Muddymoles mountain biking in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow saddle review

Posted by Tony | January 27, 2009 | 11 comments so far

Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow Saddle
I know that saddles are highly personal. One person’s sofa is another person’s razor blade… blah… blah… blah. Most of us might have a ‘Saddle Imelda’ friend out there—yes that’s you Greg—who swaps saddles regularly and never seems to be comfortable. Not me.

I personally have had loads of different saddles over the years and got on fine with all of them from the cheapest to the most expensive. I do have my favourites, Fizik Arione for the road and Selle Italia Flite for off road but basically I don’t think I’m fussy when it comes to saddles.

With this in mind I thought that I’d bling up my new Trek Fuel EX8 (review to come) with something a bit more upmarket than the Bontranger branded saddle it came with. At Pearson Cycles they had a Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow saddle (Wiggle) which seemed like a good choice. It does look kind of odd with a swoopy rear edge but it has lots of ‘features’ – cut away middle for pressure relief, perforated leather top, suspended rails, dropped nose and gel padding. Plus it was a brand I like, so it went into my shopping basket.

With all of this in mind I put it onto the Trek for it’s first ride. Throwing my leg over the saddle and starting up from the house, I sat on the saddle for the first time and without turning a pedal thought ‘Jeesus that’s uncomfortable’. Things didn’t get better, it didn’t bed in and considering I was on a big plush full susser I came back from the ride with everything aching much more than if I’d been riding one of my hardtails.

It’s just the most uncomfortable saddle I’ve every sat on – period. It just goes to show that ‘features’ do not make a saddle comfortable. Vlad the Impaler could use it as a torture technique. New saddle please!

Filed under Components, Reviews in January 2009


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  1. Dave says:

    I had a WTB like that on a Marin Mount Vision. Also the saddle that Matt uses on his Inbred is one of my cast offs. Currently I’m big into the original Inbred saddle but the Specialized BG saddles that Cycleworks recommend seem to work for me as well.

  2. Matt says:

    I’m looking forward to getting hold of the saddle and giving it a try, despite your poor experience Tony. It certainly sounds pretty sophisticated with it’s floating manganese rails, cutouts, leather and padding.

    Ideally, white would have been my colour of choice but let’s see if it fits me.

    I tend to fit most saddles by pure luck but there’s no doubt some are better than others. For a while now I’ve been wondering about the Bel Air I got off Dave as I haven’t really put that many miles on it in one sitting (boom–tish!) before. And my Fizik Gobi on the Orange is OK rather than outstanding.

    So time will tell…

  3. Toby says:

    I had an older version of that Flite gel saddle on my 2004 Enduro for quite a while thinking eventually I’d get used to it. Never did! I have an old style Flite on my Ti hardtail which is far more comfortable.

    I use On-one saddles on my Enduro, Soul and Inbred which are fine though a little heavy I suppose – 300g? I use Bontrager saddles on my road bikes though I have to toughen up my butt for longer rides on the light weight one – 190g.

  4. Don Bosco says:

    Have to agree – the most painful (and ugly) saddle I have ever used… in fact its, really, really ugly (I used to ride with a paper bag over it). The old model was a wonderful saddle before they redesigned it and made it ‘better’.

  5. tony says:

    Hi Don

    Strangely Matt seems to love it! Must have a weird shaped pelvis or something.

  6. paul says:

    ah, this is one contact point that really can be a pain in the backside eh! I’m on my 3rd saddle in 12mths and wanting to change to something better. I’ll spend £80 for the right one for me, whatever that is…

    I think trying out a broken-in saddle is key. By briefly swapping bikes with a few people i’ve avoided 2 expensive purchases already 🙂

  7. Andy C says:

    It’s an emotional thing, women and shoes, mtb’ers and saddles.

    My experience is that certain brands have a certain shape or mould that you either like and dislike. My arse, and as importantly my inner thighs, (there’s an image to conjure with) definitely prefers WTB saddles. However, on the Moose Cycles demo day last October I rode a Bionicon; the single aspect I liked most on that bike was the Fizik Gobi saddle (a saddle that Matt can either take or leave).

    It felt so good that I bought one for the Pace, nothing to do with the fact that WTB didn’t make a white saddle of course. The good news for me is that I don’t find myself thinking about a pain in the arse after a 2-3 hour ride.

    You know you have found the best saddle for you when you get to the end of the ride without having thought about it.

  8. Dave says:

    Update on my comment 12 months ago.

    I suffered a bit with painful hip and after trying Osteopaths and Physios I struggled to find any relief until it dawned on me that all my bike snow had Inbred Saddles on them except my 5. After some experimenting (based partly on some comments from the Physio) I bought another Specialized BG saddle as the support was totally different. Pain eased up.

    Time passed and I found myself on the SS again which has the Inbred saddle. Pain returning! Because it’s a gradual build up it’s not easy to spot what the problem is but I’m as certain as I can be at this point that it is the saddle causing the issue here.

  9. Andy C says:

    I’m sure you’re right; and of course it may be more than just the saddle. On each bike you have a combination of saddle, seat height, top tube length, stem length/angle and bars, and maybe even crank length too.

    All these could combine to put you in a markedly different body position. Of course none of this is (or at least, shouldn’t be) by accident. Your winter XC hack may well have a longer lower position than your summer chuck it down the trails bike. The SS may be a compromise between the two.

    However, once you’ve identified a position that seems to cause no discomfort, then you could aim to replicate that on the other bikes, with modifications to suit the style of riding you intend for that bike.

    The one thing I’ve drifted towards over the years is shortish (50-70mm) stems with steep rise (25 degrees). This seems to help my aged and decrepit back, as well as making me feel more balanced within the bike (rather than stretched across it). That’s probably just a personal thing related to the fact that I’m not an XC whippet.

  10. Muddymoles says:

    Specialized Henge saddle review

    We review the Specialized Henge saddle which seems to be greater than the sum of its parts

  11. Related: Specialized Henge saddle review | Reviews, Components | Muddymoles: Mountain biking (MTB) in the Surrey Hills and Mole Valley

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