Saddle up: My ISM Adamo Review

I’m not one for product reviews but I am compelled to throw in my two cents about this one. About a month ago I saw that my training schedule called for several long days in the saddle. I knew I could handle them, but I also felt that it was time to try to make a change to make my chamois time a little more comfortable. That meant changing up my saddle. This was a hard thing for me to finally take the plunge with, mostly because I just believe that 6-7 hours is going to hurt no matter how you slice it. Even sitting on a couch starts to be uncomfortable after 7 hours!

I looked around a lot and after doing some research I thought that the ISM Adamo Saddle looked the most appealing to me. The shape simply looked like it would take a lot of the pressure out of the area where I generally found myself shifting around to get – and keep – comfortable. I read a lot of reviews and most people seemed to love it. So I turned to E-Bay (note – also a great place to find new and cheap cycling jerseys!) and found an online retailer that was selling the saddle for a good price. The saddle arrived in a few days, just in time for a trainer sesh. I put it on and adjusted it and on the trainer everything felt great. I wasn’t 100% sold on it yet, but the comfort factor was definitely there.

Saturday came before I knew it and I didn’t get a chance to get outside with the saddle before my long ride. Oh well, I thought – no better way than to break in a new saddle than 100 miles, right? If I could go back in time to that moment, I would, and I would slap myself. What was I thinking?!?! The ride that day first involved me riding about 8 miles up to meet the rest of the group. When I got there, OJ looked at my saddle and was like “whoa, that’s a really steep saddle angle, is that comfortable?” immediately I got defensive, but I also got the idea in my head that it wasn’t comfortable.


I spent the next 20 miles feeling like I was falling forward off my bike. How I didn’t notice this before I have no clue. Luckily a water stop was ahead and I had my allen wrench in hand for this very issue. Now I was on edge though and nervous that riding on the saddle was a huge mistake, so any help offered by the boys was not well received. I changed what I thought needed changing and got back on the bike. I made it about 5 miles this time before asking for another stop to readjust. Luckily the guys were being patient and didn’t mind the pit stop. Finally I did essentially what they had been telling me from the start, and got back on the bike. Ah, this works.

I have now ridden about 500 miles in the saddle. I’m extremely happy with my decision to go with ISM, but as you can tell it wasn’t all smooth sailing. Here are my words of advice for this saddle:

-Do some short rides outside with it before planning anything long. The fit of this is unique and takes some getting used to which is probably best achieved through a few small adjustments.

-Don’t throw out the chamois butter just because you got an ISM saddle. While this saddle does appear to reduce the occurence of my saddle sores, they are most definitely still there. I have found though with plenty of chamois butter and this saddle combined, my SS are much better.

-It’s going to get worse before it gets better. My sit bones took some getting used to with this saddle, and it wasn’t until I bruised them and let them heal that I can sit completely pain free. Was it worth it? yes. But it’s a process!

Published by Alyssa Godesky

Alyssa is a professional triathlete who has logged over 8,000 miles in competition of swimming, biking and running across five continents. She came to triathlon from an ultrarunning background and over the last few years has found success back on the trails: in 2018 she set the female supported Fastest Known Time (FKT) on Vermont's 273 mile Long Trail in 5 days, 2 hours and 37 minutes. In 2020 she set the women's supported FKT for climbing the 46 High Peaks in the Adirondacks in 3 days, 16 hours and 16 minutes. She is a triathlon and running coach, and also enjoys spending time guiding hikers out on the trails. Alyssa is based in Charlottesville, VA with her dog Ramona.

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