What is it
The Selle SMP Vulkor is a new saddle model that has a wider rear section that supports powerful pedaling, a signature central cutout for perineum comfort, and minimal padding for maximum power transfer.
- Selle SMP’s signature curved profile and large cutout prove that saddle shape can trump overstuffed saddles
- Long rails offer a wide range of adjustment
- Wider cutout model for those in search of minimal padding
- Lack of padding extends saddle life
- Fairly expensive
- Not all riders are keen on a saddle without padding
I’ll admit it, the looks of the Selle SMP Vulkor saddle is not for everyone. But as someone who has constantly searched for saddle comfort during my 25 plus years of cycling, these funky shaped seats have been a revelation. Designed to cradle the pelvis while also maintaining blood flow to vital areas thanks to a large cutout, I’ve tried several of Selle SMP’s models during recent seasons. What I’ve found is that many different models work for me sometimes depending on the type of riding involved. In some cases what worked was counter intuitive.
The Selle SMP Vulkor is a new model for 2018. Based on the popular Composit model, it has no padding, only a leather cover over a carbon reinforced nylon base. This may scare some riders away but going without padding has a couple upsides. First, it’s light, 235 grams light. Secondly, there is nothing to compress over time so the Selle SMP Vulkor saddle, given that you find it comfortable, will last a long time. Third, power transfer is fantastic.
So is it comfortable? Yes. It takes some adjustment and a quality chamois, but the Selle SMP Vulkor proves that a well-designed saddle that fits your contours doesn’t need a lot of padding to be comfortable. Granted, I’ve ridden other models including the Drakon, Blaster, and Nymber (a more padded version of the Vulkor) for several years now. That’s a good head start. But small changes can have a big impact on saddle setup. For instance, the tilt of the saddle is very important, especially on a saddle with such a pronounced cradle. Helpfully, the Selle SMP Vulkor has extra-long stainless steel rails to aid in finding the right fore/aft position.
It’s a good idea to see a bike fitting specialist any time you grab a new saddle, especially one as unique as a Selle SMP. To aid in setting up the Selle SMP Vulkor, or any of its sister models, head to https://www.albabici.com/selle/tech-info/fit-smp-saddle.htm for a great primer.
But once dialed in, the Selle SMP Vulkor provides a nice platform for efficient pedaling. I’ve recently spent most of my time on the slightly narrower (131mm) Blaster model and found the added 136mm width of the Vulkor was welcome. During seated climbs, I was able to push off the curved tail of the saddle. While I won’t claim that it gave me any additional power, it certainly felt powerful.
Where I wasn’t as at home on the Selle SMP Vulkor was when I slid forward during “on the rivet” efforts. It was then that I noticed the lack of padding. But even then, there was nothing miserable about it. It just reminded me to slide back into the appropriate position on the saddle.
As I mentioned above, the use case for the different Selle SMP models can be a bit counter intuitive. While you found this article on RoadBikeReview.com, it would be just as home on Mtbr.com. I say that because while it initially seems weird to consider a saddle without any padding for mountain biking, it’s when we ride offroad that we spend the least amount of time planted in the saddle. Sure, the perch still needs to be a nice place to spend uphill and flat sections, but with modern tubeless tires and suspension, your saddle is doing less bump absorption than ever. Food for thought anyway.
If you’ve struggled to find the perfect saddle, I recommend heading to Albabici’s website. Have a look around and find yourself a dealer. Many of them have trial saddles and they can help advise you on the model that’s best for you and your riding. If you’re like me, you’ll be glad you did.
Rating: 4 out of 5
More Info: www.albabici.com