The Selle Royal Lookin 3D Athletic is a very comfortable but somewhat heavy saddle, good for a range of positions on the bike and optimised for a 45-degree forward lean that should suit most athletic cyclists. It's not one for weight-watchers though.
Weighing in at 359g vs the venerable Charge Spoon at 220g for half the price, the Lookin 3D is a portly perch. The see-through gel-filled window mentally predisposes you to think 'hybrid retired person's shopping bike' and I must admit to a fair degree of scepticism when starting the review process for nippy, long-distance road bike use.
This wasn't helped by the fact that because of less usable rail clamp length (65mm compared with 75mm on my Merida's stock Prologo Kappa2) my nose-of-saddle to bar measurement was 5mm longer than normal. Not a huge discrepancy, sure, but if you've paid money to dial your bikefit it's annoying to find you need a different seatpost to achieve the same setup. The Lookin 3D comes up 10mm taller, too, easily corrected by dropping the seatpost.
Underneath is an 'Integrated clip system' for accessories – Selle Royal offers a small flashing light that looks to run on button cells, and a 500cc reflective saddlebag. There's potential for this system to be more useful if a generic mount was offered to fit your own items.
The covering is Selle's 'Superfabric' – which it claims is guaranteed resistant to cuts, abrasion and punctures. The corners of the saddle are a tough, woven-look fabric that should stand up well to the worst a coffee-stop brick wall or road verge could throw at it.
The Lookin 3D's secret sauce is the 'Tridimensional Royalgel' – a patented substance designed to reduce vibration, isolating road shocks by dissipating energy in three dimensions before it reaches your sit bones. Does it work? In a word, yes. In more words, very well indeed – to the point that, during long review rides, I often forgot to pay it any attention.
As a reviewer you become attuned to feedback from the bike and body, looking for hints of what could become prolonged discomfort under harsh or prolonged ride conditions. After three hours onboard the Lookin 3D, I had to make a mental note to pay attention to how things felt. This is testament to how well it suited my combination of body geometry and position.
A favourite 50km loop involves lots of in-the-saddle hard climbing, pushed right back against the wings to leverage the quads, followed by a prolonged return down a flat valley over less-than-pristine road surfaces. This return leg was the real eye-opener, where, perched fairly far forward on the nose of the saddle in an aero tuck, there wasn't a hint of discomfort or need to shift about.
Looking down at the plan view of the Lookin 3D compared with my other saddles it does appear to be shorter, but this is a trick of the eye as it doesn't taper as much. My 140mm saddle width preference perfectly aligns with the inside of the corner patches.
Saddles are the most personal of choices and there is no rhyme nor reason between cost and performance/comfort. I've ridden £150 models that were penury after an hour, yet have done over 10,000 miles on the aforementioned Charge Spoon at £30. At £49.99 the Selle Royal Lookin 3D Athletic is a sound choice to consider if you're after comfort while adopting more aggressive postures, and you aren't that concerned about weight.
Not the lightest for the money, but a supremely comfortable, hardwearing saddle
road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle Royal Lookin 3D Athletic
Size tested: 267 x 150mm
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?
It's a saddle for people who ride with a more aggressive posture, who want comfort and aren't fussed about weight.
Selle Royal says: "The LookIN Athletic was created for riders who pursue every bit of speed possible by adopting a low, athletic position on the bike. The 3D SkinGel 'window' in the surface is transparent, allowing you to see how the Royalgel™ padding responds to your position in the saddle. This innovative technology helps reduce discomfort from pressure points by up to 40% so you can ride faster, for longer. The saddle's SuperFabric® top layer gives fantastic resistance to scratching and the damage that comes from many miles of wear-and-tear – so your saddle lasts longer, while the FLEXITE shell features a unique indented structure, adding superb flexibility and shock-absorption to the saddles already excellent ride quality."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Selle Royalgel and Superfabric
Looks tough, should last a long time with the wear patches.
No escaping it, this is a heavy saddle.
Excellent. It's so good I forgot I was sitting on it.
Possibly the perfect commuter saddle – comfortable, reasonably priced and tough wearing.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Minor fit issue aside, it worked very well indeed for me – the comfort on offer is up there with the very best.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The comfort of the gel and nose profile.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The weight – it's heavy, no escaping it.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
Had it been 100g lighter and with a bit more rail length to play with, it would have been an 8.
About the tester
I usually ride: Merida Ride 5000 Disc My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: cyclo-cross, club rides, general fitness riding, mountain biking, Dutch bike pootling