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The Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel Heritage Superflow saddle is comfortable and durable, with a really nice vintage look that disguises many of its modern features.
The Novus Boost Heritage is very similar to the Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow, but with more gravel-specific components and a vintage aesthetic. (If you're not so keen on the vintage look, it's also available in a more modern 'Tech' version.)
For me this is great, as the Carbonio has been one of my favourite saddles of the last few years. However, as with all saddle reviews, what might be incredibly comfortable for me could be very uncomfortable for you. It is always worth testing out a few saddles before buying, if you can.
The Heritage comes in two sizes, S3 (135mm) and L3 (148mm). The S3 on test feels wider than some (the shape almost reminds me of an F1 car), and gives you increased support but without the kind of obstruction to your pedal stroke that can sometimes happen with wider saddles. It has the same distinctive stubby nose as the Carbonio, which almost makes them look like elongated TT saddles, and they're the same length.
A wide channel down the centre of the saddle – the 'Superflow' bit – helps relieve pressure on the perineum on long rides. I commented on how comfortable I found this with the Carbonio, and I am happy to report that I got the same level of comfort with the Heritage.
They do, however, feel quite different to sit on. The Heritage is considerably softer than the Carbonio, with a dual layer of foam and gel that allows some 'sink', and it offers more flex. There is a simple reason for this: the Carbonio is a performance saddle, designed to be stiff and stable, while the Heritage is aimed at gravel riding and touring, with comfort a priority.
The Heritage has TI316 'titanium-stabilised' steel rails, which offer both durability and shock absorption. It's a nylon composite shell rather than the carbon of the Carbonio, which allows for some flex, so comfort levels are higher and bumps less jarring.
At 263g, the Heritage is 60g heavier than the Carbonio, which isn't surprising, but it's also relatively heavy compared with competitors at this price range. The Fizik Tempo Argo R3 that Stu looked at in November comes in 19g lighter and £30 cheaper, while the Specialized Power Expert is a full £55 cheaper and nearly 30g lighter.
Overall, I've found the Heritage very comfortable, with a lot of flex and effective padding that makes long hours in the saddle a pleasure. However, the price is high compared to others with similar materials aimed at the same market.
Very good saddle with a vintage aesthetic for touring or gravel riding, but the price is high compared to others
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle Italia Novus Boost Gravel Heritage Superflow S3 saddle
Size tested: S3 - 135mm
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?
The saddle is designed for touring and gravel riding, with a focus on comfort for longer rides.
Selle Italia says: "The performance of Gravel combined with vintage charm."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Selle Italia lists:
* Fibra-Tek: Light and durable, functional microfibre
* Gel Flow: The anatomic design with gel coating ensures first-class comfort and flexibility in the central saddle area. Besides, it absorbs vibrations from the ground.
* Dual Padding: Double padding with variable density for a comfortable seat, even on long distances.
* Ti 316 Rail: Saddle rail with up to 25% more resistance and durability and 15% less weight compared with traditional saddle rails (with Ø 7 mm)
* Category: Expert (Road/Offroad)
* Saddle cover: Fibra-Tek
* Saddle rail: Titanium Ti 316 (strut Ø: approx. 7 mm)
Dimensions size S:
* ID Match category: S3*
* Width: approx. 135 mm
* Length: approx. 255 mm
* Weight: approx. 255 g
Dimensions size L:
* ID Match category: L3*
* Width: approx. 148 mm
* Length: approx. 255 mm
* Weight: approx. 260 g
Very solid construction with enough flex without ever feeling flimsy.
Does what it's designed for – comfortable over long distances and on rough surfaces.
The Fibra-Tek upper is easy to wipe clean, doesn't mark easily and is unlikely to tear.
Weight is okay, although you can get lighter saddles in the same category.
It's been designed with comfort in mind, and it shows.
It is more expensive than others we have looked with similar weights and uses.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It performed well – it's comfortable on long or rough rides, it looks good on the bike and it offers enough flex for a degree of shock absorbing on rougher surfaces.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The softer and more padded foam and gel compared with the Carbonio.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The price – it's more expensive than others that weigh less and do broadly similar things.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Fizik Tempo Argo R3 is 19g lighter and £30 cheaper, while the Specialized Power Expert is a full £55 cheaper and nearly 30g lighter.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? If it was on sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? If it was on sale.
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a really good saddle that's comfortable on long or rough rides, but it's much higher priced than equivalent saddles from other brands.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb,
George is the host of the road.cc podcast and has been writing for road.cc since 2014. He has reviewed everything from a saddle with a shark fin through to a set of glasses with a HUD and everything in between.
Although, ironically, spending more time writing and talking about cycling than on the bike nowadays, he still manages to do a couple of decent rides every week on his ever changing number of bikes.