Saddle choice is incredibly personal, so instead of just going out and buying the saddle that takes your fancy, Selle Italia now employ what they call ‘ID Match’ to help you make the right choice when it comes to your riding perch. ID Match has four stages, the first of which is ‘general parameters’. It’s exactly as it sounds: age, height, weight, gender and what type of cycling you’re after a saddle for.
The second stage is measuring your intertrochanteric distance – the distance between the two ischial tuberosities of the pubis or, as they’re more commonly known, the sit bones. Step three is thigh circumference, but step four – pelvic rotation – is the unique element of the system. This step determines which type of Selle Italia saddle will be best for you based on their comfort level and padding.
The results of these steps will first give you a letter: S or L. Far from some kind of ingenious code, these letters basically signify whether you have a small or large distance between your sit bones. Generally (and this is by no means universal) more men will tend to fall into the S category and more women into the L, but obviously there will be crossover due to body type and size. The S and L categories are split into three further groups – 1, 2, and 3 – and which you fit into is determined by your degree of pelvic rotation with 1 being the lowest and 3 the highest. There’s a caveat to any saddle review, because what one rider finds comfortable another may not, but ID Match is a smart system and definitely helpful if you’ve been having issues getting comfortable on the bike. The only issue, of course, is that you can’t really do it yourself at home, so you need to find a trained Selle Italia dealer.
Anyway, onto the saddle itself, and the Flite Kit Carbonio Flow (Flite K) is an S2 fit, that’s 145mm wide and 275mm long. The Flow in the title refers to the cut-out channel down the middle, and any Selle Italia saddle with that name in the title has a similar channel although they do differ in terms of the size of the cut-out section.
The shell is constructed from 30 per cent carbon fibre which offers strength but, more importantly, a decent degree of flex in the central section beside the cut-out. It’s particularly smart, because the rear section of the saddle positioned under the sit bones is a solid as anything I’ve used, providing a solid platform to push against.
The rails are Carbo Keramic. What exactly that is Selle Italia don’t exactly elaborate on but an educated guess would be ceramic rails strengthened by the inclusion of carbon fibres. Either way, it makes them very light, as the 180g overall weight of the saddle proves, and there’s no flex in them at all, which is absolutely necessary to balance out the flexy upper. At 7 x 9mm, the rails have a slightly oval shape, but they fitted easily in a couple of seatposts I fitted the saddle to, and the hold was firm and true on all of them.
The cover is Fibra-Tek which has a reputation for being extremely durable, and I’ve ridden an awful lot of kilometres on this one over the last few months, and it still looks as good as new. Now keeping a saddle looking great is far from top of my list of priorities when it comes to bikes, but the fact that it’s lasted well so far suggests that there shouldn’t be any worries when it comes to the long-term. Underneath the Fibra-Tek, there’s extra padding at the rear which was the one thing that worried me a little. For the last few years I’ve ridden a Fizik Arione R3 as my saddle of choice, and that has barely a few millimetres of padding under the cover. The worry was that changing to something with noticeably more give might feel too supple and risk making my ride feel dull but actually the way the saddle flexes in certain areas and not in others makes for an exceptionally comfortable ride.
The saddle is one of the key parts of the bike when it comes to comfort, and I’ve always tended to find something I like and stick with it for a long time. Selle Italia’s Flite Kit Carbonio Flow is a superb saddle that manages to combine low weight with very impressive comfort.
– Well constructed, with a durable cover that should stand the test of time
– Smart combination of stiffness and flexibility in all the right places