Since the early 80's, WTB has produced products designed specifically for off-road use. While their primary offerings were aimed at mountain bike use, and many of their components still are, they have branched out and offer gear that fits the bill for cyclocross racers, gravel riders and even roadies.
WTB has a new saddle out aimed at least in part at drop bar dirt riders, the SL8. Coming in three models, the Pro, Team and Carbon, here we're looking at the top-end Carbon model.
The SL8 in all its versions has a distinctly "racer" shape, being longer up front and rounder in back with a slight scoop to the rear-center. WTB says that the shape of the saddle is such to "encourage multiple riding positions" and still "ensure all day satisfaction." For uses, WTB says the SL8 is designed for everything from cross country racing to road riding.
The SL8 has a center relief channel, rather than a full, see-through cutout, and small X cuts in the shell to provide some measure of compliance. Don't let the carbon moniker fool you into thinking this is a hard shell on rails. There's still a good amount of padding for a mostly minimalist saddle.
Our test model came in at 153 grams on the Cyclocross Magazine scale. That's pretty light for a saddle that gets the nod for extended off-road riding. It's worth noting that the claimed weight for the $249.95 USD SL8 Carbon is 149 grams. There's also no ridder weight limit listed for the SL8 Carbon, which is nice.
The SL8 Carbon measured out at 266.7mm long and 127mm wide. And there are 70mm worth of usable rails. Like most carbon rails, they're a little ovalized and taller than round, metal rails. So your seatpost may require switching to a 7mm x 10mm clamp.
We're going to be giving the SL8 a full review and will be giving you our impressions of how well it sits in our list of favorite saddles in the near future. Can't wait for the SL8 review? Grab a copy of issue 30 where we review the Koobi PRS Alpha, Ritchey Logic Link, Brooks Cambium, Fabric Scoop, Specialized Phenom, ISM Adamo Attack and San Marco Regale in a saddle shootout.
WTB SL8 Carbon Saddle Specifications
Size: 255mm x 125mm, claimed; 266.7mm x 127mm, actual
Weight:149 grams claimed; 153 grams, actual
Price: $249.95 USD
More info: wtb.com