Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow
Italian innovators provide top combination of stiffness, flexibility and low weight
by Colin Henrys
Selle Italia have been leading the way when it comes to saddle design for more than a century. Founded in the Italian village of Corsico, just outside Milan, Selle Italia’s first bike saddles were made in 1897 and the brand have been at the forefront ever since – leading the way with the world’s first fully anatomic saddle, super lightweight perches and cut-out designs.
But what about now? The Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle is a prime example of the smart technology and innovation packed into the brand’s perches.
Selle Italia's first lightweight saddle, the Flite, was the first of the lightweights in the industry when it launched in 1990. The precursor to today’s super-light offerings, it tipped the scales at less than 200g and boasted a slimmer profile to reduce friction surface. And a quarter of a century on the weight’s come down even more thanks to the launch of the SLR range – this iteration is 120g – and comfort has improved even further.
Selle Italia pride themselves on being high-end and the SLR Kit Carbonio Flow lives up to that billing thanks to a top combination of stiffness, flexibility and low weight.
It’s a combination of all Selle Italia’s innovations – Flite (and later SLR), meeting the cut-out of the Trans Am first launched in 1998, the Gel Flow which followed in 2002 and the Kit Carbonio rails (more on which later) of 2003.
The newest iteration of the SLR Kit Carbonio Flow saddle added comfort (and the gel cut out) to the well-loved original SLR Flow saddle but, sat atop a 30 per cent carbon shell, stiffness is still evident.
Now one man’s throne will be another’s bed of thorns, we understand that, but Selle Italia now use a four-stage ‘ID Match’ system to ensure you get the perfect saddle for you if you go to a Selle Italia dealer.
The saddle is, after all, one of the most obvious and most crucial components when it comes to your comfort on the bike. The Flite Kit Carbonio Flow is an S2 fit – 131mm wide and 275mm long, ideal for those with small seat bones – and takes its ‘Flow’ name from the cut-out channel in the middle, as all Selle Italia ‘Flow’ perches do.
Constructed from 30 per cent carbon fibre, the shell offers strength but more importantly plenty of flex in the central section. It’s wrapped in Lorica – a hugely durable cover – and all in all offers very impressive comfort.
It is also lightweight, thanks in no small part to its Carbo Keramic rails – ceramic rails, produced in a special alloy tube called Vanadium-Titanium and wrapped in braided carbon fibre.
Furthermore, the construction of the rails means plenty of strength – the perfect antidote to the flex provided by the upper.
That comes at a price - £184.99 to be exact – but Selle Italia pride themselves on being high-end and the SLR Kit Carbonio Flow lives up to that billing thanks to a top combination of stiffness, flexibility and low weight.