Our Early Verdict
Lightweight but not at the expense of function. A true work of art
- - Proven reputation
- - 96g lightweight carbon construction
- - Stealthy, raw-cut carbon looks
- - Individually numbered, handmade
- - Rider-proven comfort and performance
- - Massive price
Regular readers of the Object of Desire series will know carbon-fibre exotica gets our hearts racing here at Cyclingnews and we've featured some pretty amazing things over the past year - including the outrageously light 38g Gelu K-3 carbon saddle.
What we've got here, however, is one of the world's lightest mainstream saddles, the Selle Italia SLR Boost Tekno Superflow saddle. Selle Italia is no stranger to crafting super-lightweight saddles. The Italian brand's SLR C59 and SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow saddles are two of our favourites and, despite lacking any dedicated cushioning, the latter remains impressively comfortable - even on 100-mile rides.
The Selle Italia SLR Boost Tekno Superflow saddle pictured was designed in collaboration with former professional rider, Fabian Cancellara, to commemorate the 2021 UCI Road World Championships in Leuven, Flanders. Packed with the company's rich understanding of ergonomics, touch-point performance and carbon-fibre construction, the SLR Boost Tekno Superflow will appeal to the weight weenie in us all.
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Design and aesthetics
There's nothing that particularly points to comfort when examining the SLR Boost Tekno Superflow, is there? It is, after all, merely a bare-bones carbon-fibre shell set upon carbon rails but Selle Italia has experience when it comes to stripping things down without affecting comfort and performance. The company's alliance with Veneto-based carbon-fibre specialists, Dallara, has ensured the design brief was met with precision. Based on the regular SLR Boost saddle, it's been carefully dialled back to a point where form and function operate at the very limit.
Visually, there's no denying it's a thing of beauty. Like its siblings, the SLR C59 and SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow, the saddle's stealthy facade comprises a richly detailed matte-look Textreme weave. Less prominent, however, are the wordmark logos of Selle Italia which take up residence on each side of the rear. The only real contrast comes from the yellow Dallara logo on the nose and red Tekno wording on the base. Flip it over and examine the undercarriage and refinement levels are less refined than the shell. That's not a criticism but rather an observation. That said, the Textreme carbon fabric layers are clearly visible and textural, and the handmade fabrication represents a unique and personal take on the best road bike saddle concept.
As a Superflow model, it inherits the central cut out that not only helps reduce weight but also improves blood flow and pressure around the pelvic area.
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Let's look at the details. Firstly, as mentioned, each saddle is handmade but also individually numbered on the underside of the monocoque base - our test sample is number 34. According to Selle Italia's Marketing and Communications Manager, Federico Mele, each of these saddles are specially made to order and are not available as an off-the-shelf purchase.
The saddle is available in two size options based around the company's 'idmatch' sizing philosophy: S3 and L3, which differ by way of width. The S3 measures in at 130mm x 248mm and 95g while the L3 adds an additional 15mm across the rear section at 145mm x 248mm and 96g. The two sizes differ by only one gram with our L3 sample tipping the scales bang-on the claimed 96g figure.
While we're yet to put it to the test in real-world riding conditions, the carbon construction of the cover together with the 'Hi-Tech' carbon rail should provide some element of pliancy and help minimise road buzz and the like. In terms of long-term maintenance, a saddle of this nature is prone to more damage and scuffs than regular cushion-based options - particular around the edges - and should be looked after and stored accordingly.
Incredibly light, stiff and achingly beautiful, Selle Italia's SLR Boost Tekno Superflow certainly isn't for everyone but it's an intriguing saddle nonetheless. Who will it suit? Well, its geared more to the racer than recreational rider but something this light might find its way onto the hill climb bikes of weight weenies looking to drop grams without comprising functionality. I mention functionality as there are lighter, albeit less reliable options out there that can't be raced week-in, week-out owing to their fragile constructions. This saddle was designed to perform at the highest level.
Having used its sibling, the SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow, for over a year now, I have no doubts as how it will perform; both in terms of comfort and performance but we'll follow up on this when the full review rolls out in the next couple of months.
As expected, something this extreme and exclusive, comes with a sticker price to match - namely, £430 / €449 / $545 or a staggering £4.50 / €4.67 / $5.67 per gram.
Tech Specs: Selle Italia SLR Boost Tekno Superflow saddle
- Price: £430 / €449 / $545
- Weight: 96g (actual)
- Dimensions: S (130mm x 248mm) / L (145mm x 248mm)
- Rails: Carbon
- Shell: Carbon
- Colours: Raw carbon
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What is a hands on review?
'Hands on reviews' are a journalist's first impressions of a piece of kit based on spending some time with it. It may be just a few moments, or a few hours. The important thing is we have been able to play with it ourselves and can give you some sense of what it's like to use, even if it's only an embryonic view.
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