What is it
The Specialized Power Arc expands on the original Specialized Power saddle, adding an updated shape and Elaston padding. Quickly becoming the go-to saddle for Specialized road and mountain team, the Power Arc could be the one saddle for all your bikes.
- Very comfortable and stable during hard efforts
- Locked in feeling with ability move to around on while riding off-road
- Zero hot spots on longer rides but doesn’t drown out surface feel
- Great for use off-road and on drop bar bikes alike
- Carbon shell helps saddle keep form and offers compliance
- Ti-rails are sturdy, lightweight and don’t crack like carbon
- Setup time and trial and error required for the non-traditional setup
- Color fades slightly over time depending on riding conditions
- Some riders may have a hard time distinguishing Power classic and Arc
- At what price? $275.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Specialized is known for pushing the limits in the saddle market, and the addition of the short and sweet Power saddle is no exception. The Power is well-suited for time trial and road use but never really found a home with off-road riders. That is about to change with the release of the Specialized Power Arc.
Created using feedback from the Specialized Factory Mountain Bike Team and road testers the new Power Arc boasts a fit that is comfortable on and off-road. The Specialized Power Arc Pro features a stiff, FACT carbon fiber shell and EVA padding. The shape of the saddle is designed to provide sit bone support, coupled with a shorter-than-usual nose section to keep pressure off of soft tissue while riding in aggressive positions. One of the Powers defining features is an extra broad and elongated channel that is proven to reduce unwanted numbness and pressure.
I switched to the Power Arc saddle from the Bontrager Montrose, a saddle I have on most of my bikes, both road, and mountain. The Montrose saddle has a very conventional shape with a small relief channel with a longer nose that is useful on long grinding climbs and in road races, trying to get more over the bottom (a tactic that makes me feel faster and is not rooted in any science).
Installing the Power and all shorter nose saddles requires a change from you “normal” tip of the saddle to bar measurement. For installation of the Power Arc, you slide the saddle back 3cm from your current saddle position. In my experience, some trial and error on the road is required to find the sweet spot of the saddle. Specialized also recommends the nose of the saddle stay level for the best performance, which I find works well for the road but on my mountain bike I tip the nose up slightly.
The Power Arc is similar to the Power, in the vein of shape and hip motion but differs in the ability to move around on the saddle. On my rides on the original Power saddle, I felt locked in and loaded for takeoff but unable to move about the cabin and adjust. Upon riding the Power Arc, two notable changes come to mind. First, the ease of movement, especially on off-road riding and second the padding level. The padding comes from Specialized new Elaston foam construction that’s made up of small beads that expand into the foam. Specialized claims it’s “The feeling of sitting on 1,000 miniature pillows,” I say, it’s like you’re riding much more expensive shorts or better chamois.
The Power Arc performs well in both road and off-road applications. As a rider that tends to migrate to the nose of the saddle on longer off-road climbs, the adjustment to the Power Arc took some time to break in. I do notice a difference on the pedal heavy sections of trail, the secure feeling from the Power is noticeable in energy transfer to the pedals as well as movements are counterproductive to the piston motion of the legs. After getting acclimated to the saddle, I find that I prefer my new non-migrated position on climbs. This previous migration was allowing some to change perennial pressure but ultimately is taking away from the productivity of my pedaling, in turn slowing me down.
The construction is top-notch with two threaded holes at the back to accept a new range of SWAT accessories. I find the EMT 9 multitool attachment very helpful and sturdy in rowdy ride situations.
A carbon fiber shell and hollow-titanium rails round out a high-end build that can also take sloppy cyclocross remounts and pothole dings. The color does fade after many miles in the rain, heat, and mud but the integrity and padding of the saddle have not.
As always, saddles are a hugely personal item, so the only way to find out is to sit on one in person. That said, if you’re a flexible riding using a very aggressive position, you’re already accustomed to firm padding, and don’t tend to move around much, we bet that the Power is a good match for you.
Available in both 143 (tested) and 155 size options in Chameleon and black color options.