Selle SMP Dynamic saddle review – butt ugly, butt comfortable

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle stands out from the current crop of short nose saddles, is this accentuated saddle shape the answer to riding comfort?

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle pictured against a wall
(Image: © Graham Cottingham)

BikePerfect Verdict

The unconventional shape is challenging on the eye and a little tricky to set up, but once you find the sweet spot it's an incredibly comfortable saddle for drop bar riding.

Pros

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    Long rails give plenty to fore and aft positioning

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    Locked in yet very supportive seating position

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    Excellent pedaling dynamics

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    Option to try before you buy

Cons

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    Optimal saddle position may be limited by the seatpost tilt range

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    Challenging looks

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    Plenty of colors, all awful

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    The black option isn't vegan-friendly

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    Heavy

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    Expensive even with metal rails

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Selle SMP is an Italian saddle manufacturer making a wide range of saddles that certainly stand out from the crowd of short-nose perches. If the name doesn’t ring a bell you will certainly remember if you have seen one of these saddles before as they have a very striking wavey shape that's hard to miss. 

The exaggerated ergonomics have become Selle SMP’s unique selling point, so how does this unconventional shape line up against the best gravel bike saddles?  

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle pictured from the side

Dynamic in name, dynamic in shape (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Design and specification

Let's break down Selle SMP’s thinking behind its trademark unusual saddle shape. The center dip is designed to offer pelvis support and stability which Selle SMP claims to improve pedaling performance while the rear flick and rounded rear profile are shaped to protect the coccyx. Loads of saddle manufacturers use center channels to reduce pressure on the perineal and prostate areas. Selle SMP has specced a huge center channel to promote blood flow and protect soft tissue, nerve, and vascular structure downstairs. Finally, the dropped nose, which Selle SMP calls the Eagle Beak Tip, is claimed to improve comfort in a low position.

Selle SMP’s Dynamic saddle is a unisex saddle aimed at medium to large sit bone measurements (widths between 11.6cm to 15cm). The saddle uses a carbon-reinforced nylon shell, measuring 138mm in width and 274mm long, and is topped with a thin uniform layer of foam padding.

The Dynamic comes in two rail options, I have the AISI 304 stainless steel tube with a 7.1 mm rail diameter on test but there's also the unidirectional carbon fiber with oval 7.1 x 9.0 mm rails. The rails on my test saddle are long with a 90mm knarled clamping section with measurement markers.

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle rail details

Long rails give loads of forward and back adjustment (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

The SMP Dynamic comes in loads of colors although I would probably opt for the black option as the saddle is already eye-catching enough. Bad news if you’re vegan/vegetarian though as despite all the color options using a microfiber cover, the black is the only one made from real leather.

The bold red and yellow color combo I have on test isn’t a purchasable colorway but segways nicely to a service that Selle SMP offers potential customers. By working with bike fitters and local bike shops, customers can get test saddles to try out before stumping up their cash, plus saddle installation and sit bone measurement services too. It is worth taking advantage of this considering the saddle's unusual shape and premium pricing. You can find your local SMP4test center (test and installation) and S-Tool Center (sit bone measurements) using the store locator on the Selle SMP website.

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle pictured from the behind

SMP4test allows you to try the saddle out yourself  (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Performance

Saddle setup is often a tricky process at the best of times but with a saddle with such a radical shape, it can take some experimentation to find the sweet spot. With the exaggerated shapes, I found the saddle had a specific sweet spot within the saddle’s curves that required some careful angling to get just right. Fore and aft adjustment plays a role here too as you need to make sure the position is in the right place over the pedals and the long clamping section of the rail gives plenty of scope in this department.

Set up is a little tricky to judge by eye due to the wavey shape but after some trial and error, I settled on a 2-degree nose-up position. I was able to get the saddle into a comfortable position on my test bike, however, the resulting saddle rail angle was at the end of my seatpost tilt range. This will differ between seatpost brands and your individual saddle and bike setups but worth keeping in mind. 

I have done a range of different rides, clocking up over 500km in total on the Selle SMP, and found the SMP Selle Dynamic saddle to be very supportive when riding. The scooped shape gives a locked-in feel whether I was on the tops or in the drops, although there is still some scope for shuffling around if you like to adjust your position. During efforts, particularly on climbs, the raised rear gives something to push against when pressing hard on the pedals. The padding may be thin but the amount of comfort felt spot on for me and the larger-than-average cut-out worked well too, eliminating any numbness or pressure points. 

Saddles are a very personal thing but I'm not convinced of the necessity of the droopy saddle nose as even when I was shuffled forwards and in the drops, I didn't feel the dropped nose added anything to the comfort. I think shortening the nose would help save some weight and could make it more aesthetically palatable.

Selle SMP Dynamic saddle pictured from the front

I didn't find any utility in the aggressively dropped nose (Image credit: Graham Cottingham)

Verdict

The Selle SMP Dynamic saddle has looks only your backside could love. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the radical shape but I was impressed with the high levels of comfort and support offered, particularly on longer rides.

It will be a hard sell for some due to its divisive looks, weight, and high cost but if you’re struggling to find a comfortable perch with traditional designs, this could be your answer.

Tech specs: Selle SMP Dynamic saddle

  • Price: $269 / €209
  • Sizes: 138mm
  • Weight: 276g 
  • Colors: Black, white, red, yellow, yellow fluo, green IT, green, light blue, blue, black lady, white lady 
Graham Cottingham
Senior reviews writer, Bike Perfect

Graham is all about riding bikes off-road. With almost 20 years of riding experience, he has dabbled in downhill, enduro, and gravel racing. Not afraid of a challenge, Graham has embraced bikepacking over the last few years and likes nothing more than strapping some bags to his bike and covering big miles to explore Scotland's wildernesses. When he isn’t shredding the gnar in the Tweed Valley, sleeping in bushes, or tinkering with bikes, he is writing tech reviews for Bike Perfect.

Rides: Cotic SolarisMax, Stooge MK4, 24 Bicycles Le Toy 3, Surly Steamroller

Height: 177cm

Weight: 71kg