Smanie N-Spire Saddle Review
There are three places you make contact with your bike, these points of contact (touchpoints) are the handlebars, the pedals, and the saddle. Out of these three touchpoints, the handlebars and pedals seem to be the first ones we spend top dollar on, whilst the saddle is sometimes overlooked but can make a massive impact on your ride.
The saddle is one of those components that if bad, is very bad, but if good, you simply forget about it and just enjoy the ride. A poorly chosen saddle can be a painful affair on long climbs and even approach a health risk for longer periods in the saddle with nerve damage
Ergon and SQLab have made leaps and bounds in this space but are certainly not exclusive to the “science of the saddle”. Smanie has been developing saddles for the road racing scene for years and now bring all their know-how in saddle science to the offroad market.
Who Is Smanie?
Smanie has been developing high-end saddles for many years in the road racing scene and adopt an eco-friendly method in all of its manufacturing processes. Eco-Friendly isn’t just a catchy buzzword at Smanie. It’s the heart of their company, employees, and athletes. All of the Smanie products are made from recycled materials. That includes covers, foam, bases, rails, and even the packaging.
Smanie saddles are developed through partnerships with world-class athletes to meet the demands of the most challenging tracks and race situations, confirmed by studies carried out in the lab and fit studio, and available to all. A great saddle should be something you don’t need to think about, it should just dissolve into nothing as you enjoy the ride ahead. The Smanie hashtag says it all really. #FORGETABOUTUS
Find out more about Smanie here.
When a cyclist sits on the saddle there are three points of contact that are subjected to the most pressure: two at the back in the ischial area and one at the front in the perineal area. These points vary according to the “size” of the pelvis and the muscular structure.
A classic shape. Turns out pros from 30 years ago knew something about being comfortable. Looks great, works, let’s not overthink this.
The N-Spire saddle has been developed over 3 years and is aimed squarely at the enduro and trail rider. Smanie has put all their booty know-how into these saddles by identifying the pressure points so that the saddle will suit a wide range of cyclists.
Smanie has opted for a different approach to the standard profile or relieved center-section (cut-out), and based the design on an optimal shape for comfort on long rides. The cut-out, although not an obvious missing section that you would normally associate with this, is created by using varying layers and thicknesses of foam, strategically placed so that when they interact with soft tissue, nerve pressure is relieved. The end result is a classic saddle look that delivers all-day comfort on the harshest of terrains. Comfort without the cut-out.
- Athermic Insulation: Heat resistant padding to allow for a more comfortable ride during those long days in the saddle.
- Water Repellent: To protect both saddle and rider from unwanted friction and premature wear.
- Green: ECO-friendly manufacturing process
- Recycled: Use of 100% recycled materials
- Core Elastomer: Use of synthetic polymer in the center of the saddle to improve the comfort in the perineal region.
- Air Flow Technology: Breathable materials
- ECO+ Padding: ECO+ is more than just padding, it is created by using recycled material while still offering maximum comfort and aesthetic qualities, in addition to being athermic and water-repellent material.
The N-Spire is a saddle designed with the off-road rider in mind; whether you’re a racer at local or international levels, a social rider who slays the trails on the weekends or a hardcore XC rider who loves endless hours on the saddle, the anatomically engineered N-Spire is a saddle definitely worth looking at.
The N.Spire series was designed by pro MTB, CX racer and Bio-Medical Engineer, Ph.D., Jen Malik. She created one of the most scientifically advanced and anatomically correct saddles on the market. 40 CT scans, multiple pressure mapping studies, finite element modeling, and nearly 500 different model variations later a saddle that nearly eliminates all pressure and hotspots. The standards applied to this saddle’s design were so rigorous that they generally are only reserved for medical devices.
“There are many exhilarating things to focus on during your next ride. Smanie believe that thinking about your saddle should not be one of them.”
On The Trails
The Smanie hashtag says it all really. #FORGETABOUTUS. A good saddle should be something that disappears from your mind as you ride and the N-Spire does exactly that.
What we particularly liked about the N-Spire is that it actually looks like a saddle. It’s good to know that the classic shape obviously still has merit in terms of providing comfort and support, and still provides the same level of performance and protection as other cut-out designs, out there. “Turns out pros from 30 years ago knew something about being comfortable. Looks great, works, let’s not overthink this.“
The N-Spire does away with a cut-out design and in turn, has a supportive and sumptuous feel. In fact, it’s one of the most comfortable saddles we have ever used. Cut-out designs are all well and good but there can be downsides such as flexing in the shell due to the saddle having less body in that section.
Dealing with nerve pressure is paramount for Smanie and the absence of a cut-out seems to have no downside. This is because the N-Spire uses varying layers of foam on specific areas around the saddle, and this is the key to why it feels so comfortable. Overall, the N-Spire provided excellent levels of sit bone support and comfort, and after hours in the saddle, we didn’t experience any painful nerve or pressure sore spots.
The Athermic Insulation which is designed to manage temperatures in the saddle as you squish and squirm your way up the hill must be doing something because our bottom felt like the Goldilocks story, not too hot and not too cold, just right!
The water repellent microfibre material is soft and supple and allows for smooth movement on the saddle as you transfer and shift weight accordingly, and is quick and easy to wipe clean after a muddy ride which helps keep the saddle in tip-top condition.
We found it hard to pick any difference in terms of nerve pain or pressures between a cut-out channel design and the N-Spire approach of using different layers of foam in specific areas. What we did notice was how comfortable the N-Spire felt. Due to the classic shape and the lack of a channel or cut-out, it just felt so much more comfortable in general, which at the end of the day, isn’t that exactly what a saddle should do?
During the test phase, we kept thinking about the Smanie hashtag #FORGETABOUTUS, which we naturally and invariably did, which made it quite difficult to review but in a good way.
The Smanie N-Spire saddle does what it says on the box. It looks like a saddle, it feels like a saddle, it must be a saddle. Don’t be fooled with its classic saddle look of yesteryear, because packed inside is all the support and comfort you’d ever want from a saddle. All of which has been backed up with enough research and lab testing to put a human into space.
What you feel when you sit on a Smanie saddle is a sense of luxury. The whole package screams quality with the materials and construction and the technology to support and protect your rear end and those tender bits. The Smanie ethos of quality and 100% eco-friendly design is carried through from the materials, construction, and even the packaging. It’s not often you can purchase a luxury item that fully encompasses a recyclable manufacturing process.
Smanie may want you to forget about their saddles when you ride, but we certainly will not forget what this brand does and offers in the MTB space. We just hope more brands could mirror their ethos.
The N.Spire colorways allow you to find your style and match your saddle to your grips, pedals, decals, frame, or even your kit. Used by Pro mountain bikers Polygon UR Team and KS-Kenda Women’s elite racer Jennifer Malik for Enduro and XC applications.
|Suggested Discipline||Cross Country, Cyclocross, Downhill, Enduro, Mountain Bike, Road|
|Saddle Length||256mm (All models)|
|Saddle Width||136mm / 146mm / 156mm|
|Saddle Weight||136mm (226g Chromo)|
146mm (235g Chromo)
156mm (237g Chromo)
|Shell Material||Nylon + Fiberglass|
Price / Where To Buy
Smanie N-Spire Saddle: $169.95 – $299.95
Available for both men and women in 136mm, 146mm, and 156mm widths and a variety of colours.
Ask for the N-Spire at your local bike store.
Australian Stockists (That we know of)
- Blue Mountains region, NSW: TwoUp BikeCo
- Central Coast region, NSW: Coastal Bike Co