BikeRadar was invited to the Selle Italia headquarters in Northern Italy during May to take a closer look at the brand’s offerings for the 2019 season.
Selle Italia produces saddles for road, off-road and gravel while their sister-brands Sportourer and Net produce less performance-focused saddles for touring and town riding. The company also has a heritage range — Sella Italia — which celebrates the history of the Italian brand.
Selle Italia was founded in 1897 and has more than 100 patents, more than 120 design awards and has invested millions into growing the company for the past 15 years. The company has recruited some of their new senior staff from the automotive industry — Ferrari and Dainese — and has hinted that a collaboration with a “big name” from the automotive industry will come to light soon.
Following new market trends and specialisations, Selle Italia has launched seven new e-bike specific saddles, gravel-specific saddles, and new road and off-road models. The company has also introduced several shorter saddles, which it admits is a move completely driven by market demand.
Below and in the gallery above, we take a look at some of the highlights from the historic Italian saddle specialists.
Selle Italia’s SP-01 Boost Superflow road saddle Josh Evans/Immediate Media
The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost is one of the new models for 2019, available with carbon or titanium rails for racing or expert use respectively.
The Boost range of saddles follows the market trends of consumers opting for shorter saddles (think Specialized Power et al) and are around 2cm shorter than their non-Boost variants.
Alongside the consumer demand, Selle Italia’s OEM clients have asked for the option of shorter saddles and the company has introduced a selection for 2019 with plans to offer more still.
Selle Italia claims its Boost range saddles are not just standard saddles with the nose chopped off, but complete redesigns of existing models to give consumers all the benefits of a shorter saddle alongside existing model-specific designs.
Selle Italia’s X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow Josh Evans/Immediate Media
Selle Italia’s X-LR range is off-road-specific and the company says it’s one of its more popular OEM ranges. The X-LR range covers e-bike, enduro, gravel and cyclocross disciplines, sharing aesthetic and technical features across the range.
Available in Flow or Superflow (Selle Italia’s normal cut-out or large cut-out saddle options), the X-LR range also features two different types of padding density at the front and rear of the saddle.
Shock absorbers in the nose of the X-LR saddle range are installed to improve comfort and Selle Italia says it was inspired by similar technology used in Formula 1 suspension systems.
The Selle Italia X-LR Air Cross Superflow is ten times more resistant to wear and abrasion versus its predecessor, claims Selle Italia. The saddle is also 100 percent waterproof, while integrated bumpers on the rear quarters of the saddle will also improve durability.
The Selle Italia X-LR Air Cross Superflow is aimed for ‘Expert’ use, weighs 215 grams and is priced at €99.90.
At the top-end of the X-LR range, the Selle Italia X-LR Kit Carbonio is designed for racing, features carbon rails and is priced at €239.90.
Like the X-LR saddle, the Novus Gravel saddles have bumpers for improved durability Josh Evans/Immediate Media
Gravel-specific niches are another growing trend within the cycling industry, with the majority of manufacturers releasing gravel or adventure framesets in recent years.
Selle Italia’s new gravel-specific range for 2019 uses lighter gel for improved comfort, associating gravel riding with more long-distance riding.
The Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel Tech Superflow has a patented reflective panel on the rear section of the saddle. The company is aware that many adventure and endurance cyclists can cycle for long hours at a time, frequently in low light, and consider the design feature a small contribution to increasing rider safety.
The Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel Heritage has the same, modern internal design as the Gravel Tech model, including titanium rails, but has a classic look. Both saddles are priced at €169.90.
The bumpers on the rear quarters are retained from the non e-bike X-LR saddle Josh Evans/Immediate Media
As the e-bike sector continues to boom, Selle Italia has joined the party by creating seven new e-bike-specific saddles. Four are for Selle Italia, while the remaining three are for the company’s Sportourer brand.
Linked in aesthetic by subtle blue highlights, the saddles also feature ‘Climb Control’ padding, which aims to improve power transfer when pedalling with a firmer padding density.
The Selle Italia X-LR E-Bike Superflow has an off-road focus and features titanium rails. The saddle weighs 290g and is €169.90. Selle Italia’s Max Flite E-Bike Gel saddle focuses more on comfort and features 65g of gel.
The iconic Turbo design is included in the Sella Italia Milano range Josh Evans/Immediate Media
The Selle Italia heritage range celebrates the company’s history through the two mini brands of Sella Italia Classic and Sella Italia Milano, with aesthetics focusing on classic design and the materials of metal and leather.
Click or swipe through the gallery above for a closer look at Selle Italia’s 2019 range.