A good saddle never goes out of style. The best are perennial products and smart cyclists, pros or not, will stick with what works, despite the continual flow of ‘latest and greatest’ from the industry’s marketers. Selle San Marco’s Regal is one of those saddles.
The Regal was first seen, in prototype form, in 1984. That original perch was a hit with the professionals of the era and many eras to come. Partly because, at 390g, it had a reasonable weight for the time, but more importantly – as is the case for all successful saddle designs – because many riders found it supremely comfortable.
With firm padding and a wide tail, it was particularly popular among seasoned riders competing over long distances. Over the years, the Regal was used by many of cycling’s greats, including Greg LeMond, Claudio Chiappucci, Mario Cipollini and, of most recent fame, Tom Boonen.
You can, however, always improve on a good thing. Though the classic Regal is still available, the latest iteration of the shape is the REGALe – the 'E' stands for evolution. With this saddle San Marco take the classic Regal shape and infuse it with modern materials and graphics. Basically, the classic gets a facelift, which shaves a massive amount of weight and breathes new life into the ever relevant shape.
The REGALe is available in two versions: Carbon FX and Racing, both available with standard or team graphics. We tested the 241g Racing Team model with Xsilite (titanium/carbon/silicon alloy) rails and team graphics package. It fits wide and flat through its rear, which makes us question its worth off-road – something Selle San Marco suggest it capable of.
On the road, however, the REGALe leaves us with no questions. Our first impression was that the padding is firm, maybe too firm. But the platform is so supportive that its firmness is quickly forgotten. In fact, the REGALe offers so much more support than today’s ultra light saddles that it makes us think a lot of newer riders would be well advised to look to an older shape if it's comfort they're after.
Over the course of six months, the saddle did break in and no longer felt hard when initially sitting down. The REGALe shines the brightest during long and rough rides – during the latter, we felt we were able to produce more power because of the stability it provides.
The REGALe Racing Team keeps the design's trademark rivets, but in a lighter alloy
The REGALe has a traditional saddle shape – it’s flat across its width, with little convex curvature, but it bows from front to back. This might throw newer riders off, but when adjusted properly the curvature does little more than make sure you’re nestled into its sweet spot, where your sit bones are given the most support.
Along with the wide platform, San Marco engineer ‘Core-zone’ relief into the carbon reinforced plastic shell, about 7cm from the tip of the nose and extending roughly 6.5cm toward the tail. While not a channel, the feature makes a noticeable difference. The top-tier carbon FX model features full-carbon rails, which drop the saddle below the 200g mark (claimed), even with its trademark rear rivets.
Both versions of the REGALe feature a 278mm length and 148mm width through the tail. Padding is courtesy of lightweight ‘Biofoam’, while the ‘Microfeel’ microfiber cover is said to be five percent lighter than leather, as well as being better wearing and offering better adhesion to the padding .
We have a vintage Regal saddle that’s more than 15 years old, so for kicks we did some comparison testing. On all counts we believe the new model to retain all of the benefits of the classic Regal, while improving on its main faults – its super-stiff shell and rails, heavy weight and inferior padding. The REGALe Racing Team is worth a look, whether your bike is carbon or steel, especially if you have an appreciation for the classics.
The REGALe Racing Team brings class to any modern racing bike