Slightly larger and more deeply padded than the most minimalist of race designs, the Selle Italia Turbomatic has been a hugely popular saddle for years, this version coming with well-proven shock absorbing technology and a neat look.
I swapped the Turbomatic on to my usual training bike in place of a Selle Italia SLR - my most favouritist saddle in the whole wide world ever. Despite being stablemates, there's a lot of difference between them.
Whereas an SLR is a pretty flat saddle, especially across the nose, the Turbomatic is more rounded. The shell arches from one side to the other - like a hump-backed bridge. But smaller. And made out of different stuff. Not at all like a hump-backed bridge at all, really, but the point is that there's no real flat section to the profile if you look at it head on.
The first ride, I couldn't stand the shape. The second ride, it started to grow on me. By ride three, it had won me over.
There's quite deep padding in there for a racy saddle; not so much that it feels squishy but it moulds easily to the shape of your sit bones. Plus the nose is fairly broad - between 4.4 and 5.2cm if you want to compare it to your existing saddle - which reduces the pressure.
The back end of the saddle is quite wide too, as race-style saddles go. The maximum width back there is 153mm, compared to 131mm on an SLR - so if you want a larger area to sit on, the Turbomatic is worth a look. They're the same length, by the way, at 275mm, and that's plenty.
The other key feature of the Turbomatic is what Selle Italia call the suspension system. That's a bit of a grand way of putting it, but we guess it's accurate. Little elastomers between the ends of the carbon rails and the shell absorb shock and, along with a little bit of flex in the shell itself, keep the ride smooth. You get very little teeth-chatter when you hit the bumpy, frost-damaged sections.
The Lorica (fake leather) upper is reasonably tough. Like any other cover, it'll get scratched up if you ever drop your bike or scrape it against a wall, but it handles normal day-to-day use fine. The slightly larger size and that cushioning means the Turbomatic isn't the lightest saddle out there, though. That said, at 253g it's hardly a heavyweight either.
A previous road.cc reviewer found that the breadth of the Gel Flow Team version of this saddle caused chafing. I didn't. Horses for courses and all that. We all know that saddles are a matter of individual taste. So will I be swapping permanently to the Turbomatic from my beloved SLR? No, actually, I still prefer the SLR's shape. But if you feel you could do with a bit more space and cushioning than you get on a really lightweight design, this is a high-quality option that's definitely worth checking out.
High-quality saddle offering a little more space and cushioning than you get on a really lightweight design
road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle Italia Turbomatic Team Edition
Size tested: White
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Selle Italia say, "The Turbomatic has been a milestone for the past 15 years and one of the most used saddles by pro riders, together with the Flite and the SLR. Its main feature is the patented shock absorber technology that creates a suspension system ensuring maximum comfort for every cyclist."
Personally, I wouldn't say it's for 'every cyclist', I'd say it's for performance-minded roadies.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Selle Italia list these key features:
Covering in LORICA featuring high abrasion resistance and durability
Self-modelling padding - Perfect Fit
Shell made from 30% Carbon composite
Custom Team Edition
It's successful in what it sets out to do, which is to provide a fairly well-cushioned ride.
It's neatly made and we've no reason to think it won't prove as impressively durable as other Turbomatics we've used in the past
If you want to save a bit of cash, the version with manganese tubular rails will set you back £84.99.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? No, because other saddles fit me better
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, if they want something with a touch more size and cushioning without going OTT
About the tester
Age: 40 Height: 190cm Weight: 74kg
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding,
Mat has worked for loads of bike magazines over 20+ years, and been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. He's been road.cc technical editor for eight years, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a past winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer.