For any rider, the touchpoints on a bike, where the body interfaces, are some of the most critical elements in comfort. We often change out grips, saddles, pedals, shoes, and footbeds in search of something that can help us ride more comfortably, or longer.
Specialized have taken it a step further by developing a system to create a 3D printed saddle that is completely unique to a rider. Specialized call the saddle "Mirror Technology" and it uses a process called Digital Light Synthesis, pioneered by Silicon Valley-based company Carbon, to 3D print a liquid polymer saddle. Specialized's engineers believe that this technology can replace foam in "every cycling touchpoint."
The saddle uses a lattice structure made up of 14,000 struts and 7,799 nodes to mirror a rider's buttocks region.
According to Specialized, the saddle is designed to perfectly reflect a rider's anatomy to improve performance, increase comfort, and reduce the chance of injury. The 3D printed saddle upper utilizes a structure that can infinitely vary the polymer's density in a way foam cannot. The resulting structure is a lattice made up of 14,000 struts and 7,799 nodes - each of which can be individually tuned. Creating a saddle this specific with foam would require thousands of different foams in a single saddle to achieve the same result.
Specialized say the Mirror technology has been tested to improve sit bone comfort for both men and women and offer the potential to stabilize the pelvis while damping vibration and reducing soft tissue pressure. They have been testing the new saddle with their professional teams and will have their new Power saddle available with the Mirror technology in early 2020.
Having already been using a set of Specialized's custom footbeds with a great deal of success, I'm looking forward to trying out one of the saddles when they become available. Once I go through the process and have spent some time on the new saddle, I'll post a full review.