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When it comes to cycling saddles, it is impossible to ignore Italian giant Selle Italia, which for more than half a century continues to push the limits and potential of this small but integral part of the bicycle and its sport. Inherited from a brother who owned Selle Royal in 1967, Giuseppe Bigolin steadily transformed the struggling company into an industry leader.
Bigolin was one of the first in the industry to establish long-term relationships with top professionals, and much of his company’s success drew from collaborations with legends like Eddy Merckx, Bernard Hinault and Marco Pantani. Bigolin understood that riders wanted more than just an endorsement check; they wanted personalization, a saddle that met their specific needs and expressed their identity. And Bigolin delivered.
His collaboration with Hinault produced the legendary Turbo saddle, with Hinault’s own signature engraved into the nose. And since then Selle Italia has continued to innovate. It has launched a comprehensive program to match riders with the right saddle; and the line of saddles such as the SP01 allows each side of the saddle to move independently under the rider, a system called Suspension Link Movement.
And, without a doubt, Bigolin’s genius has continued in 2019 with the astonishing Shortfit Supercomfort Racing Wide saddle (sold under Bigolin’s San Marco brand). While its lengthy name may lack subtlety, it deftly defines this saddle’s strengths. Combining the advantages of both the Shortfit design with its Supercomfort technology, the saddle inspires a competition position and a comfortable ride. While the Shortfit design found its origins in triathlons for athletes who could spend hours on the nose of their saddles, it has now become a fixture in the peloton and is often favored by the biggest engines of the professional ranks.
The Supercomfort technology was developed considering the specific components that facilitate comfort with its long, central cutout and its combination of Biofoam with an additional layer of gel. The use of such elements, along with its wide fit, simply makes the Shortfit Supercomfort a joy to ride. And for riders who suffer from recurrent saddle sores the saddle provides some real solutions.
We rode more than 200 miles a week for a month or so this past spring and were impressed by the saddle’s versatility and comfort. It is common to find a comfortable position on nearly every quality saddle today, but where the Shortfit Supercomfort really shines is in the number of comfortable positions. If you are driving on the nose of the saddle, leveraging on the rear or just spinning along in the saddle’s sweet spot, comfort is never an issue.
Although in his 70s, Bigolin still rides consistently and insists that the conception of many of his saddles comes while out on rides. And the Shortfit Supercomfort was undoubtedly a result of one of his more successful outings. sellesanmarco.it
This story originally appeared in issue 88