Truncated saddle design; 246mm long; 149mm wide; carbon rails and shell
Super comfortable; looks sleek
The Cadex brand officially launched at the Tour de France in 2019, and at the time, the wheels — which had up until that point been labeled #Overachieve — were the big story. More quietly, however, pro riders began using other Cadex components like the Boost saddle, a truncated nose design that capitalizes on many of the current trends in saddle design. The Boost saddle finally landed on my bike almost a year later, and it’s so comfortable I may not take it off.
- Tech podcast: Why are people riding snub-nose saddles?
- Giant unveils Cadex brand
- Fizik Antares Versus Evo Adaptive 00 saddle first look
The Cadex brand
Trek has Bontrager. Specialized has Roval. Giant now has Cadex, an in-house brand that includes wheels, saddles, and tires. The Boost saddle falls into this range of high-end components, and that’s exactly what you should expect from anything branded Cadex: high-end, intended for racing at the highest levels.
And yes, if you’ve been around long enough, you’ve heard the name Cadex before. The name dates back to the early 1990s, when Giant used the Cadex moniker to indicate what Giant’s global marketing director An Le calls a “moonshot”, or an ambitious product that went well beyond what was commercially available at the time.
In that sense, Cadex has evolved but remains true to its roots of developing products tomorrow’s pros will be riding at the most prestigious races. The Boost saddle certainly shows off nicely what Cadex is capable of in that regard.
Boost saddle design
The Boost saddle sports a truncated design that has become ubiquitous only in the last few seasons on road bikes. Had it launched even three years ago, it would have turned heads for its shortened nose. The idea is to eliminate material from the saddle that really isn’t necessary — have you ever sat on the nose of a traditional saddle? It’s rather uncomfortable, and can even cause numbness or pain.
Most truncated saddles, the Boost saddle included, also feature extra width at the rear, and in most cases, a much flatter profile. All of this helps provide a more comfortable perch that in turn helps stabilize the rider’s position while seated and keep pressure off sensitive areas that can cause pain or discomfort in the soft tissues or even down the rider’s legs.
The carbon shell uses what Cadex calls Advanced Forged Composite Technology (AFCT). That’s a fancy way of saying the shell is super stiff. Cadex says this helps promote exceptional power transfer by eliminating flex. The Boost saddle’s integrated rails also help reduce pressure points, according to Cadex, by mating with the shell at the tip and tail of the saddle. The longer rails also help absorb road chatter.
If that wasn’t enough jargon and acronyms for you, here’s one more: ETPU. I’m still not sure what that stands for, but the Cadex website says the Boost Saddle features free-flowing ETPU particles in certain pockets of the saddle’s upper — something Cadex calls Particle Flow Technology — that mold to your sit bones to eliminate pressure points. Translation: It’s comfy on your butt.
Cadex Boost saddle first ride
I get pretty suspicious when brands start throwing out that much market speak. Often that simply hides the fact that the product is just another thing in a crowded market of things. But the Boost saddle is legitimately good, with or without the fancy acronyms.
For starters, the Boost saddle does indeed seem to eliminate any potential pressure points on my sit bones, and the truncated design also helps reduce friction from my thighs rubbing the saddle’s nose. The top of the Boost saddle feels somewhat flat, but I mean that in a good way: It feels as though I’m sitting on a soft, comfortable platform that was made specifically for my body. It’s rather impressive.
It’s hard to gauge whether the Boost saddle does much of anything in terms of vibration absorption. There are so many components between the road and my body that it’s difficult to tell if any single one of those components is responsible for the majority of that vibration damping. I rode the Boost saddle on two different bikes, and while it seems quite comfortable, I couldn’t tell you if it absorbs anymore vibration than any other saddle.
The same goes for Cadex’s power transfer claims. Does a stiff saddle shell mean less flex, thereby increasing power transfer? Man, I just don’t know. The fact of the matter is the Boost saddle is comfortable, light, and cool-looking, so I like it. But it’s super expensive, so hopefully some of Cadex’s other claims actually check out. As with so many bits of new technology, the consumer is left to trust the brand at its word. That said, if you’re in the market for a new high-end saddle, the Boost saddle is worth a look if for nothing else than its comfort.