Selle Italia SP-01 Superflow Carbonio saddle review£275.00

Split the difference

BikeRadar score3.5/5

Selle Italia’s SP-01 Superflow saddle comes in four models, ranging from the Ti316 to the Tekno, via the Carbonio tested here.

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.

Robin Wilmott

Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK,
Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
  • Age: 45
  • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
  • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
  • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
  • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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