Selle Italia is one of the longest running businesses producing bicycle components. We are not talking last century, but the one before that! They started making saddles in 1897.
Sitting through the Years
If you started riding road bikes in the 1980s you more than likely spent some time sat on a Turbo saddle. If you rode a lot in the 1990s, you may well have perched on a Flite. Selle Italia have truly dominated the saddle industry. In the early days in Italy, cars were unaffordable, and most people rode bikes. Mass market saddle production sustained the company until the Bigolin family took over the business. The Bigolins set the business on an upward trajectory with saddles for leisure and performance bikes. They evolved from making just 40 saddles per day using ancient machinery, to a state of the art production plant, producing carbon, titanium and gel inserts – all to keep even the pickiest of riders more comfortable.
Selle Italia had the best riders using their saddles. Bernard Hinault had his own branded ‘Turbo’ saddle in the 1980s, Marco Pantani had his ‘Flite’ in the 1990s.
Selle San Marco was Selle Italia’s main rival through this period, however, their ‘Rolls’ and the ‘Concor’ saddles found it tough to compete, the two companies between them pretty much had the market for leisure and performance bikes sewn up. Selle Italia bought Selle San Marco in 2016.
Saddle technology has transformed bike rider comfort in recent years. Shapes, widths, lengths, cut-outs and grooves have brought comfort to many. Catering not just for the different sexes, but also widths and lengths of sit bones, weights and type of usage. Catering for the wide variety of people who ride bikes has been a key aspect to their ongoing success.
Selle Italia at Merlin
See all Selle Italia products here.
Check out the 120 years anniversary video from 2017 below: