I'm sure I sound like a broken record at the top of these articles, but I really love Dash Cycles. I've been following the small Boulder boutique since the very beginning of their foray into the world of cycling, and I've been nothing but impressed with their work. They make some brilliant and ultra-light saddles which have been staples on virtually every build I've made since the introduction of their legendary Tri.7 model.
Historically, the big barrier to entry with Dash has been their high price. As highly-customizable, hand-made products, they carried a high price tag upwards of $450. Last year, they made waves by launching a $299 version of their Stage and Strike saddles that carried a very tiny weight penalty, and eliminated the customization options. Now, they're pushing that price barrier even lower with the introduction of new models that will hit a $229 price point, making it directly competitive with mainstream saddles. Dubbed the Stock Stage and Stock Strike, they cut the price significantly from the top-shelf Stage.9 and Strike.9 models and the mid-tier Basic Stage and Basic Strike. They're launching right now via an indiegogo campaign where you can get the seats for as low as $190. These seats will still retain the signature Dash features of ultra light weight, carbon shell, and even carbon rails. A few details have been changed to make mass production easier, and customization options are limited. One difference is that the carbon rails are now bonded on after the saddle shell itself cures, as well as more details we discuss below. But the weight is still a very respectable 175g. This is up a bit from the sub-100g weight of Dash's priciest offerings, but still lighter than most every other saddle on the market.
Minor construction changes have allowed Dash to drop the price dramatically compared to its current models.
The drop in price comes from the rail structure mentioned above, as well as two techniques Dash is using to speed up assembly of the saddle covers. The first of these is a pre-padded cover that doesn't require additional cutting and upholstering of the foam. Second, the edges of the covers will now sit beneath a printed plastic piece, making it much faster to get a clean edge than the more expensive saddles, which fold the cover over and expose the lovely nude carbon beneath. So with the cheaper models, you're looking at plastic rather than the beautiful 3k weave. So if you really need to see the carbon fabric, you'll need one of the pricier models. But functionally, the new saddles will work exactly the same as the more expensive versions.
The new seats are being featured on the Indiegogo campaign with some incentives for earlybird buyers. The Indiegogo seats will be delivered late December. After that, they will become a regular staple on the Dash website some time in February. Check out the images below, and note that while these prototype saddles for the new model have blue covers, the production Stock Stage and Stock Strike seats will all have black leather with white logos.