Selle Italia first launched the Novus in 1994, the result of a collaboration with Ferrari. With a nose that dips downwards near its tip, its side profile was somewhat reminiscent of a Formula One car, likely no coincidence.
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It was a groundbreaking design, incorporating carbon composite in its construction and offering pressure relief with a channel down the middle, a feature since offered on many of our favourite saddles.
The Novus was relaunched last year and when we reviewed the Selle Italia Novus Flow S we liked it very much; it was a sympathetic take on the original that brought it bang up to date with a decent sized cut-out. The new SuperFlow goes one better, offering one that extends back 220mm from the nose of the saddle. That means you get some pressure relief even if you’re hammering ‘on the rivet’, and it’s helpful if you generally move around a bit on the saddle.
The Novus’ construction is standard Selle Italia fare; a nylon hull is reinforced with carbon (it’s 30 percent black stuff, according to the spec sheet), and it sits atop lightweight titanium rails. It’s neatly finished, and a plastic plate screwed to the lower rear of the hull extends out to the sides and acts as a scuff-guard so you won’t ruin the ‘Fibra-Tek’ covering if you lean your bike against a wall.
Selle Italia offers the Novus SuperFlow in ‘L’ and ‘S’ sizes. Our test saddle was the former, measuring 278mm long and 146mm wide. It weighed 229g, just over the 220g claimed figure. The smaller seat is the same length, but measures 137mm across, for riders with narrower sit bones.
Selle Italia dealers offer the ‘idmatch’ saddle measurement system, which takes account of sit bone width, thigh circumference and pelvic rotation to give a general recommendation for which saddles will work for you. The system gives the Novus SuperFlow its highest rating of three for pelvic rotation; it’s a saddle meant for riders who rotate their hips forwards the most, placing pressure on the perineal region, and who will therefore benefit from the largest possible cut-out.
Our experience on the road suggests that the design is very effective. Thanks to padding that’s a good compromise — it’s supportive but not unforgiving to your sit bones — you don’t sink into the saddle too much, and the channel in the middle does its job. If you’re a fan of cut-outs and aren’t too bothered about the few extra grams it carries compared to a more weight-focused saddle, the Novus SuperFlow is definitely worth a go.