Selle Italia SLR XC review£75.00

Cross-country racing version of classic lightweight seat

BikeRadar score4.5/5

Selle Italia has been making superb race saddles for years, and this lightweight perch continues the family tradition. 

The SLR family itself has a proper extended Italian genealogy, stretching from full carbon wafers through to pudgy-nosed triathlon versions. 

They all share the same minimalist, narrow-sided shape as the SLR here, though. This makes them perfect for racers who don’t spend a lot of time clinging onto the bike with their thighs showjump style.

It does make the sharp edges more vulnerable to damage, though. While the Kevlar back corners are holding up fine, we managed to scar and split the side of the slim nose on a rock when we crashed on the first weekend using it. 

Luckily it hasn’t got any worse or caused noticeable short chafing, but be aware that this is primarily an cross-country race seat, not a crash couch.

On the positive side, the SLR’s profile ensures minimal pedalling interference. 

This new SLR takes slick friction-free leg speed to new levels, with a slippery plastic cover on both sides of the split top. Even when wearing big baggies, it won’t hook up or rub, and in Lycra you’ll feel as fast of thigh as fellow user, World Champ cross-country king Julien Absalon.

Selle Italia gets around the problem of keeping you well centred however hard you pedal by fitting a grippy rubberised centre strip down the middle. The result is no unwanted sliding about back and forward — which can quickly stress your back — but no short bunching/grabbing chafe either.

Even when seat post issues meant we finished our first seven-hour ride on it unnaturally nose down, it was still perfectly comfortable.  However, we're aware that some riders don't get on with the SLR hull shape at all - it either fits you or it doesn't.

Add a total weight of 190g and a pretty reasonable price, and you’ve got a saddle that racers will find rides as well as it looks.

Guy Kesteven

Freelance Writer, UK
Guy started filling his brain with cycle stats and steaming up bike shop windows back in 1980. He worked the other side of those windows from '89 while getting a degree in “describing broken things covered in mud" (archaeology). Dug historical holes in the ground through the early '90s, then became a pro bike tester in '97. Guy has ridden thousands of bikes and even more components the world over since then and can remember them all in vivid, haunting detail. Can't remember where the car keys are, though.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 180cm / 5' 11"
  • Weight: 68kg / 150lb
  • Waist: 76cm / 30in
  • Chest: 91cm / 36in
  • Discipline: Strict sadomasochist
  • Preferred Terrain: Technical off-piste singletrack and twisted back roads. Up, down, along — so long as it's faster than the last time he did it he's happy.
  • Current Bikes: An ever changing herd of test machines from Tri bikes to fat bikes and everything in between.
  • Dream Bike: His Nicolai Helius AM custom tandem
  • Beer of Choice: Theakston's Old Peculier (not Peculiar)
  • Location: Yorkshire, UK
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