Selle Respiro – Saddle Test

When we ride enduro, unlike other gravity elements in the bike world, we spend quite a lot of time on our saddles. At the same time we need something which we can move around easily is robust and not too heavy. Whilst doing regular updates to our Twitter feed, Selle Royal started a conversation with us about saddles… So we asked them about what they had that is good for enduro. Firstly they said that they are developing/will propose a 2013 enduro saddle for us and secondly they would send us something to try in the meantime.

As we are open to most ideas we said yes and have now had some serious time on the Selle Respiro Athletic. Normally we use a WTB Volt which is pretty comfortable but on very long rides can get hard. So the Respiro was quite an eye opener as it is not your traditional race enduro styled saddle and is probably meant for cruising around more.

Comparing to the WTB Volt saddle and the Selle Royal Respiro.

On first appearances it looked bigger and less sleek than we were expecting, compared to the WTB Volt, the market segment this is aimed at is different. It has manganese rails and a unique cooling system where the air flows in the front of the saddle and cools your groin area. The rear part especially of the saddle was well padded with gel that conformed to our sit bones very quickly.

Patented ventilation system.

To cut a long story short then after 50 hours of testing we have to say the Selle Respiro Athletic is comfortable and very useable as an enduro saddle.

We were testing the Athletic model not the sleeker looking Sport model. It does look bigger than what we are used to, compared to our race style WTB Volt saddle, but in this case when you are sitting on it and training riding you and no one else can see it, and the slightly larger form factor is there for a reason, to aid the designers to focus on increased comfort.

This saddle was designed it seems for training rides and long term saddle time  and wasn’t originally aimed at the enduro market. As we approach this sport and testing from a “normal rider” point of view, we appreciate products for their use characteristics, after using this saddle we are now questioning why marketing in the bike industry generally focuses so much on narrow less comfortable saddles, when many of the people who ride want comfort, probably don’t race and want usability first and after 50km dont want their arse to hurt!

Here comfort/performance seems to be important as the fundamental aspect of this design, which is influenced by the cooling system and royal gel components. We can honestly say that movements on the bike, on and off the saddle and long ride comfort were excellent and Selle have made some excellent choices when designing this saddle from an ergonomic point of view. There is a stable platform which allows a rider many hours pedalling in comfort yet does allow some ease of movement for descent and technical riding. The WTB Volt saddle is higher performance when it comes to body movements around it on the bike in technical descents as it’s form factor is slimmer. Considering this then though the Selle Respiro is a ample performer and we await to try their more enduro based version in this respect.

We do have to say that it was hard to notice any cooling effect the vent system was having immediately. But after switching back to our normal saddle to compare for a while we can say that it did have an effect and we were a little less hot and sweaty when riding generally, in our groin area, however without a heat seeking camera it is quite hard to measure.

Saddle construction was solid and reliable, with no noticeable excessive wear or damage noticed, despite us not being “nice” to it. The weight is slightly more than our traditional race style saddle, but we didn’t notice the extra grams on the bike and to have comfort and the cooling effect design elements like this, the desginers have to add a bit of weight, if a rider wants light weight then that always comes at a price of less comfort.

Overall then in our opinion this saddle is actually a very good, very comfortable, robust, practical saddle that we have really enjoyed using. After getting off the bike after long rides we were noticeablly less sore and have no problems reccomending this type of saddle for easy going enduro riding.  Selle Royal do tell us, as we mentioned before that they will propose an enduro focused saddle, which we are looking forward to trying, the elements that will probably be focused on will be weight and performance compared to the Respiro Athletic, and will probably contain some design elements from their Respiro Sport. Comfort and useabilty then is what we want and in these times we don’t have to worry about putting a cushion to our seat to get it if we just want to go for a ride comfortably.

Price: €69.99


14 August 2012  ~  Written by

Posted under:  Parts Test

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I-MTB is an online MTB magazine and trail areas operator based in Tuscany, Italy

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