In my quest to create the ultimate vintage gravel bike I started researching the best carbon bike saddles the market had to offer.
I had already obtained a set of beautiful carbon Spinergy wheels for my 1998 Cannondale Killer V. And there’s just something about seeing those naked carbon fibers in bicycle parts. Somehow it exudes the air that either you’re a rich yuppy, pretending to be one or are just very serious about cycling.
But, as we all know, carbon is like the black gold of the cycling industry. Because adding carbon parts to your bike tends to be very pricey.
But buying one of these carbon bike saddles has very little to do with making sound financial choices. Much more with making a statement.
When you move into the area of full carbon bike saddles there are a number of providers who are highly specialized in this area. And Gelu with their K-3 offering is one of them.
It’s absolutely astonishing what this Portugese company has achieved considering the fact this 38 gram saddle will support a full grown human being.
And yes, if you perform such a breathtaking feat of engineering you have every right to charge 495 euros.
While not the most expensive price it does take the highest price per gram trophy by far with just over €13 per gram (13.02 to be exact). That’s about as expensive as cocaine in Brazil.
Schmolke TLO 55
One of the things that scares me with these type of extremely lightweight saddles is the rider weight limit.
While other saddles have a purported limit of 85 kilograms the Schmolke TLO 55 has one of 100, which gives riders like me a little more breathing room.
And all that weight can be handled with just 55 grams of carbon.
It does look suspiciously similar to the first entry in this list.
German based ax-lightness makes this gorgeous Phoenix saddle. I own this saddle so I know the photos don’t do this lightweight piece of cycling tech any justice.
It features the most classic road bike saddle shape from this lineup, but the clearly visible gleaming carbon weave gives it this next level look I that matches perfectly with the Spinergy wheelset.
My version weighting 60 grams differs apparently from their current offering which is 68. But whatever way you look it, it’s still one of the lightest weighing saddles money can buy.
Funny feature is that the saddle has no discernible branding whatsoever. Those who have money don’t flaunt it.
With €300 this is ax-lightness’ most expensive saddle but the cheapest one on this list. Funny.
Selle SMP Full Carbon Lite
Of the carbon bike saddles listed here Selle’s SMP Full Carbon Lite is the most expensive one. If you want one it retails for €550. That’s serious money for a saddle!
It’s the lightest version of the Selle SMP Pro Marc Beaumont used to set the world record cycling around the world.
Hate it or love, some cyclist swear by it, stating it’s odd-shaped nose and overall characteristic is the most comfortable they’ve ever used. And with 130 grams you won’t have to worry the weight will drag you down when going uphill either.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow
I can’t shake the fact that the name of this saddle could be some underground German house song. It’s cool though, but not nearly as cool as this saddle.
It’s the most beautiful saddle from this list and my first pick if I could’ve found it for a price my wallet deemed more amenable than its full retail price of €450. Road.cc called it “sex on rails”. I agree.
Selle Italia SLR C59
I think the center cutout versus the rest of the saddle is a bit off in terms of ratio, but Selle Italia probably had no choice when they created this 61 grams piece of carbon.
I couldn’t find any reviews that provided some actual riding information, but in general these type of carbon saddles are pretty comfortable. But don’t hold me accountable for that remark when you’re not happy with it after you’ve paid the €475 price tag.
Selle Italia SLR Tekno
Clocking just below 100 grams (95) and 400 euros (399.90) the Selle Italia SLR Tekno is their most popular offering in the naked carbon category.
One of the benefits of this saddle is the carbo keramic rail, which ensures you don’t have to worry so much about damage to this part when setting it up. Since full carbon rails tend to damage pretty easily.
Concluding remarks for carbon bike saddles
This list is comprised of some of the most expensive saddles money can buy. And since a saddle is such a subjective piece of cycling kit in terms of fit, there’s an inherent risk in simply buying one of these (or any other expensive saddle) for its retail price.
There are always people who do just that, find out they don’t like the saddle and immediately put it up for sale with a substantial discount. Such a case could provide you with the perfect opportunity of obtaining one of these carbon bike saddles for yourself.
Carbon bike saddle specifications
|Schmolke TLO 55||55||carbon||€495|
|Selle SMP Full Carbon Lite||130||carbon / stainless steel||€550|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow||117 – 120||carbon||€449.90|
|Selle Italia SLR C59||61||carbon||€474.90|
|Selle Italia SLR Tekno||95||carbon / carbo keramic||€399.90|