Selle Italia’s Turbomatic Gel Flow Team Edition maintains the basic original shape of the original Turbo but incorporates pretty much every conceivable technological refinement to satisfy the most discerning and demanding of pro, elite and amateur cycling bottoms.
It could be argued with some conviction that I am missing the point, but at this end of the market I expect to find a more tailored approach to sizing. While the relatively broad base was perfect for my Univega’s more upright stance and similarly for off-road duties generally, long, steady miles on the road and TT bikes encouraged uncomfortable chafing and even set to the recommended tolerances, our test sample had a disconcerting tendency to squeak over rougher roads and singletrack.
What we have here is a Lorica (faux leather) cover which might not breathe quite so well as the genuine hide but requires little more than periodic wiping down with a damp Jey cloth. This will win approval from strict vegetarian/vegans and seems hardy enough despite omission of the ubiquitous Kevlar scuff bumpers, taking regular frisking from foliage and brushes with street furniture in its stride. Lurking beneath is a very clever, variable density memory-foam padding that conforms perfectly to the shape of the rider’s sit bones. Speaking of shape, 275mm is plenty for those who like to shuffle about over longer periods too.
Tailored gel inserts and well-configured cutaway provide excellent ventilation, relieving pressure on your soft tissues while remaining very supportive. Several hours seated green laning couldn’t induce any numbness or tingling and this is also helped by carbon fibre rails and elastomer damping. These isolate the rider from road and trail buzz while keeping the overall weight competitive with minimalist siblings and extending horizons to competitive cross and possibly mountain bike duties. A great performer then on a bike with a more upright riding position as I found out it's not so comfortable with a more stretched out high performance stance, but as long as you take that in to account this is a really good saddle.
A classic reborn for the modern age that does a really great job on more upright bikes
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Make and model: Selle Italia Turbomatic Gel Flow Team 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?
"The Turbomatic saddle has been a milestone for the last fifteen years and one of the most used saddles by pro riders, together with Flite and SLR. It's main features are the patented shock absorber technology that creates a suspension system ensuring maximum comfort for every cyclist. "
Statements I'd broadly agree with.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
■LORICA: covering in LORICA featuring high abrasion resistance and durability
■GEL FLOW: Inserts in silicone gel with differentiated thickness around cutout
■PF: Self-modelling padding - Perfect Fit
■30%: Shell made from 30% Carbon composite
■W 153 x L 275
To Selle Italia's usual high standards.
Very competitive (quoted 230g but 257 by my scales) without compromising comfort.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Basically it's the Turbomatic for the modern age, retaining the classic shape and build quality while bristling with state of the art technology. The carbon rails coupled with sophisticated gel padding and supportive cut out deliver a majestic ride over most surfaces and despite some initial reservations is more than hardy enough for the rigours of rough stuff touring.
However, the base is notably wider than my suggested ideal- fine on the tourer with its more upright stance but resulted in chafing on the TT or race bike for rides longer than a couple of hours.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fantastic build quality, comfort and innovative design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Nothing but a choice of widths would be welcome at this end of the market.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Quite Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 36 Height: 1m 81 Weight: 70 kilos
I usually ride: Rough Stuff Tourer Based around 4130 Univega mtb Frameset My best bike is: 1955 Holdsworth Road Path and several others including cross & traditional road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo cross, commuting, touring, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
Shaun Audane is a freelance writer/product tester with over twenty-eight years riding experience, the last twelve (120,000 miles) spent putting bikes and kit through their paces for a variety of publications. Previous generations of his family worked at manufacturing's sharp end, thus Shaun can weld, has a sound understanding of frame building practice and a preference for steel or titanium framesets.
Citing Richard Ballantine and an Au pair as his earliest cycling influences, he is presently writing a cycling book with particular focus upon women, families and disabled audiences (Having been a registered care manager and coached children at Herne Hill Velodrome in earlier careers)