Pros: Light weight at 230 grams, durable, good leather, Ti railings
Cons: Very narrow, padding is a bit thin, not very comfortable
I purchased an ultralight Leather O2 Air 40 Titanium Racing saddle a few years ago and I have to say it has held up very well. The leather is still supple and hasnt developed much wear or cracking yet. Although the decals have all but been rubbed off, the overall quality of construction is very good.
The reason I went with this particular model was because at the time I was obsessed with shedding as much weight as I could from my bike. I felt the lighter the bike, the longer I could ride with less effort. Ok, youre probably thinking shaving 100-150 grams by choosing an ultralight saddle over a heavier gel padded saddle doesnt seem like it will make much of a difference in performance. However, when you consider summing the weight savings after trimming grams elsewhere (like wheels, skewers, tires, pedals, etc), the difference can add up to several pounds.
This particular Avocet saddle was among the lightest production model in the world and tipped the scales at just 230 grams. Thats pretty darn light considering saddles generally weigh over 400 grams. So how did Avocet get it so light? Well for starters, there is no gel in it for shock absorption. Instead closed cell foam is used and there's a pretty thin layer of it. Next, black leather is stretched over and the edges of the leather are glued down to a very narrow nylon shell. (A Kevlar model uses the bulletproof material instead of leather). Finally, the rails are made of titanium and are shortened a bit. Overall length of the saddle is about 10 ? inches long and about 5 ? inches wide.
As ultralight saddles go, this one is fairly comfortable. But unless you are obsessed with weight, I would not recommend this saddle for most riders. I certainly would not recommend this saddle to most women because it will likely be too narrow and the padding is insufficient to be comfortable over any distance. For men weighing over 180 lbs, carefully consider the weight (or lack thereof) to comfort ratio before reaching for your wallet. I am pushing 175 lbs and I have to say, this saddle is really becoming a pain in my posterior.
Fortunately, Avocet makes several other saddles including GelFlex models and women specific models but they tip the scales at over 350 to over 450 grams.