Blackwell Research is a cutting edge innovator specializing in all things faster, lighter, and more comfortable. By-and-large, the company is successful, making and distributing some of the lightest and fastest products in the industry.
ISMsPostmodernism, relativism, and any other -isms are difficult to define. Likewise, the ISM Adamo Racing Saddle is difficult to define. It doesn’t look like a bicycle saddle. It doesn’t mount like a bicycle saddle. And yet, it does feel like a bicycle saddle. This may be the ISM’s greatest strength and greatest weakness.
When I first received my ISM saddle, I slapped it on my bike and headed out on a 20 mile test ride. Big mistake! In my exuberance, I failed to read the instructions. If I had, I would have learned that the creators of the ISM saddle lopped three inches off the front. By mounting the seat traditionally, I straddled the “fork” of the seat and found my ride uncomfortable and awkward.
ISM Adamo Racing Saddle
Excellent option if a traditional seat is uncomfortable or causes problems.
Second impressionNot one to shrink from a challenge, I took a second test ride with the ISM saddle and an Allen wrench. Stopping every few miles, I adjusted the seat backward and downward. With each adjustment the ride became more comfortable (see illustration). By the end of the ride, the seat was so far back that I was literally “hanging off the edge” of the seat. When riding on my aero bars, the ride was almost comfortable with the exception of an annoying slapping of my hamstrings (back of my leg) on the front of the seat with every revolution of the pedals.If all else fails, read the instructionsI contacted the distributor and was sent a set of instructions. Fortunately, I had already stumbled upon the correct formula myself. The instructions recommended moving the seat back and adjusting it at a 1-7° tilt. The saddle was not designed to be ridden flat.The reviewBasically, the ISM is a racing saddle without a nose. In theory, the absence of a nose eliminates the pressure that many cyclists find uncomfortable, if not unbearable. Blood flow to vital areas will increase and numbness will decrease through the use of the ISM Adamo. The cyclist’s weight is distributed more evenly throughout the surface of the saddle, creating a more comfortable ride. Yet for me, dissatisfaction often precedes change. Fortunately for me, I am not dissatisfied with a traditional racing saddle. If you are not dissatisfied with your current saddle, the ISM Adamo is not for you unless you just have to have newfangled gear. If you do suffer from discomfort or health issues when using a traditional saddle, give the ISM Adamo a try. The $149.00 price tag is steep, but increased comfort may likely lead to more training time and greater health.
Blackwell ResearchISM Adamo Racing Saddle
Expensive but well built.
Odd but innovative.
Awkward at best.
Padded with Gel inserts
130 mm at widest point
Available in four colors (Yellow, Blue, Red, Dark Gray)
A Note on the Author: John L. Garner (a.k.a. Writebrained) is an Illinois State Trooper assigned to work in a Special Victim’s Unit. In addition to triathlons, he enjoys freelance writing, family, and teaching. He is an official reviewer for Beginner Triathlete
Snow Skiing, Wife, Reading, Listening to Music, Working, My Kids, SCUBA, Teaching, Travel, Philosophy, Economics, Apologetics, and an occasional Triathlon. BT Rawks!