Weight: 377 grams
Materials: Perforated Leather with FeC Alloy Rails
Dimensions: 249mm long, 163mm wide
Upsides: Serious comfort and a fantastic “ride it and love it” guarantee from Terry, this saddle promises to be with you for the long haul. True leather breaks in well, and offers longevity for riding in all types of weather. Excellently suited for touring long distances and a more upright riding position.
Downsides: Some riders may not be big on the relatively large size of the saddle.
The Terry Liberator X Saddle and I: It’s Complicated, but we’ve got a good thing going.
Saddles are a sensitive subject. We know from past articles and numerous studies that the wrong saddle can cause some serious discomfort. Still, it took me an unfortunate ride in some sub-par bike shorts on my bike’s stock seat before I made finding a good fit a priority. After a few rides on the Terry Liberator X, I reaffirmed the mantra that cycling should feel good—for all of your body parts.
Out of the packaging, I certainly felt attracted to the saddle’s aesthetics. I immediately appreciated the understated pink stitching. I’ve never been a huge fan of the color pink, but when it comes to seats, the subtle indication that this was in fact designed to fit someone of my particular gender was reassuring. With the thought that looking comfortable and aesthetically pleasing meant feeling comfortable, my first ride on the Liberator was a little less than perfect. But it was only the start of our journey together–after all, relationships aren’t built without a little adjustment to both parties involved.
Word to the new rider, never discount a saddle after just one outing. If I had, I would have tossed the Liberator X and kept searching for comfort. WIth too much pressure at the nose of the seat, I made a couple of quick adjustments to the fore/aft and tilt, and on my second ride I forgot about the saddle completely—which is exactly the way it should be. Make certain that when you’re trying out a new piece of equipment (or every time you ride, for that matter), you travel with your most trusted multi-tool. It’s like your wingman.
After a few small tweaks, this saddle and I were a perfect fit – or so I thought.
The Terry Liberator X was undeniably a huge improvement over my last saddle. As with the beginning of any intimate relationship I assumed things would only continue to get better with time and enjoyed a truly blissful honeymoon stage over the next several mid-distance rides. I had nothing but confidence as we set out on our first long ride together. Then things got complicated. The first 40 mileswere a blissful ride into a setting sun while I worried more about forgetting my arm warmers than how my crotch was feeling. Although it pains me—literally—to admit it, at mile 45 I found myself exclusively standing to avoid pain. I’m not sure what happened. I felt confused and a little betrayed. How could things go downhill so quickly?
This is when I turned to the experts, including, of course, our very own chief editor to solicit advice.As it turns out, achieving optimum comfort while riding is more complicated than just adding a tilt to your saddle. Of course it is. Everything with bikes is complicated. That’s why I prefer running. But that’s also what makes bikes awesome and super fast! Fortunately, our beloved editor advised me to try adjusting the stem height by removing some of the spacers. She politely added that this would also improve my arm position and make me look like way less of a newb.
The spacers came off, and I immediately felt an improvement – and way cooler. As a side note, if you try this remember to put the spacers back on at the top. This should probably go without saying but some of us need these types of reminders. I’m proud to report that I stayed comfortably in the saddle past mile 45. This is a saddle that goes above and beyond to make you feel good. I also have it on good authority that it offers excellent support even for fuller-figured riders. It has more than minimal padding, and I, for one, appreciate a saddle with just a little bit of a softer side.
Of course, all relationships involve growth and I’ve already learned more from the Terry Liberator X than I ever expected. For one, even a professional bike fit and custom saddle probably couldn’t spare me from the inevitable, yet natural, soreness of a newb increasing mileage for the first time. To put it bluntly—sometimes you just have to toughen up a bit one ride at a time. Things are looking good for us now after several months together, and I’m thankful I chose a forgiving saddle for this stage of my cycling career.
If you’re all set to try the Liberator X, head over to Terry’s website and grab one for yourself. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed, just be prepared for a long, committed, and wonderful relationship.
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