Being perfectly honest, I have never reviewed a bike saddle before. For some reason, I struggled to know how to go about it. My personal experience (and that of most people I have spoken to about saddles) is that it is difficult to make recommendations about something that is so personal. So, (pun intended) I’ll start at the bottom!
Arrival at this choice of saddle was, for me, part necessity. My original saddle was beginning to wear out and come apart at the seams. In truth, I had never been that happy with the old model as it seemed to cause me issues with numbness in my feet. Whilst hiring a bike on Corfu, I experienced a Specialized saddle with a large centre cut-out. This appeared to give me far less problems with numbness. So, on our return from Greece, the search was on.
My decision to change saddle presented me with a totally bewildering selection. A quick check of road bike saddles on Chain Reaction Cycles found over 400. Time to get ruthless! Since I am not a wealthy cyclist, price was definitely a factor and anything over £100 was canned quickly. Since I am also not the fastest on two wheels, it was comfort over weight advantages every day of the week. Frankly, I couldn’t be bothered to pore over saddles in bike shops either. So, buying blind on the Internet was the way forward.
Eventually, after too much deliberation than should be healthy for most people, I opted for the Selle Italia Max Flite Gel Flow Saddle. From what I could see, this saddle would be perfect for my ample backside. It looked comfortable, had the requisite cut-out sections, appeared well made and it matched my bike (well, you know how it is). At £68.00 (the price I paid and not necessarily what it costs now), it did not break my budget. So, the deal was done.
Upon arrival, the Max Flite appeared all that I had hoped for. The Max Flite is a progression of earlier Selle Italia designs but, is slightly wider. The construction is based on Vanox rails and a shell made from 10% Carbon composite. Padding comes from inserts in silicone gel with differentiated thickness around the cut-out area. Finally, the covering is breathable full-grain leather. The “nose” of the saddle drops away on a curve to assist with comfort.
The whole thing feels and like a quality product. It weighs in at a shade under 300g which is not particularly light but is not that heavy either. In all honesty, a few grams make absolutely no difference to my cycling performance but, increased comfort does have an important part to play.
The Max Flite has been used for quite a number of rides now and I have to say, I am impressed. This saddle is certainly comfortable. On my first ride using it, I felt I was slipping around a bit on it but, I am not sure whether this was down to the saddle not being “bedded-in” or the shorts I was wearing. I haven’t noticed the same feeling again, though. There is plenty of ventilation from the cut-out (it may not be a great sub-zero saddle) and it seems to have alleviated my numb feet which is certainly a big bonus. The padding is ample but, the saddle still manages to feel taught and solid and genuinely feels as though it will last well.
As yet, I haven’t tested the saddle beyond a 30 mile ride but, from my experience thus far I would think it will be comfortable on sportive or Audax distances. I would recommend the Max Flite.