It’s hard to tell now, but this was the saddle that truly ushered in the era of the modern performance saddle. Looking first at a rider’s anatomy, and then at how to design a saddle for that anatomy may seem like common sense, but it wasn’t done right until the Contour Royal debuted in the 70’s. Now, under the Origins banner, Selle Royal is bringing it back.
The Contour Royal is, of course, still hand made in Italy, as it was when it won a Giro stage immortalized in the now legendary picture of pure cycling bliss as Marino Basso crossed the finish line on the Circuito del Mugello. The shape is old school thinking meets ergonomics. No cut outs, or thigh glides, but a fairly narrow nose and very little swale showed the way forward for future saddle design.
The leather version is available in black, white, and light brown, weighs 395 grams and costs 89.90 in euros. For the PETA crowd a microtex Contour Royal is available in blue, white and black, weighs 395 grams and can be had for 59.90 in euros.
At 395 grams the saddle is not destined for any race bikes, and if you run a cut out saddle or Fizik VS saddle you won’t be super comfortable perched out on the nose. The Contour Royal is more about great style and comfort with a bit of an upright position. With your sit bones firmly on the rear of the saddle it is pure joy. While the marketing material is all fixies and hipsters, we’ve run the saddle on town bikes, commuters and even a 1983 Ciocc project bike. Each and every one of those bikes was the better for it.