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WTB Speed Comp Review

WTB Speed
Best Buy Award
Price:   $40 List | $29.19 at REI
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Competitive price, durable, versatile, comfortable.
Cons:  Heavy, exposed stitching.
Bottom line:  The Speed is a comfortable saddle with dense padding, and a price that can't be beat.
Editors' Rating:     
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Manufacturer:   Wilderness Trail Bikes
By Curtis Smith ⋅ Senior Review Editor
Thursday

Our Verdict

Winner of our Best Buy Award, the Speed Comp is a great saddle at an even better price. Universally liked by nearly all of our testers, it seems to have the unique ability to fit almost anyone. Its length and width fall right in the middle when compared to other saddles in the WTB line up, such as the WTB Pure and the WTB Rocket. Generous padding and an anatomical groove round out the flat shape. If you are a fan of the old version of the Speed saddle, known as the Speed V, you are going to love the new version that is now known simply as the Speed. The changes are subtle in appearance, but the cover material is greatly improved with minimal exposed stitching.

The Speed is our go-to saddle for the daily driver mountain bike or commuter. It is, however, a bit too soft and heavy for the gram counters and serious racers. If you are looking for a lightweight racing saddle, we recommend you look at the our Editors' Choice Specialized Phenom Expert or the Top Pick Fabric Scoop.


RELATED REVIEW: The Best Bike Saddles of 2017

up to 5 products
Score Product Price Dimensions Weight Target Use (mountain, road, etc.)
94
Specialized Phenom Expert $130
Editors' Choice Award
L 270mm, W 143mm 245g Mountain, Road, Cyclocross
92
Fabric Scoop $170
Top Pick Award
L282, W142mm 176g Road
87
Fizik Antares $180
L 275mm, W 140mm 201g Road, Mountain, Cyclocross
85
Fizik Monte Manganese $88
Top Pick Award
L275mm, W143mm 245g Enduro
82
Specialized Power Expert $130
L240mm, W155 238g Road, Triathalon
79
Fizik Aliante $150
L 261, W 141mm 245g Road, Mountain, Cyclocross
78
WTB High Tail Pro $120
L255mm, W128mm 225g Road, Cross Country, Enduro, Gravity
78
Selle Italia Flite Gel Flow $195
L275mm,W130mm 229g Road, Mountain, Cyclocross
73
Selle SMP Extra $85
L280mm, W140mm 344g Road, Mountain, Recreational, Commuting
70
Fizik Arione $150
L 300mm, W130mm 241g Road, Mountain, Cyclocross
64
WTB Speed Comp $40
Best Buy Award
L270mm, W140mm 362g Mountain, Road, Cyclocross
61
WTB Pure $60
L280mm, W150mm 291g Mountain, Road, Cyclocross
61
WTB Rocket $40
L262mm, W132mm 286g Mountain, Road, Cyclocross
55
Brooks England B-17 $157
L280mm, W174mm 537g Road, Commuting, Touring
54
Brooks Cambium C15 $175
L283mm, W140mm 405g Road, Commuting
50
Planet Bike ARS Anatomic Relief $30
L260mm, W166mm 393g Recreational, Commuting
50
Serfas E-Gel Cruiser $60
L270mm, W200mm 774g Recreational, Commuting

Our Analysis and Test Results

Hands-On Review


The WTB Speed Comp was a favorite among our testers.  It is not the highest performing saddle we tested but it is comfortable and affordable.
The WTB Speed Comp was a favorite among our testers. It is not the highest performing saddle we tested but it is comfortable and affordable.


Comfort


The Speed was an all-around favorite among our testers for comfort. It offers generous padding and an anatomical groove that provides noticeable pressure relief. With a width of 140mm, it is narrower than the WTB Pure, and wider than the rather narrow Rocket. WTB lists the width of the Speed as 145mm, but we found the widest section of the saddle to be only 140mm. A slight rise in the rear provides something to push against during hard efforts. The Speed strikes the perfect balance with middle of the road dimensions and generous padding.


The shape of the saddle is relatively flat, with rounded edges that taper to the outside to limit excessive thigh contact while pedaling. Like other WTB saddles we tested, the Speed employs a Comfort Zone cutout in the shell near the nose of the saddle. This is not a full cutout with an open area devoid of material. The shell below the padding is simply removed, to allow for more downward displacement, to limit pressure on sensitive areas. The effect is subtle but noticeable when you slide forward on the saddle during a hard effort.

The Speed saddle has a good amount of flex, which helps to enhance comfort when pedaling in the seated position over rough terrain. The flex is a result of the extensive cutouts in the shell material. Unlike saddles with firm shells like the Fabric Scoop, the Speed relies on the padding for support rather than a stiff shell. There are pros and cons to this approach — generally, it yields a very soft comfortable ride but compromises performance.

The WTB Speed Comp has very dense  thick padding for comfort.
The WTB Speed Comp has very dense, thick padding for comfort.

Performance


The Speed is not the most high-performance saddle we reviewed; the generous padding that makes it so comfortable is a deterrent when it comes to maximum-seated power output. The sensation of losing power to saddle flex and padding compression is noticeable, especially in comparison to a higher performance saddle such as the Specialized Phenom or the Fabric Scoop. Should you be worried about this?


If you are new to mountain biking, the answer is no. For the new rider we emphasise comfort over performance. However, if you are an experienced rider or racer looking for maximum efficiency, you will likely be happier on a more performance oriented saddle such as the WTB High Tail, or the Fizik Monte. When it comes to maximum efficiency, a firmer saddle will provide a better platform for power transfer.

The WTB Speed Comp relies heavily on the foam padding of the saddle for support  the shell has large cutouts to allow saddle flex.
The WTB Speed Comp relies heavily on the foam padding of the saddle for support, the shell has large cutouts to allow saddle flex.

Versatility


The Speed is quite versatile and would be at home on a mountain bike, cyclocross bike, town bike, or touring bike. Road riding and road racing are not the best use for the Speed, due to its heavy padding and flexible shell, which inhibit power output. Other mountain bike saddles such as the Fizik Monte are more versatile due to their more judicious use of padding, allowing for better power transfer. For casual trail riding, the Speed is a good choice. It is very comfortable for long days in the saddle.


Durability


Steel rails  a plastic shell  and scuff guard make for a durable saddle.
Steel rails, a plastic shell, and scuff guard make for a durable saddle.

The Speed is very durable: the synthetic cover is tough, it offers a rubberized plastic scuff guard and durable steel rails. Our only complaint is the exposed stitching at the junction of the scuff guard and the cover. Exposed stitching is prone to abrasion over time. You should also be aware that saddles with very thick padding tend to lose support over time, as the padding compresses and breaks down.


A soft saddle such as the Pure relies directly on the padding for its shape and support, compared to a saddle such as the Phenom that gets its shape from the shell, which is much less likely to fatigue over time. With that said, we know many riders who have had a Speed in use for many trouble-free years, and our test saddle did not disappoint during the testing period.

The WTB Speed Comp has heavy duty patches of rubber like material at the corners for abrasion resistance and durability.
The WTB Speed Comp has heavy duty patches of rubber like material at the corners for abrasion resistance and durability.

Weight


No accolades here, the Speed is on the heavy side at 362g. The Monte Manganese has a similar shape and comparable comfort but weighs only 245g. Much of the hefty mass of the the Speed can be attributed to the thick, dense Standard level padding, which is heavier than the DNA padding found on more expensive and higher performing WTB saddles. The steel rails are also heavier than other materials such as titanium. However, our testers found the increased weight did not outweigh the benefits of this durable and comfortable saddle.


The steel rails on the WTB Speed Comp are strong and durable but weigh more than rails made from titanium.
The steel rails on the WTB Speed Comp are strong and durable but weigh more than rails made from titanium.

Best Application


The Best Buy winner WTB Speed out on the trail in South Lake Tahoe  CA.
The Best Buy winner WTB Speed out on the trail in South Lake Tahoe, CA.

This is a classic mountain bike saddle; it can handle the rigors of everyday use on your daily driver. It is also adept at handling the rigors of commuting and it will not shy away from a bit of mud on the cyclocross course.

Value


As the winner of our Best Buy Award, the Speed offers outstanding value. You are not likely to find a better all-around saddle for $40. We tested many saddles that are lighter and offer better performance, but none even close to the price of the Speed.

Other Versions


The Speed saddle is offered in Team, Pro models in addition to the Comp model tested.

WTB Speed ProGel
Speed Pro Gel
  • Cost- $55 ($15 more than the Speed Comp)
  • Weight- 435g (73g more than the Speed Comp)
  • Rail- Steel
  • Incorporates gel inserts

WTB Pure
  • Cost- $60 ($20 more than the Speed Comp)
  • Weight- 297g (65g less than the Speed Comp)
  • Rail- Cromoly
  • Great saddle for gravity oriented riding such as downhill and enduro

WTB Rocket
  • Cost- $150 ($110 more than the Speed Comp)
  • Weight- 286g (76g less than the Speed Comp)
  • Rail - Steel
  • Well-suited to mountain, road riding, and cyclocross

Curtis Smith
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