Oh Dash, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. The latest offering from the ultra-high-end carbon fiber alchemists is an integrated saddle/seatpost combo. In December, we showed you the first-generation version, and got brief glimpses of other versions in our recent Cervelo P5 and Specialized Shiv builds. But in all of those cases, we were told not to scrutinize the hardware too much, as it was subject to change.
Well, Dash is all done with development of these integrated posts, and I get to go in-depth and show it all off. Like most Dash products, this one comes at a price - $1000 to be exact. For that amount you get a seatpost (Dash makes specific posts compatible with many popular bikes out today), and any saddle from its lineup, built with the special mounting for the integrated post. There are no saddle rails on this product. No traditional clamping mechanism. Just a whole lot of gorgeous carbon, and a couple small bolts. And speaking of bolts, let's take a look at what Dash has changed since the first time we saw this little gem.
Smart + Simple
The minimal hardware saves weight, but still keeps everything locked down securely.
As with many of the best products in the world, the hallmark of Dash Cycles is a design that combines an elegant simplicity with potent functionality. Stated differently, you could say that Dash gives you everything you need, and nothing you don't. The new integrated seatpost/saddle combos have a novel mechanism for adjusting both the saddle tilt as well as the saddle setback, while maintaining their unbelievably low weight and minimal aero design.
This final production version of the seatpost exhibits a different bolt design than the first version we saw. Now, all the bolts are oriented vertically, going straight down into the seatpost. And all the Dash saddles made for these posts have designs that allow access to these bolts with the saddle fully installed. This is really smart design � by moving the bolts away from their original side-on access point, Dash has eliminated all bolt occlusion associated with saddle adjustment. You'll never fiddle with trying to get your wrench wedged between saddle, rails, and clamping hardware. They're readily available directly from above, with no impediments to access.
The benefits to the structure are twofold. First and foremost, it saves a significant amount of weight. The Dash lineup of saddles is already the lightest in the world. But combining it with these new seatposts sheds even more weight. About 45g, to be precise. My Stage.9 + Shiv post combo weighed in at a scant 279g complete. That's an absolutely phenomenal weight, especially considering that the lightest ISM Adamo saddle is still a bit heavier than the Dash Saddle + Seatpost combination.
Which of these looks more aerodynamic?
The other benefit of this sleek integrated structure is the potential for aerodynamic gains. The saddle cluster is partly hidden in the wake of your thighs, but to the extent that it's exposed to the wind, the Dash combo is the clear winner. Take a look at the picture adjacent, and you'll understand exactly what I mean. There's simply nothing there for the wind to see. No rails to cause a vortex for air to become trapped, no bulky mechanisms or exposed hardware. The Dash combo is a lot like the nonadjustable one-piece saddle/post combos seen on superbikes of the past, with the notable difference that you can adjust the Dash combo. All things considered, this probably isn't the most cost-effective way to improve the aerodynamics of your bicycle, but if you're looking for excuses to drop a grand on some gorgeous carbon, that's one more reason you can use to convince yourself.
On the other hand�
It's hard to believe how durable these saddles are considering they weigh next to nothing.
While I love to sing the praises of such beautiful minimalism, there are some things about this particular Dash product that have to be considered before you purchase one. And I'm not just talking about the four-digit price tag. For one thing, you have to keep in mind that if you invest in one of these baddies, you're committed to using it ONLY with a Dash integrated seatpost. You may be able to port the saddle from bike to bike, but only if you purchase additional proprietary Dash posts for the other bikes you plan to use it with. If you're not ready to make that kind of commitment, you're better off just getting one of their standard tri saddles, which have a traditional rail structure and will work on every standard seatpost on the market.
Also, keep in mind that while the adjustment on these posts is very simple and straightforward, the adjustment range may be more limited than your current setup. You'll want to do a little research and find out whether you think the combination can fit your current position. For me, I chose to use a Stage.9 on the integrated combo for precisely this reason � the longer body of the Stage.9 means a slightly longer adjustment range, with which I was able to hit my position. It probably wouldn't have been possible on a Tri.7 combo.
Ultimately, this product is about luxury. You're buying the cr�me de la cr�me in tri saddles. The little fit quirks are something you have to research beforehand, to make sure your $1000 goes to good use when you plunk down for a piece of Dash jewelry.