Selle Italia’s SP-01 Superflow saddle comes in four models, ranging from the Ti316 to the Tekno, via the Carbonio tested here.
- Best road bikes 2019: how to choose the right one for you
- Best women’s bike saddle: a buyer’s guide
- How to choose the best saddle
Like many saddles, the SP-01 has a large central cutout to create comfort, but unlike every other saddle that I can think of, that cutout continues through the rear of the shell, and the two sides are not connected.
Structural integrity comes from the nose, plus the seatpost’s clamp, but even though purely an aesthetic gripe, my saddle’s split tail’s sides refused to sit level at rest.
Termed ‘suspension link movement’, the unique shape of the SP-01’s shell consists of cantilevered scrolls of carbon fibre, which extend from each carbon saddle rail to the inner edge of the split tail.
The shell resists most fore and aft flex, but each side of the saddle’s rear half flexes and rotates under load, providing highly conforming support and extra width.
Of the 288mm long shell, the split comprises 203mm, of which the main cutout is 147mm long, widening from 15mm to 40mm. Two widths are available, the 130mm wide S3 and my 142mm L3. With 7x9mm CarboKeramic rails, my saddle weighed just 173g.
Selle Italia claims the SP-01 supports pelvis movement without compromising pedaling stability, and throughout testing it has proved comfortable and effective. The perforated Fibra-Tek cover is grippy enough, and whether riding several hours steady, or hammering along on the rivet, I couldn’t fault the SP-01’s performance, the expanding cutout working better at relieving pressure for me than most.
Although the nose is barely padded, the rest of the highly mobile shell is, creating impressive shock and vibration absorption. I’m not aware of any weight or usage limits, but would say this innovative saddle is strictly for road use.