Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

Saddles and comfort are always a hot topic at BikeEnvy, we get asked for recommendations all the time and whilst there is undoubtedly an element of personal preference, some saddles have almost universal appeal – the Selle Italia Lady saddles fall squarely into this bracket.

 

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

 

Known for producing handmade Italian saddles since 1897, Selle Italia have gone to great lengths to properly understand the anatomic needs of women and produce saddles that are 100% designed for us from first principles, rather than simply adapting a men’s saddle and hoping that will keep us happy.

 

We loved the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow immediately, it is packed full of features that earn it a place in our list of “all-time great cycling components”.  We have had the saddle on test for a number of months now and have tried it on long road rides, in time trials, on the track and, for good measure, off-road as well and we really couldn’t fault it under any circumstances. 

 

The time trial and track riding had us on the drops, or in an aero position, our weight on the front of the saddle and trying to put down serious some power for sustained periods.  We have learned the hard way that, with the wrong saddle this would be extremely uncomfortable, but the Diva Gel Flow has just the right amount of padding at the front of the saddle and it was all good.  Our tester told us she was nervous using it in a time trial; “well it was a race so I wanted to go well, but I also knew that there was no chance to stop and make a change if I really didn’t get on with it, but my husband fitted it and since there were no problems in warm up, I gave it a go.  I have used Selle Italia saddles before and so I expected it would be OK, but I was genuinely surprised at just how comfortable and supportive it was.  I found myself riding right on the nose of the saddle, while pushing a big gear and it all felt really very good.”

 

For the road rides, we were riding in a more upright position, on the tops of the bars and sitting squarely over the generous cut out.  This worked really well for us, with the cut out relieving pressure on our super sensitive soft “under-carriage” and the off road riding gave us a chance to test the suspension, with some butt thumping descents – once again it earned a big thumbs up; no soreness, bruising, numbness or chafing.

 

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow in black

 

This saddle is narrower than some, but you shouldn’t equate this with a lack of comfort.  Wider saddles can be great for short rides and when riding in a more upright position, because quite simply there is more to sit on, but these saddles can also put the hips in an unnatural position and may interfere with pedalling, especially at high revs.  So, bizarrely, narrower saddles tend to be more comfortable for longer rides, because they allow the body to find a more natural position and allow the legs to turn more freely. 

 

The Diva Flow delivers comfort from a combination of many factors.  Obviously, the overall shape and design is important and it is clear that Selle Italia know what we women need in that respect, but there is much more to this saddle that that.  The shell is made of a 10% carbon composite, with Vanox seat rails and incorporates elastomer suspension, which acts as a shock absorber.  This works with silicone gel inserts, which sit on top of variable padding, all formed around the cut out section and when you sit on it you realise that the result is greater than the sum of the parts.

 

The saddle is finished in breathable, full-grain leather, which took a real beating from us and still looks new, so it must be extremely hard wearing and suggests there would be many years of use in it.

 

At 265g, it is not the lightest saddle on the market – that prize goes to a men’s saddle which weighs in at less than 100g and cost five times as much! – and on the subject of cost, at £75 it is not a cheap saddle either.  You can pick up a saddle for just £15, but if you ride for more than an hour or so you will probably regret your choice and given that you can pay well over £100 without trying too hard, we believe the Diva Flow represents good value for money.

 

So if you are looking for a compromise between comfort and pure performance, then the Diva Gel Flow is a clear winner – it works well on and off road, in all riding positions and it is built to last with top quality components.

 

Price: £74.99

Colour: black or white

Website: www.chickencycles.co.uk

 

Performance: 9/10

Value: 8.5/10

 

Tested by Janet Birkmyre

 

 

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