross bikes and for MTB then a Prologo Scratch is the one. For everything else it's an ISM and I won't be going back.
They do look weird though, but if looks were everything then no one would ride a PlanetX, right kids! :)
ISM Road SRP : £129.99
ISM P1.1 SRP : £99.99
ISM Attack : SRP £174.99