Even gravel-marketing cynics will struggle to build a strong case against the latest version of the Selle Italia Flite. It combines the best of the Flites' shock absorbing features with the Superflow cut out for greater comfort on the rough terrain. The flat and short shape allow plenty of movement both on and off the saddle, and there's a durable Fibra-Tek material to stand up to the grit. It's available in two widths to fit different pelvic shapes and three different colors so you can ensure it matches both you and your bike.
Excellent vibration dampening
Large channel for comfort in the drops
Flat profile and short length to allow movement around the saddle
Choice of widths
Choice of colors
Relatively firm feel won't suit all
Short length won't suit those who want to weight the tip of the saddle on steep climbs
Not available in black
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There’s a huge array of Selle Italia Flite saddles (16 at my count), each with slightly different characteristics to meet a myriad of different price, style and riding choices.
Whilst members of the marketing cynics club may just roll their eyes at the latest ‘gravel’ branding, in the context of the pre-existing collection, the Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow is a natural addition to the range. With the Flites' shock absorbing tech and the Superflow cut out for greater comfort on the rough terrain, is this one of the best bike saddles for gravel riding?
Selle Italia Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow: construction
The Gravel Flite is designed to provide comfort and shock absorbency as well as allowing freedom of movement on and off the saddle. As all the Flites it has a flat profile and it measures 250mm long.
A padded gel layer, the interface between rails and shell, and the titanium rails themselves combine to provide a much higher level of shock absorbance than road versions of the saddle. The Flite Boost Gravel features the large Superflow cut out to reduce perineal-pressure for long periods in the drops and also on the roughest terrain.
The final feature of the Flite Gravel is the durable Fibra-Tek material. And, of course, its color. It’s available in the essential muted gravel hues of grey, brown and dusky blue. Personally I'd like to see a bog-standard black version too.
As with many Selle Italia saddles the Flite Boost Gravel Ti 316 Superflow is available in two different widths (S3 135mm or L3 145mm) to better match different pelvic sizes.
Our L3 saddle weighed 232g, exactly as listed by Selle Italia.
Selle Italia Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow: the ride
The first noticeable thing about the Flite was its relatively firm feel; the gel padding certainly isn’t plush and there isn’t much apparent flex in the saddle. It wasn’t that this was uncomfortable, just not what I expected by the look of the Flite.
The firmness of the gel makes for good feedback that you have the saddle in the right place for your sit bones. After 20 minutes of riding and a couple of tweaks to positioning, I haven’t given the squish (or lack of) a second thought. A good reminder that there’s more to sitting comfort than a luscious first impression.
The second part of the Flites’ comfort is the effectiveness of its shock absorbency; a combination of the gel, Ti rails and the interface between the shell and rails rather than the more obvious flex that I was expecting. Even on off-roads rides exceeding 4 hours I didn’t experience any discomfort from big bumps or the stony trail buzz.
The pressure relief channel made an instant improvement to the comfort both on the drops and the hoods. Of course, this is as much about my previous saddle (a Fabric Scoop) as it is the Superflow channel of the Flite, but the large cut-out is definitely a huge plus point to relieve pressure from soft-tissues particularly when you’re in the drops. Unlike road-riding, this isn’t just when speeding along. I found the biggest comfort benefit was reducing the discomfort from when I was getting bucked riding in the drops on technical trails.
My MTB roots and local trails mean that I tend to move about the bike and saddle quite a bit. The short length of the Flite gave me plenty of room to do this and I didn’t have any occasions of getting hooked up on the saddle when I was off the back or over the front. On the downside, if you ride a lot of steep climbs by perching right on the nose of the saddle, you may find you can’t get as forward as you’d like on the Flite.
So far the Flite has held up well to the demands of gravel riding even in the wet and gritty British winter. I tend to wear baggie shorts which also add a fair amount of abrasion to my saddle compared to silky smooth lycra.
All in all I've been so impressed with the Flite that I've bought road and MTB versions to have a matching set across my bikes.
Selle Italia Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow: value and conclusion
At $258.00 / £211.00 the Selle Italia Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow is a significant investment but not out of line with many other gravel specific saddles.
The Prologo Scratch M5 AGX is a chunk cheaper but doesn’t have Ti rails for shock absorbency or a carbon fibre shell and only comes in one width ($130.00 / £105.00). The Fizik Terra Argo X1 sits in-between at $199.99 / £180.00.
If you were going to get a gravel-specific saddle the Selle Italia Flite Boost Gravel TI 316 Superflow is likely to meet everything on your list of wants. It's designed for optimum shock absorbency, freedom of movement and to relieve unwanted pressure when you're in a forward position as well as coming in two different widths to better fit different bums.
- Weight: S3 - 228 g / L3 - 232 g
- Dimensions: S3 -135 x 250 mm / L3 - 145 x 250 mm
- Rail: TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
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