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review

Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio saddle

8
£269.90

VERDICT:

8
10
Comfortable, reasonably light and beautiful – the classic Flite reimagined for the 2020s – but it comes at a cost
Good amount of stiffness, and rails absorb a decent amount of road buzz
Comfortable for short to medium rides
Available in three different widths
Very high quality
Great looks
A little firm for some, and not ideal for long rides
Stiffness means not much flex for comfort
Expensive
Not as light as you might expect for the price
Weight: 
182g

The Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio is a short saddle that's perfect for fast rides. It offers a decent level of comfort that's better suited to shorter outings, and is reasonably light at 182g, if not weight-weenie level, so you might consider looking elsewhere if that's important to you. As you might expect from an expert Italian saddle manufacturer, it's a very high quality saddle that would look stunning on your Sunday best.

The Selle Italia Flite is a classic racing saddle that is still on sale today despite being released back in 1990. Bicycle technology has moved on a fair bit since then, and to celebrate the Flite's 30th anniversary, Selle Italia has given the classic design a modern makeover.

The result is the Flite Boost – a big evolution over any iteration of the Flite that's come before it. Its stubby profile is thoroughly on-trend, and it's one of the most beautiful saddles I've come across in some time, with a timeless design (much like the 90s original).

It's now shorter than before at just 248mm in length, which is about somewhere in the middle of the longest and shortest 'short' saddles out there. For reference, the standard Flite saddle is 275mm long.

2020 Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio - underside.jpg

Depending on your needs, and your wallet, there are various configurations to choose from. The standard Boost, on test, has a shallow channel to help relieve pressure, while the Superflow version has a full-on cutout which should, in theory, give you greater relief on longer journeys (unless you hate this style of saddle, and many do).

Both versions are available with manganese, titanium or, as our test saddle has, carbon rails. As you might expect, the saddle gets more expensive the lighter you go. The Superflow version is lighter than the standard Flite Boost because of its cutout, which makes sense.

2020 Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio - underside back.jpg

The saddles are also available in two different widths: small (135mm) and large (145mm).

The Flite Boost is geared more towards the racy end of the spectrum. Selle Italia says it's ideal for medium rides (5/5), less so for long distance 'granfondos' (3/5) and cycle touring (2/5), and not suitable for endurance rides (0/5). I'd say it's definitely not a saddle suited to a great deal of miles.

As a short saddle, it's designed to lock you into one position and keep you there. That might seem a strange proposition if you're used to being able to move around a bit; I tend to fidget a lot when I ride, but once I'd got over the initial weirdness I found that being effectively told where to sit soon became a very good thing. Of course, this is a personal thing and you might dislike not being able to move about, especially on longer rides.

2020 Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio - top.jpg

The shorter nose also means you're able to get in a tucked position more easily than on a standard saddle, and with greater comfort, as well as there being less saddle for your legs to interfere with.

The padding isn't too thin (unlike the classic Flite), but it is quite firm. The Carbo Keramic (carbon fibre with a ceramic coating) rails are also quite stiff, with little flex when you push down on the saddle by hand with a good amount of force.

2020 Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio - front.jpg

In theory, you would expect this to be a stiff and unforgiving saddle, but that's not the case. Granted, it does feel a little firm from the moment you sit on it, but you get used to it, and at no point did I feel any discomfort build during any of my test rides. The carbon rails do a good job of absorbing buzz from the road, and their stiffness means you're not going to be bobbing about when you're pedalling hard.

Even with a relatively modest cutout, there's no numbness either. The Superflow version, with its cutout channel, is meant to be better suited to riders wanting to get lower down in the drops. Although I found no discomfort with the standard version, which is designed for those with a lower pelvic rotation, according to the idmatch fit system on Selle Italia's site I should be on a Superflow, which offers better pressure relief for those with a higher pelvic rotation. The standard Flite Boost might be a better choice if your riding position is racy but a little less extreme on the spectrum of tilt.

2020 Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio - underside nose.jpg

The flat design of the saddle does mean you feel as if you're perched on top of the saddle rather than nestled in it, as you do with other types.

The microfibre covering over the beautiful T-shaped base is quite grippy and seems durable.

Value and conclusion

There's no getting away from the elephant in the room here, and that's the price. Sure, there are a few saddles nowadays at this level, but I can't help feeling the kudos of the Flite brand is what's pushing the price up. Yes, it's a bit exotic, especially with the cachet of the Italian brand, and it certainly is a good looking, high quality product, but it's not particularly light when you compare it to the competition.

> Buyer’s Guide: 18 of the best high-performance lightweight saddles

Although not quite as attractive, in my opinion, Selle Italia's other short Boost saddle, the SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow, is £30 cheaper and weighs 12g less. Matt raved about its comfort thanks to the 'suspension link movement' too.

The short Repente Latus M saddle also fared quite well when it was reviewed this year, being not only loads lighter than the Flite Boost Kit Carbonio at 145g, but also £50 cheaper and comfortable too (if the shape suits you).

Then again, it looks like a bargain compared with the £440 Selle Italia Boost Tekno Superflow...

Verdict

Comfortable, reasonably light and beautiful – the classic Flite reimagined for the 2020s – but it comes at a cost

If you're thinking of buying this product using a cashback deal why not use the road.cc Top Cashback page and get some top cashback while helping to support your favourite independent cycling website

road.cc test report

Make and model: Selle Italia Flite Boost Kit Carbonio saddle

Size tested: L 145x248 mm

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, "A new Flite logo, to relive the history and successes of a legendary product. A saddle that has supported and still supports champions such as Mathieu Van Der Poel, Caleb Ewan, Philippe Gilbert and many others. The Flite Boost resumes the classic 'Flat' shape that has always distinguished the FLITE family to guarantee, together with a more compact shape (248mm of length), the usual performance and maximum stability while pedaling."

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

Size tested: L1

180 g

RAIL

Carbon/Keramic Ø7x9 mm

DIMENSIONS

S 135x248 mm

L 145x248 mm

CATEGORY

performance

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
10/10

Exceptionally high quality, a work of art.

Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Firm but comfortable, and while the carbon rails absorb road buzz, they are stiff to keep you in place.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Fibra-tek cover feels very durable and after many miles still looks like new, although it is a bit of a grease magnet.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

It's light, for sure, if not as light as you might expect for a £270 saddle with carbon rails.

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

Check your fit first using Selle Italia's idmatch system. The standard Flite Boost is better suited to a slightly more upright position, but I found it comfortable on the perineum even with a high level of pelvic rotation.

Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Despite the very high all-round performance of the saddle, this is one heck of an expensive saddle.

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

Comfortable no matter what position you're in, and being locked in place is great if you're a bit fidgety in the bum department like me. The carbon rails are stiff but do seem to absorb any road vibration.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

A beautiful saddle that performs as well as it looks.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Just the price tag.

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

Super-expensive, and there's no obvious reason why when you compare it to other similar products out there. The Flite branding carries a lot of kudos, but even the standard longer Flite saddle with carbon rails is £90 less – you're paying more for what is effectively less saddle overall. Compared to other short saddles on the market, it's one of the priciest you can buy.

If you can't stretch to the carbon rail version of the Flite Boost, the entry-level option with manganese rails is £105 and weighs a respectable 243g. Selle Italia's other similar short saddle, the SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow, gives you more performance, on paper, for less money, so if you want to save weight this might be a better option, if it fits your rear.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? No – I couldn't afford to!

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

If you've bought or built yourself a superbike and want to add a comfortable and racy saddle to finish it off with, this is a lovely one to grace your steed with. The price tag is a little out there, and it's not the lightest, but it's still very good.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 39  Height: 6'4  Weight: 175lbs

I usually ride: Steel audax bike  My best bike is:

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: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives,

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