It's got a great big hole in it. There, that's got that out of the way. The Selle San Marco Mantra certainly has an individual look, and I found it a well made and comfortable perch that's better for long rides than short ones.
Weighing in at 204g the Mantra is light but it won't be a weight weenie's choice. It feels solidly constructed and there's plenty of attention to detail in the finishing. The Xsilite (Selle San Marco's Titanium mix) rails angle the saddle very slightly down when they're set up level, but that's how I tend to run my saddle anyway. The nose is deep and the big flared sides extend down much further than most perches. And it's got a great big hole in it. Did I mention that?
First impressions were of a saddle that's fairly hard and a bit edgy around the hole; coming from a much softer Charge Spoon it was a bit uncomfortable to start with. Give it time though: after a while the edges wear in a bit and although the padding is firm it's all in the right places. The deep sides are supposed to reduce chafing against the edges of the seat, Selle San Marco call it the 'no shuffle system'; I can't say that it was it any better or worse than my favourite saddles.
The Mantra gets better the longer you're in the saddle. After you've broken it in it's fairly comfy from the off, but when softer saddles can start to chafe after a few hours the Mantra is solid and dependable. The big hole gives plenty of ventilation so you'll need mudguards in the wet and windproof shorts on frosty mornings, but it does the job of relieving pressure a treat.
Overall the Mantra is certainly one to consider for longer stints; it's a different shape to many seats and worth a try if you're on the hunt for a reasonably light saddle for your good bike. It's available in black too if pimpy white won't suit your steed; the white finish is bearing up pretty well and it's been pretty resistant to scuffs and knocks.
Good long distance saddle with a unique look. Takes a bit of time to break in and get used to, though.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Selle San Marco Mantra Xsilite saddle
Size tested: White
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?
"The word mantra comes from a combination of the two Sanskrit words manas (mind) and trayati (to free). The mantra can therefore be considered a sound able to free the mind of worries.
"The San Marco Mantra draws inspiration precisely from this: freeing the mind, without any worries about comfort or style, in order to focus entire on performance."
No, we're not sure what that means either.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, I found it a good distance saddle
Would you consider buying the product? I'll probably stick to my faves
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, it's worth a go
About the tester
Age: 37 Height: 190cm Weight: 96kg
I usually ride: whatever I\\\'m testing... My best bike is: Genesis Equilibrium with Ultegra 6700
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling, track
Dave is a founding father of road.cc, having previously worked on Cycling Plus and What Mountain Bike magazines back in the day. He also writes about e-bikes for our sister publication ebiketips. He's won three mountain bike bog snorkelling World Championships, and races at the back of the third cats.