Saddles are about as personal as it gets. What works for me, may not always work for all riders. But, there are some saddles that can work well for most riders and Bontrager’s latest Verse saddle line aims to do just that.
Bontrager Verse Elite Saddle Features:
- Full-length cutout built for men and women
- Longer rails for increased mounting options
- Austenite rails are lighter and stronger than Titanium
- Available in 135, 145, 155 and 165mm widths
- Length: 270mm
- Height: 50mm (bottom of rail to saddle top at center)
- Weight: 255 grams (Elite 155, actual)
- MSRP: $149.99
Verse Elite — Good width, length and comfort (eventually)
As mentioned, the new Bontrager Verse saddle line is all-new and will replace the venerable Montrose and Anja saddles in their lineup going forward. The Verse is a unisex saddle that’s been built for both men and women’s anatomy. Honestly, my backside really likes the Montrose, so knowing that it’s going away has made me extra-interested in its replacement. With that, the new Verse lineup consists of the Verse Pro ($219.99), Verse Elite ($149.99) and Verse Comp ($89.99). As you go down the line you go from carbon rails to Austenite and then stainless rails and the shell material and padding changes vary as well.
Across the range, you’ll find a mind-boggling four widths, which are 135, 145, 155 and 165mm. I can’t think of another saddle range that has that kind of an offering. As always, any Trek dealer should have a Bontrager saddle measurement tool to get you the right size. And, don’t forget about their 30-day guarantee that allows you to try the saddle and return it for another or get a full refund. With something as personal as a saddle, that guarantee is so nice to have.
Let’s go through the Bontrager Verse Comp 155mm, which has been in the hopper for a little over a month. That’s a shorter than usual timeframe for a saddle review, but I’ll keep testing and post updates over time.
As with the Bontrager Aeolus saddle, the new Verse line has a Blendr mount option for attaching lights or other accessories. The mount and light are available separately and it works awesome with any Bontrager tail light, like the Flare RT. The light sits up a little higher and avoids interference with saddle bags or challenges when mounting them to an aero seatpost.
Something to mention here is the additional length of the rails on the Verse saddle. This makes the clamp-able area about 95mm, which is way more than your typical saddle, which sits between 65-85mm of adjustment. This helps avoid the need to replace your seatpost with a different setback, just to get that “Goldilocks fit.”
Getting the fit just right
As mentioned, the rail length is really long. It came in handy aboard the Canyon Endurance CF SL 8.0 because I needed a little more forward position with the included 20mm setback post. I was able to get the reach adjustment dialed in on the Verse Elite, but the saddle angle proved a little trickier.
For starters, I set the saddle up about 1-degree nose-down. I thought this would be a good starting point to get my bearings straight. After a couple of mediocre-feeling rides, I wasn’t so sure. There was continued discomfort (not numbness), just a nagging ability to get fully comfortable on it. After that, I re-adjusted it to 0-degrees and things improved a bit, but not entirely. I need more ride time to sort everything out, and maybe the 155mm width is too wide for my anatomy, but I kept fiddling with it and found my Shangri-La while testing the 3T Exploro RaceMax. I’ve had hundreds of miles of mixed-surface bliss aboard the Verse Elite.
I do love the cutout as it ensures consistent blood flow to my nether regions. Not once did I experience numbness, so that’s a good sign. I also love the nice, wide nose and the overall length of the saddle that allows plenty of fore/aft movement for varying body positions on the bike. The nose isn’t as wide as the Bontrager Aeolus, but it is significantly wider than the Montrose was.
Note: After switching to the 145, I have found my saddle. I’m nearing 1000 miles on it and it just plain works for me.
- Long rails offer tons of adjustability
- Blendr mount option is nice
- Cutout ensures blood is flowing to your sensitive bits
- Extra length gives more room to move
- 4 widths for a near-custom fit
Still trying to find that comfort sweet spot… I’m close(the 145mm width did the trick)
The Bottom Line: Bontrager Verse Elite Saddle
I can typically find a good home on a Bontrager saddle, and the Montrose was one of my favorites. Its replacement is the all-new Verse line and it’s made to work with both men and women. There’s a ton to love with this saddle and I really like it, but haven’t quite found my sweet spot. In time, I think I’ll get it, so stay tuned. (Update: The 145mm version has been in for review and I think I found my sweet spot. Be sure to get measured for that proper fit. And, a 155 in one Bontrager saddle may not mean you’ll enjoy a 155 in other models.)
Buy Now: Available at TrekBikes.com