© Velo Collection / Getty Images
Selle Italia is a saddle manufacturer based in Asolo, Italy. The company prides itself in being one of the market leaders for high-end saddles across the world.
Founded in the small village of Corsico just outside of Milan in 1897, Selle Italia originally made saddles to help the masses get from A to B. Over the next century and a quarter, it narrowed its scope, developing innovative saddle designs for elite cyclists.
Selle Italia launched as a company when cycling wasn’t even considered a sport, just a means of transportation. It began producing comfort-orientated saddles from a small workshop in the outskirts of Milan and this focus remains at the heart of the company’s ethos to this day.
Until the 1960s, Selle Italia steadily built its business around saddles for the masses to get around on. However, when the Bigolin family took over the company in 1967 it marked a change in direction.
A focus on performance cycling and innovative designs followed. Selle Italia collaborated with Bernard Hinault in 1980 to produce its Turbo saddle design. The likes of Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Miguel Indurain, and Marco Pantani also worked with the company, impressed by its continual desire to improve its products.
Selle Italia went on to launch the Flite in 1990, a saddle that allowed for both comfort and flexibility, something that hadn’t graced the market yet. This led the company onto its IdMatch measurement system which allows each rider to be matched with their ideal saddle thanks to scientific studies and research - guaranteeing maximum comfort, well-being and performance during activity.
Nowadays, the company produces saddles for a range of cycling disciplines, from road and triathlon to gravel, off-road and e-biking. Selle Italia has also incorporated 3D printing into its manufacturing process to create a new dimension of comfort.
1999 - Pantani’s custom Selle Italia saddle
To celebrate his 1998 Giro-Tour double, Selle Italia produced a custom saddle for Marco Pantani in 1999. Easy to spot thanks to its yellow colour and ‘Il Pirata’ design, the saddle is one of the most famous personalised saddles to have graced pro cycling.
2021 - Selle Italia goes green
The company has always been keen to innovate and move with the times, so when it launched a saddle with an eco-sustainable Greentech production process, few were surprised. The Model X Green Superflow saddle is free from harmful glues or polyurethane adhesives and produced entirely within Italy to minimise its carbon footprint.
2022 - Selle Italia launches the SLR Boost 3D
The company’s first 3D-printed saddle arrived in October 2022 after being teased at Eurobike earlier in the year. The SLR Boost 3D combines Carbon DLSTM technology with the company’s high-performance design and a 3D-printed cover.
“The real revolution was the Flite saddle. For me, it was a milestone. Saddles once curved downwards. We thought about removing that part of the hull that stiffened it and, by cutting the sides, we realised that the structure became elastic and comfortable. From there, there was no turning back.”
© Selle Italia
Fabian Cancellara with a lightweight carbon saddle from Selle Italia
Road: Selle Italia has a broad range of saddles for all types of road cyclists with its Superflow cutout, SLR, Flite and Novus profiles. It also offers saddles in both standard and Boost lengths. The company uses Carbon DLS and 3D printing technology across its road range to keep the saddles as light as possible. Selle Italia also has a Greentech range of road saddles made using eco-friendly materials and manufacturing processes in Italy.
Off-road: The company’s off-road range consists of flat-profiled X-LR saddles, neutral-fitting X-Bow saddles, and carbon SLR saddles. Its off-road products all aim to provide comfort regardless of the trails that riders choose to tackle.
Gravel: For tackling gravel terrain, Selle Italia has three different saddle profiles at its disposal. The SLR Boost Gravel offers a neutral shape to help with pelvic rotation and the Flite Boost Gravel offers a flat profile for more significant movement. Meanwhile, the Novus Boost Evo Gravel aims to help riders with pelvic tilt. All saddles use TI 316 shock-dampening rails and feature a pressure-relieving Superflow cutout.
Triathlon: The Watt saddle aims to ensure an ideal riding position for maximum efficiency in every race. It features a Superflow cutout and anti-slip insert to ensure the rider keeps the perfect form.
Leisure: Selle Italia also offers saddles for e-biking, touring and some heritage models, predominantly focused on being as comfortable as possible whilst still keeping hold of the company’s sleek design style.
It isn’t just pro riders that Selle Italia have collaborated with over the years to design saddles. In 1990, the company teamed up with compatriot company Ferrari to release a custom saddle.
© Velo Collection / Getty Images
Selle Italia saddles are widespread in the pro peloton
Road sponsorships: Alpecin-Deceuninck, Israel-Premier Tech, Cofidis, Lotto Dstny, Team Arkéa Samsic, Tudor Pro Cycling Team, Caja Rural-Seguros RGA, Human Powered Health, Team Corratec-Selle Italia, Fenix-Deceuninck, Massi Tactic, Lifeplus-Wahoo.
MTB sponsorships: Thomus Maxon, Ghost Factory Racing, KMC MTB Team, KTM Factory MTB Team, MMR Factory Racing, Trinx Factory Team, Buff Megamo Team.
Previous athlete sponsorships: Eddy Merckx, Felice Gimondi, Miguel Indurain, Marco Pantani, Bernard Hinault, Mario Cipollini, Jan Ullrich, Alberto Contador, Alejandro Valverde, Alexandre Vinokourov, Richard Virenque, Claudio Chiapucci.
So you want to buy a new saddle for your road bike. Chances are, this is because your current saddle isn't very comfortable for you. Choosing a saddle can be an absolute minefield - with different widths, cut outs, and shapes to contend with. But don't worry, there's plenty of options out there for riders of all different shapes and sizes and, in this video, Ollie talks you through everything you'll need to know next time you buy a road bike saddle.
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