Specialized Romin Evo Pro saddle review
The Specialized Romin Evo turns out to be saddle Utopia for one picky reviewer
An incredibly well designed saddle. The length works well for performance orientated riders who want to move their weight around as the effort dictates, and the cut out provided plenty of relief. Personally, my only regret is that it took me so long to discover this saddle.
Marketing this as a men's saddle means it took me too long to discover it
The Specialized Romin Evo Pro was selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
Name a (women's) saddle and the likelihood is that I've tried it. Whilst I've never had major surgery requiring issues, I've also never really been able to find a perch that ticks all the boxes. The result? Constant shuffling, which I'm sure has been almost as annoying for anyone on my wheel as it has been for me. Good news: the Specialized Romin Evo appears to have put an end to my shufflebum antics.
To begin with - the Specialized Romin Evo has historically fallen within the men's saddle range. For women, there's now a MIMIC version which replaced the highly popular Oura. However, the brand makes it clear that since saddle comfort is personal, riders of either gender may find comfort aboard either option. I've tried as much as possible to review this saddle from a 'unisex' perspective, in the hope of providing comments useful for both male and female shoppers.
The Romin Evo is a long nosed saddle, therefore bucking the short and stubby trend that has become highly fashionable in recent years. However, it's a perch you still see aboard the bikes of many pro riders on Specialized sponsored teams. Unlike noseless designs, this approach doesn't anchor the rider into one set position, allowing easy movement between the 'on the rivet' pose during efforts and a more laid back stance when spinning out the legs on those all important recovery rides.
The Romin Evo has a very slight tilt towards the nose, but is much flatter than the outgoing Oura - swapping to this from the discontinued women's model I feel much more planted in the saddle and I much prefer this shape.
>>> How to choose the right saddle for you
Running through the middle is a Body Geometry pressure relief channel, aimed at maximising blood flow. All products that carry the title 'Body Geometry' have been ergonomically designed and scientifically tested to help riders perform, injury free. With its big bucks budget - plus hundreds of thousands of Retül bike fit data points - Specialized has worked with some of the most famous names in cycling. Which is perhaps why items such as its shoes and saddles are quite so prevalent and well respected in the market.
For me personally, the cut-out is the most essential component of a saddle - it needs to be long and wide enough or I'll very quickly find myself repressing urges to chuck it into a hedge somewhere. The channel provided by the Romin Evo was perfect for me.
Very occasionally on long rides I found the edges of the cut-out a little tough, and I'd like them to graduate a tiny bit more - however I imagine that this could interfere with longevity and my awareness of the ridge was minor.
Specialized has used Level 2 padding, a medium density foam, and I found this provided plenty of relief on rides over four hours. The cover uses the brand's tough and water-resistant Micromatrix material which is seen across the range, providing a lovely, plush and top end aesthetic. On the bike, I felt the saddle looked smart and keeping it all black is absolutely a good move in my understated loving opinion.
This saddle is available in three widths: 143mm, 155m and 168mm. Riding a saddle that provides adequate support can have a chain-reaction effect throughout the whole body. Saddle pressure mapping teamed up with Retül data has, in the past, shown that riding a perch that's too narrow causes me to shift my hips, creating a leg length and knee angle discrepancy. On the 168mm model, I know that I'm properly supported and the difference this has made to my comfort on the bike has been revolutionary.
This Romin Evo Pro model comes in at £158, weighing 214g in the 168mm width on test. It features carbon rails. There is an S-Works model (though this is only available in 143 and 155mm widths) which is lighter, whilst you can get the same shape at 'Comp' level with Cr-Mo rails for £84 with a weigh penalty of 71g in the 168mm version.
Carbon rails are a 'nice to have' and drop the weight of the product, also reportedly adding to compliance. However, in my opinion it's saddle comfort - the ability to put the power down pain free and ramp up the miles in the knowledge that saddle sores are far away - that plays the biggest role in optimising performance. The Evo Pro model at £158 stands up well against competition and represents great value for money, but I wouldn't think twice about fitting the £85 Comp version either.
Of course, saddle comfort is personal - what suits one rider could be the equal to a bed of nails for another. However, if you're like me - a little bit hypermobile, like the option of moving around on the saddle and appreciate a good sized cut-out - I'd say this is a good model to try. My only criticism is that, being marketed for so long as a 'men's saddle', it took me years of trial and error before discovering this level of saddle Utopia.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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