Developed in conjunction with Trek Factory riders, the all-new Bontrager Serano Saddle is built for speed. With the proper support for the aggressive rider, the Serano delivers an excellent platform for performance.
Bontrager Serano Saddle Features
- Posture 2 – Aggressive: Forward pelvic rotation for athletes with a high degree of flexibility
- Size Specific Curvature: Curvature of each saddle is designed specific to its width
- Zone Density Padding: Multi-density padding is strategically placed for optimal comfort and performance
- Carbon or Titanium Rails: Oversized carbon (7x10mm) or hollow Titanium rails
- Carbon Reinforced Shell: Compliant carbon fiber-reinforced shell strikes a balance between strength and light weight
- inForm BioDynamics: Products designed to optimize your natural movement for sustained, higher performance
- MSRP: $149.99 – $224.99
Serano Offers Wide Variety
This all-new saddle was tested extensively by Andy Schleck and other riders before its introduction last fall. Built with a classic shape, the Serano is aimed at aggressive riders who prefer the consistent feel of a non-cutout saddle. The Serano is offered in RL (titanium rails) and RXL (oversized carbon rails) trims in two colors (white or black) and three widths (128, 138 and 148).
Your local Trek dealer will use the Bontrager InForm saddle sizer to get you the right size for you. My sit bones put me between the 138 and 148. In that instance, Bontrager recommends upsizing. So, I tested both the 138 and 148 saddle just to see how they both felt.
Not Missing the Cutout… Mostly
With the classic shape of the Serano, you’re giving up what has become the saddle marketer’s best friend — the cutout. No, the Serano doesn’t feature a cutout or channel to relieve pressure on the perineum, but it does offer a very smooth curvature to spread the pressure out evenly across those sensitive areas. It also does have concave relief area in the shell and Zone Density Padding to further reduce pressure. I will say that with all the research published on the subject of saddles and a myriad of saddle options on the market, the best way is to just test one for yourself. Luckily, Bontrager offers a 30-day fit guarantee so you can try one on your own ride to see how it suits your body — cool, right?
That said, my saddle of choice has been the Specialized S-Works Romin. As such, I was a little reluctant to try this shape — primarily due to all the hubbub about keeping my manliness functioning on and off the bike. The thing is, no saddle I’ve tried has entirely prevented numbness and I won’t gloss over the fact that I did experience some numbness on Serano as well. Most notably on rides of 25+ miles that involved long, flat sections where I was sitting on the saddle for many consecutive miles. On shorter rides or rides with more climbing, the numbness was minimal because I could stand, when needed on long climbs.
Keep in mind that Bontrager really does mean business when they say this saddle is best served by a “Posture 2” rider. If you have a more upright bike position, this saddle is probably not for you.
Sit and Spin on the Serano
My typical rides consist of at least 1500 ft of climbing — most of it in one big chunk. These long stints in the saddle are awesome on the Serano. I feel like I can sit back and push against the upturned tail and just crank away. When needed, I can stand up and sprint and I always can sit right back down into the perfect position.
For me, I prefer a saddle with an upturned tail instead of a flat design. I find that it’s easier to sit into the scoop and crank out the power. I hopped onto another saddle for a time and went back to the Serano and my butt re-confirmed that preference.
Carbon or Titanium Rails?
During the course of my testing, I switched between the RL 138 and RXL 138 and ended up settling into the RL 148. Again, the recommendation is to upsize if you are between sizes and I’ve found that to be best — even though I missed the beauty of the carbon rails.
Speaking of rails, with the RL you get hollow titanium rails while the RXL features oversized 7×10 carbon rails. Yes, carbon rails will drop 30 grams and lighten your wallet by another $75, but are they worth it? Tell you what… my butt notices the difference immediately. Carbon is, without a doubt, smoother. Should you shell out the extra dough for it? That’s for you to decide. Keep in mind that if you are using a Bontrager seatpost (like the Bontrager XXX I’m running), you’ll have to get the 7×10 rail adapters for $12.
If you’re running a seatpost with a more traditional top/bottom clamp (like the Zipp Service Course SL 20), at least your seatpost won’t end up guiding your decision. That said, carbon rails and carbon seatpost is certainly the best combination of lightweight and optimal chatter reduction. As mentioned, my proper size is the 148, so I’ve settled into the RL 148 quite nicely — still, I do miss the carbon rails.
- So many flavors to choose from — you get just the right fit
- Great saddle for aggressive riders
- Really supports the sit bones
- Does great on long climbs
- Plays well with every chamois I’ve tried
- Competitive weight for both RL and RXL models
- RXL carbon rails offer a noticeable reduction in chatter
- Saddles without cutouts still make me nervous for my manliness
- Gotta have an aggressive riding position — not all riders will get the most out of the Serano
The Bottom Line
The new Serano saddle is a classic design with a modern flair. If you are an aggressive rider (be completely honest with yourself), I’d recommend giving it a try and would certainly suggest going with the RXL model for smoother performance at a lighter weight. At the end of the day, you need to choose the saddle that best fits your backside — regardless of what my experience has been. If you do like a classic saddle, the Serano will not disappoint.