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Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle review – an agile, comfortable gem

An expensive but lightweight and versatile saddle for gravel and cross-country riding

Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle
(Image: © Sean Fishpool)

Our Verdict

It’s expensive but fortunately it’s not just about light weight: the Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX hits a real sweet spot as a supportive, all-day gravel saddle.

For

  • - Well-judged shock absorption
  • - Light weight
  • - Balance of maneuverability and stability
  • - Nice looks

Against

  • - Premium price

Selle San Marco’s Allroad Open-Fit saddle combines a road-like long, slender nose with off-road-friendly shock absorption and maneuverability. It’s designed to be an all-rounder, hence the name, and it could just be one of the most gravel-compatible saddles we’ve tested in a while. We’ve been getting to know the Carbon FX version, so here’s whether or not we think it deserves a spot in our list of the best gravel bike saddles.

Our testing explained

For information on Bike Perfect's testing procedures and how our scoring system works, see our how we test page.

Design and aesthetics

The Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX has almost the longest length – from tip to the widest point at the rear – of all the models in our current test batch. It has a curved lateral profile, and a long central cutout (the ‘Open-Fit’ in the name), that continues as a slight channel all the way to the front and rear ends of the saddle. From this central point, the edges slope downwards at around 30 degrees at the widest point.

From end to end it has a slightly waved profile, so you sit ever so slightly in a dip, before the rear section rises at around 12 degrees for support. Significantly, the nose of the saddle has a long downward angle, around 65mm in all, right from behind the point at which the rails attach underneath. 

The saddle’s cover is a pleasing matte material called Microfeel. It has a moderate amount of friction — enough to help keep you in place, but never so much that you notice it against your shorts — and there’s an abrasion-resistant woven material on the edges, which does the trick but holds on to dirt, if you care about that sort of thing.

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Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle

Selle San Marco’s Allroad Open-Fit saddle combines a road-like long, slender nose with off-road friendly shock absorption and maneuverability (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)
Image 2 of 3

Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle

From end to end it has a slightly waved profile, so you sit ever so slightly in a dip, before the rear section rises (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)
Image 3 of 3

Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle

It has a curved lateral profile, and a long central cutout (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Specifications

The 154g, $215.99 Allroad Carbon sits at the top of the Allroad family, above the Racing (175g, $183.49) and the Dynamic (200g, $108.99). 

It sits on carbon-fiber composite rails that come together in an x-shape at the tip end. That’s intended to add comfort and reduce twisting, and one thing it does do is give a longer rail length, for more adjustability on the bike. Note that — as with most carbon saddle rails — these are flat-sided (to allow for greater depth and strength), so they won’t work with side-clamping seat clamps, at least without an adapter. If you’re wondering about the risk of carbon suddenly cracking, you can be reassured that, as with other rails, the carbon fibers are interwoven with other materials like Kevlar.

The shell (base) of the Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX is carbon fiber reinforced nylon rather than pure carbon fiber, which keeps costs down and retains some compliance, at the cost of a little weight.

It’s a pleasing saddle visually (even with the ingrained dirt), and it looks sleek and puposeful.

It only comes in one width — 146mm — which puts it into the L3 sizing in Selle San Marco’s scheme, but that was fine even for this tester’s skinny hips.

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Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle

It has very long rails, providing more on-bike adjustability (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)
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Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX saddle

The rails are flat-sided, to allow for greater depth and strength (Image credit: Sean Fishpool)

Performance

The Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX is a saddle I kept coming back to, and not just because of its handy 75g weight saving over the others I was testing. 

Its shape suited my hips and my riding style really well, and the design played a number of elements off against each other very successfully. For example, the curved sides suited my preference for easily shifting my body position on the trails, while the raised back balanced that with a degree of security, and also helped on climbs. 

The long nose was great for letting you keep a line by applying a little pressure with the inside of your leg when out of the saddle, but at the same time, the pronounced drop of the nose kept it nicely out of the way while pedaling and avoided any hint of unwanted pressure. 

And the mid-firm cushioning, for me at least, gave a nice sense of contact with the bike and efficient power transfer, while soaking up what felt like just the sort of off-road bumps and chatter that you would actually stay seated while riding on. I wonder if the carbon rails helped with that too, as some successful layups do an extraordinary job of providing both compliance and stiffness simultaneously.

Notably, getting the saddle into the right position on the seatpost made more of a difference with the Allroad than with some other models. If you sit too far forward on it, perching your soft tissue on the edges of the cutout isn’t much fun and definitely doesn’t do it justice. A centimeter back and the magic starts to happen.

Verdict

This isn’t cheap but it’s a peach of a saddle for off-road riding. For this tester at least, it manages to be unobtrusive, yet supportive in just the right way. It’s pleasingly lightweight, and its different components work together to an agreeably vibration-reducing effect.

Tech Specs: Selle San Marco Allroad Open-Fit Carbon FX 

  • Price:  $244.99 / £179.99
  • Colors: Black
  • Sizes: 268 x 146mm (one size, as tested)
  • Lateral profile: Curved
  • Weight: 154g
  • Key materials: Rails: Carbon fiber;  Shell: Carbon-reinforced nylon
Sean Fishpool
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 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