The brand Syncros is probably best known these days as the producer of the finishing kit that adorns Scott road and mountain bikes, with a wide range of products from wheelsets to grips. Syncros isn’t just an OEM manufacturer, it has been producing parts with a focus on performance since 1986.
The Belcarra saddle range is its performance saddle suited to all riding from road to mountain biking and available in both cutout and regular channel options. We have been riding the cut-out version to see if it’s worthy of inclusion in our guide to the best road bike saddles.
Design and aesthetics
In the development of the V-Concept saddle, Syncros worked with German bike fitters Gebeomized. With their biomechanical expertise and by researching into rider position using pressure mapping, they created a saddle that is aimed at riders who are looking for an aggressive position on the bike and utilising flexibility in the pelvis and lumbar spine.
Syncros developed the Belcarra with the focus on suiting aggressive riders that want a forwards position but to also help spread a rider’s weight over a wider area to reduce points of discomfort. This has resulted in a wider than normal nose to support the pubic rami when in a low riding position.
Unusually, Syncros only offers the Belcarra in a single width of 140mm while other brands usually have at least a couple of options for different sit bone widths.
The padding uses a thin layer of PU foam across the top of the shell which is finished in a waterproof microfabric cover that has a textured dot finish. The foam, which feels to be a single thickness across the saddle, has a firm density which strikes a good balance between hard enough to feel supportive but soft enough to stop the saddle feeling like you’re sitting on a piece of wood.
The saddle is constructed from a shiny carbon fibre-reinforced shell which forms a seating platform with minimal flex. The mounting points for the rails are smoothly moulded giving the saddle a clean finish.
Syncros has used hollow titanium rails for the Belcarra V 1.5, titanium is usually heralded for its lightweight properties, however based on the spec sheets, the V1.5 only saves 10g over the CrMo v2.0 version. Alternatively, Syncros has the carbon-railed V1.0 which drops the weight by 60g for an extra £30. The rails on our review model were also short in regards to fore and aft adjustment on the seatpost with only 45mm of adjustment.
At the rear of the saddle, Syncros has added two mounting points which can be used to securely attach accessories, which is a neat touch. Syncros sells a direct mount compatible saddlebag, mudguard or action camera mount separately although you will need to pick your favourite as only one can be used at a time.
The combination of padding, cut out and shape works well, allowing an aggressive position to be taken when needed while maintaining enough comfort to take on longer rides without succumbing to pain or numbness.
The nose of the Belcarra is striking and certainly a lot wider than other saddles that have been in for review however pedalling action didn’t feel restricted. The wider nose does make the curvature into the saddles shoulders shallower which reduces the locked-in feeling you get from more shapely saddles. There is still enough shape to give stability and avoid the feeling that you’re moving out of position when climbing or working hard.
I found the shoulders of the saddle to be a comfortable width although this was a saddle that I needed to pay particular attention to when setting up. Perfectly flat or with a slight touch of upward tilt to the nose was the sweet spot, if the angle strayed from this, there was a noticeable reduction in comfort. That said most people aren’t chopping and changing saddles regularly and saddle position will be a fit, adjust and forget experience.
In terms of comfort, the Belcarra fills the middle ground between the Prologo Scratch that I liked and the Power Pro that I didn’t. Although I prefer a more curved top, the narrow shoulder width certainly helped me find a comfortable position. The wide nose gives a broad platform to assume a low position and adds some extra real estate for those that like to shuffle around on the saddle, more than would be found on other short nose saddles.
The Belcarra V1.5 performs well, however, we are a little baffled by the options within the range. The CrMo V2.0 version with the same shape is significantly cheaper with only a small penalty in weight and the carbon V1.0 is significantly lighter for a reasonable premium. With this, the V1.5 is awkwardly positioned within the Syncros range and, while it is a saddle that performs well, we would find the V1.5 difficult to justify over its siblings.
Tech spec: Syncros Belcarra V 1.5, Cut Out saddle
- Price: £89.99
- Material: Carbon fibre reinforced shell with hollow titanium rails
- Rails: 7mm
- Widths: 140mm
- Length: 245mm
- Colours: Black or black/sulphur-yellow
- Weight: 223g (220g claimed)