Gear Army: Prologo Scratch Pro Bike Saddle

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Nobody likes the numb, tingly feeling you sometimes get in your man-parts after a long bike ride.

That is why I was really excited to try the Scratch Pro saddle ($150) from Prologo. And, hey, if 2008 Tour de France winner Carlos Sastre can ride one, than so can I.

The first thing I noticed was how light the saddle was. Prologo uses multiple layers of carbon fiber in the saddle base which shaves grams. They've also engineered it in a way that allows for different levels of stiffness throughout. Combined with titanium alloy rails, the variation in stiffness made the Scratch Pro a perfect platform for pedaling.

Stiffness doesn't mean a lack of comfort, though. When I squeezed the Scratch Pro near the nose, I felt softer padding than at the tail. Prologo refers to this as “Active Density,” meaning there is reduced pressure at the nose but support for efficient pedal strokes at the rear. The benefits of these innovative features sound great on paper but they became much clearer once I started riding.

I had a local bike shop install the saddle to make sure it was level and then I tried rides of varying lengths in order to test the saddle. My first was a 16-mile ride from my apartment in Harlem to Central Park and around the loop in the park. My next ride was from my apartment to my office in Union Square and back home through Central Park, about 30 miles. My longest ride was the New York Bike Century of over 100 miles.

With my old saddle I would sometimes start to feel a tingle about three-quarters of the way through the shortest of my three rides but the progressive padding on the Scratch Pro did it’s job as advertised.  I also felt that I was pedaling more efficiently due to another smart design feature called Easy Stroke Design, which allowed for better clearance of my legs while pedaling. The ESD of the saddle made it much easier for me to climb hills from a seated position. At the end of my first ride I expected to feel more of those tingles that I get with other saddles but I didn’t.

My second ride was from home to my office on city streets where keeping up with traffic is key to being safe. This is when the Scratch Pro began to show its worth. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy the pedaling was and how comfortable I felt sprinting to make yellow lights. I even decided to do an extra lap around Central Park on my way home. 

The big test for me was riding in the New York Bike Century. My finish usually ends with a couple days of soreness. This time was different: There was no numbness when I got to the first rest stop or the halfway point. Instead of wanting to chuck my bike and head home for a nap, I was thrilled to keep riding. And the days afterward weren't as intolerable.

I have tried a lot of saddles, from split rail models to gel inserts to gel covers and have changed short styles several times. The Scratch Pro uses technology and product features to deliver a comfortable yet efficient ride. This is the saddle I have been looking for.

–Joshua Greenberg often bikes over 20 miles through Manhattan fromhis Harlem home base. When he's not cycling, Greenberg can be foundsailing and surfing at the Jersey Shore or snowboarding in themountains of Vermont.

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