Thursday, February 24, 2011

Gear Review: ISM Adamo Road Saddle

Product Claim: The ISM (Ideal Saddle Modification) Adamo (pronounced "uh-dah-moe;" latin for "pleasure") line of saddles claim to eliminate numbness and discomfort associated with most normal bike saddles.  It does this by providing a gap in the front of the seat which "
increases pudendal artery blood flow" (doesn't pinch off blood from getting to your junk).  The company notoriously claims in its magazine adds that the saddle is so comfortable, no bike shorts are needed.

Testing:  Based on the products claim, I took the ISM Road out for a 30 mile ride in the nude.  Just kidding, normal biking attire was worn.  But I did take the Road saddle out on a nice blustery Louisiana day to see how it felt.

Installation was quite simple, taking just a few minutes.  I used the company's website installation video to make sure that I had the seat in the correct configuration based on my normal saddle.  (That's right, ladies - a man who used the instructions...crazy.)  After that, I was out the door.

The first 10 miles or so were undoubtedly more comfortable than my normal seat (a Fizik Airone).  The geometry of saddle made it extremely comfortable in the aero position, with none of the normal taint-al (is that a word I can use?) jabbing or discomfort.  

Somewhere around the 20 mile mark it became very apparent that the Road was in fact still a bike saddle and not an easy chair.  You see, in order to relieve pressure on your perineal space, the ISM saddles align with your "sit bones," which is apparently what our bums were designed to sit on anyway.  I could feel defined pressure on each sit bone, but the sensation was still far better than the normal discomfort associated with any bike seat I have ridden before.  (I should mention that the company advises that such discomfort should be expected for the first few rides, as the user's gluteal muscles adapt to the two new points of contact.)  One other thing to note is that the discomfort (if I would really even call it that) was more pronounced when sitting upright, and almost unnoticeable when down on the aerobars. 

The verdict:  As I said before, the ISM Road saddle is still a bike seat.  As such, it will not be as comfortable as a Lazy Boy, keep you dry on rainy days or eliminate headwinds.  However, as far as bike saddles go, this was by far the most comfortable one I have ever used.  I imagine the slight sit bone discomfort I mentioned before would fade with use, and though I spent a few sentences focusing on it, I should clarify that it was very negligible.  If I hadn't mentioned it, I wouldn't have had much else to write - except that my junk felt great.   

Recommendation:  My best advice is to try an ISM out for yourself.  The ISM website has a link to all local stores that have loaner seats available.  As humans, all of our rear ends are different and as a result the reviews of the ISM branch tend to be mixed.  So don't just rush out and purchase one off the shelf, but definitely give one a shot.  After a couple rides, you may end up buying it - I did.     

Thanks to Bicycle World for the demo seat. 

Totally legal Disclaimer:  This product review is simply based on my own personal experience using the ISM Road Saddle.  I am not sponsored by or associated with ISM and the forenamed company has no knowledge of me conducting this review.  I am not a scientist, doctor, or professional cyclist - but I do have a butt and I used said butt to conduct this very unscientific research without any compensation.  Thanks for reading.  Hope it helps.    


  1. I've been "trying" the Adamo Typhoon for a couple weeks now. It's loads better than what came with my Speed Concept, but I'm not convinced it's a winner. Just a little wide towards the sit bones and I'm worried about longer rides & chafing. If you head out for a long ride, please keep us posted!

  2. The ISM saved my future children in my opinion. I thought I was just not made to ride (and was also using the fizik arione)...then I found this saddle. I got it 1 week before a HIM and after only one practice ride, decided to race with it. I've been happy ever since.

    Great review. Enjoy!

  3. I tested the Adamo Road and then bought the Race. I'm in love with it!!!

  4. I love the disclaimer!

    I have been looking at switching out a number of pieces to my current bike including the seat, so I may very well take your advice and give one of these a try. Much appreciated!

  5. Good review! Like it!! Thanks for sharing and hope you are doing well!!

  6. ML&R,
    Thanks! I think the Typhoon is a bit of a everything saddle - if it's a bit wide, the Road and Racing appear to be a bit narrower as they are supposed to be more aero-specific. (the last of my two cents.) I'll take the new seat out for a nice long one tomorrow and let you know how it goes...


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