from our friends at twentynineinches.com
Bike saddles are something very personal – every rider has his/her individual physiology, seating position and riding style, so there simply cannot be “one“ saddle for everyone. Each rider usually has selected his/her favorite and does well in keeping those at hand. The average rider does not come into the situation of having to swap saddles frequently, but as a tester, I do. Generally I am quite tolerant of whatever I´m sitting on, but I can tell pretty soon if it is good or merely "OK." But occasionally there is a saddle, that makes us curious on having a closer look .. we have had two such saddles this year and one of them is the WTB Volt Team.
My first contact with the WTB Volt was on the SANTA CRUZ Tallboy LTc tested early this summer (quick review here) and it felt so good that we immediately asked for a testing sample, which has seen a lot of action in the last months – last on the BERGAMONT Revox Team and the BMC Fourstroke FS01 (both coming with FIZIK saddles that simply don´t work for me).
The WTB Volt belongs in the XC-Race-category by WTB´s definition … and it is one of the most narrow saddles in their line-up. Still, it features several comfort enhancing features, like the pronounced curvature, providing good control and "snuggness," a slightly wider nose section for comfort while climbing and of course WTB´s trademark "Love Channel" (central depression along the saddle´s axis to provide soft tissue relief). Furthermore there is a elongated window in the saddles shell (visible only from underneath) called "Comfort Zone," adding flexibility and additional soft tissue relief.
Like all saddles by WTB – the Volt is designed by WTB´s co-founder and vice-president Mark Slate, who has been kind enough to send us some words on the Volt:
"The Volt is based on our classic Rocket V saddle design. The dimension (width and length) are the same, but the top shape is a little different, with a slightly more race oriented mid width curve. The Volt is more suited to Cross Country Racing while the Rocket V is said to be more of a Mountain shape. Mostly this is due to the profile (view from the side). With more depth to the shape, the riders body interface may be better suited to all-mountain antics.. While the Rocket V is still valid and sales numbers show how popular it is, the Volt seeks to not only look faster but provide a rider interface shape that may be better for all out race conditions.
My personal preference is the Volt, even for extended mountain rides. I have yet to experience any drawbacks due to the reduced overall mass. The whale tail is a bit less pronounced than that of the Rocket V and I like that better for on/off towards the rear. While my preference has been for wider shapes such as Devo I find this new Volt to be my new-found favorite saddle. It gives my wider than the average XC Racer sit bones adequate support for comfort while still affording me some side to side and fore/aft room to shift my position slightly allowing hours of use with no complaint. While shape best defines comfort for me this new Volt saddle has enough padding to suit most serious riders."
Thanks Mark, for the insight
There are 4 models of the Volt saddle available. The SLT ($150 USD MSRP ), Team ($130 USD MSRP) and Pro ($90 USD MSRP), all with the same lightweight DNA padding. The primary differences between the models are the rails and saddle cover. Therefore weights are good overall – WTB states 220g for the top of the line SLT and 287g for the baseline Race ($60 USD MSRP) version. The black VOLT Team sample we have on test weighs a mere 202g which is very remarkable for a full padded saddle (WTB states 229g for this model). All versions feature reinforced shoulders around the back and rear for improving wear and tear.
c_g`s own take: Usually I am a fan of moderately curved and very firm saddles and the above mentioned Rocket V (our co-tester martinoo´s favourite) has always had a bit too much of both for me – too much curvature and too soft. Somehow the Volt immediately hit home with me … just perfect by dimensions and the firm yet highly vibration damping padding.
The WTB Volt simply provides just enough support without ever restricting the freedom of movement. OK, I had to tilt it back and forth a bit to get that balance to work best for me, but that didn´t take long. By its narrow shape I had not been restricted in moving behind the saddle at all which to me is really important, yet it provided enough comfort to ride trouble free for up to 8 hours a day. I really liked the sporty yet understated design and the seam free upper of the Volt Team, which make it look good on almost every bike.
IN the end after months of hard use, I have absolutely no complaint about the WTB Volt team – to me it is one of the most universal and comfy bike seats I know – be it on a hard tail or All Mountain susser … besides it is really light and comes at a pretty competitive price.
See the review at twentynineinches.com