Selle San Marco has nearly 80 years' experience of making saddles, and the Aspide Carbon FX carries with it the heritage and craftsmanship for which the Italian brand is known.
It sits in the middle of the Aspide range, and is second in price and weight to the handmade – and uber-expensive – Superleggera version we tested recently.
The Aspide Carbon FX is available in both regular and open versions – we tested the latter. It features a full-length pressure-relieving channel, which almost eliminates strain on the surrounding soft tissue and supports the sits bones well.
Underneath the microfibre cover is Pebax shock absorbing foam-rubber, the same foam-rubber you'll find in the midsole of running shoes. According to San Marco, Pebax is 40 percent lighter than the EVA foam used in most saddles. To keep the weight down, and to provide a strong and supportive base, the lower shell is made from carbon fibre reinforced plastic.
The full-length channel relieves pressue on soft tissue
The Aspide is narrow, measuring just 130mm at its widest point, and has a waved front to back profile that's similar to the Specialized Romin, but slightly flatter.
To allow for compliance, the carbon rails attach behind the sit bones and extend far up on the nose, which also means there is plenty of back and forth adjustment available. The rails feature a ‘carbon waist’ – an internal aluminium structure used to strengthen the clamping area of the rails.
The carbon rails cross just under the nose of the saddle – this adds rigidity to the nose and combats the saddle rolling that's sometimes experienced while pedaling.
San Marco's DNA rails help to stop the saddle from rolling
When you first sit on the Aspide it feels quite hard, but as the day goes on the support and minimal padding make for a comfortable perch. We didn't experience any numbness or other signs of ill-fitting during our three-month test period. The nose is quite long and flat, so riding on the rivet is as comfortable as it can be, but a bit more width would be appreciated.
The Aspide will be a welcome addition to any weight-counting ride – our sample only tipped the scales at 123g. At US$280 / £170 / AU$299, the Aspide Carbon FX falls into a high price category, but it's easier to justify than the Superleggera version!
We struggled to find flaws with the San Marco Aspide Carbon FX, but because of the personal nature of saddles we also couldn't give it a perfect score. Even so, the all-day comfort and support we experienced meant it came pretty darn close.