Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Saddle Pro Review

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Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Saddle – by Thien Dinh

  • LTH: Covering in breathable full-grain leather
  • EVA: Lighter padding for maximum comfort and maximum cushioning
  • Shell made from 30% Carbon composite
  • Length: 275mm
  • Width: 131mm
  • Rails: Carbon
  • Weight: 125g (claimed), 127g (actual weighed)
  • MSRP: $250

The perfect saddle is one that you don’t even think about, but with saddles being such a personal thing how does one choose among the hundreds if not thousands of choices out there? Well, my friends, there is no easy way around it, you should try as many different saddles until you find the right one. The one that fits just right, allowing you to enjoy the ride and not think about the saddle. Enter the Selle Italia SLR, this saddle comes in many variations, but the one we have here is the 125 gram Kit Carbonio.

One of the more popular saddles amongst pros, amateurs, and club cyclists, this sleek lightweight saddle is very visually appealing. An almost identical twin to the regular SLR, with the same 30% carbon shell, the same EVA padding for comfort, and it has the same weather-resistant full-leather cover for longevity. Where the Kit Carbonio differs is instead of being built on Ti rails, the Kit is built around full carbon rails. This helps not only in dropping weight, but also it adds to the overal visual appeal of the saddle. The carbon treatment doesn’t just end there either, near the rear of the saddle, there is a small carbon insert. Though this is purely aesthetic, it does flow well.

Aesthetics aside, the SLR might come across to some as s masochist cyclists torture device, but it’s quite the opposite. Again, this comes down to personal preference and the different types of sit bones we all have. I found the SLR to be a very comfortable saddle, even with it’s very minimalist approach. Dialing in this saddle takes no time at all if you know your saddle height requirements. Because of it’s flat shape, it doesn’t take the extra time as say a saddle that flairs up in the rear. My experience with the saddle was delight from mile 1, with it’s flat and firm shell and minimal padding. Though, some have reported that it took awhile to break the saddle in before it felt natural for them. I found the one drawback of the saddle to be that because of the shape, the nose is not as long as other saddles (like the Fizik Arione, for example), there are not as many positions that you can shift too, if/when you so desire…

Short rides or longer rides, rough roads or smooth I found there to be zero discomfort. Having ridden the saddle for a good amount of time now I would easily recommend this saddle. Especially for those amongst us that must have the weight savings. Though I should mention there is a no holds version of this saddle, the SLR C 64, that does away with the leather seat cover and padding altogether for a weight of only 88 grams!

3.5- Weight Weenies have to pay a premium…
3.5  bottles
4  bottles

About the author: Thien Dinh

Thien Dinh gained most his cycling knowledge the old fashioned way, by immersing himself in the sport. From 2007 to early 2013, Thien served as RoadBikeReview Site Manager, riding daily while putting various cycling products through its paces. A native of California, Thien also enjoys tinkering with photography and discovering new music.

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  • Twain says:

    Thien-I have to say you must have a higher discomfort threshold!
    I do agree that the saddle is “more comfortable than you’d think” but on rides over 40 miles, at least for me, it gets pretty uncomfortable.
    True, it does have a lot of “give” and is a weight-weenie dream. But it gets fatiguing. I also don’t like the way it’s short and tapers down front and rear. It gives a slightly insecure feeling that you aren’t sitting “in” the saddle but rather perched on top of it.

    Maybe I am just getting old, but the Fizik Aliante is just so much more comfy:

    A cool saddle to test would be the new Fizik that is a hybrid between the Aliante and the Arione and around 150 grams.

  • thien says:

    The Fizik Antares is on it’s way to our offices right now! I have high hopes for it Twain.

    I didn’t find the SLR discomfortable at all, and I usually ride an Arione. The SLR didn’t allow for as much movement or change of positions as the Fizik, but it never bothered me. Didn’t even think about the SLR on a recent century with varied terrain…

  • Wasja R says:

    I agree 100% with Twain: The (original, “normal”) SLR was the most comfortable saddle I had ever ridden (I’m 66, and still going, well, sort of strong) – until the Aliante came along. Haven’t found anything better. As Thien says about the SLR, you just forget the Aliante is there.

  • JP says:

    I recently bought the 2008 or 2007 version which is just like this, but lacks the red stiching and has a different font for the “Selle Italia”. I thought it was ammusing that my LBS was worried about installing it because of the carbon fiber rails. So far, it seems harder than my previous stock Bontrager. I’ve heard this a break in period…will see how it goes.

  • Ria says:

    Agree with poster above. After somewhere north of 30-40 miles it starts getting uncomfortable. I’ll stick with the tried and true Fizik Aliante for my road bike and a well worn Brooks B-17 on my indoor trainer. Saddles are indeed a personal preference, but Fizik has been eating Selle Italia’s lunch.

  • Mark says:

    I previously had the Ti version of the SLR and found it to be very comfortable, and I really liked the way it looks, too (not an important factor). The only negative is that the inside of my thighs rub the front edges of the saddle. After only about a year of use, the leather was worn through and then started to snag my shorts. I “fixed” the problem by wrapping some black vinyl electrical tape around the worn area, not a very elegant solution. When I built up a new bike earlier this year, I went back to the Selle Italia Flite Kit Carbonio (I had the Ti Flite prior to the SLR). I find the Flite saddle to be a little narrower at the front without the flat edge of the SLR, and I don’t get the wearing issue that I had with the SLR. Of course the Flite is comfortable too but, in my opinion, doesn’t disappear like the SLR does. If SI would make the SLR with a narrower front, I’d buy another one in a heartbeat (I really need a white SLR to go with my white bar tape!).

  • Colnajoe says:

    I have been riding the SLR kit Carbonio for about 7 months, 2300 miles. For the first few rides, it was a little hard to get used to, I had switched from a brooks swift titanium. (big difference!) I have a full carbon colnago C 50 set-up, and I think all the components work together to give a fantastic ride. However, I weight about 195lbs, and the saddle now is perfect. The way SI changes saddles, I should buy another one for the future. All my cycling friends ask “how in the world do you ride on that thing”. I have completed a number of centuries this year, and the saddle has caused me no problems. It is worth a try.

  • Dr_John says:

    I’ve got the ‘flow’ version of the saddle on my Specialized Roubaix. I’ve always used Specialized Toupe saddles, but after a lot of miles on the SLR, I think I’ll change all my bikes over to the SLR. It’s really a great saddle. I do 100+ miles about once per week on it without any discomfort.

    I really think it’s important to note that due to the unusual shape of the carbon rails, you will not be able to use the saddle with all seat posts. For me, it would not fit correctly in a Specialized S-Works Pave SL seat post. I suspect there are several others that won’t work either.

  • Ricky says:

    Dr John, I found that this saddle did not work with my Cervelo P3C or my Kestrel Talon SL seatposts? What a frustration! I now have 2 of these that do not work. 1 Brand New and one used!!…LAME…although I did have the previous version which had the carbon and ti combination rails…that works perfectly…why not the carbon version

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