A fresh new SDG Forumula MT iBeam saddle, accompanied by a carbon iBeam seatpost showed up at the door today for review. Sweet. I’ll be frank: I wish more saddle manufacturers adopted the iBeam design. With a single fixing bolt, it is easy to adjust, and the long rail on the saddle is crazy tough. Even if you somehow managed to break one, (several years ago, I did just that, on a 30foot step down I was just a bit short on) the long saddle rail means that you can actually continue to use the saddle, even with part of the rail is damaged. Just bolt it to a section of the rail that is still intact, and you are on your way home. It gets better. After I contacted SDG and sent back the broken saddle, they sent me a replacement model at no charge. That is some serious customer service.
Having destroyed my share of traditional saddles, and having to cobble some sort of make shift attachment (zip ties, twine, grass, or whatever I could find on the side of the trail) in order to hobble back home, this benefit alone is a big win for the unique interface. It isn’t just me either- take a look at the seats under DH riders at the local races, and you’ll see many of them subscribe to the system as well.
The only issue I have with the iBeam system is the lack of comfortable saddles available. Short of the dirt jump specific i-Sky, most of the ibeam saddles I have tried fall short in this department. The Formula FX saddle appeared to change this proposition. With a 2 density base that offered flex, and a great shape, it was a big improvement. I tried one a year or two back on my Demo 7 at Northstar. I was impressed by the light weight and comfort. It was a sad moment when I had to return it.
When I saw the Formula MT model, which is basically the FX model modified with additional padding and a relieved area for the bits and parts, I had to check it out. The timing was immaculate as well, the day before the package arrived, I had my worst crash of the year to date, resulting in this:
A rather nasty crash while testing the flow of the soon-to-be-adopted FR trails at Road 14 was the end of my favorite AM/XC saddle, a WTB Laser V team. Hopefully Wayne at Gravity Dropper will have the new 5″ posts with the iBeam heads available soon. I’m crossing my fingers that he’ll have upgrade kits for existing posts. Both Gravity Dropper and KS Suspension have licensed the iBeam design and are currently testing prototypes. It appears my crumpled WTB saddle, pictured here, will be my last- a Twitter post directed @W_T_B confirmed that they will not be doing anything iBeam.
I’ll be using the Forumla MT seat and post on a Trek Remedy and Session 88, for all mountain use, downhill, and free riding. Stay tuned to MBAction.com to hear how the lightweight combo holds up in an upcoming full review.