Syncros FL Series Review

Components Pro Reviews Saddles

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Reviewed by Brian Mullin http://www.gramslightbikes.com/

Syncros started out as a small, high end component company based out of Vancouver’s North Shore, and was purchased by Ritchey Design in 2003, but it’s still managed as a separate brand, catering more towards the gravity crowd. The Syncros Freakin’ Light (FL) series, is their cross country oriented product suite, and covers their stems, handlebars, seatposts, saddle, rims, wheelsets and headsets. Of course, you can also replace call F###in’ Light if you wish, but I will remain PC in cyber space. I tested their FL stem, bar, saddle and seatpost, and I’m happy to report they all worked and functioned quite well.

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FL Saddle
The Syncros FL saddle is my new favorite saddle, mostly because it’s a climber’s dream, allowing you to punch out steep terrain, giving you maximum leverage, with comfort, stability and maneuverability. The cross country oriented saddle, is slim, has a composite shell, titanium alloy rails, superlight foam, a leather cover and aramid rear and nose panels. It has a groove that runs down the top center for pressure relief, and is available in white (tested) or black.

The saddle is firm, and offers plenty of support for those hammering sessions, but it has enough padding to be comfortable for long rides, greatly aided by the shell flex and the titanium allow rails (CrN/Ti). Where the FL really shines, is in steep and ugly climbs, in which the nose section is predominantly used. The nose of the saddle has just the proper padding and shape, to be an excellent place to sit your butt to crank your way uphill or through technical terrain, whether it’s mild or wild. It’s like having a pry bar or lever arm, to push power down into the bike’s drivetrain, while still maintaining a neutral balance. You can maneuver up and down the snout of the nose, depending upon the requirements, pressing your legs together to hold the nose or sitting up on the tip for maximum advantage. It’s not the lightest saddle on the market at 266 grams, but its climbing prowess sure helps with that deficit. The aramid rear and nose panels, have really helped the durability of the saddle, and my multiple crashes have shown no signs of distress, and outside of a few subdued wrinkles in the leather it still looks good.

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I give high marks to the Syncros SL saddle and highly recommend it, it’s comfortable, durable, with the best nose section I have used, and is my current undisputed climbing King!

Measured Specs
Weight – 265.8 grams
Size – 137mm wide x 280mm long
Nose width – 47mm

MSRP: $80

Overall Rating: 4.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

Syncros SL Saddle Company Specs
Intended use: XC / Marathon
New to the syncros saddle lineup, the FL saddle is built on a slim but comfortable composite shell, Ti rails, and superlight foam
Lighter, sleeker version of the AM saddle.
Leather cover with aramid rear panels to withstand abuse from crashes
Contoured foam in center section to relief sit bone pressure zones
CrN/Ti alloy rails
Available in white or black
Weight: 236g

Syncros Saddle URL

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About the author: Brian Mullin

Brian has been part of the Mtbr team since 2007, where he has become an integral member of the review and test staff, specializing in technical articles. He likes to push the limits in all the sports he obsesses in, whether it's mountain biking, whitewater kayaking, extreme skiing, or sport climbing. He takes those same strengths and a good dose of insanity to his reviewing and writing on mountain biking products, creating technical, in-depth and hyperbolic articles. Whenever he's not on the bike, he might be found watching MotoGP racing, otherwise look for him out on extremely technical singletrack.


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  • Rick says:

    Hey Brian, had the saddle for 6 months and it’s held up great out at Mt Herman with the occasional biff, great value with the Ti rails and I like the side panels and nose protection as that’s where I always rip other saddles. Pretty darn comfy too no complaints, and I agree the nose section if good for those steep grunters like the HZ switchbacks

  • Troels says:

    Hi Brian (& Rick too)
    Firstly, thanks – i much appreciate the review and feedback. I’m considering buying this saddle, but it’s hard to find hands-on experiences like these that one can trust.
    I have a few question i hope someone can help me by answering – even if all of these can’t be answered.

    Rick, since you’ve owned it for 6 months – how’s the durability of the joint where the leather->aramid section is located? Does the leather or aramid peel off or become damaged with time?
    The reason why i’m asking is that i once has an SQLab 610 saddle, and to put it quite frankly, the nose section did not last well at all. It wasn’t aramid, but the durability was bad.

    How’s the durability of the leather color – has this been fully dyed or is it just a thin layer of black or white dye?

    Is the upper layer made of leather, or is it protected by a thin layer of rubber coating? If yes, does this seem to last or will it rub off?

    Is it suitable to use more rough bike wear without damaging the surface? (such as using denim instead of lycra pants for exampe)

    Finally – does any of you notice any kind of creaking with this saddle?

    Thanks for any inputs,
    Troels

  • Brian Mullin says:

    3.5 months of abuse (rain storms and typical damaging Colorado sunshine):
    no peeling nor even slight stitching pullout, the color has been fine, I would go with black if you are worried about it, it just has some nice age wrinkles (much like me), I think it is full leather (have to ask Syncros/Ritchey that one), since the wrinkles are a telltale sign, I wear freeride pants and its been fine, and it has been silent

  • Rick says:

    The stitching at the seams has held up great, no peeling so far. I got caught out in a good rainstorm a few weeks back and there’s a slight bit of discoloration and wear on the leather sides were the logo’s are but that’s to be expected, prior to that there was very little wear at all.

    I greased the rails prior to install and it’s been silent for me as well. This saddle is better made and has held up better than any WTB saddle I’ve owned and I only paid $65. It is on the firm side and took a few rides to break in compared to softer saddles but is comfy now.

    I would say there are more comfy saddles out there like the PureV or SDG BelAir but I couldn’t find the SDG model I wanted anywhere and the PureV or Silverado did not hold up well at all. Not to mention those saddles run at least $35 more

  • Troels says:

    Received an error when i tried to post earlier today, so i’ll try again.

    Both: Thanks for replying so quickly. Gotta say that this sounds like an impressive saddle – and silent too (what more can one ask for?). It seems as the more expensive saddles become, they get a more and more fancy designs but at the expense of durability – the FL sounds like a well-balanced choice, so this will also be my next saddle.

    Brian: Sure, i think i’ll go with the all-black version, even though the white/black looks better in my oppinion – but i have never been able to keep a white saddle anywhere near white for long.

    Rick: I was considering the WTB Silverado, but they seem to take a lot of adavantage of people who want anything beyong the stock configuration. I mean, combination of leather+Ti rails makes everything considerably more expensive. What do you think of the padding of the Syncros FL versus the WTB Silverado? Firmer, softer?

  • Rick says:

    The padding is tad bit softer on the Silverado but the saddle was not anymore comfortable for me, it didn’t holdup very well at all either. Even the side prot. panels ripped, as well as the leather cover in a few spots, will not buy another WTB.

  • Troels says:

    Me again. Does anyone know a better way of contacting Syncros except for their web contact form/application? I contacted them 2-3 weeks ago regarding whether the black dye is a surface treatment or throughout. No reply as of yet. Perhaps they got busy after Eurobike 2010…

  • Brian Mullin says:

    I spoke to their brand manager at Interbike and he thought it was a bit odd, here is their phone in San Carlos #650-517-1841

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