ANVL Forge Stealth Ti Alloy Saddle

Average User Rating: (Very Good) Vital Rating: (Outstanding)
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Tested: ANVL Forge Stealth Saddle

Rating: Vital Review

Review by Johan Hjord // Photos by Johan Hjord and Tal Rozow

Born from the Transition crew’s desire to make better bling, ANVL popped on the components scene a couple of years back and they drew a fair bit of attention with a range of seemingly well-designed parts that look good too. Curious to go beneath the appearance, we laid our hands on the new Forge Stealth saddle a couple of months ago, and we’ve been resting our weary behinds on it ever since. Read on to find out how it treated us.

ANVL Forge Stealth Ti Alloy Highlights

  • RAIL MATERIAL: Titanium
  • COVER MATERIAL: Leather + Kevlar corners
  • PADDING: Superlight EVA Foam
  • SIZE: 278mm x 138mm
  • USAGE: Elite Gravity, Enduro, XC Racing
  • WEIGHT: 214g (actual)
  • MSRP: $119.99 USD

Initial Impressions

ANVL was founded (by the Transition Bike Company) to create functional as well as aesthetically pleasing products suited for modern day mountain biking. With the company and team hailing from Bellingham, WA, that essentially means shredding hard and earning your turns are both going to be on the riding menu most of the time. The goal for the Forge saddle was to create one of the lightest and slimmest saddles available that would still be comfortable enough for long days out. Call it trail riding, call it XC, call it enduro or call it riding your bike – the Forge was made to do it all. The classic version has been around for a couple of years now, the Stealth version tested here was introduced as an update for 2016.

Weighing in at 214 grams (just below the claimed weight), the Forge Stealth Ti certainly felt light when we first picked it up. The slim profile and thin padding had us wondering how compatible the design would be with the stated objective of making a comfortable saddle for all-day adventures, but more about that later.

The construction of the Forge is based on the standard 2-rail system, with a flexible base and a custom shape designed by ANVL. There is a channel going down the length of the saddle as well as a cut-out portion in the base (also called the “hammock”) for extra relief from perineum pressure points.

The overall dimensions of the Forge are on par with “standard” trail saddles. The shape features rounded edges and tapers off both fore and aft, to allow for extra mobility on the bike. The materials inspire confidence and the saddle certainly appeared to have been put together with care and attention to detail. The understated design with just a splash of color on the logo reinforces the overall impression of quality. And to make sure you can match the Forge to your budget and performance requirements, three versions are available: standard CroMo rails, Ti rails (tested), and carbon rails (the lightest and of course the most expensive of the three).

On The Trail

With its sober finish the Forge is easy on the eye, and should complement pretty much any build. Installing the Forge was uneventful as one would pretty much always hope for in a saddle – a couple of minutes with a hex key and we were ready to hit the trails.

Having ridden a lot of different saddles recently, some of which proved harder to live with than others, the Forge saddle had us convinced pretty much from the get-go. As much as saddle fit is a personal thing, this tester was certainly stoked on the levels of comfort provided by the Forge. Soft but not mushy, with curves in all the right places, we felt instantly at home and ready to roll.

The shape of the Forge is pretty much perfect for all kinds of riding. If all you do is ride park or hit the dirt jumps, you’d probably be better off with something significantly smaller (like ANVL’s Sculpt, shown below for reference), but for anything else, the Forge does a great job.

Sculpt up top, Forge down below.

When it came to putting in the miles, the Forge proved up to the task at hand – namely giving us somewhere comfy to park our posteriors for a few good hours on end. The Forge turned out to be among the more comfortable perches this tester has ever tried, especially noteworthy considering the slim profile and relatively modest amounts of padding used. The shape of the base is spot on, and the built-in flex helps take the sting out of rougher fire roads and the like. As if to hammer this point home, the smaller, rounder and stiffer ANVL Sculpt saddle that we tested for reference was significantly less comfortable for longer rides.

Things That Could Be Improved

Nothing significant to report here. And even though we’re usually the first to call manufacturers out on their prices, at $118 MSRP the Forge Stealth Ti is well placed given its performance. You can drop a few grams with the $180 carbon railed version if you want to, or save a few dollars with the regular CroMo version.

Long Term Durability

After two months of riding in every condition, the Forge still looks and feels fresh. It shows no excessive wear and tear despite some shuttle days and the odd tumble, with Kevlar reinforced side panels providing extra peace of mind here. It is also still blissfully quiet and squeak free. At this point in time, we have no reason to believe we’ll get anything less than a few seasons of use out of the Forge. And that’s a good thing too, we’re in no hurry to get rid of it.

What’s The Bottom Line?

ANVL set out to create the lightest and slimmest saddle that could still be ridden in comfort all day. With the Forge, they succeeded. It is a quality product that not only feels great but looks good too. If you’re in the market for a saddle that won’t break the scales nor the bank, and that will add a little understated bling to your ride, the Forge should make your shortlist.

More information at www.anvlcomponents.com.


About The Reviewer

Johan Hjord loves bikes, which strangely doesn’t make him any better at riding them. After many years spent practicing falling off cliffs with his snowboard, he took up mountain biking in 2005. Ever since, he’s mostly been riding bikes with too much suspension travel to cover up his many flaws as a rider. His 200-pound body weight coupled with unique skill for poor line choice and clumsy landings make him an expert on durability - if parts survive Johan, they’re pretty much okay for anybody. Johan rides flat pedals with a riding style that he describes as "none" (when in actuality he rips!). Having found most trail features to be not to his liking, Johan uses much of his spare time building his own. Johan’s other accomplishments include surviving this far and helping keep the Vital Media Machine’s stoke dial firmly on 11.


Still comfy after 2 seasons

Rating: Featured Member Review
The Good:

Weight, comfort, cleans up well, durability.

The Bad:

Noise and a bit more flex than I like.

Overall Review:

Initial Impressions

This saddle came stock on my bike. The ANVL logo is highlighted with a bold yellow/green color and the rest of the saddle is black. There are some ridges and a bunch of dimples on the surface.  That makes for a cool look that blends in to just about any build.

Function

The Forge Stealth saddle uses the traditional rail mount system.  It has some nice guide marks for easy reference while positioning the saddle on your seat post.  For the most part, this saddle has been set and forget, but the guide marks are nice to have.  

The saddle has been comfortable from ride one and is still really comfortable.  The depression in the middle is a neat design feature that takes off some of the pressure caused on long rides.  I have had less saddle soreness with this model than some others I have ridden in the past.  The one down side is that the ridge and dimples down the sides of the saddle collect mud on the wet days.  If you make sure to clean the saddle after a muddy ride it will be no problem.

Durability

Holding up my butt is no small task, and this saddle has done fairly well.  The first season I noticed no scuffs or other problems.  At the beginning of my second season, the saddle started creaking.  I thought it was just from being dirty so I cleaned and re-installed the saddle.  It was still creaking so I had my local shop wok on it for me.  They also couldn't get it to be completely silent.  Their explanation is that the saddle makes noise while flexing.  It is still making a little bit of creaking but it hasn't been a big enough deal to get a new saddle. The leather and rails have held up really well.  I have spent some time with my bike upside down in the dirt or on a parking lot surface.  The leather still looks like its in great condition.

Specifications

Product ANVL Forge Stealth Ti Alloy Saddle
Riding Type Cross Country, Trail, Freeride / Bike Park, Downhill
Rider
Interface Rail
Materials Titanium, leather, kevlar
Colors Black
Weight 0 lb 7.8 oz (220 g)
Miscellaneous RAIL MATERIAL: Titanium
COVER MATERIAL: Leather + Kevlar corners
PADDING: Superlight EVA Foam
SIZE: 278mm x 138mm
Price $118
More Info

www.anvlcomponents.com

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