In the quest for marginal gains on the hill climb bike, AX lightness products are always reassuringly expensive. It is a bit of specialist market, and unless you have a good reason to save 20-30grams, you might find a better way to spend your money on bicycle equipment ( or even, dare I suggest, spending money on things not bicycle related…)
The AX Lightness sprint saddle was the lightest saddle I could find. It also looks great. I’ve been riding the sprint version for the past couple of weeks. Mostly hill climb training, but also some longer endurance riding (3 hours plus).
AX Lightness – Sprint Saddle
AX lightness saddle on Trek Emonda hill climb bike
The Sprint Saddle has a very low weight at 69 grams. I haven’t seen a lighter saddle. The Tune Concorde comes close at 73 grams, but it is more awkward to fit. A few years ago, I had to send mine back because I couldn’t attach it to my bike.
The sprint saddle is a narrow fit, making it aerodynamic especially in the race prone position. There is no padding at all, you are sitting on sheet carbon fibre. It is more comfortable than it looks – as long as you have good padded cycling shorts. I’m kind of used to sitting on these kind of saddles. In a strange way they can be more comfortable than you expect. I’ve done long rides on these saddles without getting saddle sores. I wouldn’t want to do a 12 hour ride on one, but I can quite get used to the saddle.
One draw back with these carbon fibre saddles is that they are very smooth, and if you’re not careful, you can slip around. Some people might find this a little disconcerting. AX lightness do some models with leather padding or other coverings, should you want to get more grip. Personally, I don’t mind and haven’t ever felt compromised by slipping around on the saddle.
It is a beautiful piece of engineering, they have done a really good job in making the rails seamlessly mould into the saddle shape. It’s a one piece carbon fibre construction.
One motivation for buying the AX lightness saddle was that my old Tune Kor Vum, seemed to have a lot of flexibility – I was worried about losing power from the flexibility of the saddle. The AX lightness saddle is possibly stiffer, but not much – you still get a bit of ‘give’. I don’t think it compromises ride, but I am a very light rider (61kg). Also this little ‘give’ makes the saddle more comfortable than you might expect.
Value for money?
Can a €269 saddle weighing 69 grams ever be good value for money? If you’re missing out on national hill climb podiums by the odd second, you can perhaps just about justify it the cost/per kg saved. I bought mine second hand on ebay – partly because it was difficult to find a seller in the UK. But, compared with other saddles, the AX lightness is not as expensive as you might expect. For example, the Selle Italia SLR Carbon saddle has a RRP of over £300, and weighs 95g.
Given the build quality and impressive look, I think this is one AX lightness product which isn’t absurdly expensive.
Do I regret buying?
No, I’m quite glad to have this saddle. I can see myself using it for many years. For very long, endurance rides, I might swap for something more comfortable. But, for anything upto 4-5 hours, I’d be happy to use, so long as I had good padded shorts.
Which is best model to buy?
To make life complicated, there are quite a few different options. The endurance and leaf – featured below may be better suited to a rider more concerned about comfort and all round riding, than the odd 10-20grams (which you don’t really notice anyway). Unless you’re confident of getting on with minimalist saddle, you may be better off with padded versions.
Other AX lightness saddles
AX Lightness Endurance
- 279 mm x 135 mm x 64 mm
Also comes in the Lightness Endurance plus – for extra padding
AX Lightness Leaf
- 265 x 140 x 54 mm
- Comes with anatomical cut out and greater support for long distance riding
Also comes in Leaf Plus – with coloured comfort padding at the back of the saddle or AX Lightness Leather – an extra layer of comfort and a non-slip surface.