This article originally published on BikeRadar
Selle San Marco’s MD Giovanni Giradi dropped into BikeRadar towers to show us the pick of the 78 year-old company’s new range.
Aspide gets a redesign
First up they've taken the popular Aspide back to the drawing board. They've retained its 'open' design (read: pressure relieving channel) but worked on the curve of both the tails' upward tilt and the wing sections. The Aspide is described as a 'waved' top (it dips in its mid-section) and narrow in width.
Selle San Marco have also been able to significantly reduce weight in the Aspide by using a new PEBAX® foam. It’s much lighter than standard foams but has a highly elastic nature, meaning it shapes and forms to you but returns to its original shape when not under pressure.
The Aspide comes in nine different models. The top model features XSilite rails, a lightweight alloy (lighter and stronger than titanium) with a hardened surface treatment and textured rails at the clamp point. The red and black racing Aspide Team seen above tips the scales at 184g and sells for £120.
Aspide Carbon FX drops weight
Next in the pecking order is the Aspide Carbon FX. It shares the same shape and the same carbon fibre reinforced hull but the cover has carbon weave scuff sections at the wing tips. The rails are San Marco’s one-piece carbon DNA rails. These cross and knot over at the nose end.
Giovanni explained to BikeRadar that this was to increase strength at the most critical point of a saddle, without resorting to excess weight. The theory certainly seems to bear this out with the Aspide Carbon FX tipping the scales at a scant 121g. It’s priced at £170.
Superleggera - a sub-105g padded saddle
If like us you thought that a 121g saddle with a £170 price tag would be the top of the tree, then you'd be wrong. Giovanni handed us the very rarefied Superleggera version of the Aspide.
"The whole saddle is made completely by hand from start to finish," said Giradi. "It is such a long and complex process that we are only able to make just two per day."
The Superleggera comes with a signed card by the maker, and each saddle is guaranteed to weigh less than 109g. Our test saddle tipped our scales at 105g, handwritten on the base is San Marco’s handwritten findings of 104.7g so we guess their scales are more accurate than ours.
Regale - an old favourite
The Regale has a classic shape
Next in line is the evergreen Regale, still a favourite amongst pro riders for its classic shape. It was the saddle of choice for the likes of Mario Cipollini, Robbie McEwen, Greg LeMond, and Claudio Chiappucci. Whilst it’s now more often found in Sam Marco’s Vintage line - and under the low-slung skinny jeans of hipsters - Giovanni was keen to show us that they've kept the Regale firmly in the confines of racing too.
The Regale Racing Team uses Xsilite rails like the Aspide and Concor and a carbon-reinforced base. The luxuriously padded upper and wide round (but flat front to back) shape makes it easy to see why it remains a favourite of grand tour riders. The Team tipped our scales at 242g for its 278mm x 150mm size.
Want the vintage look, but bang up to date technology? Then you may want to look at the Regale Carbon FX. The brushed cover is real leather and the riveted rear keeps things classic looking, but get underneath and you'll find a carbon-reinforced hull and full carbon fibre rails. That helps keep the weight down to a very respectable 221g. We think that this £170 modern classic would look great on a custom steel or titanium road machine.
Maintaining the Mantra
The Mantra is one of San Marco’s bestsellers; the waved profile and super rounded rear make it look like no other saddle on the market, but one that’s obviously very popular. It's also one of the longer saddles around at 394mm, yet fairly slim at 140mm. The carbon railed Carbon FX model tips the scales at 178g and retails for £190.
Finally there's the newly revised Concor, the carbon versions of which have a slightly revised shape. The distinct sharply kicked up tail remains, as do the rounded wings. Though its 134mm width is a little narrower than previous models, the 278mm length isn't long by the standards set by Fizik's Arione or Selle San Marco's Mantra. But the Concor has an ace up its sleeve: that being the amount of useable rail, even more than the super-sized Arione.
We’ve got our hands on the Carbon FX model, which at £160 is San Marco’s best priced all-carbon saddle. It's light too at just 136g.
For more info on San Marco saddles see www.sellesanmarco.it