WTB introduced a new saddle on the first day of the 2023 Sea Otter Classic in Monterey, California. After tires, saddles are WTB’s largest product line, but we’ve not seen a new saddle from WTB since before the pandemic.
Cyclists come in all shapes and sizes, so saddle preference depends on many factors. I ride a lot of different saddles and of course, have my preferences. One of my favorites at the moment is the Ergon SR Allroad Core saddle, but I have a favorite WTB Devo that I’ve ridden for years on a bike I ride regularly. I recently put the old Devo on a review bike that had a saddle I didn’t agree with. That was before I received the Gravelier.
I’d heard that WTB was coming out with this new “gravel” saddle, and so I requested a review sample. I’m a light rider, so I asked if they’d send a carbon rail version. WTB kindly obliged. I’ve ridden the Gravelier Carbon for more than a month before its release.
The Gravelier saddle is available in one 150mm width with chrome-moly steel, stainless steel, titanium, or carbon rails. The chrome-moly version retails for $96 and the carbon version is $250. The $154 difference will save 86 grams or a fifth of a pound. That’s $1.79 per gram saved, so it’s not extremely economical. Get the titanium rail version to save $107 compared to the carbon version, but pay a 50-gram penalty. You may gain impact resistance, however.
The Gravelier is 246mm stem to stern, shorter than typical road saddles, which are around 270mm. The Gravelier’s actual measured width is 150mm which WTB labels as a medium. There is no other size available. The profile has a slight curve with a higher tail than the nose. The taper is more gradual than some saddles, and there is a groove in the center with an 11cm pressure relief hole in the middle of the length.
The Gravelier profile is almost the same as my old favorite Devo. The width, taper, and slightly curved profile are identical. The length of the useable part of the saddle is also the same, but the measured length differs due to the tail profile.
The Gravelier has touted design technologies such as the shape of the fiber-infused nylon base to allow varied flex in different areas of the saddle. All of that is hard to verify, but on our end, no pun intended, it is an update to the Devo.
Compared to the 2010 Devo saddle with titanium rails, the titanium rail Gravelier is about the same weight, although we did not test or weigh that version. With both the Gravelier and Devo mounted on posts on side-by-side bikes, the subjective flex at the nose, in the middle, and at the tail is similar to the old Devo.
The old WTB Devo is on one of my frequently ridden ‘cross bikes. I like its low weight and it suits me well. The Gravelier is an easy swap since the profile is the same in almost every parameter. The Devo was marketed as a mountain bike saddle and the Gravelier a gravel saddle. I think those terms are just that-marketing. WTB designs the saddle for the rider’s position on the bike (more upright or leaned forward) and where the person sits in the saddle (nose vs tail). There are many saddles in WTB’s line-up to cover the differences.
The Gravelier is for someone who moves around in the saddle, hence the gradual taper, and generally rides in a more aggressive position, thus the padding placement. That’s how I ride so it works for me. Perhaps the curved profile does not suit the rider who moves around the saddle, but I like the change of profile depending on where I sit.
I like the addition of the open channel. If seated for long periods, positioned aggressively on the hoods or drops, it’s easier for me to stay comfortable and avoid numbness. On wet rides, spray can come through that hole, but a saddle bag or Ass-Saver will solve that.
The cover is tackier than my old Devo, so sliding around on the saddle is not as easy, but maybe it’s more efficient to have the resistance to sliding on the saddle surface when I’m pushing hard on the pedals.
The padding is firm and does not bottom out. The shell seems to flex nicely on bumpy terrain whether it be washboard or rough pavement. I don’t know if it’s the carbon rails, shell flex or padding, but the formula works well to damp the vibration. Even when I have an accidental hard hit while seated, it deadens the jolt by flexing a bit.
It’s a privilege to have the carbon rail version to satisfy the weight weenie in me. I’ve not had any problems with the lightweight rails, even with my underbiking. Metal rails are less expensive. The steel versions should bend before breaking in the event of a catastrophic impact.
A saddle should be a wear component since padding and covers degrade. Perhaps your bike needs a replacement or upgrade. Saddles are a personal choice with so many available. The Gravelier is a fine saddle that fits me well and suits my riding style and use. The more I ride it, the more I like it. It may work for you too!
WTB Gravelier Specifications:
Length 246mm, Width 150mm measured
Carbon rails 160 grams, $250
Titanium rails 210 grams, $143
Stainless steel rails 228 grams,$120
Chromoly steel rails 246 grams, $96
More info: wtb.com