I’ve been riding the Specialized Toupe Expert road bike seat for more than a year now, so I thought I would write a review for others considering this saddle.
A bike saddle is a very personal thing, and what works well for one person might not be a good fit for someone else. Until I started riding Specialized saddles, I tried many other brands including Selle Italia, Selle SMP, Fizik, Koobi and several other brands. My goal with any bicycle saddle is comfort, above all else. When you have the right saddle, you should basically never notice it when you are riding. If you feel pressure points and have to shift around a lot, or if you start to suffer from wiener sleepage issues, you’ve got the wrong saddle and need to keep looking. Especially the crotch numbness part, which should avoid at all costs.
I’ve found some saddles that were terrific when it came to avoiding crotch numbness, but just weren’t that comfortable overall, and left me shifting around. Before Specialized, I had the best luck with the Fizik Alliante, which is a great seat that I also recommend. But when I started looking for a replacement for the Alliante that had worn out, I decided to try other brands to see if I could find something even better. And after many failed attempts where I almost gave up, I ended up with the Toupe Expert that became my new favorite road seat.
As I’ve mentioned in my other Specialized saddle reviews (for my Henge and my Phenom Expert), I didn’t really think that a bicycle manufacturer could design a bike seat that would be better than a seat designed by a seat specialist. But I kept hearing good things from people who rode Specialized seats, so I went ahead and bought one. It was immediately comfortable for me, and caused no crotch numbness, and has held up great over the past year of riding it probably 8,000 miles or more.
The Toupe Expert is a light saddle designed for road racing. It has hollow titanium rails, and only weighs 188 grams in the 143 width. Like other Specialized saddles, it comes in three different widths. You can go to a bike shop that carries Specialized and sit on this pad thing, which will show indentations where your sit bones are. You measure that, and you know which width is best for you.
I think I probably paid close to the $130 suggested retail at my local bike shop, but it was worth it to have a quality road saddle that is comfortable. They make an even more expensive version of this saddle, and a heavier, less expensive version. So you can decide on your budget and go in either direction, as far as spending money. I would imagine that all of the saddles in the Toupe series are going to feel pretty similar, and it’s mostly about weight savings as you change prices.
If you are struggling with finding a comfortable saddle, I recommend this. Many bike shops have “demo saddles” of a lot of different brands, possibly including Specialized. They also sometimes have a program where you can return the saddle and trade it if you don’t like it. Take advantage of those programs, but be sure to ride a different saddle for at least a week or two before you decide. The first ride or two with a new saddle doesn’t always tell you everything, because your butt has to get used to the new shape.
I am very happy with this saddle, and recommend trying it as one of your options for a road bike.
Here’s what Specialized says about it:
Our highest-performance road saddle, this sleek minimalist is ultra-light and tuned for an outstanding fit, with a flat profile and thin padding perfect for explosive efforts.
– Patented Body Geometry design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries
– Super-light EVA padding for comfort and support on longer rides
– Stiff, carbon-reinforced shell for longevity and all-day racing efficiency
– Lightweight and durable hollow titanium rails
– Tough, light and water resistant Micromatrix cover
Have you used this saddle and like it or dislike it? Leave a comment!