review

Selle Italia Flite Tekno Flow saddle

7
£313.99

VERDICT:

7
10
Lightweight saddle with shallow padding, but flex in the shell means it feels firm rather than harsh
Weight: 
137g

The Selle Italia Flite Tekno Flow saddle is an updated classic that's lost weight and some of the usual depth of cushioning, and gained a slightly flatter and wider shape.

The shell is carbon-fibre with a significant amount of flex to it, especially around the central cutout, while the rails are lightweight CarboKeramic which, you'll not be too surprised to find out, is carbon-fibre with a ceramic coating to protect the rails from the clamp.

There's less depth to the padding than there is on other Flites, resulting in a firmer feel towards the nose when you climb aboard. Whether that's right for you is purely a matter of personal choice. Don't get the idea that this saddle is harsh; it isn't. But some people will certainly want more cushioning.

Our Flite Tekno Flow hit the road.cc Scales of Truth at 137g, a little higher than Selle Italia's claimed 125g but still very light for a saddle of this kind. To put that figure in context, we've tested a Selle Italia Turbomatic Gel Flow Team saddle in the past that weighed 257g, while the Bontrager Team Issue saddle we reviewed last year was 211g.

The saddle shape is slightly flatter than normal for a Flite, and a little wider. I have a Flite Gel Flow here from a few years back and the widest part of the nose is 37mm across. The widest part of the Flite Tekno Flow's nose is 43mm.

Can you feel that difference? Just about. I can't say it really bothers me either way but you're aware that the Flite Tekno Flow's nose is a touch wider.

The shell is fairly wide (145mm) towards the rear of the saddle too, although the padding and cover don't reach right to the edges or to the back. Check out the picture and you'll see what I mean. The cover is bonded to the top of the shell back there so, despite the difference in size, the actual seating area is about the same as that of the Flite Gel Flow I mentioned.

That bonding looks like it's going to last. At least, I've been using this saddle for a few weeks over the wettest, dirtiest time of the year and it hasn't shown any signs of coming unstuck.

Overall, this is a lightweight saddle with a fairly shallow amount of padding, but the flex in the shell, especially through the central section, means it feels firm rather than harsh.

The price, though – that's a hard one to swallow. You don't need me to tell you that £313 is a lot of money to spend on a saddle. The Flite Tekno Flow is almost twice the price of the next most expensive Flite, and getting on for four times the price of the cheapest.

A quick look back through the archive shows that this is the most expensive saddle we've ever reviewed. Whether it's the right buy for you depends on how much you value shaving off the grams.

Oh, and with a price tag this large, you'll want to be absolutely certain that the saddle fits you and is comfortable before splashing the cash. Head along to a Selle Italia dealer and get measured up using their idmatch system http://www.selleitalia.com/en/idmatch/discover-idmatch/ system to be sure.

Verdict

Lightweight saddle with shallow padding, but flex in the shell means it feels firm rather than harsh

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Italia Flite Tekno Flow saddle

Size tested: n/a

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?

Here's what Selle Italia say:

The excelllent combination of comfort and aesthetics is what distinguishes this timeless legend from so many other saddles. Thanks to the valuable ergonomic contributiojn of IDmatch it's an even better buy.

The wider and flat seating surface makes for a better overall distribution of pressue.

Thin padding adds to the comfort for an ultra-slim profile.

Reinforced polyamide shell.

Technical Data

WEIGHT/ 125 g

SIZE/ W 145 x L 275 mm

RAIL/ CarboKeramic 7x9 mm

USE/ Road/Offroad

COLOUR/ Black

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10
Rate the product for weight, if applicable:
 
9/10

This is very light for a saddle with padding.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
 
7/10

It's always a personal thing but the flex in the shell meant that I felt comfortable despite little depth to the padding. As usual, there's less flex in the nose so that section feels firmer than the rest of the saddle.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

It's certainly expensive, although value isn't the same thing. Even for a top-end saddle, this is a high price. Value certainly isn't its strongest suit. I can't really give it higher than a 4 for value.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

It's a great saddle, no doubt about that.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The thing that most of us care about most with a saddle is that it feels good. This one feels good to me.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? I couldn't justify spending this much on a saddle.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? I'd recommend it to weight weenies with loads of cash.

Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?

In terms of performance, this saddle scores highly. It's just the mammoth price that drags the overall score down.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

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: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

 

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, 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 winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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