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Archives for the day Thursday, June 9th, 2011

The Selle Italia bike saddle manufacturer is a well known company aimed at racers, enthusiasts and commuters alike.  We posted a quick tidbit from the company yesterday, and will wrap things up today with the full interview from Selle.

Only the expensive and super shiny bikes normally ship with Selle Italia saddles, so an upgrade might be necessary to see the SI logo on your bike. Is the upgrade worth it? Do cyclists need to really focus on the saddle when upgrading?

Sure, a bike saddle is something that we overlook in favor of wheels, tires, and other bike components that receive more attention. Even if many of us seem to overlook the saddles, Selle Italia and other manufacturers want athletes to be aware of progressive effort to make even better saddles.

For example, Selle Italia invests years of research into its increasingly sophisticated products — and is on the forefront of cycling technology — but is often imitated (though never successfully) by competitors.

“A year or more after S.I. introduces a new design or model you will find the most popular S.I. models are copied and offered at lower prices. The copies are similar in shape and style but because they don’t have the development cost nor do they use the same materials, the product is less than satisfactory for the cycling community.”

Don’t think there is a difference from the higher-end saddles and the cheaper, less reliable models? Selle Italia obviously warns riders that they’ll notice a difference between a properly-manufactured saddle and some cheaper knockoff:

“Selle Italia uses a Ryslan and Nylon N6 for the base of the saddle. This allows the saddle base to ‘flex,’ a key component for comfort, whereas the lower priced products use “plastic” that do not flex. The same goes for the foam, cover material and rails. S.I. uses full grain leather or Lorica for high end covers to help the saddle breath and remain cool. Most other companies use a synthetic cover that can build and retain heat making it very uncomfortable for the rider. You can buy less expensive but you can’t buy the quality or ride less expensively.”

Selle Italia also is staying busy in 2011, and hopes to continue making and marketing products for interested athletes. For the rest of 2011, Selle Italia also has something the company hopes bike-riding fans will be happy about.

“Selle Italia is just now shipping a new model of saddle with a single rail – SLR Friction Free MONOLINK. The future of saddles is the Monolink as it reduces friction between the rider’s leg and saddle and allows the rider to increase power to the pedals through a re-design of the base and nose that can’t be achieved with a normal rail. Selle Italia will continue developing the MONOLINK through other models to be introduced in the future.”

If you want to learn more about the unique design of the Selle Italia Monolink, here is a review (published on BikeRadar).

To wrap things up, Selle Italia had this to say about proper saddle sizing:

“Remember, today’s bikes have been designed to provide the rider with the most performance for the energy created by the rider.  The problem is the high pressure tire, deep wall rim and super stiff frame all transmit the road vibrations and shocks to the saddle/rider. Finding the right saddle to do this for a particular rider and bike is time consuming and requires patience. The perfect saddle is out there – the cyclist just has to find it.”

Saddles such as the Selle Italia Monolink are reserved for only a sliver of people riding bikes — but the company urges riders to make sure they’re riding on the appropriate saddle.