We sent contributor Matt Coté out for an ass-kicking, five-day adventure ride with the Chromag Trailmaster DT saddle, and were shocked when he came back rosy-cheeked.
Whistler-based Chromag Bikes cruised through Coastal loam into the global mountain-bike market nearly two decades ago. Starting with home-grown British Columbia-styled steel hardtails, they quickly branched into parts (like stems, bars and saddles) designed for the rugged demands of their native Coast Mountains. If those parts could work reliably there, they’d survive anything. And they have. Over their tenure as one of the marquee independent brands of the Pacific Northwest, their products have cemented themselves in the consciousness of serious riders worldwide.
Snapshot: Chromag Trailmaster DT Saddle (DT stands for “Durable Top”)
- Pros: The tough, medium-sized platform and ergonomic shape makes it good for everything from ass-busting XC to blitzkrieg downhill. It’s a versatile all-trail saddle.
- Cons: The “durable top” fabric, at first, is a little tacky and grabs your shorts.
- Price: $98 Cdn
- Who Should Buy: Enduro riders. In other words, anyone who pedals up to come back down
- Who Shouldn’t Buy: XC fiends and downhillers. You both probably want something lower profile
- Helpful Hack: Use it a lot and the “durable top” fabric breaks in and gets nice and smooth
- Author’s overall rating: 9/10
I slapped this saddle onto both a carbon hardtail and my carbon enduro bike for a weeklong foray into the Chilcotin Mountains during one of the sweatiest stretches of last summer. I attempted a north to south traverse of Taseko Lake with a group of salty old-timers from Williams Lake that saw us get shut down every 10 minutes by blowdown. We turned around three days in, and took two days to come back. If my math is right, that’s somewhere in the neighborhood of 2,400 minutes in the saddle, with no chafe. After that failed mission, I popped the saddle onto my full endure bike for a 60-kilometre redemption solo round trip to Graveyard Pass, staging from the Tyax Lodge area. I did not use chamois butter, but I did see a wolf, a bear, and an osprey murdering something smaller than itself on the trail. While my ass did wear out on this ride, near the end, I blame the accumulation of salt in my chamois. I don’t think any saddle could have done better.
I’d actually been running a Trailmaster saddle prior to this trip, but it was second-hand one a racer friend passed down to me about nine years ago. I crashed my bike(s) a few times since then and took some small chunks out of it, but it never deformed and the chromoly rails never bent. The only thing that went wrong is, after nine seasons of brushing back and forth over it, I straight wore through the top material with my shorts. It still rode fine, though, so I left it like that for a while.
But then all the fancy women in Revelstoke, British Columbia (where I live) weren’t impressed with my ratty saddle, all torn and ragged, so I figured if I didn’t want to die old and alone I’d better replace it and up my social status. I did so reluctantly, auditioning a half dozen other options at great and annoying length in my local bike shop, where I sat and read magazines on each saddle while promising not to fart. I’m not sure if my ass had shaped my Trailmaster, or the Trailmaster shaped my ass over all those years, but nothing seemed to compare. I opted for the repeat, but this time went for the “durable top” option (Chromag offers the Trailmaster in regular, DT, or LTD—which is leather) reasoning I’d get at least nine seasons out of it.
So far it’s been a dream, and my doctor says my prostate is in outstanding health. The only small snafu was wearing it in so that the top fabric came smooth again and didn’t snag my shorts. It starts out a little rubbery and sticky. If you’re looking for a tough, all-round saddle for going up to come down, and you have an ass like mine (i.e. a gorgeous one), you’d be hard-pressed to find a better offering that’s worth its weight in years.
- Top: Seamless synthetic top
- Rails: Chromoly
- Length: 284 mm / 11″
- Width: 140 mm / 5.5″
- Weight: 305 g / 10.7 oz
- Price: $98 Cdn