By Tom Nash
As soon as I read that this saddle was ‘inspired and styled on the aerodynamic properties of a fighter jet’, I was intrigued to try it out. Having operated a Tornado jet in years gone past, when I read Nukeproof’s product description on their website, the word ‘comfort’ was not one I would immediately associate with a jet! However, ‘dynamic style and performance’ definitely resonated; the Vector AM is one sleek looking saddle.
With the cover bonded to the base, there is no stitching to fray or fabric corners to wear away and, even after some fairly grim Scottish weather, it still looks new after 160km of riding thanks to the wipe-clean surface. That does however bring up one of the issues; when the saddle gets wet it becomes very slippery and I had to tilt the saddle nose down to give me something to sit against when climbing to prevent sliding off the back. If the conditions are more gritty mud however, that added layer of friction helps significantly in reducing the slip.
The deep, cut away, central channel is very effective at ensuring there is no pressure on one’s delicate parts but it does create a haven for mud, grit and water to collect, especially if you tilt the saddle forward. It does not affect the performance of the saddle, but did mean that my padded shorts absorbed more water than normal resulting in a disconcerting cold, wet feeling sooner than other saddles with a less pronounced channel. This is easily remedied with a good pair of waterproof shorts but that is not a luxury all riders may have.
Available with CrN Ti Alloy or Cro-Mo rails and five different trim colours, there is a good selection of choice for the weight conscious and to match your bike’s colour scheme. Our Cro-Mo test saddle weighed in at 261g which is not as light as the slim profile may suggest. With minimal padding and almost zero flex in the side wings I was always aware of this saddle. It wasn’t painful per se, but for the first 40 minutes of a ride I could feel the hardness on my sit bones. That gradually disappeared until about two hours into a ride after which I became aware of it again. There is also more trail feedback than I have experienced with other saddles; it felt as if I was always sitting ‘on’ the saddle rather that ‘in’ it. These traits were also experienced by a friend who tried the saddle for a ride to see if it was just my buttocks!
Overall: This is a well-built, sleek looking saddle that should last a good while – but it’s not one for long epic days – at least, for me. It’s much more suited as a robust perch for quick blasts in the woods and yomping around freeride parks.
|Product:||Vector AM Saddle|
|Tested:||by Tom Nash for 1 month|