Review: Dash Cycles p.3

 Jul 17, 2011 article & images by Nick Salazar

Dash makes jewelry, pure and simple.

Dash Cycles is covering ground where very few companies in the cycling industry dare to tread. Simply put, they're making the equivalent of cycling jewelry. Although their product rollout has been a long time coming, it is, without a doubt, well worth the wait. Or more poignantly, it's worth the weight. Dash products are among the lightest anywhere. The construction on their saddles and hubs is flawless and beautiful. But if these light, pretty parts didn't perform, they'd be nothing more than baubles for show bikes. Fortunately, the Dash philosophy is highly rooted in function. They spend a lot of time thinking about saddle shape, about the ideal amount of flex for comfort, about how specifically their carbon layup will work to bolster their design ideas. They aren't afraid to ask the "what if?" questions that lead to amazing innovations.

One of those what ifs was the impetus behing the radical p.3 saddle we're reviewing now. We previewed the saddle earlier, and have now had a chance to test it out and do the full on review. Before getting started, we'll just say this is the beginning of more Dash reviews to come. There are some very exciting products around the corner (sorry, sworn to secrecy on specifics), and we're very ecxcited about Dash's future place in the triathlon world.

The Munchkin

Even the raw under-finish is pretty to look at.

So what is this crazy thing? Simply put, it's a short, stubby saddle, and it weighs almost nothing. Our specimen came in at an absolutely mind-boggling 35 grams. Yeah, this thing weighs about as much as a toothbrush, or a set of sunglasses. Consider that when we tell you that the saddle is rated to hold riders up to 75kg, and that Dash has models only 15g heavier that are capable of holding riders up to 100kg. Mounted up on our aero road bike, it looks almost comically small. Like someone shrunk a regular saddle and slapped it back on. And that's not too far from what this thing is. The question is why?

The short saddle comes with two advantages, and one proviso. First, because it's so short, it also makes it much easier to go from a normal hoods position to a very low drops position without moving. The short length means there's nothing in the way to pinch your tenders when you rotate forward. It's sortof like a split-nose saddle in that regard (more about that on Page 2). The short length also obviously means less material gets used, which is part of what makes this saddle so insanely light.

The proviso is that because the saddle is so short, you're basically locked in to just one riding position. There won't be any sliding forward or back while you're on this guy. Personally, I don't mind that limitation for road riding, but I often enjoy a bit more surface area on a tri saddle. Nevertheless, I tried the p.3 on both road and tri setups.

Tags » dash,  saddles
  • The Dash p.3 is a tiny bit of cycling jewelry.
  • Like all Dash equipment, the saddle's construction is gorgeous and flawless.
  • The p.3's flowing lines are much like those of a SLR-type saddle.
  • We love the minimal Dash branding that still leaves room for the carbon to shine.
  • From the front, it's simply flawless.
  • This top view shows where the depression is that serves as a cutout.
  • The rails are carbon wrapped in red Kevlar braiding that makes for an extremely durable rail.
  • The rails are bonded to the saddle during the same operation that creates the saddle itself - it's a one-step layup with no after-bonding.  A seriously difficult task, but it makes for a much stronger construction.
  • The underside of the saddle is a bit raw, showing the function-centric design philosophy.
  • Side-by-side with an SLR-type carbon saddle, you can see the p.3 looks much like it, but without the front half.
  • It does look and ride a bit like an SLR-type, but has less range of adjustment, and is pretty stiff.

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