SALTARA, Italy (VN) — Italian saddle maker Prologo showed a set of new time-trial and road saddles, as well as some prototype gloves, at the Giro’s long race against the clock on Saturday.
The new gear, first previewed last fall, uses a technology borrowed from motorsport and military applications and licensed for exclusive use within the cycling industry. It is clearly visible as a thin layer of cone-shaped tubes made out of an elastic polymer, designed to enhance grip, comfort, and dexterity.
The technology, dubbed Connect Power Control (CPC) by Prologo, is known as 3D HTX within motorsport, where it adorns Sparco driving gloves and other items. The small cones can be applied in various widths and heights, allowing Prologo to tailor grip characteristics to a specific area’s needs, according to company founder Salvatore Truglio.
CPC will be used on Prologo’s new Zero TT saddle, which most of the Saxo Bank squad used for Saturday’s time trial, as will Alberto Contador later this year, as well as Scratch Pro, Nago Evo and Zero II road saddles. CSF-Bardiani’s young stage winner Enrico Battaglin swapped to the new Zero II with CPC just a day before the Giro.
Prologo has applied CPC to a pair of short-finger gloves, available now, and is working with the Cannondale Factory mountain bike squad to finish development on a long-finger, XC-oriented pair. Availability on the latter is set for later this year.
Saddle makers have a history of adding grippy substances to saddle surfaces in an effort to keep riders from sliding around. It is common to see homemade fixes, too, particularly on time trial saddles; many riders use sandpapery grip tape to help keep them planted. But Prologo claims that these fixes have nowhere near the holding power of the volcano-shaped cones on its CPC material.
“Watch Contador in the next time trial,” Truglio said. “In the past he has moved around a lot [in the saddle]. He’s now planted, and faster.”
Prologo says that in addition to its ability to hold a rider in place, the material has impressive shock-absorption and vibration-damping properties — likely why it’s made its way into motorsport — but is thin enough to maintain dexterity when used on gloves.
TT saddles will be available soon, along with the short-finger gloves. Road saddles and long-finger gloves will follow later this year. Prices are not yet set, but Prologo expect about a 25 percent price increase for its CPC products over a standard saddle.