Slick styling, large anatomic recess, flat nose, firm supportive padding, lightweight and well done. This is a serious saddle.
Featuring a carbon fiber base, carbon fiber rails, firm EVA padding with accessory mount underneath for rear facing cameras or Shimano Pro saddle accessories. Weighting in at a lightweight 209 grams.
Offered in 142mm and 152mm widths. I selected the narrower 142mm. It was closest to the width of my faithful Selle Italia Flite racing saddle.
Unfortunately, the only colour available is black with a white logo and stripe. Not a bad look. However, the remainder of my bike is blacked out, making the white saddle stripe and lettering stand out. The black-on-black styling of Shimano’s higher priced PRO Stealth Superlight Saddle is the ideal look for my bike. Hopefully, in the future the black-on-black styling will become available throughout the PRO Stealth Saddle lineup.
Shimano Pro Stealth Carbon (profile)
Shimano Pro Stealth Carbon (rear)
My original plan was to trial this saddle during a 2020 March Break training week with a large group of friends in balmy South Carolina. However, Covid and border closures forced the frustrating cancellation of the trip on the same day that I was expecting to leave. Overnight spring races were rapidly being cancelled and Woodstock Bikeworks was rapidly growing! As a result, the only option I had for the first couple months was limited two-hour road rides within Oxford County.
Typically, I ride seated as much as possible and do not get out of my saddle often. Usually, I have to remind myself to stand on the pedals occasionally when my groin area numbs in order to allow blood flow and circulation throughout that area. I immediately recognised the PRO Stealth Carbon as comfortable right from the first kilometer. No break-in time was required and its wide anatomic recess allowed me to stay seated longer.
My first challenging ride with the saddle was Collingwood’s Badjeros Loop. The route features a handful of steady climbs over the escarpment, including a long steep gravel climb through a long road reconstruction site. I was able to spend most of that day grinding comfortably, seated, and I had no saddle discomfort during my recovery ride the following day. Shimano might be on to something here!
A couple weeks later I was on my gravel bike riding 100km on the G2G trail. I had equipped it with a Fi’zi:k Antares R3 the year before and considered it a quality upgrade from the stock saddle. However, I spent that entire day wishing I had swapped it out for the Shimano Carbon Pro Saddle. That was it! I was hooked and ordered the slightly heavier 213 gram Shimano PRO Stealth Saddle with stainless rails to replace the Fi’zi:k Antares R3 on my gravel bike.
Specialized Power (left), Shimano Pro Stealth Carbon (centre), Fi’zi:k Antares R3 (right)
Once my road bike was clamped into its trainer for our Canadian winter, I replaced it with a Specialized Power Saddle and reassigned the Carbon Stealth to my Fat bike. It was equally impressive during three-to-five-hour rides under my added layers, cold temperatures and frozen to sloppy trail conditions.
I initially had pretty good impressions with the Specialized Power saddle on my trainer. However, after 45-50 minutes I found myself having to stand after each interval for circulation and relief and really noticing the difference with the Pro Carbon Stealth. The verdict was in and the Carbon Stealth Saddle is clearly the winner for me!
I prefer bib shorts with a quality chamois and a firm, flat saddle. For me personally I found the Stealth Carbon to be ideal. Increased comfort and benefits of the wider anatomic recess extending into the shorter wider nose were evident while spinning on the back of the saddle as well as when I creep forward onto the nose during higher intensity intervals.
Shimano has definitely put some serious work into developing this quality, high performing saddle. After a year of riding, it continues to impress and shows no visual signs of wear.
The shorter flat profile, enlarged anatomic recess and lightweight make it ideal for the above average, seasoned rider who appreciates an aggressive riding position.