Founded in Italy by Riccardo Bigolin, Selle Royal has been producing saddles for more than 50 years. The company, which began in 1956, now exports saddles to more than 70 countries worldwide. To meet the needs of sport cyclists, Selle Royal created the Performa range of saddles. The new-for-2014 Performa series is comprised of three distinct saddle styles: flat, wave, and anatomic. The wave design, which includes the Saba and Selva models, features a contoured profile with greater padding toward the rear for extra grip and control.
Leading Selle Royal’s wave line is the Saba. The handmade saddle utilizes the company’s Shock Shell base, hollow Secto rails, and FleX Foam padding. While the Saba lacks the long center channel found on the company’s Selva model, the Saba’s profile features a more pronounced dip between the nose and tail sections. The result is a flexible-yet-supportive platform with a definite sweet spot. Even with that sweet spot, however, the 279mm length and padded nose makes it easy to slide forward when climbing steep pitches. The Saba has a suggested retail price of €69.90 (including VAT), and our sample came in at 248g (235g stated weight).
Designed for all-weather, all-terrain use, Selle Royal’s Selva also features the company’s FleX Foam padding, but utilizes slightly heavier manganese rails. Compared to the Saba, the Selva has a flatter (fore-aft) profile, which, combined with the aforementioned center channel, allows for more flexible positioning. Whereas the Saba has a more rounded profile when viewed from the front, the Selva’s profile is more angular, with a flatter peak that runs the length of the saddle. Suggested retail price for the Selva is €49.90 (including VAT), and our test saddle weighed 273g (255g claimed weight).
Riders who spend more time seated in one position would be well served by the Saba. If you’re the type of rider who spends equal time in, and out of the saddle (or tend to move around on the saddle), you may want to consider the Selva. Both models feature Selle Royal’s Integrated Clip System, making them compatible with the company’s saddle accessories. Construction on both samples was excellent, with no excess adhesive, or sloppy edges.
Disclosure: Selle Royal provided product samples for this article, but offered no other form of compensation for this review.