For a cyclist with limited training time, reasonable opportunities for competition (also known as racing) can start to feel few and far between. Racing is by no means the only reason to ride, but it’s fun. Anyone who has ever sprinted a riding buddy to the top of a hill or city limits sign knows the feeling. It feels good to go fast, and it feels good to have good legs and training rewarded by a race result.
But lacking extensive training time, 80-mile road races don’t sound appealing. And office park crits can get old, as they’re subject to the vagaries of team tactics and even sketchy at times.
Last summer I got fired up on our local time trial series. It’s a short course that doesn’t change, about 10 miles in length, and costs about fifteen bucks per race. It’s fun because you can compare times week to week, and even season to season. Plus, I like geeking out on TT gear.
This winter I’ve been playing around with a number of fun parts on my TT bike, hoping to get faster by summer. I’ve got a SRAM Red group, Zipp R2C shifters on VukaShift extensions and a VukaBull base bar, all bolted to a Trek TTX. So far, the bike feels great and the parts are sweet, but the ol’ body has some catching up to do.
One of the bigger revelations of my experimenting with parts and position is the Prologo saddle I’m using. It’s the Nago Evo TTR, built specifically for time trial use. In fact, Fabian Cancellara was involved in its development and used it last season in the Tour de France.
He must know a thing or two, because it’s awesome. If you’ve ever ridden a time trial bike, you know that sitting comfortably is a challenge. But I find the Nago Evo TTR feels great. If you’re building a TT bike for summer, give it a good hard look.
The Nago Evo TTR is a normal saddle and there are no tricks to mounting it on the seatpost. The saddle I’ve got came with Nack 10 rails, which are carbon fiber with Kevlar and aluminum in the clamp area. They’re standard dimensions so there are no clamp compatibility issues. The base is injected with carbon fiber as well, making for a 192-gram saddle.
Where things get more interesting is in the shape, padding distribution, and cover texture. The Nago Evo TTR has a relatively standard shape, measuring 254mm tip to tail, and 136mm at the widest point. It’s not a stubby, sawed-off TT saddle. But it does have a nose that’s somewhat square in shape and flat across the top. Depending on how you measure, the nose is about 120mm long and 40mm wide, and the cover in this portion is defined by Prologo’s Slide Control surface texture, a series of raised arc-shaped ridges designed to help keep your personal parts firmly planted, rather than sliding forward off the end.
In addition to the somewhat flattened, elongated nose, Nago Evo TTR has thicker padding up front here. It’s not the bulbous foam you might find on some triathlon saddles, but it’s discreetly thicker and denser padding designed to bear most of your body weight on this small area.
The wide tail of the saddle mustn’t be overlooked either. It’s got a slight up-flare to cradle your butt, and it’s wide enough to support sit bones. According to Prologo press material, the objective was to maintain comfortable seating just as on a standard saddle for climbing or hilly time trials, and also build up the nose to accommodate extended forward sitting “on the rivet” for an optimal TT position.
Fit and finish look great. Construction quality looks excellent. It comes in three color schemes: black lettering on a black cover, black lettering on white, or white on white.
Nago Evo TTR is the best TT saddle I’ve ever used. I’ve been through a number of different saddle options, including a stubby-nosed TT-specific piece and a few normal road saddles. None have been nearly as comfortable as this one. The width of the nose and the padding density is perfect.
I also like the wide rear portion of this saddle. I’ve yet to do any hilly time trials, but for warming up beforehand and riding around afterward for cool down, it’s really nice to have a comfortable, normal-feeling seating option. The width, shape, padding and curvature feel so good, I want to check out a Nago Evo road saddle for my road bike.
Does the Slide Control surface texture on the nose work? I didn’t slide forward off the nose, and it does facilitate an extremely forward hip angle. Sitting on it, I can feel the Slide Control, but it’s not uncomfortable. I just know it’s there, and it certainly helps prevent any sense of instability caused by unintentional sliding on the nose.
In terms of positioning, the rails permit plenty of fore/aft adjustment. On my Trek, forward saddle placement is limited only by the seatpost setback and I was able to get the nose of the saddle to the UCI limit of 5cm behind the bottom bracket.
It’s darned expensive at $290. But if you’re building a TT bike for this season, check out the Nago Evo TTR. It’s cool when extensive marketing material describing a long and detailed development process actually winds up ringing true. Prologo’s press kit says the saddle took over a year to create, from data collection in the summer of 2008 to introduction of the final product at the Tour in 2009. I like that Nago Evo TTR actually has the feeling of a saddle that’s undergone careful thought and refinement.
Now if I could just get my legs to cooperate and propel me and my bike at the speed promised by this sweet TT gear I’ve got.