WTB Aviator Review

Pro Reviews Saddles

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

When I was at Sea Otter this year I was highly intrigued by the new to 2010 WTB Aviator saddle. This Freeride and Downhiller saddle means business, from its durable canvas cover, to its grippy sides, and beefy Cr-Mo rails. When I got a Yeti ASR 7 as a new test steed, it was time to place this beast into some action.

WTB Aviator
The Aviator comes in two models, the DH Race (which I tested) and the less expensive Comp. The DH Race is covered with a durable and tough canvas cover, abrasion resistant corners, grippy sides, a flex tuned shell with comfort zone cut out, and oversized 8mm Cromoly rails, while the Comp uses a synthetic cover and forgoes the special corners.

Impressions
The Aviator is overbuilt to take the abuse that the Freerider and Downhiller are going to toss the saddle into. It is meant to take the crashes, monstrous hits and impacts, jarring trails and just plain ill treatment that this type of rider is going to subject the saddle to. I have taken my share of putting it into those situations, and it shows a little wear and tear. The canvas fabric is pretty light in color, and has shown some slight discoloration and spotting, but after all the mud, dirt and sand that it has been embedded with, it looks pretty good (won’t win a beauty contest).

The tear resistant canvas, along with the grippy rubbery sides and abrasion resistant rear corners offer quite a bit of adhesion and tactile feel, but those features still allow quite a bit of movement without snagging, but slippery doesn’t come into its vocabulary. The tough abrasion resistant rear corners, named ABR corners, offer just enough extra protection right in the spot the saddle always seems to hit. It even comes with a nifty little pocket at the very back, sort of like a pair of jeans would have.

Which pocket?!
MY BACK POCKET!!!
You’ve got ten back pockets!!!
LEFT CHEEK!!! LEFT CHEEK!!! LEFT CHEEK!!!

wtb_rear

The saddle’s shape is interesting, being 137mm wide and 279mm long (measured), it’s fatter or wider along its entire length than most saddles, especially towards the front half, and ends with a blunt nose. The shape feels comfortable, and provides good stability. The beefy oversized 8mm chromoly rails might be hard to fit into some seatposts, but they certainly won’t bend, and you won’t tear or break a rail on this monster. The rails are beefy suckers, and I think the seatpost cradle will break first?

The saddle is designed with their Comfort Zone cutout, soft DNA padding (squishy), and Flex-Tuned shell, which makes it nice in rough terrain, impacts and long rides. I could sit down more often, and for longer periods of time through rocky conditions, and the blows from slamming into objects were definitely softened.

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The Comfort Zone cutouts on the bottom of the saddle (blue section), have a bit of give where the huevos (sensitive soft tissue) always get abused or smashed into, and offer some relief. The saddle is really comfy!

Hm! She is made of harder stuff! Cardinal Fang! Fetch…THE COMFY CHAIR!

Next » Impressions Cont. and Bottom Line

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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  • Paul says:

    Every WTB seat i’ve ridden fails in the “love groove” thing. That bit of pointless foam designed to fail after 6 months so you have to buy another seat.

    I appreciate you review- but when will WTB get rid of this fail?

    http://www.paulpetch.com

  • Brian Mullin says:

    As far as I know the Aviator is one of their few saddles that doesn’t have the Love Channel. In regards to longevity of the foam, I would need further testing?

  • Brian Mullin says:

    WTB Aviator Specs:
    - MSRP: DH Race $80/Comp $40

  • R says:

    The cover is a great option. I would love that sort of more durable cover option on one of their ~200g (ti rail) saddles for AM and DH riding. I don’t think anyone rides heavy saddles anymore.

  • cody says:

    I got one earlier in june, and after 3 months of riding the canvas wore a quarter-size hole :’(

  • Chris says:

    I ordered a 29″ Dissent tire from WTB a few weeks ago and this saddle came up while filling out the form with a discounted price for some reason and since I’m outfitting a bike for DH use as well as XC I thought I would give it a try. I haven’t ridden it yet. It does look like it will hold up, but the first thing I noticed was the “pocket”. In the photos it looked all nice a trim, laying down like in your photos which made me believe it was sewn down, but on my saddle it looks like someone has been sticking their fingers in it or something because it was all sloppy looking and cut crooked and would not lay flat. It seemed to serve no purpose. I called WTB to ask about it and they said it was just for decoration and several people had been asking about it. Looked like a good place for dirt or mud to collect or to catch your shorts to me. Some people have sewn it down apparently. I carefully cut it off with a razor blade. It made the saddle look a lot better and the only trace is a little frayed material left over. If it was straight and sewn down from the factory it would be fine but as it was it seems like a design mistake to me that should have been culled along the way to production.

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