Bontrager says that the new Kovee seat lineup is the next generation of their popular Evoke RXL, a saddle that many riders have found to be comfortable and forgiving. But unlike the single, 128mm width that the Evoke RXL comes in, the Kovee can be had in three different sizes so you can choose whichever best matches your behind: 128, 138, or 148mm. All three are 270mm long, and the 138mm version reviewed below weighed 220 grams on my scale.
You could spend up to $199.99 USD for the Pro Carbon model (carbon rails and carbon fiber-reinforced shell) if you think metal rails are silly and want to save some grams, or a more reasonable $99.99 USD for the Comp Gel model (gel padding, in case the name didn't give it away). The Elite version shown here goes for $129.99 USD, and all three carry the Unconditional Bontrager Guarantee that lets you return the seat within thirty days of purchase if you're not happy with it for any reason. This is a good thing when it comes to bike seats that you're going to spend countless hours sitting on - you now have no excuse to put up with an angry ass or numb knob.
Kovee Elite MTB Details
• Suspended, hollow titanium rails
• Recessed center section
• Size-specific curvature
• Carbon fiber-reinforced shell
• Multi-density padding
• Three width options: 128, 138, 148mm
• Length: 270mm
• Weight: 220 grams
• MSRP: $129.99 USD
The Kovee Elite's carbon-reinforced shell is the same as what you'll find under the padding of the $199.99 USD Pro Carbon, but it's the Elite model's titanium rails that set it apart. And rather than being attached directly to the underside of the Kovee's shell, the rails terminate at "wings" of sorts that extend down from the shell in order to allow for more flex. Bontrager says that this increases compliance, which isn't hard to believe, especially because they are far from the only ones using a setup like this. Grabbing the back of the shell and giving it a firm yank from side to side does illustrate the built-in flex of the design.
Firm padding has been laid over the shell - it certainly feels racey - but the truth is that it's a seat's shape the plays the biggest role in comfort, not how soft or firm its padding is. And speaking of shape, a subtle depression runs for three-quarters of the Kovee's length, something that should be noted by any rider who's concerned about there being too much pressure applied to sensitive areas of their undercarriage.
Each of the three width options also sports different curvatures across the top of the shell, with the wider, 148mm version having a slightly more pronounced convex shape than the 138mm wide Kovee, and the 128mm model having a less convex shape than the two wider sizes.
Reviews of bike seats are kinda weird. So what if it works for my ass; that doesn't mean that it's going to work for yours, does it? Nope, because we're all special, individual humans and a lot of us probably prefer a differently shaped perch to sit on because we all have special, individual shapes when it comes to our backsides. But there is at least one truth about bike seats: the width of our sit bones has a huge impact on what width bike seat is going to work best. Wider bum bones mean that you'll need a wider seat and vice versa. As with pretty much everything else about me, my sit bones are of an average width, so I'm not surprised that the middle-of-the-road 138mm wide Kovee felt pretty good under me.
And by "pretty good" I actually mean nearly invisible. The 138mm width felt bang-on, and I can't recall having to shift my ass around to find some unmolested real estate, something that I can't say about all of the seats I've had under me. A handful of five-hour days, at least a few six-hour days, and zero issues to report back regarding fit. I can't say that the flexible rail mounting points help, and I'm not sure if the relief channel down the center of the seat is a blessing (I don't have numbing issues on any seats I use, so long as they're angled correctly) but I do know that my body gels well with the 138mm wide Kovee.
My Kovee test seat certainly looks like it's spent a few months in the mountains and the dirt, but none of the scuffs and scars are terminal. The rear corners are showing some wear, probably from my bike being laid down on its side, either from crashing or just stopping, but the cover looks like it would last a few years of neglect before I'd have to think about a new seat. The cover also appears to be bonded on rather than stapled, which is nice - I've had a lot of staples pull out from the bottom of other seat's shells. And there's no creaking or groaning from the rails, which are both still as straight as the day I bolted it to my bike. Pinkbike’s Take:
|The Kovee clearly worked well for me, and I suspect that the 138mm width that I tested is going to also work well for a lot of other riders. At $129.99 USD, it's not exactly an inexpensive seat, however, even if Bontrager's guarantee means that you can return it if it isn't for you. I see a lot of riders saving a bit of money by springing for the $99.99 USD Comp Gel model that sports the same shape and is also offered in three different widths. - Mike Levy|
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