MELD 3D CUSTOM SADDLE REVIEW – A Bicycle Seat Built for You

The Meld 3D Custom Bike Saddle is fit exactly to your own specification and aesthetics

Disclosure: This article may link to affiliate sites/feature complimentary products for review purposes.
meld 3d custom saddle review

This article first appeared in our series detailing the steps to finding a comfortable saddle. We’ve put it here for easy searching, but you can check it out in all its glory at “The Most Comfortable Saddles on the Market.”

MELD 3D CUSTOM SADDLE REVIEW

meld 3d custom saddle reviewIf you read through the previous articles in this series, and you’re just thinking, I don’t even know how to begin thinking about how to start picking a saddle that fits me. Good news. Meld 3D is here to save you from all that is uncomfortable.
Meld’s fully custom seats fit you exactly. Like perfectly. Like crazy perfectly awesome. It all starts with a piece of foam, your bike shorts, and you. For reals. Meld 3D employs a process that captures your exact measurements and then uploads it to their website for your modifications and personalization.
The Meld 3D saddle is completely designed by you–you sit on the foam, send it back to the company, they scan all your measurements into their site, and you order your saddle in exactly the shape/fit/graphics that will make you happiest. All this in a matter of a couple of weeks.

MELD’S CUSTOM SADDLE PROCESS

meld 3d custom saddle reviewFirst you head to the Meld 3D website to trigger the foam block sit kit. Once that arrives, you simply wear your favorite pair of bibs (or shorts) and sit. Make certain to follow the exact directions to get an accurate impression or your seated self.

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Then, you simply pack it back up and ship it off. Once Meld has your impression, they’ll upload all your specific measurements to the website. Here’s where you get to select a few specifics like shape and graphics and rails. A few weeks later, and you’ll be ready to ride.

I’m not gonna lie here, this is probably the coolest thing I’ve ever had the chance of testing. Meld has a commitment to make certain that your saddle fits you with an extended process that makes sure you’re happy with your new saddle. A completely custom saddle starts at $250 and you don’t have to go anywhere to get it fit to you. Pick your jaw off the floor.

AESTHETICS & RIDE QUALITY

meld 3d custom saddle reviewAlthough the finished product is a little on the rough side, you can definitely see that handmade quality to the Meld. Not a study in aesthetics, but rather a lesson in comfort crafting, the Meld saddle definitely still looks cool on my carbon machine. And the fit is, well, perfection.

The carbon shell dampens the ride while the shape of the saddle completely supports my riding style without a hint of discomfort. If you’re still feeling pain after getting a Meld saddle, make certain that it’s truly the saddle causing it, but you can definitely go back to Meld and let them know how/where/what you’re feeling. That’s serious custom.

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In all honesty, I can’t recommend this saddle more. The ride quells all the old complaints from previous saddles, and this baby literally weighs 137 grams. I couldn’t be more stoked. I’m a Meld 3D fan.

Get your own saddle at the Meld website starting at $250

About Bek 301 Articles
SLO Cyclist's former chief editor and recovering road snob, Bek made sure everything ran smoothly around here. She was also the one who reminded us not to take ourselves too seriously--unless it involves black socks. Black socks are always serious.

31 Comments

  1. Crashed last season during a race, saddle was scuffed up at the side. Asked Meld and was surprised to find out they replace padding and cover for free. Now my saddle looks new again, thanks!

  2. I agree with Anthony. Meld unfortunately offers terrible service. The customer is always wrong. I have purchased a saddle and asked for some changes and the company keeps spitting out excuses like, you are sitting wrong, your frame is too big. They have gone as far as to say “it’s not our fault”. I recommend not purchasing a sale with them because they do not give the services they promise on their website front page.

    • We have been working with buyer for the past month on the issues he encountered. Based on the photos and information he provided, we have determined that the saddle was not correctly installed. According to our policy which buyer acknowledged before he could place an order, it is the buyer’s responsibility to ensure that his bike allows for proper installation of the saddle, and that it is up to our discretion on how to proceed in such cases of equipment incompatibility.

      While troubleshooting, we noted multiple discrepancies between what he claims to be true vs what we can observe from the photos he provided. For instance, he first claimed an adjustment of 6mm, then 9mm, when the photos show an adjustment of 1 inch. When we notified him of this discrepancy, he acknowledged that we are correct.

      Another discrepancy is the location he sat on the saddle. He initially claimed he was sitting on the right place. But based on his observations, we concluded that he was not, and after suggested adjustments, he again acknowledged that we are correct.

      We regret to say that we have not been able to rely on buyer’s claims up to this point in time, our suggestions had to be based on the photos he provides. Further adjustment of the saddle positioning needs to be done, but, as his photo shows, his bike does not allow for this.

      We have been listening to buyer’s suggestions and giving feedback. The last two suggestions he provided was
      a) to have a less curved surface, a feature already present on the saddle and can be utilized if only it is installed appropriately, and
      b) to have thicker padding, which we indicated we can accommodate.

      In addition, we have provided suggestions on how to proceed:
      a) buyer can switch to a different bike component (zero-setback seatpost)
      b) buyer can switch to a smaller bike frame that will allow the saddle to be installed appropriately.

      We hope that the buyer can give some thought to both his own and our suggestions, and come to an agreement.

  3. Anthony: if you are really an engineer, you will not be asking for a guarantee that the saddle won’t ever fail. Any engineer will know that a product is designed for an application, and if we exceed the parameters a product is designed for, then it may not work as intended. Any engineer will also understand that there will always be some chance, however small, that a product can fail due to manufacturing defects. What is needed is a replacement/followup/warranty program, which Meld provides.

    It seems you have trouble understanding these very basic facts, as well as understanding the emails that Meld sent to you. You claim many things which Meld has either shown to be false, or which you have no evidence for.

    Sorry to say but at this time you’re just trolling.

    • … and if Anthony really is an engineer, he would have a basic understanding of what ‘statistically significant’ means, and not make sweeping statements.

      You know, I used to believe that Anthony’s saddle did fail due to a pothole. But now, I think he deliberately broke it just to troll Meld.

  4. Not trying to get into the argument here at all, but just want to be totally clear that Meld never, ever paid us for our review. We do NOT accept paid or sponsored reviews as we feel it’s a total conflict of interest. We merely received the custom saddle in order to discuss the product and process. Meld has never tried to influence our review in any way.

  5. It is time for an unpaid review!

    My wife and I have been trying to ride long distance together for a few years, but she could not sit on her saddle for more than two hours at a time. It has to do with saddle width, and its cutout.

    We talked to Meld for a while and decided to go for it. The process was smooth, we spent some time looking at the parameters and the imprint kit instructions (it’s quite long). The info presented makes a lot of sense to us. After a few weeks we received the saddle.

    It’s the first time my wife felt properly supported by her saddle and not feel discomfort around the cutout region. It is also the first time in a long while we did not go looking on the Internet for her next saddle after a ride.

    So far we’ve made it to a distance of 50 miles together, last year. We’re trying for a century this year. We are also thinking of going for a cycling tour later this year. Fingers crossed!

  6. I had the exact same experience as anon (posted Feb 22, 2018) regarding Meld assuming it is the riders fault for a lack of comfort on their saddle. I did intitally install the saddle incorrectly, and Meld was kind enough to make suggestions for change. However after lowering the nose, and moving the saddle forward, the saddle was still causing sitbone pain. Meld insisted I was sitting on my perineum. To this day they still assume I am sitting on my perineum after further e-mails from me stating that I was not. They even suggested I should ride on a smaller bike even though my bike is custom and based on my measurements. The saddle is not as bad now as my sitbones are finally getting used to how hard the seat is, but I find their lack of talking to me in person, or on the phone extremely poor customer service with the excuse that they want everything in writing. I finally agreed to their solution of installing additional foam, but they will no longer respond. While I have read positive reviews, just understand they will never talk to you, only e-mail. They have my phone number, but never called.

    • Rob, we went through the same process with you as Brad Cartier (anon). The saddle is not designed for sitting on the perineum, which is why it will feel hard. A smaller bike frame is a potential solution, as is rotating the seatpost around. As we also mentioned, custom bike dimensions are based on what your preferences are, which may not be optimal in reality. E.g. if you tend to ride on your perineum, your custom bike dimensions will reflect that.

      Your saddle is 9 months old, and we contacted you as a followup to see how you were doing. Since you were not amenable to making any changes to your bike to make the saddle fit, nor test the saddle on other bikes, and since your saddle was purchased before our policy on equipment compatibility was introduced, we offered a partial refund which you accepted but did not follow up on.

      Re: phone calls: unfortunately, we do not have a hotline at the moment. Also, due to the number of users and the need to maintain context (i.e. remember what was discussed before, and with whom), it’s preferable that we have discussions in writing.

    • I didn’t want to say this earlier, but…

      Meld has been really, really helpful to my wife and I. Don’t be a jackass.

      Re: phone service: they explained that in cases where their users encountered fit issues, they may check back after some time. That can be weeks, or months. They need to remember what happened before, which is why they really prefer everything to be written down. Also, I don’t think they are a large corporation at this time, they may not have the resources to staff a phone line. Frankly, at this age of electronic communications, and given their promptness in answering emails, I don’t think not having a phoneline is that big of a deal.

    • If anyone wants to know the details of how we troubleshoot Rob’s (and Brad’s) saddle fit, drop us an email at info (at) meld3d.com. We’ll show you the photos taken and walk you through how we came to our conclusion. We can also reveal, to a reasonable extent, the communication between us and them.

  7. I would ask that All of the communications be shared so you can read how they originally diagnosed my issue as sitting on the perineum supposedly based on sweat marks on the saddle (it was not sweat) , my response by moving the saddle and stating that I was now on my sitbones and they hurt, and their refusal to acknowledge my issue was sitbones, not perineum. No saddle works for everyone, and Meld just won’t get this. I give the saddle a grade of C, customer service started at A and ended at F. I would love to have Meld reply why they are afraid of calling their customer on the phone, won’t meet in person, or why there are no reviews of their saddle on the site. I get that people love this saddle, it just doesn’t work for my sitbones. Another example of customer service is that they offered to reimburse me 50% for the return of the saddle. When I bought the saddle, the warranty was they would work with you, and if it didn’t work, return it for a full refund. They have since changed this to 90 days, but there was no time limit when I bought the saddle. Their excuse for 50% was the time lapse (does not apply), and the time they spent telling me I had a perineum issue (this is a business expense.) The saddle is going back for a refund, and I will post whether they honor the legalese of their original warranty.

    • Ethan, for context, understand that I am pretty familiar with bikes, worked in a bike shop, rode across the country twice, and am getting ready for a third crossing. I agree with you that Meld was very helpful at the start, and I made changes to try to get the saddle to work. For my posterior, the padding is too hard and for me, a basic Fabric saddle is more comfortable. I would argue there is not a saddle out there that 100% of cyclists would say is comfortable.

      • Rob, I think we’ve mentioned to you before (based on our emails) that we’ve encountered bike fitters who sit on their perineums. We’ve had users who had their saddles fitted by reputable professionals, and also ended up on their perineums. We’re definitely not saying that all, most or even a significant number of fitters/people who work in the area make such mistakes, only that they exist.

        The saddle model is based on the anatomy, so intuitively it should work. We’ve had a couple of folks with similar issues before, all of whom sit on their perineums. It did take a few months before we figured this out.

        If the saddle is installed correctly, any discomfort felt is not sitbone-based, but muscle-based (glutes). This is due to the large contact patch between the bum and saddle, which spreads and moves the pressure around while pedaling. You’ll get the discomfort when you exert before warming up, e.g. sprinting on the saddle, or when your muscles start cramping. If you’re sitting too far forward on the saddle, your weight is supported by a much smaller area, pressure is higher, and the seat will feel hard.

        We know this may not mean much to you, but the saddle works for more than 95% of our users, the first time round. We’ve worked on things so now the majority of issues comes from those with bike geometries that don’t work for them. So far we have professional riders, beginners, randonneurs, hybrid bikers, triathletes, track riders, men and women using them. We have had to stop offroaders (MTBers, gravel riders) from using our saddles since we do not design for those applications. So at this time it is very difficult for us to say our saddle won’t work for everyone. Even Anthony acknowledged that. Yes I’m humblebragging but hey…

        About online reviews: they make a difference initially but not much thereafter. We get people saying that they are willing to be the guinea pigs for their clubs/teams, so it’s more of a case of “I’ll listen to what my cycling mates say”. We don’t really expect anyone to trust anything they read online, why should they? As Anthony mentioned, really anyone can post a positive or negative review, so in a way we’re back to square one.

        Lastly, as we mentioned to someone who recently placed an order with us: products with 100% satisfaction are those used by just a handful of people. As we put more saddles below people’s bums, it is only a matter of time before we encounter someone who had a bad day. If it’s an issue on our side, we’ll acknowledge, fix it, and move on. At the end of the day cycling is about happiness and enjoying life for most of us.

    • Hey Rob, we will be happy to reveal all communications to anyone who requests for it. As Ethan mentioned, just send us an email at info (at) meld3d.com.

      We currently have a trial period of 30 days (not 90), which is about the same as other saddles in the market. You had requested for a refund, we offered one, and in our communications you had accepted the compromise. We had also asked that you return the saddle before a certain date for the refund, which you did not. We are sorry to say this but it feels to us like you’re moving the goalpost further and further away based solely on your own terms and disregarding prior agreements. A short while ago you wanted thicker padding, now you want a full refund. It is this constant changing of observations/requirements which complicates the process.

      We don’t post any reviews on our site, because we know that people don’t trust those in general. Sites like SLOCyclist are not biased so we feel whatever people read here will be closer to the truth.

    • I asked, received, and looked through the complete emails. Here are my observations and thoughts:

      “You are correct that my issue was sitting on my perineum, and this was the problem before I moved the saddle forward and concentrated on sitting with my sitbones on the back. I appreciate you pointing that out.” – Rob acknowledged that he was not sitting on the right spot.

      Rob doesn’t know how a smaller bike can help with his saddle issue, Meld explains that a smaller frame usually has a higher seat tube angle, brings saddle closer to handlebars.

      Rob recently left REI Fremont after working in the Action Sports area, explaining to customers about saddles and how they fit. I’m not sure that someone who does not know how/where to sit on the saddle can and ought to give advice to REI customers.

      When presented with the suggestion that bike fit is incorrect, Rob points to fitting done by Palo Alto cycles. It seems bizarre to me that Rob continues to sit on his perineum after getting a bike fit, and gets a custom bike that lets him do just that. It does not reflect well on Palo Alto cycle’s bike fitting service.

      I see the photos that Rob provided, and which Meld annotated as part of their analysis. I can clearly see the spot where Rob sat, and it’s also clear he needs to move his saddle forward by at least 2 inches. From another photo, his seatpost does not allow for this, however, only a max of 1 inch is possible. So Rob could not have been sitting at the right spot.

      Meld talks about improved saddle troubleshooting process:

      “Thanks for the feedback! Written communication misses out on quite a bit, and we have been thinking about using Skype. The video communication might even help with troubleshooting bike fit on the trainer for instance.

      However, video conferencing or just real-time communication in general does not capture and store the information exchanged. We usually communicate with multiple users multiple times over a period of weeks, and we need to remember/pick up on the context when different people communicate at different times. Having this context is helpful for instance when we needed to confirm we said the nose should be tilted down below level and not up. It’ll be great if there’s some sort of real-time dictation program we can use while video conferencing.”

      Rob starts getting agitated with Meld’s analysis, Meld understands this:

      “Yes there are too many discrepancies (sorry Rob): we know the prior sitting location was quite far in front on the nose (from the photo), and that there isn’t enough room to push the saddle forward far enough for the sitbones to be on the right spot. Rob initially sat on his perineum mistaking it for his sitbones, while sitting far in front on the saddle nose, until we told him about it (again, sorry, Rob). Since we know the saddle should be further in front but it can’t be, it doesn’t seem like his sitbones can be supported.”

      Meld suggests a setback seatpost rotated forward, and includes a photo as illustration.

      Rob asks for a refund and agrees on it:

      “Okay, I will send the saddle back to your address from a previous e-mail.”

      There is a series of emails that Rob subsequently sends, but it manages somehow to simultaneously alternate between returning the saddle and replacing the padding:
      “I would still like to return the saddle but would still like to hear back from you regarding installing a thicker foam in the saddle.” – I don’t know what he actually wants. Even in this forum he alternates between a full refund and thicker padding.

      I see no indication anywhere that Rob tried getting his saddle further forward beyond what’s possible on his current setup, e.g. Meld suggested also that he put the saddle on a different bike for a test ride in addition to the seatpost suggestion.

      The general feel I get is that Rob continues to be very convinced he’s sitting on the right spot, in spite of the fact that a) he has acknowledged that he was sitting on his perineum initially, and b) he can see the evidence in the photos. Based on what he says in this forum, I suspect he just doesn’t believe in what Meld does, and that stops him from investigating ways of getting his saddle further forward. But most of all, I’m deeply troubled by the state of the bike industry with respect to the saddle fitting process.

      • I think it’s awesome that Meld can troubleshoot installation issues remotely.

        This case seems very similar to Brad’s: neither one actually tried to push their saddles any further forward. Is it just a case of people not wanting to put more effort into saddle installation?

        There are a couple of guys I know who ‘sit-in-the-nook’: the rear of the bum fits in the front curvatures of the saddle wings. They feel it locks them in place and feels more stable. I’m wondering if this is the case here, with Brad and Rob mistaking this with sitting on their sitbones. Brad mentioned that it was too curved where he sat, which fits the ‘-in-the-nook’ case perfectly. The correct location should be further back, where it’s flatter.

    • Rob: It’s hard to take you seriously when you first sound like an awesome cycling guy who knows what he’s doing, but then you don’t know the difference between your sitbones and perineum, and you actually have a CUSTOM BIKE DESIGNED FOR SITTING ON YOUR PERINEUM.

      It’s a strange world. Just sayin’

  8. Two things, First regarding the thicker padding, you never responded. In fact you you unilaterally severed our e-mail communication and on facebook basically said you were done. I get it, you are not going to install padding. Secondly, (again unilaterally) you set a return date on the saddle. I was still trying to work with you, but I clearly understand you are done on this issue. We wouldn’t be on this forum if you had not shut down communications. And sorry, I have to call BS on the whole phone thing. If you want a written recond, you call the customer and follow up with an e-mail.

    • Hello Rob, yes after we agreed on the refund, there won’t be any communication thereafter. As we mentioned, it does not look like we are the right fit for your saddle needs. Further communication just doesn’t seem to help, as this very exchange on this forum shows. Sometimes things just don’t work out, we need to be ok with that.

    • Wow, Rob sounds like one of those “I-know-it-all” jackasses who can’t take no for an answer. Hey jackass Rob, you don’t own Meld, they are not your slaves, you don’t have the right to expect them to do everything you tell them. When you piss people off, they won’t want to work with you. You need to start acting like a civil person and a responsible member of society, instead of acting like a spoilt kid throwing tantrums.

  9. Thanks for your reply, saddle is being returned tomorrow. I agree with Ethan, cycling should be a joyous occasion. I am hopeful from a customer service standpoint that you make the change of using the phone when e-mails start digressing, we could have resolved this issue in 10 minutes or less on the phone, including the followup e-mail summarizing the conversation. Good luck, and see you on the road.

    • I advised Meld to do the opposite: spread out their communications, leave more delay between each email (for instance).

      I understand the human aspect of person-to-person calls. I used to handle customer calls, usually things go all right, but for the hothead customers, being on the call just means giving the customer a chance to yell at me. While the customer may feel great to vent, it really is just awful for me, people have very little respect for customer service. And at the end of the day, the customer ends up making the same demands, albeit said in a loud voice. It makes bullies feel better they can dominate over others. Many days I was genuinely too tired to care much, which I imagine didn’t go down too well with my callers.

      By spacing out their communication, i.e. not so responsive, Meld gives hotheads a chance to cool down, to reflect and think about what they have and will say. It gives both sides a chance to think, and not make mistakes in real time. Two hotheads on the same call just ends up being a shouting match, something I’ve seen too many times.

    • Based on your responses and AJ’s analysis of your emails, it sounds like you’ll be calling Meld everyday if they have a hotline:
      “I want a refund”
      “No, I want thicker padding”
      “No, I want a full refund, with thicker padding”
      “No……”

      I think it’s really cool that Meld followed up with you 9 months after you got your saddle. You keep saying that Meld does things unilaterally, but it sounds like you’re the one who decided to disregard the refund agreement you yourself requested for and made in the first place. You seem like the sort who can’t keep your word then seek to push the blame to others. If so, nobody would want to work with you.

  10. I suspect Meld knows this already so perhaps this is intended more for the other readers: what Meld does can be considered disruptive to the industry. Whenever this sort of thing happens, there will be some pushback, particularly from people who have something to lose as a result. It is not too hard to figure out who they are.

  11. In my experience Meld customer support insisted that my “equipment was incompatible” because in their opinion my saddle was too far forward and could not be moved forward any more. They determined this from some photos of my installation along with an approximation of where I was experiencing discomfort on a long ride.

    I did reply that I have had a professional bike fitting, and my seatpost does allow for the saddle to be moved forward.

    Regardless, they decided to ignore the adjustability of my configuration and insist that it is “incompatible”.

    There is clearly risk in buying something custom (like a saddle or a bike frame), you will likely get something that fits in someone’s opinion, but the unique result means you are essentially beta-testing something that would be of no use to anyone else (meaning you can’t resell it).

    My recommendation is to go with a major saddle manufacturer that had different saddles designed for different riding postures and that fit your sitbones (it really isn’t hard to figure that out). They will generally be helpful in finding the right one and let you return/exchange until you do. And spend the time to get a professional bike fit; you’d be amazed what you find out…

  12. Meld you are truly an awful company. I completely sympathize with the posts above. Your customer service is appalling and having spent the last 3 weeks going back and forth with you – I regret to say I will never spend a dime with your company and will go out of my way to tell others of my experience.

    For others: search “Meld saddle review”. Do your research before you spend your money.

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