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The Selle Italia Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow is an incredibly comfortable and strong performing saddle, but this high quality and performance comes at a price.
I had the 2015 version of the Novus Carbonio Superflow on my best bike for a few years – until I overtightened the clamp and damaged the rails. It was perhaps my favourite saddle of the past few years, so I was really excited to try out the new 2018 version.
As with all saddles, and therefore saddle reviews, the caveat is that everyone is different, so what I find comfortable or uncomfortable might not be the same for you. It's always best to try a saddle before you buy if you can; Selle Italia, for instance, often gives its stockists a set of tester saddles so you can make sure the saddle is right before you part with any money.
If you're familiar with the previous version, the first thing you notice about the new Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow is that it is shorter, by 22mm. The old version was 278mm long, the new is 256mm. This reduction in length is something we've seen on a few saddles recently. The idea comes from time trial saddles, where they allow for a more aggressive racing position but also for more traditional road riding positions. This is definitely the case with this saddle: I found that I could get lower over the bars as a result, but without really impacting on comfort in more conventional riding positions.
Selle Italia has used the bevelled tip that has become so popular in TT saddles. It has to some extent been present on previous models of the saddle, but is certainly more pronounced in this version. This is another element that helps with the ability to adopt several different positions on the saddle without issue.
This is undoubtedly one of the most comfortable saddles I've used, which is not surprising given that its shape is very similar to the previous model which I got on so well with. It's helped by the oversized cutout, which reduces pressure on the perineum, and the multi-density padding used throughout. I used this on several three-hour-plus rides and found it perfectly comfortable.
Construction is a carbon fibre shell with Carbo Keramic rails (carbon with a ceramic coating), which provides a stiff and strong platform for excellent power transfer through the pedals. I couldn't identify any flex during seated efforts, even when I was really putting the hammer down on tough climbs.
The upper is covered in a material called FibraTek, which seems durable and likely to stand up to the worst you can throw at it. There is also a faux suede/nubuk used at the back of the saddle, which gives a little more purchase when you're sitting further back and looks quite nice too. Elsewhere, perforated areas help to dissipate heat and add grip.
The saddle isn't designed for weight weenies, but the 183g isn't too bad, and it's 14g lighter than the previous model. The Prologo Scratch 2 CPC (£249.99) comes in at a claimed 187g and the Astute Skylite Taca VT (£190) is a claimed 160g, so there is no doubt you can find lighter saddles around this price, but do they offer the same comfort?
RRP on the saddle is £219.99 which is undoubtedly steep, although if it's comfortable and you can afford it... We've reviewed saddles on road.cc costing over £300, so you can certainly pay more. One cheaper, slightly heavier alternative is the Selle San Marco ShortFit-C Racing Saddle at £114.99. I reviewed the 'non-C' £134.99 Shortfit, but didn't find it as comfortable on long rides as the Novus Boost.
Having been such a fan of the last version of this saddle I was doubtful Selle Italia could do much to improve it, but the shortening and slight change in the tip has had a great impact. It gives it considerably more flexibility in positioning on the bike without impacting comfort on longer, more relaxed rides. The stiffness means the saddle is good for performance riding too. However, this quality does come at a price that may put it out of the reach of many.
I tested the 146mm wide L3 version; it's also available in a 135mm (S3) width.
An impressively comfortable and durable saddle, but it comes at a high price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle Italia Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle
Size tested: L3
Tell us what the product is for
A high performance saddle designed to be stiff and comfortable over a multitude of rides.
Selle Italia says, "The Boost line represents the latest step of the Novus range evolution. Three different versions with a vast array of functional and aesthetic features: a compact shape with an innovative bevelled tip making for a wholly adaptable sit; double-density padding which offers supreme comfort even on the harder rides; the Super Flow technology which reduces the limitations caused by prolonged pressure in the perineal area; rear inserts in nubuk which elevate it to new style heights."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Selle Italia distributor ZyroFisher lists:
Weight: S 182g/ L187g
Size: S 135 x 256mm /L 146x256mm
Rail: CarboKeramic 7–9 mm
Well made with a strong nylon/carbon shell and stiff rails, and a well-chosen upper material.
Performed very well throughout the review period, offering a strong platform for power transfer and comfort for a multitude of different rides.
Seems well made and likely to last a long time.
Not designed for the weight weenies, but won't weigh you down too much.
I found it to be a very comfortable saddle, but as the disclaimer says - this may not be the same for everybody who uses it.
It is an expensive, top-of-the-range saddle, and you can spend way less. If it suits you then it's worth the money, but it's hard to score it above average for value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, it allowed for a multitude of different riding positions while also being comfortable for long distance endurance rides.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The shortened shape really adds versatility.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It is expensive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
The previous version of this saddle was my go-to for a few years, but Selle Italia has trumped it with this version which I think is excellent. It's extremely comfortable and well made, and though it's expensive and you can go lighter, I still think it adds up to an overall score of 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Cinelli Gazzetta My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mountain biking
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.