The Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing is a new take on the standard model, adding more padding and a redesigned cutout for more pressure relief. The narrow shape is ideal for those who like a racy position, but I'm still not convinced on the comfort front.
Saddle design is a very personal thing, but luckily for me I seem to adapt to most shapes and widths. One thing I've always been on the fence about, though, is whether removing the central portion of a saddle makes for a more comfortable ride. Some people are fans – George, for instance, liked the cutout on Selle San Marco's Concor Supercomfort Racing Saddle, saying it relieved pressure and allowed for ventilation, but I'm not sure I notice the difference.
I've ridden the Aspide before on a few different bikes and got on okay with it; I like the shape, especially in its narrowest guise like our test model here (132mm wide – a 142mm version is also available) with its curved profile. The tail swoops down before flattening out and then the nose drops, ideal for when you're crouched over in the drops as you don't get any pressure points at the front end.
This Supercomfort edition has an added gel layer and a redesigned cutout, but for me it just seemed to emphasise the pressure around the actual cutout. This Aspide is quite firm, especially around the edges, and when you look at the size of the hole in relation to the body of the saddle you find yourself sitting on two very narrow strips either side. This means your contact patch is very small, and I found it quite uncomfortable. Anything longer than two hours in the saddle became a bit of a chore.
For shorter, harder efforts the Aspide makes a little more sense because the supportive nature of the saddle gives you something hard to push against to get out your maximum power.
The hull is reinforced with carbon fibre, which keeps things pretty solid, with just a small amount of flex – although the rails don't give much away. Selle San Marco keeps things pretty close to its chest with the rail material, which it calls Xsilite – a high percentage of silicone with particles of titanium and carbon apparently. It's quite rare to see a saddle at this price without titanium rails or even carbon fibre.
Weight-wise, the Aspide is competitive. At 206g it's 34g heavier than the £150 Bontrager Montrose saddle recently tested.
In terms of value, though, the Aspide looks a little pricey. If you really want a channel to remove pressure then the Fabric Line Titanium, for instance, is much more comfortable (for me anyway) and £69.99. The Aspide is a decent enough saddle, with a nice shape, but considering its construction and technology I'd say it's looking a bit overpriced.
A really nice shape for getting the power down, but maybe a better choice for shorter, harder efforts than longer rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Saddle
Size tested: 277 x 132mm
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?
Selle San Marco says: "The Aspide Supercomfort is a new version of one of the most iconic recent additions to the Selle San Marco range. The hole has been reshaped to make it bigger and increase the relief zone for perineum pressure. The level of variable density padding has been increased too and the Racing versions feature the gel layer and the openwork processing technique to the cover. To satisfy the needs of different somatotypes (Human physique), both models are available in Narrow and Wide versions, to ensure a perfect fit and maximize comfort."
I like the shape of the Aspide very much, but, as with a lot of cutout saddles, I don't really notice the benefits of the cutout as I find you are just relocating the pressure.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Selle San Marco lists these features:
Shell: Carbon fibre reinforced
Cover: Microfeel + carbon
Size: 277mm x 132mm (narrow)/142mm (wide)
Size style: Narrow - is when the width of the saddle is less than 140mm
Size style: Wide - Is when the width of the saddle is more than 140mm
Saddle profile: Waved - the side profile of the saddle surface presents a curved line with a central depression deeper than 5mm
Available in three colours and two sizes
Cutout for added rider comfort and pain relief
Mixture of nylon and carbon fibres giving a stiff saddle shell
Breathable and hard wearing Microfeel cover
Biofoam for great comfort and lasting support
A few rough edges underneath for a £120 saddle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I like the shape, but for comfort I'd prefer something like the Fabric Line.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The narrow shape.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cutout doesn't offer a massive amount of relief for me.
Did you enjoy using the product? I can take it or leave it.
Would you consider buying the product? No
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Possibly
Use this box to explain your score
I like the shape of the Aspide, its curved upper and supportive padding, though the enlarged cutout doesn't really bring anything to the mix for me. It's a bit pricey but holds its own in terms of weight, so I'm giving it a 7.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Kinesis Aithein
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.