The Bike List

Allay Racing 2.1 Saddle £75

Tested by Jonathan Manning, tester for The Bike List

Are you sitting comfortably? If the answer is yes then you can stop reading now (although I'd appreciate it if you stuck with me to the end of the sentence). But if you suffer from a sore butt, chafing, numb nuts and all the other grievances that can afflict cyclists then please read on.

Finding the perfect saddle has become a personal quest to rival Alex Garland's search for the perfect beach. I've tried the Bontrager Inform R1, Prologo Kappa, Fizik Arione and Specialized Toupe without ever raising my comfort level above bearable. And then I tried the Allay 2.1 and suddenly the miles glided by as if on a magic carpet ride.

Why? Principally because it fits the dimensions of my posterior better than any of the other contenders, but also because it has a couple of features designed specifically to maximise the comfort of any rider, regardless of buttock breadth and fleshiness.

Firstly, there's a neat pair of genuine cushions for your buttocks to perch on. Proper, high density foam cushions that spring back into shape the minute you stand on the pedals.

Secondly, there's an air cushion running through the spine of the saddle to protect your gentlemen's parts from the bumps and vibrations of the Tarmac. It's an alternative to Spcialized's cut-out system, but with the Allay you can inflate or deflate the air cushion to achieve the cushioning you desire, using a small pump/release valve combination below the saddle. It feels a little gimmicky, but I can definitely feel the difference between various levels of inflation, and have found a setting that offers me distinctly more comfort than others. A quick tip though: beware you don't deflate your optimum setting by inadvertently pressing the release valve when you pick up the bike.

Personally, I fear for the longevity of this cushion, with the danger that the plastic/rubber might puncture or perish when exposed to cold temperatures in a shed over winter, and then ridden while it's still stiff. However, after more than 1,500 miles it's still going strong, and reassuringly air cushion replacements are available for just £5.99.

The fabric cover is still looking pristine too, although it doesn't feel as if it will last a generation in the way that the wonderful leather of, say, the Fizik Arione suggests.

Most importantly, despite the occasional annoying squeak, the Allay 2.1 proves a comfortable seat. The arrow part of the saddle is slender enough to give complete freedom of movement when standing to grind up a hill, yet long enough (290mm) to provide decent support for head down sprints.

It comes in two different width fittings, 135mm and 145mm, to satisfy sit bones that are 90mm to 120mm apart (small) and 110mm to 145mm apart (medium). It weighs 245g or 248g depending on the width, so it's far from the lightest saddle for weight-watching racers despite its titanium rails, but it potentially helps save some weight with its neat feature of a built-in mount for RedLite UFO mini rear light or Topeak® saddle bag.

For me, though, comfort is my number one priority, and I am now sitting comfortably on my Allay 2.1.

Buy from www.chainreactioncycles.com

Allay says:

Slightly wider saddle options and a nylon saddle shell are the differences from the Racing Pro model. AirSpan™ air tunable support with an integrated pump and release valve allows the rider to adjust the saddle firmness on the fly. The Racing 2.1 is offered in two saddle widths of 135mm and 145mm. Yet features the same high performance ride. 

  • Cover - Durable microporous composite cover breathes for cool comfort Abrasion resistant material protects side scuff zones
  • Fabric Span - Durable woven fabric with water-resistant nano-tech coating
  • Air Cushion - Inflatable air cushion with built-in pump / release valve
  • Allay Foam - Lightweight, high density, quick rebound, durable, temperature endurance formula
  • Shell - Dynamic composite Nylon shell
  • Rail - Tubular titanium rails
  • Quick Click System (QCS) - Mount for RedLite UFO mini or Topeak® wedge packs
  • Gender - Unisex
  • Size (L x W) - 290 x 135mm (small) and 290 x 145mm (medium)
  • Sit Bone Width Zone - 90 to 120mm (small) and 110 to 145mm (medium)
  • Weight - 255g (small) and 260g (medium)
  • Colour - Black

Find out more www.allaysaddles.com

At a glance

Verdict Innovative saddle with adjustable air cushion to optimise your comfort and built-in mount for RedLite UFO mini rear light or Topeak saddle bag.
Value
Performance