Astute Starlite saddle review

Italian saddle with memory foam

Our rating 
4.5 out of 5 star rating 4.5
AUD $375.00

Our review

With the round shape and centre channel Astute's Star saddle got along with the rear end like a house on fire. The only thing holding it back is the price
Buy if, You're looking for a round performance saddle made from high-end materials that is supremely comfortable
Pros: Memory foam, carbon rails, comfort
Cons: The price is on the steep side
Skip to view product specifications

For a long time the Specialized Roman has been my saddle of choice. The large cutout, the shape and its relatively narrow waistline had provided the most comfortable perch I’d found to date.

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A while back however I had an Astute Mudline VT saddle come in for review and I was a big fan. While it’s a mountain bike saddle, with a few key features designed to play nice with baggy shorts and getting up on the nose while climbing, the shape suited me really well. The only drawback was the price.

So when I had the opportunity to test the Italian brand’s Starlight road saddle, which is based around the same shape as the Mudline, I jumped at the opportunity.

If you haven’t heard of Astute, it’s a small, handmade saddle brand based in the northern city of Padua, Italy.

Sitting in the middle of the brand’s lineup, the Starlight features full 3k 7×9 carbon rails and a fibre-reinforced nylon shell. My saddle measured 135mm wide and 270mm long. 

Astute uses multi-density memory foam, which gets progressively softer towards the nose
Astute uses multi-density memory foam, which gets progressively softer towards the nose
Colin Levitch / Immediate Media

Other than their striking aesthetics and workmanship, what sets Astute saddles apart is foam. Instead of using EVA foam, like the majority of saddles on the market, all of Astute’s seats use memory foam, which gets progressively softer as you move forward towards the nose.

The idea behind the multi-density foam is the firmer foam at the back offers sufficient support for your sitting bones, while the softer foam aims to reduce pressure on your sensitive bits.

There is considerably more padding on all of Astute’s products than you’d expect to find on a performance saddle, but it never ceases to amaze how firm and supportive they are when you actually sit down.

After months of riding the Starlite, and even longer on the Mudline, I can genuinely say the foam doesn’t deteriorate and retains its firmness for quite a while.

It's got a decent-sized internal channel
It’s got decent-sized internal channel
Colin Levitch / Immediate Media

The additional padding was also appreciated when I ventured onto gravel roads and poor road surfaces. Even if a saddle fits you perfectly, sometimes thinly padded performance saddles aren’t all great on the rough-and-tumble roads — hence why we’re seeing some more padded versions of popular saddles such as the Specialized Power Arc.

With a decent-sized centre channel to relieve pressure there is a touch of flex in the shell around the channel, whether or not this works for you will depend on your body. Some may find this puts too much pressure on the front of the perineum, which is the most common complaint with saddles that feature a cutout, but it suited me well with no pain or numbness.

Made from Italian Ecolabel certified waterproof microfibre, this saddle has a nice feel and seems to hold up to plenty abuse. It also tipped my scales at 219g.

And so here is the only problem I have with the Astute Starlight saddle — the price. Coming in at £150 / AU$329, that price tag is hard to swallow. That said, there is a TI railed version that costs £115 / $219.

For that kind of money, other brands are into the full carbon rails and shell, high-end covers and eye-popping numbers on the scale, and it’s in this respect that the Astute Starlite doesn’t quite measure up.

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However, if your preferred saddle is similar in shape to the Romin and you’re looking to try something new, the Starlite is definitely worth a look (if you can afford it).

Full carbon rails for the Starlite
Full carbon rails for the Starlite
Colin Levitch / Immediate Media

Product Specifications

Product

Name Star Lite
Brand Astute

Weight (g) 219
Saddle Country of Origin Italy
Saddle Width Availability 2 widths
Requires I-Beam Seatpost No
Rubberised Interface With Saddle No
Revised Decals No
Saddle Zero Friction Sphere System No
Saddle Scuff Guards No
Aeration System No
Cast Magnesium Rear Mounts No
Saddle Shaping Curve
Colour Black
Saddle Shell Material Carbon Reinforced Nylon
Saddle Cover Material Microfibre
Saddle Rails Carbon
Ergonomic Saddle Features Broad Rear Comfort Cut-Out Section
Saddle Decoration Logo
Saddle Padding Layer Of Memory Foam
Anti Compression Channel Yes
Aerodynamic No
Road/Performance Compatibility All conditions
Riding Position Support Forward