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Verdict: 
Sporty and extremely comfortable saddle, but specification and finish are lower than some competitors
Weight: 
330g

The Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FeC-Alloy saddle is described as 'the ultimate embodiment of the spirit of Selle Italia, offering high-level performance even to occasional riders for whom time on the bike can be scarce. The Sport Gel Flow strikes the perfect balance between sporty design and total comfort, the best way to enhance your riding experience'. Several weeks in, I'm inclined – and slightly surprised – to say it lives up to the hype.

  • Pros: Generally well made, comfortable on and off road
  • Cons: Finishing could be neater, FeC rails add weight

These days I find most cutouts very effective. Aside from relieving pressure, they also channel a consistent stream of cooling air, welcome on longer, warmer rides. The anatomic cutout here provides excellent comfort to “soft tissue” areas by offering greater flexibility at the front of the saddle.

> Find your nearest dealer here

I popped the Sport Gel Flow on my Univega rough stuff tourer – not the most obvious choice, perhaps, especially given the build's more upright stance – but it would prove a good test of the padding's support.

Selle Italia sport saddle .JPG

Said machine sees a fair bit of green lane/dirt road action, and I was pleasantly surprised to discover the Sport Gel Flow offered adequate support. The padding is generous but reassuringly firm rather than squidgy. I really was surprised by the quality of support and overall comfort. Increasing the mileage, ride by ride, the song remained the same.

Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FEC-Alloy saddle-3.jpg

At 140 x 270mm, the saddle is relatively short and narrow, and the width is conducive to high cadences, with no hint of chafing.

The cover's texture is more slippery than others I've tested recently, permitting minute adjustments but without annoying and sometimes tempo-sapping surf. (Alternating between different tights confirmed this wasn't a garment quirk.) Tenure has been consistently good, rain or shine.

Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FEC-Alloy saddle-2.jpg

On the underside, the FeC-alloy hollow steel rails have the usual increments for easy adjustment. They're not overly hefty and should prove reliable, but chromoly is increasingly common at this price point and arguably more desirable. The steel rails here don't deliver the same 'zing' as titanium, carbon or manganese types, but have done a decent job of ironing out lower-level vibrations (there's also less risk of doing damage should you need to wind the post clamp bolt tight 'blind' with your multi-tool).

Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FEC-Alloy saddle-4.jpg

Union between components is a generally tidy mix of bonding, screws and staples. It could have been neater, perhaps, and I prefer slotted and screwed unions, but it all seems a sturdy package and should last. The embossed surface can cultivate a grimy patina, but is easily dismissed with a damp cloth.

Logos and detailing are subtly retro-reflectives, reminiscent of a starling's coat (that could just be me!).

Value

The Sport Gel Flow isn't an expensive saddle, but the Fabric Scoop Sport is lighter, the underside tidier, and it's £5 cheaper.

> Buyer's Guide: 19 of the best saddles

B'Twin's 900 Sport was also highly regarded when tested in 2015, and is still just £21.99.

Conclusion

Overall, the Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow delivers on and off road, but it faces stiff competition from lighter models boasting chromoly rails and neater finishing for less money.

Verdict

Sporty and extremely comfortable saddle, but specification and finish are lower than some competitors

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FEC-Alloy saddle

Size tested: 140 x 270mm

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 Sport Gel Flow is the ultimate embodiment of the spirit of Selle Italia, offering high-level performance even to occasional riders for whom time on the bike can be scarce. The Sport Gel Flow strikes the perfect balance between sporty design and total comfort, the best way to enhance your riding experience."

My feelings are that it's competent and comfortable but there are lighter, better finished saddles at this price point.

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

From Selle Italia:

DATA SHEET

Weight: 330 g

Rail: FeC Alloy Ø7 mm

Dimensions: 140x270 mm

Category: sport

COLORS:

TECHNOLOGY

Technical cover material that guarantees a strong and durable lifetime.

Increased padding to ensure durable riding positioning for long distances and provides the rider with protection against skin inflammation.

High strength and flexible carbon-iron

Gel Flow

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
5/10

By no means untidy, but I have seen sharper detailing at this price point.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

I've found ours complemented my derriere, delivering uninterrupted comfort on and off road. Padding is a sensible density and the relatively long, narrow shape is conducive to higher cadences.

Rate the product for durability:
 
7/10

Cover and materials generally seem durable. No sign of scuffing or similar damage up top. Rails and underside also seem unblemished.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
5/10

330g is hardly outlandish but competition with chromoly rails are 50g or so lighter.

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

I've found it extremely comfortable, with my rough stuff touring bike.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Specification is generally good, though it does lag behind others at the same rrp.

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

It has delivered in the comfort stakes, on and off road. The padding, though generous, is supportive, thus conducive to longer rides. No hint of compression, or similar discomfort, and the cutout has only been positive. Despite being a lower rent steel, the rails also offered reasonable amounts of "give" when tackling poorly surfaced lanes and dirt roads.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Suited my derriere and riding style. Good padding density, cutout and overall build quality.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Not a major niggle, but detailing could be neater in places.

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

Reasonable, but the Madison Flux and Fabric Scoop Sport have slightly better specifications.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, certainly worth a closer look, but competitors may offer better value, spec-wise.

Use this box to explain your overall score

Comfort and overall performance have been a really pleasant surprise. Personal compatibility aside, it faces stiff competition from cheaper models with higher spec and slightly neater finish, which keeps the overall score to good rather than great.

Overall rating: 7/10

About the tester

Age: 45  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)