Before I write any saddle review it’s always worth reminding anyone that just because a saddle works for me, it doesn’t mean that it will work for you. Saddles come in all different shapes and sizes, and comfort is an inherently subjective thing, so it’s always worth getting fitted for a saddle prior to purchase (Selle Italia dealers should offer the firm’s ID Match system), or try buy you buy if your local bike shop offers such a service. Also, read our saddles buyer’s guide for a few pointers on what to look for.
Back on track, the Novus was part of the Selle Italia line-up in the 1990s, designed alongside Ferrari, and has been re-introduced, sharing a similar shape but using up-to-date materials and construction techniques. The angular shape and lowered nose reminds me of the nose of an F1 car, and it looks good in my opinion, even if the proof is in the riding.
The Novus uses CarboKeramic 7x9mm rails, which provide a good amount of flex without making it feel overly flexible. The rails also have guides on the sides to help when adjusting the saddle, so it’s easy to fit. The rails feed into a seamless white base made from a single mould which, with no stitching and a carbon fibre surround, gives the saddle a high quality feel.
All in all, Selle Italia say the Novus Kit Carbonio Flow S uses 30 per cent carbon fibre in its construction, but the Team Edition does away with any carbon, and has ti rails, raising the weight to 225g and dropping the price to £119.99, while the plain old Flow version is a little less still at £105.99.
Up on top, the most obvious feature is the cut-out that Selle Italia have included on each of their Flow saddles. It adds a little ventilation when riding but, more specifically, offers some pressure relief for sensitive areas. The saddle also has carbon panels at the front and rear, which almost give it the look of a bucket seat in a sports car. Otherwise, the saddle is covered with a ‘Fibra-Tec’ material, which is both robust and easy to clean.
The S edition of the Novus measures 275mm long and 137mm wide, and there’s also a L version, which is a little longer and wider at 278mm and 146mm respectively. In terms of weight, the saddle comes in at a reasonable 190g. By way of comparison, that’s 5g less than the Fizik Aliante R3 which comes in at the same price. Others around this price range, like the Selle San Marco Mantra Carbon come in lighter, but the Novus is about right for the money.
I have always preferred flatter saddles and throughout my cycling life have veered towards them, so with this saddle, which has a slight curve to it and the angular nose, I was surprised to find it so comfortable. In fact, I am going to stick my neck out and say that it is the most comfortable saddle I have ever used, both on short rides and after four hours on the road. I have been running the saddle on a bike with 23mm Continental GrandPrix 4000 II tyres and while a little road buzz comes through the saddle, it is never enough to feel uncomfortable.
Selle Italia say the saddle is shaped in order to help the rider move forward and achieve a position which allows for more effective power transfer. I found moving forward and back on the saddle to be very easy. Equally, despite the slight gap between the carbon nose tip and the Fibra-Tec material, there was never any catching when sitting forward or back.
Often you don’t realise how comfortable a saddle can be until you have found one that fits perfectly and for me this may be it. As I said at the top, that may not be the case across the board, but for me it’s supremely comfortable, so while £159.99 is a significant sum, it’s a wholly worthwhile investment.
I have been incredibly impressed with the Selle Italia Novus Kit Carbonio Flow S saddle. It’s the job of the reviewer to try and find faults in a product (and offer praise where due) but with this I have really struggled. It’s light, well made and, above all, comfortable.