The first thing that one notices about the new Specialized S-Works Chicane is that the shaping of the saddle is much different than the other Specialized offerings. The Specialized Chicane still offers 3 different widths for sit-bone placement, but the overall seating platform for the saddle isn’t as flat as the Toupé or Romin. The sides of the saddle are rounded down and the overall saddle seems more streamlined when viewing front-to-rear. The Chicane saddle is a return to what Specialized describes as a “traditional racing shape.” In addition, the Chicane is distinctive among the other road saddles in that the pressure relief to “assure blood flow to sensitive arteries” is not a cut-out but rather just a depression in the padding. I was quite surprised with the generous amount of padding on the Chicane. It had been my past experience with high-end road saddles that the amount of padding is inversely proportional to the cost of the saddle with the upper-end saddles offering little to none.
Sitting on the Specialized Chicane for the first time, I knew almost immediately that it was a very nice saddle. The difference between the padding on the Chicane and the relative lack thereof on my previous saddle is comparable to the differing feeling between sitting on a plastic fold-out chair versus a padded office-chair. The dual density padding of the Chicane does a great job of providing great comfort AND support. Combine this padding with the inherent flex from the full carbon rails and shell, and you have a wonderfully comfy saddle.
The rounded platform seems to be more comfortable than a wide, flat platform while riding an aggressive position in the drops. The upturn on the back of the saddle makes an upright climbing position comfortable as well.
I’ve put many-a-mile on the Specialized Chicane since I purchased it. However, my ultimate torture test for it was a ride I did near the end of August in California. Though in the past it was referred to as Son of Death Ride, it seems Ride of the Immortals is the official name that the organizers are now calling it. Whatever you call it, it’s a brutal ride. The ride is 137 miles with around 18,000 feet of elevation gain. You can easily be looking at a 12 plus hour day in the saddle with a lot of that time spent seated grinding uphill. The biggest compliment I can give the saddle is that I never really thought about it during the ride. The Chicane kept my butt as one of the few areas of my body that didn’t hurt.
Be aware that the Specialized Chicane might require you to replace your current post. This saddle requires a top-clamp seatpost. If you have any questions regarding whether your current post will work with the Chicane, ask your local Specialized dealer or send your question to Specialized through their website or through their Twitter customer service account @theMasterLink. I’ve found the quickest response comes by using the Twitter contact.
Technical facts and features of the saddle can be found on the Specialized site.
This saddle and the recently released S-Works Toupé represent the top-of-the-line road saddles in the Specialized range. As expected with this status, they are also the most expensive saddles Specialized offers. The retail pricing for each is set at $300, but considering how comfortable this saddle is, I have no regrets about my purchase. If you’re not getting enough comfort out of your current saddle, it’s money well spent.