The Bike List

Specialized Toupe Road Saddle £70

Tested by Nikalas Cook, tester for The Bike List

Saddles are very much a personal thing and few components inspire such fierce brand loyalty in cyclists. All of our backsides are different so what's comfy for your mate might be akin to sitting on a barbed wire coated razor blade for you. Once you've found one that works for you though, no matter what else comes on the market, you'll stick with it. Personally I'm a dyed in the wool Fizik man and, with either Ariones or Paves on all my bikes, I always approach testing a different brand with trepidation and concern for my nether regions.

Fitting the Toupe to my winter trainer, the first thing to strike me was its weight or lack of it. If you're a weight weanie and looking to strip every gram off your steed then the 185g is very impressive. Weight saving features such as hollow titanium rails and a carbon reinforced shell really are impressive on a saddle costing under £70.00. For comparison, the Fizik Pave CX HP and Selle Italia, both priced at £80, weigh in at 259g and 260g respectively. Obviously though, low weight can come at the expense of comfort so the proof really is in the riding.

The 143mm refers to the width of the saddle and, if you go to an official Specialized Dealer, you can sit on a gel pad to see the width of your sit bones and find the correct saddle for you. For my "mid-sized buttocks", the 143mm seemed spot on. First contact was surprisingly pleasant and, considering I'm not used to cut-out designs, not too alien. My sit bones were in a perfect position and the amount of give from the material and degree of flex spot on. Having never suffered from the "numbness" that the cut-out is supposed to prevent, I couldn't tell if it made a significant difference but I've got mates who swear by it. That said, the cut-out certainly didn't feel at all wrong and I think contributed to overall comfort. As I logged up the miles on the Toupe though, suspicion and surprise turned to genuine affection.

It's been particularly comfortable on long seated climbs and the normally buttock crippling ascent of the Cat and Fiddle from Macclesfield was a breeze with no need for out of the saddle breaks. I'd definitely consider using it for a trip to the Alps or Pyrenees. Coming from the super long (310mm compared to 270mm) Arione, I did miss being able to get right forward on the nose when pushing a big gear hard on the flat but this was only a minor quibble.

The Toupe is probably going to stay on my winter trainer and I guess that's the best endorsement it can get from me. Whether I completely shift saddle allegiance remains to be seen but I certainly won't be so adverse to trying different ones out in the future. 

Buy From

Specialized Says:

This minimalist road saddle features a tuned flex shell for a compliant ride and patented Body Geometry technology.

  • Patented BG design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries
  • Medium" rated Tuned Density Foam for longer rides
  • "Medium" stiffness carbon-reinforced shell for flexible comfort
  • Lightweight hollow titanium rails
  • Tough, light and water-resistant Micromatrix cover
  • Length: 270mm
  • Width: 130mm approx. weight 175g (+/-5%)
  • Width: 143mm approx. weight 185g (+/-5%)
  • Width: 155mm approx. weight 195g (+/-5%)

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At a glance

Verdict A high performance, lightweight road saddle with an under carriage friendly perch