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Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle

This past winter I put a Planet Bike A.R.S. Standard Saddle on my new Surly Necromancer and liked it so much I ended up buying two more for my other mountain bikes. At the time I had no intention of putting this saddle on my road bikes because I thought it weighed too much (about 470 grams). However, after riding all winter with the Planet Bike A.R.S. Standard Saddle I tried to get back on the beautiful Italian racing saddles I have on my road bikes and decided those saddles just weren’t that great after all—even though they seemed comfortable last year. After talking with the good folks at Planet Bike they sent me a Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle to review and it works perfectly for my road bikes.

Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle

Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle

Like the Standard A.R.S. (Anatomic Relief Saddle), the main feature of the Competition saddle is the full length center recess that provides anatomic relief for the perineum. It also has comfortable gel pads in the area of your sit-bones. The exterior materials for the Competition saddle are of a slightly higher quality than the Standard saddle (and a bit smoother). This saddle has steel rails and a waterproof cover. After riding on muddy days I sometimes use a water hose to clean off my bikes and this saddle cleans up great! This waterproof cover is very slick which means it is great at reducing friction (the longer you ride the more you will appreciate this feature).

Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle

Planet Bike A.R.S. Competition Saddle

The only complaint I’ve heard about the Standard saddle is that it was too wide for some cyclists. The good news is that the Competition saddle is narrower, but still extremely comfortable. I have logged many rides of over 50 miles with both saddles without any problem. I think the highest compliment I can give these saddles is this: after a 50 or 60 mile ride I can go into a restaurant and sit on a hard chair without thinking about the ride!

If you are ready for a new saddle and can’t decide between the Standard and the Competition model, I would suggest you start with the Standard and if it is too wide for you switch to the Competition. However, if you want a narrower saddle I would start with the Competition saddle.

A special note to Weight Weenies: At 405 grams (about 14 ounces) I know this is not the lightest saddle on the market. However, with this saddle I find that I am not constantly changing positions like I do with most other saddles. Any time I am moving around trying to find a more comfortable position it usually means I am slowing down a bit as well. If you are only riding 20 or 30 miles at a time you can get by with just about any saddle. However, the longer you ride the more important it is to be comfortable as you ride.

The Planet Bike ARS Competition Saddle retails for $55, and is available in two sizes. The men’s saddle (SKU #5022) is 6″ wide x 11.75″ long and weighs 405g. The women’s saddle (SKU #5023) is 6.5″ wide x 11″ long.

Planet Bike Orion and Aquilo spring and fall cycling gloves

Planet Bike Gloves: Orion (left) and Aquilo (right)

When the folks at Planet Bike sent the Competition saddle for review they also included the updated versions of the Planet Bike Aquilo Windproof Cycling Glove and the Planet Bike Orion Full Finger Cycling Glove (click on these links for the product reviews I did last year). These gloves have not changed much since last year’s model. The Orion glove is designed for cool weather—they are the first gloves I turn to when I need something warmer than my summer gloves. The Aquilo glove is not much warmer than the Orion, but it is far better for use on windy days. Both of these gloves can be purchased at your local bike shop or the Planet Bike Website.

 
4 Comments

Posted by on April 4, 2012 in Product Reviews

 

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Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle

On several occasions a friend of mine has called me a “bike snob” (you ought to hear what my enemies say about me). I think one of those occasions was when I was extolling the virtues of $200 handmade Italian bike saddles, as opposed to those saddles “the commoners” buy at their local bike shop. Well, I am a bike snob no more—I found an inexpensive off-the-rack bike saddle that rocks! If you are in the market for a new saddle you really need to try the Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle.

Planet Bike Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle

Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle

I recently purchased a new Surly Necromancer Pugsley, and while the bike itself is fantastic, the stock saddle that came with it was extremely uncomfortable—in fact, it was downright painful. To put it another way, I think my wife and I are done having children, but I don’t want a bike saddle to take that option away from me. Instead of just buying another Italian saddle I decided to shop around and try something different. Somehow I stumbled upon the Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle, and I have to tell you it is one fantastic saddle!

The main feature of the saddle is the full length center recess that provides anatomic relief for the perineum (your “taint”). It also has comfortable (but not mushy) gel pads in the area of your sit-bones. This saddle has steel rails and a waterproof cover.

After I put this saddle on my Pugsley I liked it so much that I bought two more for my other mountain bikes. I have logged several rides of 40 miles or more with this saddle without the slightest bit of discomfort. I would highly recommend this saddle for any commuter or mountain bike rider. However, this might not be the best choice for distance cyclists—on rides of 50 miles or more I prefer a firmer saddle with less gel.

The Planet Bike ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle retails for $45, and in my opinion it is the best value for a bike saddle you can find. This saddle comes in two sizes. The men’s saddle (SKU #5020) is 7″W x 11″L and weighs 470g. The women’s saddle (SKU #5021) is 6.75″W x 9.75″L and weighs 416g.

In case you were wondering, the photo for this review was shot with my iPhone while I was out on a ride on the Pugsley. We had about six inches of snow on the ground and with the Planet Bike ARS saddle I think I could have spent all day out on the trails!

 
6 Comments

Posted by on January 18, 2012 in Bicycle Repair, Product Reviews

 

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Koobi PRS Century Bike Saddle

Choosing a bike saddle is one of the most personal decisions any cyclist can make. A saddle that is perfect for one rider might be considered a form of torture to another. Last year I purchased a Koobi PRS Century Bike Saddle and it is has been one of the best cycling purchases I’ve ever made.

Koobi PRS Century Bike Saddle

Koobi PRS Century Bike Saddle

Until last year I cycled an average of 3,000 miles a year. After purchasing the Koobi PRS Century Bike Saddle I was able to ride over 4,650 miles last year and I give most of the credit to this saddle. In the past 12 months I’ve put in over 6,000 miles while riding on a Koobi saddle and I can’t imagine riding on anything else. The reason I tried the Koobi in the first place was their 30-day money back guarantee. After my first ride on this saddle I knew I would not be sending it back.

What makes Koobi saddles so great? Well, they are designed to almost force you to put your weight on your sit-bones and once you learn to do this both your power and comfort will increase quickly. Each saddle also has a feature they call tunable suspension—several sets of elastomer springs that offer up to 4/10 inch of travel. These elastomer springs absorb road shock incredibly well.

Koobi makes several saddles and I chose the PRS Century because it is designed for cyclists who ride at least six hours a week but who do not want a firm saddle. These lightweight saddles are custom-built and come with either Ti Alloy or Manganese rails and there are models for both men and women.

Koobi saddles are not cheap—they cost around $200 each. However, I think this is money well spent. I know you could save a lot of money by getting an inferior saddle, but I would rather enjoy riding my bike instead of spending time complaining about how sore my backside is because of a cheap saddle!

How good are the Koobi saddles? After riding on a Koobi for just a couple of weeks I order two more saddles (one for a mountain bike and the other for my second road bike). I think the best compliment I can give them is this: after riding for six hours on a Koobi saddle I can go into a restaurant and sit on a hard chair without any discomfort at all.

The best way to buy a Koobi Bike Saddle is by visiting Koobi’s Website. You can also call them at 1-877-Ride-Koobi (877-743-3566).

 

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DZNuts High Viscosity Chamois Cream

DZNuts High Viscosity Chamois Cream

DZNuts High Viscosity Chamois Cream

Ten years ago, when I started cycling, I didn’t even own a pair of cycling shorts. After a few weeks I bought a cheap pair of shorts with a very thin chamois—rides became a bit more comfortable, but chafing was still a problem. Eventually I bought a tube of Chamois Butt’r, a reasonably priced chamois cream that reduced friction. I stuck with Chamois Butt’r for a long time, but last year when I drastically increased my monthly mileage I started having problems with chaffing again, so I started looking for something better to protect my backside. I tried Assos Chamois Cream and really couldn’t tell much difference between it and Chamois Butt’r. A couple of months ago I found DZNuts High Viscosity Chamois Cream and folks this product doesn’t even belong in the same category as Chamois Butt’r or Assos Chamois Cream!

Most chamois creams do what they claim, i.e., they reduce friction between your skin and the chamois. What makes the DZNuts Chamois Cream different is that it contains tea tree oil to protect your skin from bacterial and fungal infections. This cream also has evodia (a powerful anti-inflammatory) and masterwort (for wound healing and calming).

Just before I started using DZNuts Chamois Cream I was putting away my winter cycling gear when I found a few of my old cycling shorts that I hadn’t used in years. I decided to change things up a bit and ride in these old shorts on a 50 mile ride. When I got home I remembered why I had put these shorts away—the chamois was like sandpaper! I had scratches and mild abrasions in places that was going to make cycling very difficult for a few days. However, I thought about the tube of DZNuts Chamois Cream I had sitting on my dresser and remembered that it claimed to heal such abrasions. Even though I wasn’t going out for a ride for a couple of days I applied the cream and was simply amazed at how quickly everything healed! I was back in the saddle in two days (and I threw away the old cycling shorts).

I am an ordinary road cyclist and during the summer I ride around three or four 50 mile training routes a week. I have used DZNuts Chamois Cream for the past 500 miles and it lives up to its claims and I would highly recommend it to any cyclist. It goes on thick and stays put, yet it is easy to wash off.

A four-ounce tube of DZNuts Chamois Cream retails for around $30, but you can buy it on Amazon.com for under $19. A product very similar to this is the Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream. Both of those anti-chafe creams contain tea tree oil and I believe they are both high quality products and they both knock the socks off the other creams. The biggest difference is that the Blue Steel cream sells for $12 for a three-ounce tube which makes it a lot more economical. Since I can’t tell the difference between the two I have decided to stick with the Blue Steel Sports Anti-Chafe Cream.

In case you were wondering, the “DZ” in DZNuts is for cycling legend David Zabriskie. The packaging for this cream is humorous, but then again, considering where you apply this cream, who could resist?

 

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CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag

The CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag has something I’ve always though other bags should have, i.e., a highly reflective case. I have several saddle bags with small reflective strips, but this bag is made entirely from reflective material.

CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag

CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag

I put the CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag on the road bike I use for night rides and riding in the rain. The bag is small (6″ X 3 1/4″ X 2 1/2″) and is just big enough to hold a spare road tube, patch kit, two tire levers, a CO2 inflator nozzle with two cartridges, and a Topeak 9 Mini Pro tool. This bag attaches under the saddle itself with a sturdy strap, but is not attached to the seat post with Velcro straps like most saddle bags.

While this bag is perfect for a road bike it would be too small for a mountain bikes because there would not be enough room for the larger mountain bike tube (I tried). I really wish CycleAware offered a slightly larger bag. My only complaint with this bag is that it does not have a loop so you can clip on a reflector or flasher. However, since this bag fits tightly under the saddle you should have room to attach a flasher on your seat post.

The CycleAware Beamer Reflective Saddle Bag has a retail price of around $25. If your local bike shop does hot carry it you can always find one at Amazon.com.

 

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