Saturday, December 13, 2014

Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow Saddle

This will be the start of a few posts about weight reduction for my Merida Scultura 5000 road bike. I have already identified some components and areas where significant weight savings can be made, and will be changing those components.

In a previous post, I had actually already changed the stock Merida saddle to a Selle Italia SLS Kit Carbonio Flow saddle. That shaved about 100 grams off the original saddle weight. However, after that I found another saddle that was even more lightweight and still looked comfortable enough. What saddle is it? Let's find out!

Another Selle Italia saddle, with a rather large packaging

Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow. This is a top end saddle that is super lightweight and also rather expensive.

Super lightweight at only 121 grams! Almost the same as the 120 grams that is stated on the packaging.

Looks very race oriented with a nice cutout in the middle to eliminate any numbness

Flat profile with a minimalist construction to minimise weight

Rear of the saddle is wide enough to be comfortable

Transparent cutouts at the rear of the saddle exposes the carbon fibre weave underneath

SLR logo printed at the sides of the saddle

Bio Fit Foam is used in the saddle. It is designed to slowly mold itself over time and fit your sit bones for better comfort.

SLR logo also printed on the nose of the saddle

The top and sides of this saddle looks rather normal, with nothing too special about it. However, the saddle rails is where it gets interesting, and you can tell that it is more expensive and more lightweight than other saddles.

Saddle rails are made of some sort of Carbokeramic material for strength. I think these carbon saddle rails are even lighter in weight than hollow titanium saddle rails.

Carbon saddle rails are specially shaped and designed. Made in Italy.

See how both sides of the carbon saddle rails merge together near the nose of the saddle. A special design that is radically different from standard metal saddle rails.

These carbon saddle rails are not recommended for use on some seatpost clamp designs. Click on the picture to get a clearer view.

Rather limited saddle fore/aft adjustment range due to the wide seatpost clamp required and the short clamping area on the saddle rails.

Prior to ordering this saddle, I did not know about the restriction on the type of seatpost clamps that can be used with these saddle rails. These restrictions and recommendations are not clearly stated anywhere when ordering, except for in the product manual when you have already received the saddle.

I was rather fortunate that the stock seatpost of the Merida road bike is suitable for use, as it is of the recommended design. The required clamp width needs to be at least 30mm wide with at least 16mm of clamping length.

This seatpost clamp is OK! 32mm total clamping width and 2 x 9mm of clamping length.

Comparing the new saddle and the stock Merida saddle side by side. This new Selle Italia saddle saves 215 grams over the stock Merida saddle which weighs 336 grams.

The centre cutout is surprisingly useful as it allows easy adjustment of the saddle tilt angle, by allowing access to the hidden clamp bolt.

Seen as mounted on the stock Merida seatpost

Very slim and sleek side profile!

Top view of the Selle Italia SLR Carbonio Flow Saddle

Overall view of how the new saddle looks when set against the other parts of the bike

I have tried this saddle for more than a month, and I am very happy with this saddle. Although the foam cushioning is thin, it still feels comfortable as the whole shell can flex to absorb bumps. Of course, I was mostly using my cycling pants with padding so that definitely helps.

Comparing it with the cheaper and heavier SLS Kit Carbonio Flow saddle, I can hardly tell the difference in comfort as both feel comfortable.

Pros:
1) Super lightweight at only 121 grams
2) Comfortable despite the thin cushioning (provided you are wearing cycling pants with padding)

Cons:
1) Expensive
2) Limited compatibility with seatpost clamps

For a saddle, the only features that I look for would be lightweight and comfort. As long as these two can be satisfied, it is a good saddle. For many saddles out there, they are either lightweight or comfortable, but not both. This Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle manages to be both lightweight and also comfortable, which makes it an amazing saddle!

Of course, these features come at a cost as it is expensive (USD 180). Also, it will not be compatible with many lightweight seatposts, which limits its use.

In summary, this is a good saddle that is perfect for weight weenies, without sacrificing too much comfort. The downside would be the high cost and the limited compatibility with seatpost clamps. It is best to check compatibility before getting this saddle to avoid any installation or safety issues.

No comments:

Post a Comment