New for 2010 is the WTB Aviator, a saddle so tough it flies through the air wearing Carhartts! WTB built this saddle to withstand the abuses of a downhiller or freerider, meaning it will be able to handle multiple crashes, heavy riders, and jarring impacts.
The WTB Aviator saddle is covered by the same material that Carhartt uses for their jeans so naturally the material resists tearing and stains. The circumference of the saddle is covered by a rubber strip, offering more grip and abrasion resistant corners. The over-sized 8mm chromoly rails are designed to resist bending while the comfort zone cut-out, soft padding, and flex-tuned shell make it suitable for long days in the saddle. The Aviator weighs 315 grams which is about average for a normal saddle and fairly lightweight for a DH saddle.
The WTB Aviator is a very impressive freeride/downhill saddle. One of the best things about this saddle is its shape: at 137mm wide and 272mm long, the Aviator is a bit wider than a typical XC saddle. Despite its width, you can easily maneuver your bike side to side and front to back without the Aviator snagging your legs or armor. Maneuverability is an important feature for DH saddles because you are constantly moving the bike around. The wider profile also makes the Aviator is a very comfortable saddle, offering support in the right places with ample padding. The “comfort zone” cut-out provides noticeable flex and comfort where you need it most.
WTB claims that the rubber siding on the Aviator helps the rider change direction on the trail or in the air and I definitely noticed the extra grip when I pinched the saddle with my knees during braking and jumping. For me the extra grip was tougher to notice during cornering since I only knock the seat when initiating a drift. The canvas cover is also grippy which lets you put power to the pedals more effectively when seated. All of this adds up to increased confidence on the bike.
I’ve ridden this saddle on numerous shuttle days, race tracks, and bike parks and it has virtually zero wear on it. The Aviator is so tough that even though I crashed hard enough to break my seatpost during testing, the saddle remained unscathed! I have noticed some discoloration in the canvas (it’s now a few shades darker) after riding in conditions ranging from very muddy to dry and dusty. The discoloration is purely a cosmetic thing but it’s something to keep in mind if you like keeping your bike looking brand new.
The WTB Aviator ($80 MSRP) is an excellent choice for any downhiller, freerider, or Clydesdale who is looking for a durable, relatively lightweight saddle. It’s shaped well, comfortable, looks great, it’s grippy and will last longer than most saddles out there. If you’re in the market for a new DH saddle and you need it to last you a good long while, the WTB Aviator is a great choice.
Thanks to WTB for providing the Aviator saddle for testing.