Its innovative design certainly raises eyebrows, and Essax are making some big claims about its performance benefits, but does this play out on the road?

Product Overview

Overall rating:

Score 7

Pros:

  • Innovative design
  • Light weight
  • Fairly comfortable

Cons:

  • Better rails available for the price
  • Doubts over durability

Product:

Essax Shark saddle

Price as reviewed:

£79.99 (Chrome/Nickel rail)

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The Essax Shark saddle created quite a stir when we first reported that the Spanish brand would be entering the UK market. Some of you were, to say the least, not convinced, and many of the Facebook and Twitter comments can’t be repeated here. However what our testers discovered was a saddle that defied appearances to offer a fairly comfortable ride and a decent level of performance.

>>>Buyer’s guide to road saddles

We’ll start by addressing the elephant in the room: that fin. According to the Essax Shark’s designer, Jon Iriberri, the fin should distribute weight evenly between the rider’s sit bones by achieving better alignment of the knees, preventing rocking and rotation when pedaling, therefore increasing the efficiency of the pedal stroke and preventing injury.

This certainly gave this saddle a level of comfort that was unexpected given the unique design. Essax recommend a professional fitting, but we didn’t have any problems after simply setting the Essax Shark in the same position as our usual saddle. While riding, the 115mm fin on our test saddle is definitely noticeable, especially when sitting back in the seat while climbing, it is never a discomfort. However if you’re worried about this, Essax also offer versions with 105mm and 80mm fins which may appeal for those who are in and out of the saddle or are prone to shifting around.

afnet

The AF-Net technology is built into the shell of the saddle and is claimed to improve rigidity and efficiency

Essax supplied us with a mid-range model for review, which came equipped with chrome/nickel rails (steel and titanium rails are also available). The rails don’t transmit too much road buzz, but considering you can pick up saddles with titanium or even carbon rails for a similar price if you shop around a bit, you can probably find a smoother ride for your buck.

>>>Saddle height: how to get it right and why it’s so important

Aside from the fin, the other technology that has gone into the Essax Shark saddle is the ‘AF-Net Matrix’. This technology is applied to the shell of the saddle, with Essax claiming this makes the saddle 4.7% more efficient, 37% more rigid and 70% more resistant to dynamic fatigue compared to identical models without the AF-Net technology.

Unfortunately the Cycling Weekly laboratory is still a work in progress, so we weren’t able to fully test these claims, but out on the road the performance of the Essax Shark saddle seemed largely comparable to similarly-priced perches from bigger name brands: good, but nothing to write home about. However the relative lack of flex in the shell is impressive given the weight and price of the saddle, hitting the scales at only a smidgen over 200g.

>>>7 of the best performance saddles

Our only real concern with the Essax Shark is the durability of the material. After only a couple of weeks of riding the covering had developed a number of sizeable wrinkles, particularly where the fin meets the main body of the saddle. This didn’t affect the ride during our time with the Shark saddle, but could become an issue over time.

For more details head over to the nrg4 website.

Verdict

The Essax Shark saddle is an interesting concept and certainly makes you concentrate more on keeping your hips straight in the saddle. The ride is nowhere near as uncomfortable as you’d expect, and performance good. We were also impressed by the light weight, especially given the chrome/nickel rail and the price.

Details

Weight (as tested):206g
Rails Available:Steel, Chrome/Nickel (as tested), Titanium

Fin Sizes Available:20x80mm, 35x105mm, 40x115mm (as tested)
Colours Available:Black, White

Contact:www.nrg4.co.uk

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    trollolololo

  • Alhazzared .

    I posted that comment 3 days ago sir, how do you know that’s the same opinion I hold today? Jesus you people.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    That’s enough responding to 7 month old internet comments, please.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    “White knighting” refers to dudes trying to get into a specific woman’s good graces.
    Instead of replying to 7 month old internet comments, spend some time reading difficult books; learn how to interact and engage with english. Enjoy.

  • N37BU6 .

    That’s enough white knighting, Florence.

  • Alhazzared .

    That’s enough casual political correctness, please.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    So what you’re saying is you didn’t get the joke.

  • Justin

    As are you. You come across as a self righteous individual who has no idea what he is talking about. Very narrow minded indeed. I can’t fathom the parties of people where you are funny. That being said most people enjoy a good sexual related quip. Doesn’t make it or the person sexist.

  • bobfairlane

    It looks like a rip off of the Selle Italia anyway. hahhha

  • bobfairlane

    ROFL. The buttfin saddle has a cult already. hahahha

  • dfd

    Well don’t think too hard or you might hurt your brain cell.

  • dfd

    You’re American, right?

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    I’d say the original poster is at a loss for words, and may have been speaking out of his rear.

  • tobin1

    Basically what you are saying that the original poster is the butt of all jokes then…

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    see? I’m very funny! And I don’t even mind risque humor. I just think a dumb joke that isn’t clever or subtle should stay out of writing. If one is bad at humor, save it for your buddies and a beer where it’s excusable.

  • tobin1

    Bad crack? I get it….

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    I am! I’m actually funny & witty.

    If he made his comment at a party, however, I probably would have chuckled & moved on. You know why? One is a party (as I said, a ‘bunch of lads sitting around guffawing’).

    This, the internet, is a place of written communication, and I expect people to do a little more work.

    If they don’t do that work, & they make a bad crack, I expect them to not cry & whine about being called out on it!

  • tobin1

    You must be a hoot at parties!

  • Butt Face McGee

    All I can think about is the massive wedgie I’ll get.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    and you say *I’m* the one with thin-skin? My, how we do carry on.

  • Joe Public

    Of course you do. That’s part of being self-righteous. I think we’ve already established you think very highly of yourself. As for my “low barrier”, I see it this way… I’m happy with myself. I’m also very thankful I don’t share the your “stick up the backside” disorder and can take most things in stride. My initial response to your want-to-be feminist gladiator remark was honestly more to spite your uptight attitude than anything else. You paint a really big target on your back when you behave this way on the internet.

    You don’t have higher standards. You simply think you do, however you are right. We’ll both benefit from this. Ignorance is bliss.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    I expect many people agree with me that you aren’t very funny; you actually agree yourself! As you note late in your comment, you have a low barrier to entry for humor. You find things funny easily, and aren’t very picky.

    Having low-standards is it’s own reward, inasmuch as having higher standards is. We will both benefit greatly I’m sure.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    Your non-joke.

  • Joe Public

    As far as I know, nobody sits around and guffaws over the subject. Furthermore, under what authority do you get to decide what does and doesn’t constitute a joke? You’ve already established that you have a more self-righteous approach to dealing with the world around you. I understand that you fancy yourself as being more “progressive” than people like me, who have apparently only recently discovered fire and/or the wheel. Good for you! While you’re very limited as to what you can find humor in, I find endless avenues. Congrats?

  • Joe Public

    What wasn’t funny?

  • guzgg

    But it wasn’t funny. It was just dumb.

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    Life is too short to actually have a sense of humor?

    I’m sorry, I just don’t find grown men sitting around guffawing over non-jokes to be funny. I find a great many things funny, and am not actually offended at all; I just think that you’re being casually sexist & not even remotely humorous.

    You actually did make some witty comments in your final response, however, so good show! ‘take things in stride’ was delightfully clever in context, and I chuckled. Thank you for providing something that rose above the banal, effortless, lack of humor in your first comment.

  • Joe Public

    I don’t expect you to understand what it’s like to take things in stride or to be able to find humor in more than what falls within a certain “pc” criteria. While you pity my existence, please understand people also have to tolerate yours, and that’s no easy task when interacting with the likes of you involves a balancing act on eggshells, unless of course the abrasive/uptight demeanor is reciprocal. Life is to short to live it like you do. Cheers!

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    A bunch of ‘lads’ sitting about saying “Hurr hurr women derive sexual pleasure from their sexual organs” constitutes funny, sexual humor?

    My, what a dull life you must lead.

  • bob

    You’ve tried it then? Or are you just spouting the first drivel that comes into your head?

  • rjstange

    …..”certainly makes you concentrate more on keeping your hips straight in the saddle”….
    No doubt….

  • bobfairlane

    That’s fucking retarded.

  • Joe Public

    Actually, it’s not. More sexual jokes plz!

  • http://www.davidstreever.com/ David Streever

    That’s enough casual sexism, please.

  • Kangrrl

    This is the dumbest “advancement” in saddles ever, yet the most hilarious. Prostate massage or constant wedgie? A sharp stick would accomplish the same thing. Lol.

  • Gerald Velayo

    Spot on Earl 😉

  • Earl

    That just might become a woman’s favorite!