Is this Giant's best mountain bike saddle yet?
Words and photos: Will Shaw
The Romero SL is a new mountain bike saddle from Giant aimed squarely at the aggressive trail riding and enduro race crowd.
Before we get into the details, we’ll mention the obligatory saddle review caveat that one person’s dream perch might be a chafing horror show for someone else. With that out of the way, let’s dive in.
At first glance, the Romero SL is a fairly traditional looking saddle. The 138mm width, 277mm length and modest cutout mean the Romero SL won’t swivel heads as much as the new school, stubbier saddles on the market. The colour scheme is more interesting, with Giant departing from the standard, safe as houses black that dominates the saddle market. Instead, Giant have gone with a two-tone scheme consisting of a predominantly grey cover and black panels on either side of the saddle. We’ll let you be the judge of the aesthetics.
So how does it actually ride, and what makes one saddle more ‘enduro specific’ than the next? One area that riders on enduro bikes and slacker bikes in general have to adjust their position significantly for is steep climbs. The Romero SL performs fantastically when climbing steep terrain on the nose of your saddle. The Romero SL’s comfort in these situations comes from its long nose, which is generously padded, and angled down slightly to keep you planted as the gradient rises. We found this design did what it was supposed to, providing a stable and comfortable position on steeper climbs.
Aside from steep climbs, the more neutral riding position on the Romero SL was also pleasant. The saddle is generously padded with two ‘particle pockets’ where your sit bones go, and a central cutout that tapers up to being almost level at the end of the saddle. We found this design locked us in well when pedalling seated. Another feature that enhances this comfort is the saddle’s ‘side-flex technology’, which does what it says on the tin.
Another nod to the Romero SL’s gravity intentions is its sturdiness. The padding around the edges of the saddle is reinforced to reduce the chance of ripping in the event of a dirt nap. Whilst we didn’t take any tumbles during the testing period, the material feels quite durable and is definitely thicker than other saddles out there.
All of the Romero SL’s ‘gravity oriented’ features come at a price however, and that price is the saddle’s weight. Whilst 245 grams isn’t overweight by any means, there are definitely lighter options out there for the weight conscious rider. Those who enjoy more minimally padded saddles may also find the Romero SL a touch chunky. This being said, enduro and aggressive trail-oriented riders usually value sturdiness and dependability over analysing every gram. We think the Romero SL strikes a nice middle ground in not compromising robustness over the sake of small weight savings.
Overall, the Romero SL offers a no fuss, comfortable saddle option with some well-thought out features for any mountain biker that values comfort and reliability.
From: Giant Bicycles