WTB’s Silverado saddle has proven to be a popular choice amongst its intended cross-country / all mountain riding audience, but it’s also pretty common to see the seat attached to weight-conscious downhill and freeride rigs. Pinkbike.com received a few of these saddles for test purposes in January and I’ve been putting one of the samples through its paces since then to provide y’all with the longer-term lowdown on the SL55.Review inside
The 2010 WTB Silverado SL55 after about three months' use. After a phenomenal January / February / March, the weather took a decided turn for the worse on the Wet Coast.
For 2010, WTB introduced a special edition of the Silverado
that features the same titanium rails and long, flat shape as the standard model, along with a special graphic treatment designed in part by WTB-sponsored rider and top pro Brian Lopes. The SL55 tips the scales at 205 grams (claimed and actual weight) and is available with both white and black skins to match the colour schemes of the most meticulous garage-based gearwhores out there. While it’s not the lightest or cheapest saddle on the market, its fans are pretty vocal about how comfortable it is for riding in all conditions, whether they are on multi-day, high-altitude epics or blasting out laps over a couple of hours at local hotspots. On the bike: Comfort and durability
Out of the packaging, I was impressed by the weight and general shape of the SL55, and was equally impressed by its sleek looks when clamped onto the Cove Handjob
that I tested for Pinkbike.com earlier this year and the Giant Trance
that I employ as my daily driver when I’m not putting hours onto test mules.
On the Handjob, I found the saddle to be pretty uncomfortable over flat terrain and even more so on steep, technical climbs. After many trail rides, I felt the SL55 was too firm and the transitional width between the nose of the saddle and its ‘sit area’ was too wide for my preferences, but I was willing to transfer it onto my fully for a more complete evaluation. On the Trance, the Silverado felt better, but I couldn’t help but think it didn’t really match the way I ride or, for that matter, my posterior as well as WTB’s Rocket V – which happens to be my regular weapon of choice. While climbing, I frequently snagged my clothing on the nose of the relatively long Silverado and, eventually, the saddle tore a huge, irreparable hole in the crotch of an expensive pair of riding shorts.
Wear on the saddle from about six months' worth of regular riding during Spring / Summer conditions. Right side.
More disconcerting, however, was the wear that the Silverado SL55 showed after riding under regular spring and early-summer West Coast conditions (see left side
). After a few months of riding, the cover on the rear edges of the saddle started to wear thin and, eventually, the cover wore away entirely, leading to lengthy tears along the rear corners of the saddle. I could have taped off the tears on both sides of the saddle with hockey tape or some other aftermarket concoction but, given that WTB integrates anti-abrasion corners on many of its saddles, I felt that the lack of corner protection should be observed during testing, so I let it be to see how it would wear over time.Evaluation
The WTB Silverado SL55 is a high-end saddle that combines a relatively low weight with a long and narrow stance and a relatively high price point. I didn’t really take to the shape of the saddle, but given that saddles are intensely personal components, I’d recommend looking at the WTB demo fleet
at a participating dealer to see if the Silverado matches your derriere.
With all that being said, I’m hesitant to recommend the WTB Silverado SL55 based solely on the wear that effectively destroyed the cover in less than half a season, especially since I’ve put multiple seasons onto other WTB saddles that utilize the company’s ABR corners. In short, regardless of personal preference on saddle shape, the SL55 is not durable enough for all-season use and too expensive for routine replacement.MSRP: $150 (USD) Manufacturer's website: www.wtb.com