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In a world where you more often than not pay more to get less it's refreshing to find products such as the Max Flite Gel Flow saddle, where the extra spend seems to be more oriented towards good quality materials and construction than gram-shaving. The result is a plush middleweight seat that should give you years of trouble-free comfort.
The Max Flite takes the basic Flite shape that's been honed over the years and widens it a bit, also adding elastomer suspension at the base of the tubular Cromloy rails. There's Silicon gel inserts in the padding and the saddle is drawn together with a supple full grain leather cover.
The overall impression is one of quality. It's not a saddle that looks like it should be a lightweight, and indeed it's not. At 300g it's not especially lardy though, and if you value comfort over weight then the Max Flite is definitely worth a look.
The usual caveat about saddles being a personal choice applies as usual, but I can only tell you what my behind thought and it was happy days from the first ride. There's plenty of give from the frame and the padding but the Max Flite never feels sloppy, just accommodating.
The giant cutaway gives good pressure relief and also ventilation, so much so that it's a bit nippy around your privates on a chilly morning ride. It's not one to choose if you habitually ride in the rain without 'guards either. The sides scoop down in a similar way to the original Flite and I find this more comfortable on the thighs though that's more a personal thing.
Out on the road I'll take the weight penalty for the extra comfort every time. On long rides (5 hours and more) it proved about as comfortable as any saddle I've tried, keeping me seated when normally I'd be standing up for a bit of relief. It'd be a fine choice for Audax and sportive rides, especially for bigger riders who'll appreciate the extra base width and padding.
£90 isn't top dollar for a saddle by any means, okay you're not getting Ti rails but given that weight saving isn't the end here they'd be pointless and the cash is better thrown at the materials, which are first class. It's a saddle that I'd expect to turn out to be a pretty long term investment. As ever though, try before you buy if you can.
A well made and comfortable perch. It's especially good for longer stints and it should last for a good few.
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Make and model: Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow 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?
Selle Italia say, "Selle Italia MAX FLITE uses the same basic shape as the original Flite but slightly larger base and more padding with the help of suspension that gives all-over cushioning without any moving mechanical parts. Inserting the rail into a wing located on each side creates suspension in the rear of the saddle. With extra padding and specific soft tissue relief design that reduces the pressure where needed most"
Tell us some more about the techincal aspects of the product?
The saddle features full-grain breathable leather covering, silicone gel inserts, shell made from 10% Carbon composite ans an elastomer suspension shock absorber system
A really well put together saddle. The leather is good quality, the seams and joins are all neat and tidy
I found it to be a comfortable perch, especially on longer rides. It's got quite a bit more padding than the saddles I normally use but it didn't feel bulky, and the huge cutout meant it was well ventilated. Due to back issues I tend to angle the saddle slightly down, but I could get the Max Flite almost level and still feel comfortable. It's hard to tell how much of the give in the saddle was down to the padding and how much to the elastomer suspension, but I'd suggest it's mostly the padding at work.
No problems during the test period, the quality fabrics are wearing well
Not the lightest at 300g but then it isn't meant to be. Given the level of padding it's a decent weight.
Very comfortable even after a good few hours in the saddle
Not cheap but you do at least feel that you're paying for quality materials, and plenty of them!
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. Solid-feeling, well built saddle with plenty of give in the right places and good ventilation.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The standard of construction and the level of comfort
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No real gripes with this perch
Did you enjoy using the product? yes
Would you consider buying the product? yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? yes
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
Higher end saddles tend to concentrate on weight a lot of the time so it's good to see a perch that's more comfort oriented and built to last. I can see it being a hit with long distance riders who aren't to bothered about an extra 100g but would welcome a bit more padding.
Age: 36 Height: 190cm Weight: 105kg
I usually ride: Schwinn Moab, urbanised with 700cs My best bike is: Trek 1.5 with upgrades
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.