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Due to popular demand, and no doubt the surge of popularity of classic styled fixed gear and single speed road bikes, Selle San Marco have re-released a range of three of their classic saddle designs; named the Vintage line, it consists of the Rolls, the Concor, and as tested here, the Regal.
Despite having been previously out of production for some years, the San Marco Regal was still seen gracing the bikes of many Pro riders during this time; just check out pictures of Tom Boonen winning this year’s Paris-Roubaix, or Stijn Devolder in 2008 Tour de France to see recovered black Regals, with its distinctive sloping nose. This despite it not being the official saddle of these riders’ teams, shows the depth of devotion some riders feel for this saddle. The Regal has in fact managed to stay on the Pro scene for the last 20 years; there can’t be many bike components that can claim that!
This is no lightweight saddle, tipping the scales at 369g; it feels quite hefty compared to the saddles we have become accustomed to nowadays. The steel rails add a fair amount to the weight; the more expensive Ti railed version weighs in around 280g.
Saddles are one area that many are happy to accept extra weight though, especially if it can provide all day comfort, which can make the difference between an enjoyable day in the saddle or hours of pain and discomfort.
The Regal now offers 4 cover options; smooth black or white leather, black textured leather, and as tested here, brown suede.
The rear of the saddle cover is held in place by a series of large, decorative copper rivets that pass through the saddle shell, and compliment the copper plated steel rails to give the saddle a distinctly retro look.
Installing the saddle exposes a couple of peculiarities that are worth noting –
Firstly, the Regal's sides extend down to just below the rails, which can make it difficult to install on seat-post clamps that have side accessed adjuster bolts, as the sides cover the clamp.
Second is the clamping area of the saddle rails. There is around 70mm of useable rail available to allow for fore/aft adjustment, but this is located much further toward the rear of the saddle than many modern saddles, which tend to locate this area around the middle of the saddle. For example, the Fizik Arione has the same 70mm clamping area, but it starts 110mm from the nose at the front and ends about 100mm from the tail at the rear. By contrast the Regal’s clamp area starts 145mm from the nose and ends 65mm from the tail.
This means that the saddle tends to mount further forward than many saddles, and can be difficult to install far enough back on seat-posts that don’t have lots of layback.
On initial contact the Regal doesn’t give the impression of being a comfortable perch, the shell is pretty stiff, and the foam padding, although dense, is quite slim.
My first ride impression was that looks were not deceiving; the saddle was quite hard and unforgiving, but as the ride went on I seemed to get more comfortable on it. This continued as more rides and miles were racked up. A few hundred miles later and the hull has developed a little more give, and although not plush it is supportive and surprisingly comfortable.
It appears that you need to share a few hundred miles with the Regal before you feel at home on it. It remains firm, but acceptably forgiving for long rides.
The saddle's overall profile is a fairly flat one, with a slight rise at the tail; this is enough to push against, and combined with the firm shell it provides an efficient feeling base when putting the power down.
The brown suede has marked with use, primarily where my sit bones contact, and at the sides of the nose due to thigh rub. I have noticed more contact between my thighs and the nose of the saddle than I am used to with my Fizik Arione, but this is again diminishing as the suede has worn in and become smoother. Sweat does mark the cover, but it has developed a nice patina over time, adding to the vintage look and feel.
This is a true classic, and if you can accept the weight penalty of this saddle, you get a very supportive base with good comfort levels - once you have broken each other in – for a very reasonable price.
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Make and model: Selle San Marco Regal
Size tested: Tan Suede
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Age: 43 Height: 6' 1" Weight: 155 lbs
I usually ride: Litespeed Icon My best bike is: as above
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, fixed/singlespeed, mtb, Track Cycling