I first ran into Selle Anatomica on Vimeo. Watching how every saddle is made by hand in Wisconsin lured me in. Then, I naturally browsed the internet to see what others were saying about their saddles. Reading far more positive than negative reviews (hey it’s the internet), I decided to investigate further. It seemed the word on the street is they are comfortable from day one, a feat not often carried across the leather saddle market. I don’t have or want to spend months breaking in a saddle, so maybe this is the saddle I am looking for?
I’ve been in the market for a leather saddle for some time. Looking around various touring style bicycles at the Interbike trade show last Fall, I came across the Kona Rove. It was in my price range and had all the features I require. There was one thing missing, a proper leather saddle.
After meeting with Carol and Ryan at Interbike, I knew their X-Series saddle would be a perfect match for my Rove. It’s Made in America, looks fantastic and the test ride went well. Fast forward several months later, over 600 miles in the saddle, and I am happy as a clam I made the right choice. You see, I’ve had several leather saddle experiences, none of them going my way. From mile one, the Selle Anatomica saddle has been comfortable. Would a saddle this comfy last when others seem to require such a long break in period? The only way to answer that question is with experience. Experience you cannot get from riding around the block. Before I could share my thoughts with all of you, I needed to invest some serious time in the saddle and that’s what I did.
The first thing I noticed getting into ride one is how the saddle flexes independently. Anyone who rides as often as I do can tell you that your sit bones aren’t joined together like the rear axle on your truck. They are more like independent front suspension, for your rear. The slot down the center allows for the saddle to move with you, SA calls it Flex-Fly. A properly fit bicycle will prevent your hips from excessive rocking but your sit bones are always moving back and forth with the movement of your legs. I’ve found this flex not only comfortable on long rides, it also takes the sting out of large bumps in the road (think potholes).
The pressure you often feel with a poor saddle fit is called perineal pressure. Most of us will only feel small amounts of this in our lifetime, but touring and professional cyclists can suffer serious long-term problems from this if not handled. Selle Anatomica provides a guide on how to properly setup your new saddle with every purchase. Pay attention to the plastic card that your saddle is wrapped around when you open the box. If you need more help, here’s a video to guide you. I took my time setting up the saddle from the get go and you should too. Your bottom spends a wealth of time there, get it right. To date, I’ve had zero pressure, pinching or saddle sore issues on the X-Series.
Now this is the only thing that frustrated me with the saddle, and this is something very specific. My favorite saddle bag is the Topeak Aero Wedge Pack, which uses a small plastic bracket you attach to the saddle rails. The chromoly rails on the X-Series are a touch wider than normal, thus the bracket doesn’t fit. A simple purchase of a strap style bag and the problem is solved. Still, I was bummed. I am sure I could have bent them to shape, but I wasn’t about to possibly ruin my new saddle. There are two hangers off the back of the saddle for randonneur style bags if that’s your cup of tea.
Sella Anatomica offers two types of leathers, Watershed Leather and TruLeather, mine is the latter. The TruLeather saddle is tanned using vegetable oil and tree bark. There are also two laminates that help reduce stretching for riders 160-250 pounds. I’m around 200 pounds so you get an idea of the weight I am putting on the saddle. The laminate runs across the entire length and width of the saddle, keeping it completely protected. The rivets that attach the leather to the C-form pass through the laminates which adds strength and rigidity. You can get gunmetal or copper rivets to match your bicycle.
The saddle is delivered with proper tension from the factory (depending on your weight). Across the nose you’ll find the Hex Tension Bolt. The 6mm hex is already on your multi-tool, no special tool required. SA suggests you tension the bolt after 100-200 miles. I did around the 200 mark and again just recently passing 600 miles. The saddle still feels like new and the shape (hammock like) is holding up very well. Saddles are very personal, if you tip the scales a little more, the saddle may require more tension to retain its shape. Your mileage will vary.
No, that isn’t my water bottle on the ground, yes I did pick it up. For $159, you will not find a more comfortable leather saddle. I’d argue you won’t find one more comfortable regardless of the price. I don’t find myself shifting, squirming or having to adjust “myself” nearly as much as I do with other saddles. Aside from a small issue with my saddle bag, I recommend you give Selle Anatomica a look if you’re in the market for a comfortable, classic looking saddle that won’t break the bank. My next one will be red with copper rivets. Super sexy.
Head on over to Selle Anatomica to checkout their full line of saddles here, or if you’re like me and buy a lot on Amazon, grab one here. If you have any questions or have one of these saddles, let me know how its holding up for you in the comments. Happy trails!
The new X-Series saddles look better than ever, are comfortable right out of the box, Made in America and add that extra finishing touch to your build only a leather saddle can. Highly recommended.