Review: Cobb Saddles Fifty Five JOF
Back in 2011, we reviewed 3 of Cobb's saddles for our Cobb Saddles Shootout. We were very impressed with the V-Flow MAX, as well as Cobb's generous test program that allowed you to try a saddle for several months before deciding whether you wanted to keep it or not. The 3 saddles that we reviewed were fairly traditional in their design when compared to some of the other split nose triathlon saddles on the market, but Cobb has now entered the split nose market.
In late 2013, Cobb released the Fifty Five JOF, which features a true split nose design similar to that of the ISM Adamo series. The Fifty Five JOF was very well received, and was Cobb's most popular tri saddle in 2014. It is designed to be ridden further forward then Cobb's other saddles, hence the JOF moniker ("Just of Front" or "Junk of Front").
The "Fifty Five" portion of the saddle's name is used to indicate the width of the split tip portion of the saddle, which is 55mm wide. Over the years, we have heard people complain about how wide the Adamo saddles are, and some have even go so far as to use zip ties to narrow the front of the saddle. ISM most recent Attack and PN 1.1 saddles have implemented a linear profile that allows you to self-select the ideal spot on the saddle for your anatomy. If you want to sit on a narrower section of the saddle, you can. The narrowest part of the saddle is the tip, and it increases in width as you go further back.
With Cobb's Fifty Five JOF, the front portion of the saddle is rather uniform in width at 55mm. If that width suits your body, you will be very happy on this saddle. But if you need something that is narrower or wider, this isn't the saddle for you. And that is probably the biggest thing I don't like about the saddle. You have to have very specific anatomy to get a good fit.
I tend to prefer saddles with a linear profile so that I can move around a bit as I ride. In addition to the ISM Attack and PN 1.1, we have seen this type of design on the Specialized Sitero, Dash Stage.9, Dash Tri.7, and several others. But while some of you will feel the same way I do about linear saddles that allow you to move around, some will prefer a non-linear geometry of the Fifty Five JOF.
Under the "prongs" of the Fifty Five JOF is a small bridge which should add stability to the nose of the saddle, and prevent the two "prongs" of the split nose from settling on different heights.
The back of the saddle is much wider than the front at 135mm. Most triathletes, however, will spend little time on this portion of the saddle, and ride farther forward in an aero position.
Cobb sells a rear hydration mount that can be purchased separately to add either one or two bottles to the back of the saddle. The mount will also hold a bag for a spare kit, and can be used to rack your bike if needed.
The saddle weighs 330g, which puts it well outside of the ultra-light category. The Cobb V-Flow MAX that we liked in 2011 weighed 272g, and the Adamo Attack that we mentioned above weighs 314g. At this price point, however, I have a feeling that most people are going to be willing to accept its weight.
The retail price for the Fifty Five JOF is $209.99, which is competitive for a saddle of this quality. It is less expensive than the Adamo Attack ($249.95), and more expensive than Adamo PN 1.1 ($149.95). Dash's saddles are significantly more expensive ($299-$555), but weight less than 1/2 of what the Fifty Five JOF does.
The Fifty Five JOF is available in black, stealth, electric green, pink, and white. If you must have a saddle in a funky color, then you do have some choices here.
If you would like to give the saddle a try, Cobb has an excellent demo program that allows you to try any saddle for 90 days, and return it for a refund if you decide it isn't for you. Choosing a saddle can be a very personal thing. Everyone's anatomy is different, and what works for one person might feel terrible to another. The Fifty Five JOF is a well-built saddle that is quite popular. If you are looking for something with a narrow split-nose and non-linear profile, it is worth trying.
A good split nose saddle with some nice features, but its non-linear geometry will limit its appeal.