Selle SMP is an Italian company that was founded in 1947 by Martino Schiavon, a young craftsman who started creating bicycle seats by hand in his attic. Martino was inspired by the racing efforts of fellow countrymen Fausto Coppi and Gino Bartali in such races as the Giro d' Italia and the Tour de France. 65 years later, Selle SMP is still a family business and their saddles are still hand crafted in Italy. They make one thing and one thing only, bicycle saddles. (Well, actually, they also make one model of bib shorts with a seamless bottom, but even that product is based off of their knowledge and expertise with saddles.)

The Selle SMP Carbon saddle is a bare bones (no padding!) performance race saddle with extremely light weight (165 grams). Hardcore gram counters might say that 165 grams isn't all that light, so for the über weight-weenie, Selle SMP also makes the Full Carbon model that weighs in at a scant 115 grams. The large cutaway section in the center of the saddle relieves pressure on your gentle bits and provides better blood flow.

Selle SMP offers many different models of saddles besides the minimalist Carbon, non-padded models including the popular Composit line (nylon body with elastomers, leather covers, steel frame), the Stratos line (same as the Composit series but with more padding) and the more affordable (albeit slightly heavier) Glider line. For a mountain bikers review of the Selle SMP Stratos saddle, click here.

The Selle SMP Carbon saddle features:
  • casing: carbon fiber
  • frame: AISI 304 tubuler steel
  • dimensions: 263x129mm (lengthxwidth)
  • weight: 165 grams
  • recommended for sizes: XS-S-M
  • 100% handmade in Italy
MSRP: $539

Installation and setup are very easy with this saddle. The open design makes getting to all the bolts super simple and the rails have markings that help with fore/aft adjustments. After just my first ride, I was BLOWN AWAY by how comfortable this saddle was. I don't mean I was blown away by how comfortable it was for a carbon fiber race saddle with no padding, I mean I was blow away by how comfortable it was period. This saddle is more comfortable than some padded saddles I have used. How could this be??

In my years of cycling, I have learned that the width and shape of the saddle are more important than the padding itself. The placement of where your sit bones rest on the saddle (saddle width) and how they are supported (saddle shape) are the predominant factors of comfort. It stands to reason that Selle SMP recommends their saddles based on the relative size of the rider's pelvis. Although they are not the only brand offering a cutaway center, the Selle SMP Carbon does provide less pressure on the sensitive areas. The other distinctive feature of this saddles shape, is the drop nose ("eagle-beak") front. This shape provides support when needed and also doesn't interfere with position changes.

I have logged several rides on the Selle SMP Carbon on roads of varied conditions and the saddle remains strikingly comfortable. If you have a chance to try one of these saddles (click here for a list of US Selle SMP Test Centers), I think you'll be impressed too. The sit bones of each rider varies, however, so this saddle might not be as comfortable if you have a medium to wide pelvis (the Carbon Lite model from Selle SMP is designed for those of you with medium to wide pelvises.)

Mounted on my trusty old Colnago Master-X-Light, this saddle makes me DOUBLY cautious whenever I lean my bike up against something. I never tested the durability of this saddle (didn't crash or drop it) but with such a high-gloss finish, I'm sure there would bound to be some scarring.

Besides comfort, the other outstanding feature of this saddle is the look. The carbon fiber weave is simply BEAUTIFUL and the Selle SMP comes in black, silver, yellow, red and blue all with a high gloss finish. This saddle WILL get you comments at your rest stops. It might garner a snicker or two, but the overwhelming majority of comments I received were positive. The bright yellow gloss carbon fit well with my Mapei 'Nag.


-easy to setup/adjust



4.5 out of 5
4 bottles


2.5 out of 5
2 bottles

Bottom Line:
The two main features of this saddle are comfort and looks. The comfort of the Selle SMP Carbon does have it's limits, so you won't want to do a century ride with this saddle. And don't forget that this is made for riders whose pelvises are on the narrow side. But if you ride nothing over 2 hours and want something on your bike that is comfortable, light weight and eye-catching than this is the saddle for you.


From the manufacturer:
"Top design, carbon structure and stainless steel frame. The Carbon and Carbon Color models are indicated for cyclists looking for comfort and the lightweight of carbon at an interesting price. A wide assortment of colors can be combined with the aesthetic and stylistic canons of frames for the evolved bicycles. The patented features by Selle SMP, such as the completely free central channel, the original eagle-beak nose and the raised rear give these models an interesting aerodynamic touch. Suited for thin people with narrow pelvises."

For a cool video from the manufacturer to help with saddle setup:


Selle SMP also has extensive information including fitting instructions, seatpost recommendations, checks and maintenance and more on their website.

For more information:

Selle SMP is distributed in the USA by Albabici:

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(If the Selle SMP Carbon is not light enough or high-end enough for you, the Selle SMP Full Carbon saddle may be the model for you. It is the same shape and size as the Carbon, but features a carbon frame and rails as well. See below for more photos including the Selle SMP Full Carbon saddle.) full carbon version weighs 115 grams.