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Verdict: 
Well-made and versatile road saddle, but pricey relative to others of similar specification
Weight: 
274g

The Selle Italia Novus Boost TM Superflow saddle is marketed as 'shorter, more powerful, more comfortable'. The latter are very subjective sentiments, but happily they're ones I agree with so it'll stop, pride of place, on my fixed gear winter/trainer for the foreseeable. That said, although it's very well made and delightful on my derriere, its asking price is a little steep for the specification.

  • Pros: Very well made saddle that performs well in all contexts
  • Cons: No scuff bumpers, manganese rails may seem a bit low rent for the price

Materials/Specification

On test was the base model, which features hollow manganese rails. These are proportionately weighty compared with carbon composites, but while some folk consider them inferior to chromoly, they are compliant, relatively lightweight and durable (and likely to be more forgiving of accidental over-tightening than carbon composites).

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The rails are also powder coated for durability, too, and white graphics make precise alignment/adjustment that bit easier.

Staying with the underside, standards of construction are equally good – and slotted and screwed, as I'd expect.

selle_italia_novus_boost_tm_saddle_-_underside.jpg

Flipping it over, the Duro-Tek faux leather cover is similarly well executed. Perforated sections supposedly provide ventilation and improved grip, which is bolstered by the rear panel's matt suede finish. Beneath lies padding of varying densities.

As others have observed, saddles are becoming shorter, especially in time trial circles. Theory goes, this serves those wanting a more aggressive stance without compromising comfort on a more traditional road build.

selle_italia_novus_boost_tm_saddle_-_top_view.jpg

Ours measured 256mm long – 7mm shorter than my default – and 135mm wide; there's also a 256x146mm option.

A bevelled tip and very pronounced, perineum pressure-relieving channel complete the package.

Test rigs

I have used the saddle on both my fixed-gear TT build and fixed gear winter/trainer. The former, as you'd expect, is designed for speed, the latter sports a more relaxed geometry.

Comfort

Save for the strangely satisfying masochism of moulding traditional leather seats to my own shape, the sign of a good saddle is that it goes unnoticed. Initial impressions were 'firm yet very forgiving'. Padding density is a little less supportive than my Selle SMP Strike Plus droop snoot model, which tends to be sat in, rather than on.

Sella SMP Strike Plus.jpg

However, the Novus Boost's shorter nose permits a more aggressive stance than the Strike, welcome when trying to complete 20-mile circuits within the hour, yet at the other extreme I was able to cruise along in complete comfort with no hint of chafing, nagging buttocks or numbness for several hours.

Selle Italia Novus Boost TM Superflow mounted.JPG

Being a sportier design, it lacks the outright refinement of my Selle SMP Strike Plus, but over comparable distances it was more forgiving than my TT bike's Specialized Toupe, sadly pensioned off, after almost 10 years, this summer.

Regardless whether it's been paired with titanium or 7000 series aluminium alloy seatposts, the rails provide some tangible and welcome damping over rougher/washboard road surfaces.

Compared with some cutaways, sans mudguards, this one hasn't resulted in a crotch douche when tackling wet roads sans guards. The Duro-Tek covering really delivers in wet weather too: rain and spray seem to bed up and roll away pretty seamlessly. There's no hint of annoying 'surf' either; it passes my slippery/shiny Lycra test with flying colours – though I'm pleased to report it's very conducive to minute shuffling.

selle_italia_novus_boost_tm_saddle_-_detail.jpg

A quick damp cloth once-over is as involved as maintenance gets.

Durability

In some respects, it's too early to say how well it will stand up to use. Being picky and thinking price point, some scuff bumpers around the rear sections would be nice, but gently leaning it against rendered brickwork and similarly abrasive surface hasn't made any negative impression.

Swapping between bikes had zero impact upon the rails' powder coated finish, too, so no worries there.

Conclusion

While it is well made and very competent (thus good value) on paper, there are designs with chromoly rails, such as BBB's Echelon, commanding a good tenner less. Whether the Selle Royal Lookin saddle falls into the same category is perhaps debatable, but it is considerably cheaper.

> Buyer's Guide: 19 of the best saddles

I noted (and stand by) my comments about the Selle Royal being better suited to more upright configurations, whereas the Novus Boost is more chameleon-like and genuinely works well in road and off-road contexts.

But comfort and similar values are very personal. The Novus Boost worked for me, and you're getting what you pay for in terms of standards of construction. If you can, I'd suggest you nip down to your Selle Italia dealer and give the Novus Boost a go; if it suits you, it's a very good buy.

Verdict

Well-made and versatile road saddle, but pricey relative to others of similar specification

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Italia Novus Boost TM Superflow Saddle

Size tested: 135 x 256mm (S), 146 x 256mm (L)

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 says, "The Boost line represents the last step of the Novus range evolution.

"A brand-new product available in three different versions which is bound to exceed the expectations of cycling enthusiasts 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 Superflow technology which reduces the limitations caused by prolonged pressure in the perineal area; rear inserts in nubuk which elevate it to new style heights."

Slick marketing aside, it has lived up to the hype and I've found it equally comfortable on my pared to the essentials TT fixed and my 'cross inspired fixed gear winter/trainer.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Selle Italia:

ROAD/OFFROAD USE

Weight: S 255g/ L258g

Cover: Duro-Tek

Size: S 135 x 256mm /L 146x256mm

Rail: Manganese Tube Ø7 mm

Colour: Nero

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
8/10

Very well made.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Delivered everything I need from a road-biased saddle.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Seems favourable to date. However, some riders are harder on components/contact points than others.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10

Obviously, this is one of those extremely subjective things. However, despite the saddle being narrower than my 143mm "optimum", I've been able to cruise along for serious distances without a hint of numbness, chafing or other discomfort.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Though relatively pricey compared with other designs boasting similar materials and technology, the saddle is reassuringly well made and, for me, comfortable for long periods.

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

Overall, I've found the Novus Boost has lived up to its hype. Swapped between my TT bike and winter trainer, it's given a comfortable, aggressive stance and sublime comfort on longer trips, without any trade-off in efficiency.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Great build quality, reasonable weight; did everything I would ask of a road-biased saddle.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Price is relatively steep compared with others of similar specification.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

Relatively steep price, compared with others of similar specification at full rrp.

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

Good quality saddle, well crafted and, for me at least, very comfortable. It is a bit pricier at full rrp than others of similar specification, but worth the extra if it suits your derriere; if it does, it's a definite 8 overall.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 44  Height: 1m 81cm  Weight: 70kg

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, mountain biking

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)