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Selle San Marco's Aspide Short Open-Fit saddle offers great value for money if you're after a saddle with a sizeable open channel and a choice of widths. It's not without fault, but at £54.99 it's a cost-effective option for those looking for comfort on a budget.
The Short Open-Fit Sport saddle is the entry level version of the Aspide Short range. It comes in Narrow (139mm) or Wide (155mm) – we're testing the Wide here.
We've already tested the second-tier Racing version too, with Matt finding it a decent performer. This entry-level Sport version gets a glass fibre reinforced shell accompanied by steel rails, Pullfoam padding and a Silkfeel cover. All these spec choices mean it's less than half the price of the Racing model.
I found the pressure-relieving channel effective, and the sweeping shape encourages a fairly specific 'sit zone'. This isn't a saddle you feel you can shift around a lot on.
There's a little more compression in the central section versus the very front or rear, and it's supportive, especially in fairly upright positions. Perhaps inevitably, it lacks the level of flex Matt found in the carbon-reinforced Racing version.
Saddle comfort is totally subjective, but pinning myself onto the tops in a more genteel position than my more aggressive normal position produced good levels of comfort. On the drops, though, I couldn't get as far forward as I normally would like to thanks to the shorter profile.
Regarding widths, the sizing follows the Selle San Marco's 'idmatch' system, which uses three measurements: your intertrochanteric distance (sit bone width), a comparison of thigh width and intertrochanteric distance, and finally your pelvic rotation.
I found the Sport saddle comfortable for a couple of hours, maybe a little more, after which the distinct edges of the channel started to become apparent and cause pressure.
By comparison, the Fizik Antares Versus Evo R3 Adaptive Saddle proved far more compliant in that area – although it's also vastly more expensive at £250.
The cover is quite grippy under a chamois – there's no sense of slipping – while the rails are good quality, if a little weighty. At 276g the mass takes a fair hike compared to the 190g Racing version, but then that saddle is £134.99.
For around the £54.99 of the Sport, you could opt for the very good, short and heavily channeled Bontrager Aeolus Comp (£49.99), while bargain hunters should also consider the Fabric Scoop Sport, which impressed us at just £34.99 – though that doesn't feature a pressure-relieving channel.
If you're after a cost-effective, good quality saddle from a reputable brand that includes a modern short design and is arguably best suited to less-aggressive ride styles, this Selle San Marco is a compelling choice.
Compelling and well made entry-level saddle, especially for more upright riding positions
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport Wide
Size tested: 155 x 250mm
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 San Marco says: "The new Aspide short resumes the essential shape and the unmistakable design, which has always characterized the Aspide range, but shortens its length (250mm) to make it an even more comfortable. Its shape, combined with the large central cut-out (Open-Fit), guarantees maximum comfort and adequate support of the ischiatic bones in different pedalling situations."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Low density foam with variable thickness structure that follows the movements of the pelvis when pedaling, for guaranteed comfort, long lasting resistance and ideal support.
SILKFEEL / PLUS
Breathable covering with high abrasive resistance. It is less subject to deformation compared to traditional materials. Bio-compatible. Silk-touch surface nish. The Plus version has increased resistance and durability characteristics.
GLASS FIBER REINFORCED
Techno-polymer: engineering polymer with high physical and mechanical characteristics (rigidity, toughness, ductility) that allow it cope with static and dynamic loads and ageing.
Put together well.
If it suits your shape and riding style, you'll be happy with the performance.
So far so good - the materials are high quality and look like they should last.
276g is fairly chunky, but acceptable given the price.
I found this comfortable for rides of around two and a half hours, and better suited to a more relaxed position.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well, especially for the entry-level or budget-conscious rider.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Pressure-relieving channel, two width options, good value.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Stiffer than the more expensive versions, quite heavy.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
For around the £54.99 of the Sport, you could opt for the very good, short and heavily channeled Bontrager Aeolus Comp (£49.99), while bargain hunters should also consider the Fabric Scoop Sport, which impressed us at just £34.99 - though that doesn't feature a pressure-relieving channel.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? It would be on my shortlist for speccing up a cheaper 'runaround' bike
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
Saddle performance is subjective, but the indications are that this model offers a great value entry-point to road saddles, complete with channel cutout and shorter, wider profile. The lack of flex and relatively basic padding can lead to pressure points at the sides of the channel after a few hours, but for an entry-level saddle (and rider) it's good.
About the tester
I usually ride: My best bike is:
I've been riding for: I ride: I would class myself as:
I regularly do the following types of riding: