First Look: Specialized's Custom 3D Printed Mirror Saddle

Aug 27, 2019
by Daniel Sapp  

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.


123 Comments

  • 188 1
 I scanned a picture of my ass and sent it to Specialized years ago...and still haven't heard anything back.
  • 1 1
 LOL
  • 34 0
 They now own your ass, and will sue anyone with one just like it.
  • 10 0
 Not even a lawsuit? Weird.
  • 4 1
 Dude u gave them the idea and they've created this saddle. Sue them!
  • 1 2
 Because you had to scan your little tiny hole too :-)
  • 9 0
 Send a pic of your ass to Specialized and you get ignored. Send a pic of your ass to the HR department and you get a charges. Well, in my case it wasn't technically a picture as much as drive by. And it wasn't Specialized as much as the Mayor. But the point is that we have been treated unfairly
  • 1 0
 Too funny !
  • 105 2
 Sweet! I've always wanted a lazer scan of my b hole. Now I have an excuse to get one.
  • 199 3
 just to clarify, this is not a link to a .jpg of my b hole.
  • 98 0
 @scott-townes: Thanks for clarifying. Still going to err on the side of not clicking the link.
  • 16 0
 @scott-townes: I clicked on the link with my eyes half closed, I thought you sat on your scanner butt naked and posted that picture.
  • 49 1
 Do I have to have a new scan done for this, or can I just send them one from my collection?
  • 3 0
 make sure to use the kind that permanently remove the hair too.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: I clicked your link on my work computer, and the company firewall blocked it. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
  • 3 0
 Is there a preset for Old Man Ass? Asking for a friend.
  • 9 0
 Brook MacDonald guinea pigging the new scanning procedure:
www.pinkbike.com/photo/17661504
  • 2 0
 @scott-townes: Negative props because I was hoping it WAS your butt hole.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes:

Click here: virus.jpg
  • 62 0
 This is crap. I'd never let my buttox sit atop anything less than 8,000 nodes.
  • 2 0
 And how.
  • 45 0
 So wait how does this process work? How do they get a scan of my ass? Do they already have a scan of my ass?
  • 20 1
 I know at least one person who already has a scan of your ass ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
  • 24 1
 Data scientits found a way to analysis your social network with "deep learning". Based on how fast you retweet saddle images and how many italians publications you "like", they can proceed a virtual image of your ass.
  • 14 0
 I hear you have to download an app and then sit on your phone bare assed
  • 27 0
 @felimocl: You mean Snapchat?
  • 7 0
 @faul: hey beavis he said “tits” hah ahahhahhah
  • 1 0
 It'll be something you sit on that maps your arse. Trek had something years ago you would sit on to measure your sit bone width. Looking for that technology I found this excerpt on Trek's precision fit which sounds like the tech would work for Specialized's system:

"Using a pressure-activated board linked to analysis software, we can identify where your sit bones are, your exact location on the saddle, and pressure points that are problematic."
  • 2 0
 @donpinpon29: Yeah. Heheehehe. I like thingies
  • 30 0
 Is that a mirror in your saddle cause I can see you sitting on my face
  • 24 3
 Danny Hart's would have two giant indentations for his nuts so he can sit down.
  • 8 2
 oh god. more balltalk. when will it end.
  • 2 1
 @endlessblockades: This one is different.
  • 3 1
 @endlessblockades: Never. It will never end. Why does it bother you? Undescended?
  • 1 3
 @DhDWills: Nah mine descended in perfect unison, produced wonderful offspring and they stay out the the way these days, I just feel that balltalk, which I have just indulged in, has no place here in 2019. Its not #Metwo . Bollocks, Buttocks its all shitposting
  • 2 0
 @endlessblockades: *when will it bell end
  • 3 1
 @endlessblockades: I only come here for the balltalk.
  • 4 0
 Finally Yoann Barelli will be able to run his brake levers like most people..
  • 1 2
 @endlessblockades: SF. That checks out. #Metwo for life. You may have just started something. I don't participate in social media other than this site so probably not.
  • 1 0
 @DhDWills: I didn't start the fire
  • 1 0
 looooool
  • 1 0
 Welcome to 2019
  • 1 0
 Hilarious, but for other like me, please be aware NSFW!!!!
  • 1 0
 well I missed this on april fools day Big Grin
  • 14 5
 wtf are buttox? is this america pretending that they invented a word again? its buttocks, the plural of buttock.
  • 36 0
 It's when you inject botox into your buttocks to get any wrinkles out before scanning.
  • 1 0
 No, we Yanquis know the correct spelling is Buttock and Buttocks. It was going to be my great honor to request a correction but you've gone an spoilt it. Mr. Sapp may be an American, but this Canadian website is ultimately responsible for the content and how it's spelt.
  • 5 0
 @endlessblockades: I can take responsibility for that. After being in Canada, my spelling and grammar haven't fully reacclimated. That word must have come from somewhere in between.
  • 2 0
 Forest Gump style.
  • 13 6
 Soo... this is going to cost Spesh WAY less to make. You think they will pass savings on to the customer? Asking for a friend.
  • 11 1
 That just means a bigger profit margin! Has anyone started a pool on what they think MSRP is going to be? I say in the $280 range despite being printed.
  • 30 1
 What makes you believe 3D printed padding would cost way less than a layer of foam with a sheet of polyurethane on top?
  • 5 5
 @michibretz: Lots of factors contribute to the end cost. With 3D printing there is no tooling, and it can often be done entirely in house. Complicated designs often require little to no extra effort. The article also mentions "Creating a saddle this specific with foam would require thousands of different foams in a single saddle to achieve the same result". While I think that may be a bit of an exaggeration, it does make a good point about the capabilities of additive manufacturing.
  • 5 2
 You all are only thinking about the cost of manufacturing. Developing this thing and the technology around it wasn't cheap.
  • 21 0
 @man-wolf: 3d printing is not as cheap as most people think... It is a slow process and time is money...
  • 3 1
 @TheR: No, I'm not. I am considering the time and energy that go into design and development as well, which is actually what I do for a living. I'm not saying this saddle is inherently cheaper than a traditionally manufactured one, I'm merely posing that costing on products can vary wildly between these manufacturing methods. It's product specific, and it may very well be the case this costs substantially more in the end than the same seat traditionally manufactured.
  • 3 0
 @millsr4: It is largely dependent on your equipment and chosen materials, as well as your manufacturing goals.
  • 5 0
 @man-wolf: I am aware of the fact that you can design differently with additive manufacturing.
I am siting next to two printers here in my office.
There is no chance I could make a cheaper mass produced saddle than with conventional manufacturing like @jawzzy3 suggests.
Machine hours are expensive and printing is slow.
Considering that the saddles base is still conventionally manufactured and molds where created for those parts the one mold less for the padding is not making a massive difference in the overall investment either.
Especially considering the cold press EVA mold is the cheapest of all the molds compared.
  • 3 0
 @TheR: I have reason to believe its printed on a www.carbon3d.com printer. S has multiple of these in the office. Used them in the past to create anything from chamois to kneepads. Nike and NB did shoe soles in the past. The technology is not new.
that said I think its super cool.
  • 5 0
 What if the saddle is way better? Should they not be able to charge more for a better product that delivers more value to the consumer? The cost isn't the only factor in the price....
  • 6 0
 @crazyXCsquirrel: Probably more than $280 as their regular S-Works saddles cost in the $300 range.
  • 1 0
 @michibretz: Maybe not the printer, but they had to pay some mad scientist to research how this can be done, come up with a laser to measure people’s asses, program the whole thing, etc. It’s a process.

Then there’s the whole economic issue of scarcity — there’s never enough of anything for everyone who wants one to have it, so the laws of supply and demand come into play. Suppose this is the world’s best seat and everyone wants one. Well there’s not enough for everyone who wants one — so they charge accordingly.

Simple and cheap to make isn’t always reflected in the cost. Lots of other factors.
  • 3 0
 I say $400.
A. It is Specialized
B. New or not new technology, it is for bikes, therefore $$ and very few pass on any savings to the retailer, especially when it is new and fancy looking
C. Probably stupid light weight, therefore that means more $$ as well.
  • 2 0
 Carbon printers are $40k per machine per year to license. I'm not familiar with how much their resins costs but they aren't cheap either. The carbon printers are faster than other similar printers like those from FormaLabs. Based on machine cost, material cost, scanner/mapper cost, scanner/mapper "development costs", that they need to "recoup" and the cost of setting up the scanner-ordering-printing system they need to create; these seats are going to be more expensive than
  • 2 0
 @TheR: S is doing all that for Years already. They call it body geometry. Theirs physicians and engineers involved in the development of pretty much anything that carries that label and much more. No matter if the seats 3d printed or molded.

But yes your are correct, these are all reasons why an S product, or any product form an established brand, is more expensive then a thing you would be able to find on Alibaba or amazon shipped form china directly.
To many folks her on PB don't want to acknowledge that and keep acting like there's and conspiracy going on aimed at pushing cyclists into bankruptcy....
  • 2 0
 This is a pretty cool concept. I met someone from Carbon 3D a couple years ago in San Francisco. The idea of having full layers printed at once really opens the opportunities for prints. The mesh seat should fit to anyone. I'd be curious how durable they are in a crash.
  • 6 0
 Butt nodes
  • 4 1
 This is gonna get so dirty, and literally look like shut after the first wet ride... then again this is for those "fair weather" riders.
  • 13 1
 Most things involving a wet ride and a rear end are messy.
  • 7 0
 99% of the mud ends up on the rear of the saddle and you can easily wash off remnants that may end up in some odd, hard to reach places.



lol
  • 3 0
 Who gives a shit what it looks like if it fits your ass?
  • 3 0
 @it’s not how it looks, it’s that all those nodes and lattices are going to get completely filled with dirt. And then how will it feel? Seems like an absolute dirt trap.
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: agreed!!!
  • 1 0
 @BiNARYBiKE: i thought all my saddles were equally bad in the wet mud.. until I got a course kevlar fabric covered saddle. The traction of the non-smooth cover collected mud and held onto it. Even if you wiped it off, it was still just sitting on a thick layer of nasty mud.
  • 1 0
 @scott-townes: There can't be much mud near you then! In winter time here, if you clean you bike on the way home and sit down then your saddle is usually covered in mud again Smile
  • 3 0
 I've seen a few movies on the internet with there are lots of struts and nodes involved with buttocks, but this kinda quantity just sounds perverse.
  • 5 0
 Looks like a Tioga Spyder......
  • 5 1
 The future is now.
  • 3 0
 "dentist saddle" nevermind that just doesn't sound right.
  • 3 0
 Pretty awesome technology. Bring on the innovation!
  • 2 0
 Can you also get @sarahmoore to test one out, because let's face it, women ride and we value their input.
  • 3 0
 Doesnt matter if the shell creaks like the old ones. Bad quality.
  • 2 0
 Spesh saddles fit me so well, but don't hold up off road for long before they start creaking, IM back on WTB again.
  • 2 0
 Personalised is great but good luck keeping it clean on a mountain bike. Or is it only for road?
  • 1 0
 You're really worried about getting your ass a little dirty on mtb rides?
  • 1 0
 @Frzrbrnbass: ha, no I mean keeping the saddle clean, it's full'o holes
  • 3 0
 The real question
Will the price make your butt hurt?
  • 3 0
 Specialized does butt stuff now.
  • 4 6
 Or you could buy a leather Brooks saddle which will mold itself to the shape of your a$$ because it's a piece of leather stretched over a couple of seat rails. Pity they're so wide (and expensive) which makes it awkward for MTBing.
  • 5 0
 I bought into the Brooks hype and hated it. They're so slippery... you can literally feel your ass move around with each pedal stroke. Wasn't for me at least.
  • 4 0
 @connorjuliusjohnson: Fair call, I never experienced this with mine and I would use one again. Saddles are such a subjective thing, what one person thinks is the be all and end all, someone else would like to burn with fire!
  • 1 0
 Brooks saddles also take about 4-5 years of riding to get comfy. I don't have that kind of time, dunno about you.
  • 1 1
 If this is custom made then why isn't there a larger cutout on the left side than say the right? It all looks very symetrical to me.
  • 1 0
 Well it's an ad so it's completely rationally to think they probably just printed a generic prototype model used in developing the saddle. Why does everyone on this site try to snipe bike manufacturers but ultimately just make themselves look like idiots?
  • 2 0
 I heard they’re sponsoring Phil McCrevis.
  • 1 0
 @thinkbike: him and Ram Dass
  • 1 0
 And Hugh Jainess, right?
  • 1 0
 You just have to sign a declaration giving Specialized permission to access to your TSA body scans. =P
  • 2 0
 Taint what i was thinking
  • 1 0
 Specilazed rocks during last few years, they are releasing nice improvements
  • 1 0
 Bet it doesn't work for my fat arse.
  • 1 0
 Looks like fun to clean after a muddy ride!
  • 1 0
 I’m interested just for the ventilation.
  • 1 0
 And Football helmets www.carbon3d.com/riddell
  • 1 0
 Will this accommodate my unorthodox lemons I have to sit on every time?
  • 1 0
 Specialized, always leading the way.
  • 1 0
 Is that stem customized as well?
  • 1 0
 Great idea if it works. After my last long ride my butt was killing me.
  • 1 0
 Pure marketing crap, as always.
  • 5 6
 Nobody,

Literally nobody:

Spesh: Lets make a saddle that no one can afford!!
  • 6 0
 "The saddle uses a lattice structure made up of 14,000 struts and 7,799 nodes to mirror a rider's buttox region" - Those numbers are a good indication of the price!!
  • 1 0
 @ncrider5: Structures like this can be surprisingly easy to design with modern software.
  • 2 0
 I want a custom 3D printed saddle, sounds awsome
  • 1 0
 How much?!
  • 1 1
 Just send Specialized a picture of your taint I guess
  • 1 1
 You want to reduce soft tissue damage? Stand and hammer like a man.
  • 1 0
 T'aint special.
  • 1 1
 Levy will like it.
  • 1 1
 why, because it doesn't have a climb lever?

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