For those of you who have not ventured into quality saddles, it’s time to check out ISM. It may be another investment after spending a pretty penny on your bike but you will be spending a lot of time on it, so you should be happy and comfortable right? YES!
This past triathlon season, I have been lucky enough to test out the ISM PL 1.1. This updated version for 2016 is similar to the Prologue if you have ever ridden on it. This saddle provided an enjoyable ride for me this year and a great option for those of you who need a saddle with a decent amount of cushioning.
ISM PL 1.1 Facts
Just a run down of the specs for this beauty. It is in the Performance Long category of saddles which means it has a longer base. It is 275mm in length and 135mm wide in the rear, perfect for moving around or rotating your hips back in the saddle while you climb. I like the Performance Long category for riding long because I have the tendency to move around a lot and this saddle is perfect for those long rides with its longer base. The 1.1 has an increased level of padding at a cushion level of 40, made of a foam and gel mixture, ideal for those who ride in thin triathlon chamois shorts or like I mentioned before, those who want a softer ride. The 1.0 or Breakaway from my previous review, is a 30 cushion level-wise, so a tad bit firmer. In the performance long category, it is the softest level of cushioning, so this is as best as it gets for those who like cushion.
What ISM did that makes is so much more than just a bike saddle, is they focused on the seat and padding area of your sit bones. They also took out the dead area in the middle to create their famous nose-less designs. All in all, this helped to create a bike saddle that removes the pressure on the pelvic area which creates numbness while also making the rides enjoyable by focusing on where your sit bones hit the seat.
I decided to try out the 1.1 because I wanted to:
1. See how a 40 cushion level felt
2. See if I noticed a difference in the length and width in comparison to the 1.0
Now for my review:
1. This was a great saddle. I loved the level of cushioning, but I felt it was a bit heavier weight wise than its sister saddle the 1.0. Maybe this was due in part to the increase in length and width or the cushioning, but it felt heavier.
2. It provided a boatload of cushioning and I mean everywhere. On the nose, the sides of the nose, the back, everywhere. It was so cushioned, it was also almost too much for me. But I know many cyclists who want as much cushioning as possible. Especially when you are wearing tri shorts with a thin chamois, cushioning is you best friend. This ultimately helps reduce the pressure from the soft tissue, ensuring maximum blood flow and no genital numbness!
3. There is plenty of room for moving around in the saddle. If you are someone who likes to climb and rotate your hips back or finds themselves moving around in the saddle while on a long ride because they are getting fidgety, this saddle is right for you.
4. The sleek appearance and bold graphics that ISM has for their saddles makes this one very chic and look fast with any bike.
5. It is made with Chromoly rails, which is heavier than the PL 1.0 which is made with CrN/Ti, a lightweight stainless steel/titanium alloy- the lightest and most expensive seat rails. But its not as heavy as other rails in the ISM family.
6. It is also reasonably priced at $190 making it a great option and addition to your bike especially come this holiday season!
I love this saddle, I mean what’s not to love especially with how great this brand is. The 1.1 is a great option and probably the best one for those who like cushioning. There is a conditioning period with ISM seats. This is because the saddles remove pressure from soft tissue, but that pressure must go somewhere. So when first riding ISM, it is not uncommon to feel tender. It is a bit heavier than the 30, but if you can handle it, it won’t make that much of a difference by feel. For myself, I am small and my bike is light and I have had it for quite some time so I can tell the difference in weight. Plus, I also I realized that I did not need as much cushioning while riding and that the 30 is my sweet spot. Otherwise, this is a wonderful saddle and a great option for triathletes and cyclists alike.