Vintage looks, but much better than vintage performance
Weight: 456g Contact: www.madison.co.uk
E’ Tornata, they trumpet: it's back. The Selle San Marco Concor is regarded by some as a revolutionary perch; the original 1978 design was based on anatomical principles rather than simple aesthetics, a novel idea back in the day. It's a different shape to a modern saddle but very comfy and just the thing to complement a period bike or fixed iron.
Thirty-odd years of ergonomic research later and we're sitting on wider, flatter seats, and even the new Concor designs have only a nod to the high back and scooped sides of the earlier models. But the Concor Vintage is the real thing: cast from the original mould rescued from a dark corner of the factory, and finished with high quality padding and a supple suede cover. You even get the splendid original rear sticker with bulbous font and jaunty World Champ stripes. It's a fine looking thing indeed, but is it just retro navel-gazing, or is it actually a good saddle?
The first two things you notice about the Concor are that it's beautifully made, and quite heavy. This isn't one for the racing snakes, it's built on a solid base that extends right down the sides, with a full leather cover and generous padding. It is one for the aesthetes though. It's a lovely looking thing, evocative of its era but strangely not out of place atop a modern road bike. Actually getting it atop my modern road bike wasn't easy, as my seatpost has a side-access tightening bolt that was more or less completely obscured by the low sides, but eventually it was on and level, and time for the first test ride.
I was particularly keen to test the Concor Vintage. Problems with my lower back mean that I tend to ride with the saddle angled slightly down, and the Concor seemed to offer the best of both worlds: the elevated rear gives a bit of a downward trajectory even when the saddle is mounted flat.
My first impressions were that it was a bit squidgy - there's a bit more padding than I'm used to - but I soon forgot all about that, which is what you hope for from a saddle. It is a noticeably different shape to a modern flat perch: comparing it to something like the Specialized Toupe it seems a world apart. The most noticeable differences are the back, of course, and the central section of the Concor which is wider and more rounded than a modern design. For a while the latter felt unusual and I was worried it would lead to numbness but it never did. I think this is partly because a bit more of your weight is supported further back on the scooped rear section. And yes, it did seem to help me with my back even when mounted flat, so a thumbs up on that front too.
The suede cover is very tactile and should be hard wearing. It makes changing position a bit more tricky as you tend to stick to it, but by the same token you don't slip about when you're putting the power down either. You'll need to look after this seat if you're going out in the rain, but there's no reason why it shouldn't last for many seasons.
The spiritual home of the Concor Vintage is adorning some 1970s or 1980s Italian hand built frame. But it's a comfy saddle in its own right, and if you, like me, prefer your perch at a bit of a tilt then it's certainly one to look at as a day-to-day option too. It's not light and it isn't brimming with technology, but if you find it comfortable you'll have bagged yourself a good looking, well built saddle that'll last for years.
road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Concor
Size tested: Black Suede
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes, for a fixed or period bike
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
About the tester
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track