Bontrager Kovee Elite MTB Seat - Review

Apr 28, 2016
by Mike Levy  
Bontrager Kovee seat


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


Bontrager Kovee seat
A recessed center section could be a blessing for for some riders.
Bontrager Kovee seat
The Kovee Elite features titanium rails and a carbon fiber-reinforced shell.


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.
Bontrager Kovee seat
The Kovee is flat-ish across the top, but its sides dip down and out of the way for pedaling.






Performance

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.


Bontrager Kovee seat


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:
bigquotesThe 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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72 Comments

  • 59 11
 Does it come in Enduro Boost+ Mid Fat Extra Gnarfest Shred Everything specific model to match my bike?
  • 32 1
 It didn't escape me that one of the sizes is 148mm wide...
  • 22 1
 @Bluefire: Boost saddle for boost sized asses?
  • 8 5
 @Kiwiplague: not sure who neg proped you but i thought it was clevar so i bumped it back up...
  • 1 0
 Oh wow hey nice meme
  • 14 2
 I have this saddle. It is hard as shit and super uncomfortable for me. For reference I fit extremely well one a WTB Pure. But like the review said, everyone's butt is different.
  • 4 0
 The Pure comes in 3 different widths too
  • 3 0
 also like the review said, its more about finding the correct width for you. I have the evoke in two sizes and it defiantly makes a difference even though they both have the same padding ect.
  • 19 1
 @Lt-Scallywag The shit hardness scale is a notoriously unreliable one
  • 3 0
 I can't sit on a wtb saddle for more than 45 seconds before my ass hurts. I tend to like harder saddles, and my current saddle mate is a specialized phenom, wich this looks like it shares some similar shaping. This saddle looks like it'd be comfortable to me
  • 1 0
 @UtahBikeMike:

I thought the same thing, looks like the phenom which I love. I also tried a bunch of other saddles and the phenom was the only one that worked for me. Glad I have another possible option to avoid pickle numbness.

I'd love to hear personal experience of whether there's any difference in the comfort of the carbon edition (for this and for the phenom.)
  • 2 0
 Everyones azz is different. I went through half dozen saddles before finding the Terry Liberator Race, which is only saddle I ride and will ride now. Very comfy, fairly light and reasonably priced.
  • 2 0
 @UtahBikeMike: 45 seconds?!?!? Are you sure you have the right side up?
  • 1 0
 Bring back the BIG EARL
  • 2 0
 @RunsWithScissors:

It'd be more comfortable with the saddle off.
  • 10 1
 How do i know which one fits my butt Smile am i supposed have someone measure it. lol Smile
  • 16 1
 That costs extra...
  • 58 3
 A simple formula for saddle fitting: the heat of the meat must be directly proportional to the angle of the dangle and the mass of the ass
  • 7 1
 WeII where I work we do have a ''ass-o-meter'' to dertermine your ass's bone structure width hahahaha.
  • 7 1
 In all seriousness though, lots of Bontrager stockists actually have a tool for measuring your ass, I kid you not. It looks like pancake batter inside a plastic sleeve that you sit on to mark sit bone width
  • 8 1
 @Brakesnotincluded: We have the Ass-O-Sketch
  • 4 2
 This is the ass-o-meter: i.imgur.com/xz9DSPX.jpg
  • 1 0
 I think Xerox machine works best
  • 2 0
 Trek/Bontrager dealers actually have a pad that you can sit on to measure your.... sit bones. Plus, if you don't like the size you bought, you have 30 days to change your mind with anything Bontrager.
  • 9 0
 I laughed more than I probably should have...
  • 32 1
 This article did not sit well with me
  • 6 1
 @makripper: you're a hero.
  • 11 2
 @makripper: Yeah but it was quite well padded with equal parts humour and information... Nobody should be butthurt by it either
  • 3 1
 @Lookinforit: Well reading this article made me numb...........
  • 15 0
 'Taint no thing.
  • 4 1
 All puns beneath, this is a pretty great saddle. I've had mine since it came out a couple months ago and just like Levy, since setting it up, no numbness or tingling. Best saddle I've ridden on the MTB. Also, Bontrager's 30 day deal, best guarantee in the biz.
  • 1 0
 Well, except specialized's same deal
  • 2 0
 Forgot about that one, except they require you to get another Specialized saddle in that store, Bontrager doesn't care. You can get your money back if you want to, and it counts for anything Bontrager, tires, shoes, bibs, gloves etc
  • 11 6
 We're well into spring, headed towards summer. Isn't grip and saddle reviewing season over?
  • 25 0
 ...says the guy in California.
  • 33 1
 @codypup, you don't use grips or saddles in the summer?
  • 11 0
 @mikekazimer: so much weight savings bruh
  • 5 9
flag codypup (Apr 28, 2016 at 20:51) (Below Threshold)
 @mikekazimer: mike, yes I do. But now that we're through our 50 inches of rain, it should take more than a saddle review to suck me into the pinkbike comments section.
  • 3 0
 @bmoore34: ^^laughed at that one
  • 1 0
 @codypup: Could be worse, the review could be for an everyday floor pump that comes in an endurotastic new colorway, hypothetically speaking of course
  • 10 5
 Why are there seat reviews?
  • 7 0
 For the puns.
  • 2 0
 The Evoke RXL came in 128, 138 and 148mm widths too. It's my favourite saddle ever, thats why i got another brand new 148mm for future use now that they dont make them anymore...
  • 1 0
 Ive owed both the Evoke RXL and Kovee carbon. The Evoke is much more comfortable than the Kovee which I found to be extremely uncomfortable. They are two totally different shapes so, I guess different asses fit different saddles. The edges on the Evoke are rounded downward which I found to be a much more comfortable design.
  • 1 0
 Beez177 is correct. The Kovee feels like sitting on carved wood(Specialized Phenom SL/Comp). The Evoke RXL(148mm) fits me to the point I don't even notice it's there.
  • 2 0
 I have over 600 miles on this saddle with the 148mm. I can honestly say it is the best saddle I have ever used. I very much like it.
  • 4 4
 I'll probably wait to get it for a while. There will soon be a plus version with electronic butt shaping and come with desoreness ready. Maybe I'll even get the 29er specific one.
  • 2 1
 Bontrager,you are so funny! You shaved 20 grams from Evoke RL and adding 50 bucks for Kovee Elite.That's why it's called business,right?
  • 1 0
 I have been riding this saddle for a few months now and I really like it. I have typically always used spec. bg saddles in the past but this one has done the job well.
  • 1 0
 Kovee is completely different than ultra- comfy Evoke 1/2/3/RL/RXL. The best word to describe the Kovee is...."minimalist asshatchet."
  • 1 0
 Looks like a pretty clean seat. And a good review. Now I know to avoid staples.
  • 1 0
 It's great when you have a cheap ass and find $40 wtb saddles the most comfy
  • 1 2
 Must be nice. I also bend the crap out of wtb rails after a few rides. I swear they're $35 because the rails are made of leftover soggy ramen noodles.
  • 1 0
 @UtahBikeMike: Only saddle I've bent was a $100 sdg titanium one, have had same cheap wtb one for 4-5 years and 2 bikes.
  • 1 0
 @multialxndr:

I bent 3. They lasted about 2 months each. I haven't bent another brand.
  • 2 0
 Seat eh....I like the 9point8 though...
  • 2 0
 Does it come in a plus-size Kim Kardashian width?
  • 2 1
 Yeah so, FYI the Evoke comes in 3 different widths as well.
  • 1 0
 Unless it has electric seat warmer inside it doesnt cost 130$
  • 4 4
 AT $129, I might have to sit on this decision for a bit...
  • 1 1
 yet another 2x4 crushing man parts seat...
  • 3 4
 Now here's a product I could reslly get behind.
  • 2 4
 Are the perforations in the middle of the seat so soak up butt sweat?
  • 2 5
 Personally Im good with the 20 dollar saddle I rarely sit on
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