review

Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle

8
£33.95

VERDICT:

8
10
Really good memory foam saddle that'll suit comfort seekers perfectly, but speed demons look elsewhere
Great memory foam comfort
Modern sports saddle shape
Decent price
Just a bit chunky and heavy
Weight: 
387g

The Selle Royal Float Athletic uses memory foam cushioning to offer a really well-supported and comfortable ride. While it won't necessarily be lusted over by fast road riders, for anybody who wants a little extra luxury, it's very good.

Although I spend most of my time on road.cc testing hybrids and commuting bikes, my background is in drop bars and generally lightweight bits of kit. In any case, I've been around cycling long enough to know that, when it comes to saddles, the kind of bulbous blimps that new or novice riders think are vital to protect their, er, vitals, are rarely the actual answer.

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The problem with overpadded saddles is that you can't always legislate for where that padding goes, and it can end up restricting movement and even cause chafing. In truth, probably the best thing you can do to improve comfort is to buy good padded shorts and spend a sensible and regular amount of time in the saddle to build up your tolerance.

However, Selle Royal thinks it also has another answer. Its Float range of saddles uses Slow Fit memory foam which moulds itself to adapt to the shape of the body's contact points. This, Selle Royal says, "creates more uniform pressure distribution while maintaining effective support". This 'Athletic' model is the most svelte of the Float range (although, svelte-ness is all relative).

Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle - detail.jpg

From afar, and certainly on a web page, that Athletic sobriquet looks justified and it seems to share the same kind of profile as a typical modern sporting or fitness saddle, even featuring a pressure-relieving open channel down the middle. However, put it next to another sports saddle and the Float appears just a tad inflated in certain aspects, most noticeably width across the nose. Its weight, at 387g, is substantial, too.

Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle - nose.jpg

There is a payoff for that, though, and the Float Athletic's on-road performance is very good. The memory foam cushioning works a treat and offers a very comfortable base without ever feeling overtly soft or squidgy. Support is good across the width of the saddle and even the pressure-relieving channel does its job.

While the slender nose isn't really that slender, it doesn't impede or inhibit pedalling, even for folk with chunky thighs. In fact, because it's wider than the norm, sitting further forward on the saddle is easy. If you want to spend some quality time on the bike, the Float Athletic offers good opportunities to vary your position a bit. That said, I'm a terrible fidget in the saddle but I actually found myself noticeably wriggling far less while aboard this, which must be a subconscious sign of comfort.

Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle - top.jpg

There are also a couple of extra features worth mentioning. The first is that the Athletic is a unisex model. The second is that it boasts Selle Royal's integrated clip system at the back, so you can attach compatible lights, seatpacks or other accessories easily.

Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle - underside.jpg

Value

Time was when even the mention of memory foam made your wallet wince, but £34 for this seems a pretty good deal.

We haven't traditionally tested a lot of leisure saddles at road.cc, far less any with memory foam, but there are other sports saddle that do offer good cushioning.

The £34.99 women-specific Liv Contact Comfort Forward offers similar benefits at a very similar price (and is also a tad bulky).

> Buyer’s Guide: How to choose the right saddle for your bottom

The Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FeC-Alloy is comfortable, sporting and also sub-£40.

And if you want to splash the cash, at £99.99 Selle San Marco's Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic is a very comfortable stubby and wide sports seat with cushioning that might just suit non-sporting riders as well.

Conclusion

Although I don't share it, I do understand some riders' worries about hard, skinny saddles. To that end, the Float Athletic seems to be a fine answer. While it shares modern sport saddles' aesthetics – which, to be fair, are built on efficient and comfortable function – its use of really effective memory foam padding does offer reassuring support for delicate undercarriages.

While I think it's a little too heavy and chunky to be of much attraction to experienced riders with well-worn-in bums, for anybody with specific saddle concerns, it offers all the comfort with only a little compromise.

Verdict

Really good memory foam saddle that'll suit comfort seekers perfectly, but speed demons look elsewhere

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Royal Float Athletic saddle

Size tested: L 267mm W 161mm

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?

This is a memory foam padded saddle aimed mostly at fast-ish leisure riders.

Selle Royal says: "Float Athletic is an anatomic saddle with a central opening designed for greater relief in the pubic area. A slow-moving memory foam padding, Slow Fit Foam, provides superior comfort by adapting to the body and creating a more uniform weight distribution."

Sounds about right.

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

Selle Royal lists:

Sporty, comfortable hybrid saddle with memory foam

Riding position: upper body bent forward by approx. 45°

Slow fit foam with slow recovery properties

Central cutout to relieve the perineal area

Selle Royal Integrated Clip System for mounting accessories

Clamp rails with scale for alignment on seatpost

Dimensions: approx. 267 x 161 mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
7/10

Not the most boutique saddle in the world, but everything's clean and tidy.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

I have to say that memory foam cushioning really works a treat.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Early days, but looks built to last.

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

I'd say it's about fair for the price and spec, but it wouldn't be hard to find lighter saddles.

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

Yup, excellent.

Rate the product for value:
 
7/10

Time was when even the mention of memory foam made your wallet wince, but £34 for this seems a pretty good deal.

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

From a comfort point of view, it worked exceptionally well.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Memory foam padding really works!

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Probably its weight and slightly chunky nature.

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

We haven't traditionally tested a lot of leisure saddles at road.cc, far less any with memory foam, but there are other sports saddle that do offer good cushioning. The women-specific Liv Contact Comfort Forward offers similar benefits at a similar price (and is also a tad bulky). The Selle Italia Sport Gel Flow FeC-Alloy is comfortable, sporting and also sub-£40. And if you want to splash the cash, at £99.99 Selle San Marco's Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic is a very comfortable stubby and wide sports seat with good cushioning that might suit non-sporting riders.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

The combination of decent price, decent construction and excellent memory foam support means the Float Athletic has to be an option for anybody who puts comfort at the forefront of their cycling concerns. However, it's not as enticing a prospect to experienced riders looking for athletic performance.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'0  Weight: 16 stone

I usually ride: Islabikes Beinn 29  My best bike is: 25-year-old Dawes Galaxy

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: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb, Leisure

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