WTB Volt Chromoly Review
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WTB Volt Chromoly
$64.39 at REI
|$125 List||$107.99 at Amazon|
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|$90 List||$85 List|
$63.92 at Amazon
|Pros||Classic design, comfortable, reasonable weight, inexpensive||Lightweight, unique suspended feel, comfortable, versatile||Moderately priced, reasonably lightweight, ergonomic design||Moderately priced, comfortable shape, reinforced tail material,||Reasonably priced, comfortable, clean styling|
|Cons||None||No tail protection||Flat side to side profile may not work for everyone||Only comes in one width, weight||Heavier weight, only available in one width|
|Bottom Line||This is a classic saddle that offers versatility, comfort, and consistent performance||An excellent combination of comfort, performance, and versatility in a lightweight package||A moderately priced ergonomic model with a relatively light weight||Middle of the road performance from a decidedly average saddle||An affordable and comfortable saddle, albeit a touch heavier than the competition|
|Rating Categories||WTB Volt Chromoly||Tioga Undercover St...||Ergon SM Pro Men||Fizik Monte S-Alloy||Spank Oozy 220|
|Specs||WTB Volt Chromoly||Tioga Undercover St...||Ergon SM Pro Men||Fizik Monte S-Alloy||Spank Oozy 220|
|Rail Material||Cr-Mo||Titanium||TiNox||K:ium||Hollow Chromoly|
|Dimensions||265mm x 135mm||285mm x 140mm||270mm x 150mm||277mm x 143mm||265mm x 144mm|
|Target Use (mountain, road, etc.)||Mountain||Mountain, Cross-country, Gravel||Mountain, XC, Marathon, Trail, All-Mountain||Mountain, Cross-country, Enduro||Mountain|
|Seat Cover Material||Microfiber||Bio X-Pad ReActiv||Microfiber||Microtex||Synthetic|
|Shell Material||Flex-Tuned||SpyderWeb||Nylon Composite||Carbon reinforced nylon||Fiber Reinforced Polymer|
|Anatomical Cut out or channel||Anatomical||Channel||Channel/Anatomical||Anatomical||Channel|
|Available widths||135mm, 142mm, 150mm||140 mm||S/M-144mm, M/L-160mm||143 mm||144mm|
Our Analysis and Test Results
Our testers were already quite familiar with the WTB Volt when testing began. This saddle is often spec'd on complete bikes when they are purchased and has been a consistent member of the WTB saddle lineup for many years. Having some prior experience with this saddle was a good thing, as it helped to give a benchmark of performance and comfort to compare it against our previous impressions, and more importantly to the competition. During our test period, testers took the opportunity to refresh their memories and put the Volt through its paces. In the end, it emerged as our Best Buy Award winner for its comfort, performance, and reasonable price.
The Volt delivers in the comfort department, just like it has for a while now. One tester even noted that this saddle ages like a fine wine and only gets better with time. It wasn't the most comfortable saddle we tested, but it ranked right up near the top with the best of them. It is important to note that the Volt comes in three sizes to accommodate varying widths of sit bones and personal preferences. The model we tested was 135mm, and it is offered in 142mm and 150mm options.
One of the main reasons the Volt is so comfortable is WTB's use of their tried and true saddle shape. When viewed from above, the saddle has a classic teardrop shape from the nose to the tail. As the saddle widens near the tail, it does so with a very gradual arc that makes for a very comfortable and unrestricted pedal stroke. The sit bones rest nicely on the wider tail which has medium density padding and slight amount of rise towards the back. There is also a shallow anatomical groove that runs from the tail of the saddle about 3/4 of the way forward to help relieve pressure on sensitive areas.
When viewed from the side, the shape is again classic WTB. It has a minimal amount of cradle that is punctuated by a slight rise as it goes back to the tail. The rise of the tail provides just the right amount of support that testers found kept you in position on the saddle and was comfortable for extended periods of pedaling.
In addition to the shallow anatomical channel visible on the top of the saddle, WTB has incorporated their "Comfort Zone" cutout in the shell on the underside to provide further relief. The "Flex Tuned" shell of the Volt is relatively stiff and supportive with stiffer padding than what is found on our Top Pick for Comfort Award winner, the WTB Koda Titanium.
During our testing, we found that there were saddles you hardly if ever, think about while riding, and those that you find yourself moving around on trying to find a comfortable position. The Volt falls into the former of those categories with a shape and performance that you'll never need to give a second thought. There's nothing especially mind-blowing about its performance; it just works consistently well in all situations.
Obviously, this saddle is comfortable, with a great shape, anatomical groove, and slight cradle that supports you nicely while seated. Testers felt the platform and padding were comfortable while not sapping any of your power while pedaling. The medium width and shorter length, 265mm, made moving on, off, and around the saddle very easy. The seat cover also has diagonal stripes of texture on the top to add a little grip to the surface, but the sides of the saddle are smooth and slippery to allow your legs and shorts to slide freely during pedaling or while moving back and forth.
WTB saddles have a history of being quite durable, and the current version of the Volt continues that tradition. The microfiber seat cover remains in like-new condition after several months of testing, and based on our experience, will likely remain that way for a couple of seasons or more. The main body of the seat cover is one piece, and it is attached to the shell on the underside of the saddle. The tail of the saddle is protected on both sides with durable abrasion-resistant material to protect the most likely spot to take an impact in the event of a crash, and they are sewn in from the inside, so there is no exposed stitching. The Chromoly seat rails are strong and show no signs of wear, nor have they made a squeak or sound of any kind.
The Volt is a very versatile saddle, and there is no limit to the cycling applications. We've used it for all types of mountain bike riding, from long XC rides to short enduro-style laps. Testers also tried it out on a few gravel grinder rides, and even put it on one of their wives' commuter bikes. It's a comfortable perch with good performance and can really be used for just about anything. It might be a little heavy for the hardcore gram counters out there, but there are lighter versions available.
Our test model weighed in at 239g for the 135mm width. This isn't exactly feather-light, but it's far from heavy. It's actually four grams lighter than our second highest-rated model winner, the Specialized Phenom Comp. We think this weight is very respectable, especially considering the price tag.
The Volt Chromoly is a great value. Sure there are less expensive saddles on the market, but the price to comfort, weight, and performance ratio here is pretty hard to beat. As a result, the Volt Chromoly is the winner of our Best Buy Award. It's also available at a lower price at a slightly heavier weight for the Steel version for those on a tight budget.
The WTB Volt Chromoly is a great mountain bike saddle offered at a reasonable price. It is fairly lightweight, very comfortable, versatile, and durable. If you like a saddle that you can put on your bike and forget about for years, then the Volt has got you covered. It is also available in three widths so you can dial in the fit to your needs or preferences.
WTB makes a full line of mountain bike saddles, including several versions of the Volt tested here. It is made with 4 different rail materials, Carbon, Titanium, Chromoly (tested), and Steel, with varying price points and weights. All versions of the Volt saddle are made in the same shape and are offered in three widths, 135mm, 142mm, and 150mm.
— Jeremy Benson
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