What are the differences between the Selle Italia lines of saddles?
Here are some characteristics to help you choose the Selle Italia saddle that's right for you.
In 2011 SELLE ITALIA will introduce the SLR MONOLINK Team Edition and SLR MONOLINK Flow Team Edition “Friction Free” saddles. The SLR MONOLINK series of saddles must be used in conjunction with a MONOLINK seatpost as the single rail used in the construction of the MONOLINK saddles will not fit a standard seatpost or cradle. The advantages of more forward/aft adjustability of the MONOLINK make this series the most adjustable seatpost/saddle combination in the world with 25mm more aft adjustability and 10mm more forward adjustability. The MONOLINK rail allows SLR MONOLINK “Friction Free” saddle models to eliminate or reduce the friction between the inner thigh and side of the saddle and nose saving up to 0.7 Watts per stroke.
The SLR series of saddles, including the SLR Kit Carbonio, SLR Kit Carbonio Flow, SLR XC, SLR XC Flow, SLR TT, SLR Flow, SLR Team Edition, SLR Flow Team Edition, SLR Tri Gel, SLR Troy Lee Design, SLR C64, SLR Teknologika, SLR Teknoligika Flow and SLR Lady Gel Flow all include very flexible carbon, tubular Titanium or Vanox rails mounted in front of the soft tissue area and behind/alongside the sit bones. The Carbon or Carbon composite flexible base utilizes minimal to moderate padding. This shape has a longer and larger sitting area as well as a shorter nose, allowing for lots of movement on the saddle. The nose is very flat and wide, which can create friction between the saddle and a rider's legs. The SLR remains Selle Italia's most popular line of saddles due to its flexible base and rail, as well as its large and flat seating area.
The SL series of saddles including the SL XC, SL XC Flow, SL T1 Gel and SL Troy Lee Design use a tubular Manganese rail, Lorica cover and similar shape and design to the SLR series. With less carbon in the base and a Manganese rail, the overall weight increases while the performance level remains high.
SLK Gel Flow and SLK Lady Gel Flow saddles use a tubular Vanox rail and a “split” shape from the front of the saddle to the rear that allows independent support for each of the sit bones. Some riders find this style of saddle more comfortable. The SLK has a longer, narrower nose and a shorter sitting platform than the SLR. The nose of the SLK is also rounder, creating less friction between the saddle and a rider's legs. The SLK Lady Gel Flow is wider across the rear platform and has a shorter nose designed specifically for women.
SLC Gel Flow – This saddle uses extremely long Vanox rail with an extra wide “split” shape from the front of the saddle to the rear, allowing independent support for the sit bones. The extra wide “split” allows more flex and helps alleviates pressure on the soft tissue area. The narrow sitting area and sloping sides appeal to riders who like long narrow saddles and a different look and design.
Flite series of saddles, including the Flite Kit Carbonio Flow, Flite Team Edition Flite Gel Flow, Flite XC Gel Flow, Flite Genuine Gel, Flite and Flite Classic, include very long, flexible Titanium rails mounted in front of the soft tissue area and behind the sit bones. A Carbon composite flexible base, combined with minimal padding, makes this an extremely popular line of saddles. The shape is narrow overall, flat in the center, and sloped on the sides, allowing plenty of clearance for the upper leg and yet has a longer seating platform for multiple riding positions.
Turbomatic series of saddles, including the Turbomatic Team Edition, Turbomatic Gel Flow and Turbomatic are the classic Turbomatic shape first introduced in late 1980's with Carbon (Team Edition) and tubular Manganese rails. The Turbomatic was the first saddle to use a patented Elastomer rail suspension system that continues in today's production. The Turbomatic was one of the most popular professional saddles due to the suspension system, wide rear platform and long narrow nose.
Prolink Gel Flow and Prolink Genuine Gel – For these saddles, a Tubular Vanox rail is mounted into a unique, shock-absorbing Nylon/Elastomer base, much like the mounting of an engine or suspension into an automobile. This base flexes according to the rider's pressure and weight, providing additional cycling comfort. This saddle shape is the flattest and widest of all Selle Italia's high-end models. The sides are vertical rather than sloped. The overall shape is wide, with a bit more padding under the sit bones.
XO Genuine Gel and XO Trans Am – These saddles feature FeC Alloy rails, which aren't as flexible as Titanium or Carbon composite rails, but are adequate when the base is designed for less flexible rails. The Nylon base is more flexible than the plastic ones used for most mid-priced saddles. These saddles have more padding than higher-end saddles, but are not thick and pillowy. The overall shape is flat, less sloped on the edges than Flite saddles and not as vertical as Prolink saddles.
Lady Gel Flow – This saddle consistently ranks as one of Selle Italia's top five bestsellers. The Manganese Tube rail is light, yet inexpensive compared to Titanium or Carbon composite rails. The Nylon base is more flexible than the plastic ones used for most mid-priced saddles. This saddle has more padding than Selle Italia's other mid- and high-range models. The overall flat shape is wide in the rear vertical edges and shorter in the nose. The Diva Gel Flow is another popular women's saddle using a longer nose and larger cutout than the Lady Gel Flow. It is also a little lighter using a Vanox rail.
Man Gel Flow – This uses the same design format as the Lady Gel Flow above but with a narrower rear sitting area and longer nose. This saddle uses the most padding of any men's specific saddles offered by Selle Italia.
Max Flite Gel Flow – Vanox tubular rails are mounted into suspension "wings" at the rear and pivoting Elastomer in the front. This suspension allows a lot of flexibility, as does the Nylon base with its built-in flex chevrons. The Max Flite Gel Flow receives great reviews from riders around the world.
Most of the saddles listed above have leather covers, which reduce friction between the cyclist and the seat. The breathability of leather also reduces sweating and discomfort. Lorica covers also are excellent and available in many models, including the SLR Team Edition, SLR Flow Team Edition, SLR Kit Carbonio, SLR Kit Carbonio Flow, SLR Tri Gel, SLR Troy Lee Designs, SLR XC, SLR XC, SLR XC Flow, Flite Team Edition, Flite XC Gel Flow, Flite Kit Carbonio Flow, SLR Monolink Team Edition, SLR Monolink Flow Team Edition, Turbomatic Team Edition, SL XC, SL XC Flow, SL T1 Gel and SL Troy Lee Design.
The Gel Flow and Genuine Gel models listed below have real silicone gel in the front soft tissue area and under the sit bones. This gel absorbs 300 percent more vibrations and impacts than standard foam.
All of Selle Italia's Genuine Gel saddles include actual surgical gel (some saddle companies use soft foam and call it gel) that is strategically placed for added comfort. Genuine Gel saddles do not have a hole in the saddle base. Genuine Gel models include the C2 Genuine Gel, Flite Genuine Gel and XO Genuine Gel.
All of Selle Italia's Gel Flow saddles include a soft tissue hole in the saddle base, with actual surgical gel surrounding the hole and under the sit bones. The popularity of these saddles has been so great that today, more than 60 percent of Selle Italia's production is focused on creating saddles with anatomical holes. Gel Flow models include the C2 Gel Flow, Diva Gel Flow, Flite Gel Flow, Flite XC Gel Flow, Lady Gel Flow, Max Flite Gel Flow, Prolink Gel Flow, SLC Gel Flow, SLK Gel Flow, SLK Lady Gel Flow, SLR Lady Gel Flow, Man Gel Flow and Turbomatic Gel Flow.
All of Selle Italia's Flow saddles include a soft tissue hole in the saddle base but without the surgical gel. The “Flow” offers more flexibility than saddles without a hole. Flow models include the SLR Monolink Flow Team Edition, SuperFlow, SLR Kit Carbonio Flow, SRL Flow, SLR Flow Team Edition, SLR Teknologika Flow, Flite Kit Carbonio Flow, SL XC Flow and XO Flow.
With the increasing popularity of road bikes and the resulting interest in more lightweight products, Selle Italia is proud to have not only the world's lightest production saddle (the 81 gram CX Zero), but more saddles under 200 grams than any other saddle manufacturer in the world! Besides being light, these saddles are amazingly comfortable. Among the Selle Italia saddles weighing less than 200 grams are the CX Zero Teknologika (96 grams), Flite Kit Carbonio (150 grams), Optima Teknologika (140 grams), SLR C64 (89 grams), SLR Kit Carbonio Flow (115 grams), SLR Kit Carbonio (115 grams), SLR Team Edition (140 grams), SLR Flow Team Edition (140 grams), SLR Teknologika Flow (125 grams), SLR Teknologika (120 grams), SLR Troy Lee Designs (180 grams), SLR XC Flow (160 grams), SLR XC (160 grams), SLR Monolink Team Edition (130 grams), SLR Monolink Team Edition (125 grams), SLR SuperFlow 130 (190 grams), SLR TT (125 grams), SLR Flow (160 grams), Flite Kit Carbonio (170 Grams).
The Flite and SLR lines of saddles are Selle Italia's most popular. None of Selle Italia's saddles have a rider weight limit. All work extremely well in standard riding conditions.
Keep riding and keep safe!
Mike & Bob