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Selle Italia X-LR Ti316 Superflow saddle review

Selle Italia combines its current saddles to create a lightweight racey off-road saddle, but is less in fact more?

A top-down view of the black Selle Italia X-LR TI316 Superflow saddle, with central cut-out, black X on the right flank and shiny gloss finish on the nose
(Image: © Sean Fishpool)

Our Verdict

For XC riders, marathon racers and cyclo-crossers, the X-LR Ti316 shows that less is sometimes more

For

  • - Lightweight
  • - Surprisingly comfortable
  • - Easy to maneuver on
  • - Useful scuff bumpers

Against

  • - Price
  • - Limited cushioning won't suit everyone

Selle Italia’s X-LR SuperFlow saddles take the classic profile of its SLR and Flite saddles and give it a pure off-road focus, with scuff bumpers, a great shape, and a practical combination of cover materials to bring it in line with the best mountain bike saddles. Its curved profile and light padding won’t be for everyone, but for some riders it will be a fast and liberating ride. Here we’re reviewing the Ti316 model, which sits in the middle of the X-LR range. 

Design and aesthetics 

The X-LR is an elegant perch, the rear wings cutting away quickly to a narrow front section and a significantly down-curved tip. The large center cutout and the highly curved cross-section reflect its intent: it’s a minimalist saddle designed for a more aggressive, forward-tilted riding position, or for riders with a naturally forward rotated pelvis.

The X-LR Ti316 sits on titanium rails, attached to a carbon and nylon undershell for stiffness and light weight. The cushioning is thin and firm, covered with a taut, hand-stretched cover.

The underside of the Selle Italia X-LR Ti316 Superflow saddle, highlighting the titanium rails and carbon/nylon base

Selle Italia X-LR Ti316 Superflow saddle has titanium rails and a carbon/nylon base (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

The rear two-thirds of the cover is matt and moderately grippy, the front third with the sloping tip is deliberately shiny and smooth, to make it easier to get back into position when you’ve been off the saddle. Softer padding in the front section also helps the remounts.

Plastic side bumpers extend beyond the cushioning at the widest points, to protect the saddle in a crash or when it’s leaning against a rough wall. Every scrap of material on the X-LR seems to have earned its place, and there’s nothing there that doesn’t need to be.

The color options are equally minimal, it’s black or black.

The X-LR comes in two widths. More significantly for your wallet and the weight of your bike, it also comes in three chassis materials: manganese 224g at $99.99 / £85.00; titanium (tested), 176g at $214.99 / £160.00; and carbon, 138g at $330.00 / £230.00.

That’s $114.99 / £75.00 for a 50g weight saving on the ti model, and $230.00 / £145.00 for an 86g weight saving on the carbon. Both materials also have their own shock-absorbing qualities over the base model and have more durable Fibra-Tek covers.

An angled top-down view of the Selle Italia X-LR TI316 Superflow showing the cut-out and shoulder bumpers

Plastic shoulder bumpers add toughness to the Selle Italia X-LR TI316 Superflow (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Performance 

A narrow, curved, lightly padded saddle like the X-LR is a great advert for the benefits of getting a saddle that fits. Whereas it could have been incredibly uncomfortable, for me my weight carried through my sit bones onto the curved edges in the right place, and the cutout was just right, even when perched slightly forward in the saddle for climbs.

Though the cushioning is thin and firm, it’s surprisingly protective when combined with the little bit of natural flex in the carbon-infused shell underneath it, and it does have the magic feeling of being super purposeful and direct when you put the power down. 

The real delight was the freedom of movement. The narrow front section (36mm, compared with 47mm on the Spank Spike 160 for example) gives plenty of room for unhindered pedaling, and the curved sides and relatively smooth materials make it super-easy to let the bike move under you when you need to. That curved shiny nose also helps maneuverability.

A side-on view of the Selle Italia X-LR TI316 Superflow saddle, showing off its thin racey profile

Selle Italia X-LR TI316 Superflow has thin racey profile (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Verdict

Saddles are an immensely personal preference but if you have the budget, we have no problem in suggesting the X-LR TI316. For cross-country riders in particular it’s a great combination of lightweight, maneuverable form and surprising protection. Some riders would only use it for racing, few would find it ideal for long, rough, rocky days, but for others, it’s a great fast all-around option.

Tech Specs: Selle Italia X-LR TI316 SuperFlow 

  • Price: $214.99 /  £159.90
  • Weight: 176g (L)
  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: S 131 x 266 mm / L (tested) 145 x 266 mm 
  • Key materials: Titanium rails, carbon-infused shell, polyurethane foam cushioning, Fibra-Tek cover 
Sean Fishpool

Sean has old school cycle touring in his blood, with a coast to coast USA ride and a number of month-long European tours in his very relaxed palmares. Also an enthusiastic midpack club cyclocross racer and XC racer, he loves his role as a junior cycle coach on the Kent/Sussex borders, and likes to squeeze in a one-day unsupported 100-miler on the South Downs Way at least once a year. Triathlon and adventure racing fit into his meandering cycling past, as does clattering around the Peak District on a rigid Stumpjumper back in the day.


Height: 173cm

Weight: 65kg

Rides: Canyon Inflite CF SLX; Specialized Chisel Comp; Canyon Aeroad; Roberts custom road bike