First Ride | 66sick Alcantara – New Luxury Lightweight Saddle in Test
Carbon & Alcantara – a mix perhaps more reminiscent of the interior of a sports car with combustion engine rather than a part for a bike, but 66sick are convinced that this is a truly potent combination for a saddle.
The saddles and grips made by 66sick are developed in collaboration with SQlab, which means they are pretty much premiership players when it comes to ergonomics. The height difference between the front and rear of the saddle should prevent pressure on your private parts, and as it comes in two widths (129 and 144mm), you should be able to match one to fit your derriere.
Amongst the saddle collection from 66Sick, the Alcantara leather-covered El Flaco is definitely distinctive. Erring more on the understatement side of things compared to their usual eye-catching designs, the first comments in the editorial office once the box was opened voiced our concerns about its resistance to dirt and ease of care for the outer surface. But once we actually picked up it, these worries were immediately quashed. The 66sick is light – really light! Of the two widths, the smaller one weighed a mere 150g, and compared to a similar top-end model, the Ergon SM3 Pro Carbon (179g according to the manufacturer’s stats), the 66sick isn’t just 29g lighter but also significantly cheaper, costing around 180 €. But this price does lead you to wonder exactly what this saddle offers that others don’t? Is Alcantara honestly the hidden gem of saddle materials? Does this price justify the carbon rails too? We wanted answers.
Riding impression so far
Our long-term tester Andi’s impressions go much deeper than just a simple First Ride – he’s already ridden around 500km on the El Flaco, from filthy muddy trails to dusty rides. As for comfort, he’s got no complaints thus far and the steeped design and sufficient cushioning have successfully prevented any excess pressure in the sensitive regions. Marketed and designed for XC, marathon and road racing, a slightly more upright body position ensues. The more upright you sit though, the more pressure on the knees and you’re forced to shuffle a little on your bum to prevent any build of pain.
The carbon rails are wonderfully inconspicuous – no noises, no scratches and no defects in the slightest. The Alcantara offers incredible grip on the saddle too; once aboard you won’t move an inch. Naturally, this makes shuffling on the saddle a little more strenuous but results in a fixed position when climbing so the risk of slipping is minimal. Admittedly, this is definitely a matter of personal taste and I personally tend to prefer a grippier saddle. So far there are no visible signs of wear and tear, despite its all too frequent escapades in the mud that I felt sure would ingrain itself into the saddle. Fortunately, the dirt is amazingly easy to remove; give it a quick brush and it soon looks spick and span. However, there is one slight minus point for the 66sick – as it retains water for an awfully long time when wet.
We’re still going to be riding the 66sick El Flaco Carbon Alcantara for another few hundred kilometres so we’ll be able to assess its durability in the long run. Check the next issue of ENDURO Mountainbike Magazine for our final review and conclusions.
Text: Andreas Maschke | Bilder: Christoph Bayer