Saddles are one of the areas where folks can cut a little weight from modern trail bikes, provided we can find a shape that works for our butts in the lightweight models. Syncros might not the first name that comes to mind when hunting for a new saddle, but the brand has over thirty to choose from in total. If you’re not able to make it to a dealer to pair a specific saddle with your sensitive sitting bits, they also have an online tool to help narrow down the choices. I recently tried three of their butt platforms and landed on the Tofino R 1.0 as a favorite for a more upright gravity-bike position.
I like to maintain a relatively similar position on all of my mountain bikes, which is why my rigid hardtail is set to a decidedly upright posture despite the frame’s less aggressive design intentions. It’s largely used for training when the trails are soaked, and maintaining a similar position seems to allow skills and strength to transfer more fluidly. Syncros says that the Tofino is designed to fit a wide swath of riders whose posture is “marked by a more upright position, seated more towards the middle to back of the saddle. These riders sit primarily on the sit bones and therefore the wider part of the saddle.”
The main docking platform of the Tofino is flatter than most, with a bit of raised tail to dig your sit bones into on the way uphill. At just 135mm wide, Syncros certainly has a number of broader options to fit different sit-bone spacing. The “wings” of this saddle offer very minimal flex, so if you prefer a hammock you’ll want to keep looking.
Saddles hold the majority of our weight while seated, and they need to offer a small amount of squish to keep tissues from numbing. Padding on this saddle is similar to most that are meant to be sat on for a long while. It’s just thick enough to keep the shell from feeling sharp against your pelvis, but not so padded that the bones dig in and leave the soft tissue around them awkwardly compressed. If you like to ride with all of your weight on your sit-bones, leaving zero pressure on your perineum, the flat Tofino platform might be the one for you.
A waterproof micro-fabric cover seems to do a great job of keeping rain and mud from soaking through to the foam, where it would eventually mold and smell nasty. It’s a matte-black material that’s easy to clean and provides abundant grip against all the shorts and pants I’ve tried on it. It also seems tough enough to take some trail abuse, showing no signs of the few times I slid it down the hillside.
In addition to feeling good while riding, remaining silent is a key feature we can all expect from a saddle. Saddle creaking often leads to a dismantled bike on the shop floor, just to rebuild it and realize that the culprit was right under your butt. The carbon-railed Tofino hasn’t shared a single audible complaint this winter, and the construction feels like it will stay that way for years to come.
This carbon-railed Tofino R 1.0 cuts some weight at 189g, retailing for $149.99. If grams aren’t your main concern, the metal-rail versions slashes the price by more than 50%, with all of the same fit and durability features.