There are many alternatives in the bicycle saddle world. Most saddles on entry-level bicycles are vinyl over foam over a plastic base. Some have springs or elastomer cushions to take the edge off road irregularies. Fans of Brooks saddles will settle for nothing less than real cowhide stretched hammock fashion above the saddle rails.
And then there are the alternative alternatives. Seats split down the middle with separate pads for each butt cheek, designs that are like sitting down on a flexible playground swing, and the subject of today’s post, the ISM Adamo line of saddles.
“The big thing with the saddle is getting it back far enough,” Woo said. “And the correct tilt angle is critical. I spent about two weeks tweaking that.”
Any other words of advice on setup? “Be patient, be extremely patient. Have someone help you with it. Watch the online setup video, or have me help you set it up. Also, take an allen wrench with you because you’re going to have to adjust the tilt. Have that first ride be a day that you’re not going to ride more than 20 miles.”
Why did he install the Adamo Podium on his personal bicycle? “Couple things. I’m older, my flexibility’s not good. On longer rides I was getting numb feelings in places I didn’t like.
“Second, because we”—Woo is the service manager for Bushwhacker, ‘Peoria’s Original Outdoor Store’—”have so many people using them. As a bike fitter, I felt like it was my responsibility to try something like that so I could relate to my customers.
“I’ve worked with 15 to 20 people. Ninety percent have continued with the saddle.”
According to ISM’s website, Adamo saddles do not include the front 2 to 4 inches of a traditional saddle. ISM’s Steve Toll simply says, “The nose was the source of my discomfort so I removed it.” Likewise, ISM’s website FAQ notes that the back 1.5 to 2 inches of the saddle are not for sitting. That part of the saddle exists to keep it legal with UCI, an international racing organization, and to give the saddle rails something to attach to.
Before he installed the Adamo Podium on his personal bike, Woo was running a Fizik Arione and before that, a Selle San Marco. Here’s Woo: “I ride about 2,700 to 3,000 miles a year. Do a few centuries. Nothing with a group. About 17 to 18 miles an hour.
“The Adamo is closer to ideal than what I’ve had before. I don’t know if it’s a complete fix-all, but it seems to be a step in the right direction.”
That doesn’t mean that Woo is all set to ride nothing else but the Adamo. He likes to try out new equipment. More to the point, his customers like to try out new equipment. So, what’s next? “The saddle I really want to try next is a totally different cut-out design. A Cobb Plus.”
“It’s all a matter of if you work in a bicycle shop, you have to ride a bike. If you’re fitting people to bicycles, you have to be in tune with what’s out there.”