The Specialized Toupe road bike saddle is the flagship saddle out of the Specialized lineup. With pricing starting off at around $80.00 all the way up to the S-Works that will run you $250.00, the Toupe has a complete lineup centered around it’s distinct shape for a wide variety of riders and budgets. For this review, we picked up the Team model which comes in at $170.00 as tested (red/gloss black).
Patented BG design is lab tested to assure blood flow to sensitive arteries
“Medium” rated ultra-light padding for longer rides
“Medium” rated carbon-reinforced shell for all-day racing and durability
Durable, lightweight solid titanium rails
Tough, light and water-resistant Micromatrix cover
Width: 130mm approx. weight 175g (+/-5%)*
Width: 143mm approx. weight 179g (+/-5%)*
Available in 130mm and 143mm widths *All sizes not available in all markets
MSRP: $150.00 – $170.00 ($170.00 as tested)
The Toupe Team saddle uses Specialized’s Body Geometry technology to get you on the right size for your body. When fitted on their fitting system, I came out at 100mm which put me on the line between the 130mm and 143mm sizes. For more a more aggressive riding position, I should chose the 130mm and for a more upright the 143mm would be a better choice. I went with the 130mm width as my riding position is typically pretty aggressive with the bars well below the saddle.
For some more informational on Body Geometry and how it relates to Specialized’s saddle design, I have included this promotional video below from Specialized. Now realize this is a marketing video, but it does have some good information in it that will help you realize how they come up with their designs.
Review: Specialized Toupe Team Road Saddle
The Specialized Toupe Team road saddle is “our highest performance road saddle, this sleek minimalist is ultra-light and tuned for racing stiffness, with a flat profile and thin padding perfect for explosive efforts.” In other words, this is one of the more narrow designs from Specialized that is tailored more towards seasoned road riders than beginners that are not conditioned to long stints in the saddle.
During the review period, we rode this saddle on everything from 10k+ feet per climbing in one ride to a flat century that had a grand total of 947 feet of elevation gain. With that wide range of riding conditions, we were able to see how the Toupe Team would perform for most riders.
The narrow profile and lightweight padding of the Toupe Team was surprisingly comfortable over longer rides with a lot of in the saddle time. Even on the first ride (the long flat century), I didn’t notice any hot spots or numbness until we were far into the ride (and everyone did with that much sitting). On longer elevation rides, there was zero numbness or pain as we went to tackle long climbs and long descents. There was adequate padding for my hind parts, but riders that look for a little bit more cushion are going to want to step down to another Toupe model or look at another saddle like the Romin. The Toupe is designed to be a lightweight, race saddle at this price point and that comes at the sacrifice of some material.
The center cutout and narrow profile create a great fitting saddle that allows for normal blood flow to prevent any issues while riding. I did find that the better posture I kept on the bike, the more comfortable the saddle was while riding. The lazier I got sitting (sitting heavy, shoulders tense, etc.), the more pressure I felt on the saddle and that was a quick reminder to clean things up a bit. Even with the thin center profile, there was enough support through the middle of the saddle and I never felt too much flex or collapsing while hammering in the seated position.
The Specialized Toupe Team road saddle is a great option for seasoned riders. I never once felt like there was not enough padding as the saddle fit so well that extra cushion was not needed. My only real gripe about the saddle is that the front plastic nose had a tendency to grab my cycling shorts when I was coming from sprinting in the drops to sitting back down when you are coming back on the saddle lower than normal. The sharp edge of the plastic nose would grab the lycra of my shorts so I would have to lean forward a little bit and then back on. Other than that, the Specialized Toupe Team is highly recommended as it has been one of the more comfortable road saddles I have ridden to date.
For 2011, the colors changed but the overall design and weight stayed the same.
Positives: Specialized Toupe Team Saddle
Lightweight Design: Titanium rails and low profile
Body Geometry Fit System: Get the right fit for your body type without having to guess
Stiff enough for racers
Negatives: Specialized Toupe Team Saddle
Price: There are other models available if you aren’t ready to spend $170.00
Plastic nose would grab shorts in some situations
If you are looking for a comfortable, light saddle for your road bike with a fit system that guarantees comfort, the Specialized Toupe Team is hard to beat. To pick up your own Specialized Toupe saddle, visit your local Specialized dealer for a saddle fit or go to Specialized.com.