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The innovative Selle San Marco Shortfit 2.0 3D Carbon FX is extremely comfortable but comes at a very high price, although it's on a par with other 3D printed saddles.
If you don't have £365 to spend on a new seat, check out our guide to the best bike saddles for options to suit every budget.
As we say with every saddle review on road.cc, comfort is subjective – what might be incredibly comfortable for me could be like torture for you – so it's always worth testing a few before making any purchasing decision.
The main selling point of this saddle is the 3D printed 'cover'. Rather than taking the traditional route of putting padding where it needs to go on the saddle base and covering it in leather or another material, the Selle San Marco's 3D printed cover is a lattice of interconnecting 'threads', with spacing varying throughout to alter the cushioning in different areas to provide optimum comfort and support.
I found it incredibly comfortable and supportive, which comes down to a combination of both the shape working well for my body and the makeup of the saddle.
I've been a fan of short saddles for a while, and here the length and the different cushioning zones of the 3D printed upper combine impressively well.
I was reviewing the L3 size, which has a length of 255mm and width of 155mm; the S3 is the same length but 15mm narrower.
As well as the different cushioning zones, the saddle has a central cutout to reduce pressure on the perineum, and this combination meant I was more than happy to take on adventures of any length.
This comfort doesn't come at the cost of putting power through the pedals, either – there were many times when I did seated efforts without noticing any loss in power over a regular saddle.
While a 3D printing process is used to make the cover, or upper, this is then attached to a traditionally made carbon fibre-reinforced nylon base. So although you may have a '3D printed saddle', you actually have a 3D printed upper and a 'normal' base.
There are two versions of the Shortfit 2.0 3D saddle, the Carbon FX on test, and the Racing, with the only difference being the material used for the rails. The Carbon FX's are carbon, while the Racing has stainless steel rails and is £45 cheaper (and 36g heavier). Let's be honest, though, if you're spending over £300 on a saddle, most people would pay an extra £45 to not have stainless steel rails.
Back to the upper, and in addition to allowing different cushioning zones throughout the saddle, the 3D printed cover also means there's no single sheet of material, allowing for more grip; all the little bits of silicone-like netting keep you from sliding around much more effectively than any traditional saddle I've used. And when it rains there is much less surface for the water to sit on, so there isn't much reduction in grip at all.
However, one thing that 3D printing doesn't improve is weight. At 191g, the 3D Carbon FX is by no means heavy, but it isn't exactly lightweight compared with other similarly priced non-3D printed saddles. The Cadex Amp that Tom reviewed recently hit the scales at a full 61g lighter, and the very cool looking Bjorn Probka is only 107g, and both are more than £100 cheaper.
It isn't really fair to compare this to non-3D printed saddles, though, and among its 3D printed brethren it's quite well priced, for the weight.
The Selle Italia SLR Boost 3D Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle, for example, is a little lighter at 177g, but £45 more, while the Fizik Vento Argo 00 Adaptive is 8g heavier and £35 more. The Fizik Vento Argo R3 Adaptive saddle is over £100 cheaper but 40g heavier.
So overall am I impressed by this saddle? Yes, very much so. It isn't the lightest, but the combination of comfort and power transfer is something I haven't really experienced before. This is an insanely expensive saddle and there is no getting around that, but if money's no object and you're looking for something eye-catching and comfortable then it is definitely worth trying.
Innovative and amazingly comfortable saddle but at an 'early adopter' price
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Shortfit 2.0 3D Carbon FX
Size tested: L3 (W 155mm, L 255mm)
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: "Conquer any road ride with the lightweight Carbon DNA rails and 3D printed cover of the Shortfit 2.0 3D Carbon FX.
"Made with a proprietary, 3D printed pattern, the Shortfit 2.0 3D Carbon FX provides support on the toughest road rides helping you conquer the steepest of climbs and fastest descents. The differentiated cushioning zones give progressive absorption and Carbon DNA rails provide strength and ensure comfort on every pedal stroke. This high-tech road-specific saddle with Carbon DLS™ Technology is one of the most advanced on the market and is the perfect way to finish your dream build."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
From Selle San Marco:
Dimensions S3 140 x 255 mm - L3 155 x 255 mm
Rail Carbon DNA
Intended use Road
Weight S3 182 g (+/- 8%) - L3 187 g (+/- 8%)
CFX - Carbon Fiber
Superlight full carbon fiber rails with oval section (9,8 mm x 7 mm) with PATENTED DNA (Dynamic Node Action) technology which prevents twisting and keeps the front of the saddle narrow for great pedalling freedom. It makes the Carbon fiber rails even stiffer and, give to the central geometry a longer section to ensure more extensive saddle adjustment. This Rails is used on Superleggera and Carbon FX saddles. An adaptor might be required with some seat posts.
Carbon Fiber Reinforced Shell
High-performance nylon, enhanced with carbon fibres, built with variable thickness, reinforcements by ribs and bridges, which enhance the rigidity with ergonomy and durability characteristics, without affecting weight to the shell.
3D printed cover with dedicated and proprietary pattern featuring differentiated cushioning zones that provide progressive absorption over the entire surface area, ensuring the cyclist optimal comfort and support.
Very well made; an incredibly comfortable and innovative design.
Comfortable and offers impressive seated power transfer.
No problems during the review period, but early days so difficult to say for sure how durable this new construction method is.
Not light compared with non-3D saddles at this price point, but on a par with 3D printed saddles.
Saddle comfort is subjective, but this is a supremely comfortable saddle for me.
On a par with other 3D printed saddles.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well. It's innovative and comfortable – I could ride for hours without any noticeable hotspots or discomfort.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The differing densities across the saddle; it's not easy to describe the feeling, but it works very well.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's on a par with other 3D printed saddles, for the weight. The Selle Italia SLR Boost 3D Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle is 177g, but £50 more; the Fizik Vento Argo 00 Adaptive is 8g heavier and £35 more, while the Fizik Vento Argo R3 Adaptive saddle is over £100 cheaper but 40g heavier.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes (if money were no object).
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes (if money were no object).
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a very comfortable and innovative saddle. Yes it is very expensive, but for the feeling of support it gives you without being interconnected (it's the best I can do to describe the sensation!) you can tell you are getting something different for the money, not just a lighter saddle or an unquantifiable 'aero advantage'. It's excellent.
About the tester
I usually ride: CAAD13 My best bike is: Cannondale Supersix Evo
I've been riding for: 10-20 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,
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.