Friday, May 24, 2024

Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow – a (very) long term review!


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It was back in November 2020 that I received an email from media relations person Alessandra at Selle Italia (one of the oldest cycle companies in the world, having been established in 1897) asking if I’d be interested in testing their newly revamped Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow?

I’ve used Selle Italia saddles for much of my riding and racing since the early ’80s; the curvy “Concor”, the skinny “Flite” (still available!), and the used-by-Bernard Hinault “Turbo” model (also still available) being a favourite of mine for many years.

Since Covid struck I was now solidly into the working-from-home pattern with a bit more flexibility regarding my riding times, so of course I said “yes, please!” and as soon as it arrived I plonked the saddle initially on my road bike for a couple of months before transferring it onto my hardtail MTB, which was the bike I was using most of the time for those long, solo lockdown rides in the local forests – and that’s where it has remained ever since.

Novus Boost Evo
Photo©Martin Williamson

The Novus saddle had been around for a few years, since 1994 in fact, with some of the same features as the current model such as long airflow channel but had been completely redesigned and now this “Carbon Evo” edition weighed in at just 165g, making it the lightest saddle in the Novus collection.

The “Boost” part of the name is what Selle Italia label the shorter versions of their saddles, and they offer a Boost version of many of their current saddles.

The intended use of the Novus Boost Evo is fast race-paced riding on the road (Selle Italia do offer a specific off-road saddle, the Novus Boost Evo X-Cross TM Superflow) but nevertheless I’ve found it absolutely perfect on my mountain bike too. I do get teased by my trail-shredding chums for having cut ‘bars and a slammed stem, so no doubt my riding position has a lot to do with it.

And it has certainly stood the test to time; the saddle is still on my hardtail over three years later and has proven it’s ability to withstand almost daily use. I’ve ridden more than 6,000 miles in that time, most of them off-road on the local forest trails and fire roads, and it has held up perfectly, showing very little sign of age, mileage, or the occasional whack off a tree/onto the ground. 

Novus Boost Evo
Photo©Martin Williamson

The padding in the saddle at the nose is pretty soft and that continues down either side of the large centre channel (the “Superflow” bit in the name) and gets denser towards the tail, with the seat area well-padded and actually quite firm.

This position-specific padding together with the slight flex in the mid-section of the saddle really does ease the pressure on the perineal area whilst the modest movement in the side ‘wings’ means that, particularly on the hardtail in the forests, the saddle damps a fair bit of the vibrations and soaks up the bigger clatters with ease.

The rails are one-piece carbon fibre and with this Carbonio revision of the saddle Selle Italia have increased their length by a centimetre over the other models which provides scope for more fore and aft adjustment.

Novus Boost Evo
Photo©Martin Williamson

The saddle is finished in a lightweight microfiber perforated material that provides a strong and durable lifespan. It’s a soft-to-touch yet very grippy matt polyurethane covering called ‘Soft-Tek’ which really does make the seats on my other bikes seam quite, well, “slidey” in comparison.

It’s still possible to move about on the Novus Boost Evo as required but it’s a combination of the almost ‘sticky’ fabric qualities and the clever design of the ‘wave’ shape which keeps me “planted” in the proper riding position, even in the worst of the Scottish winter weather.

The Novus Boost Eco is classed as an “L3” shape by Selle Italia (this is based on their “idmatch” system) which simply put, means it’s fairly wide at 145mm and has a “wave” profile – that is, it’s not a flat saddle.

Novus Boost Evo
Photo©Martin Williamson

Turns out the L3 width suits me perfectly (which isn’t unusual since my wide intertrochanteric distance and high pelvic rotation characteristics are fairly common) so perhaps saves me a trip to my nearest accredited idmatch BikeLab, which happens to be Dave Mellor Cycles in Shrewsbury, where Erick Rowsell would be running the session.

Still might be worth doing though, given the tech which goes into modern bike fitting – have a look at GCN’s visit to the idmatch HQ…

Selle Italia says that the “wave” profile suits riders with a ”posterior pelvic tilt”, which luckily enough I found I have by standing upright, shoulders, bum and heels against a wall, and my back is fairly evenly distanced from the wall with no significant gap at the small of my back.

Riders who do have a gap in the small of their back when doing this (an “anterior tilt”) are apparently better suited to a flatter-profiled saddle (such as the Selle Italia Flite).

Cost wise, £250 is a lot to spend on a bike saddle, true, but for this very lightweight high-end model featuring a carbon shell and carbon rails it actually compares favourably to other manufacturers’ similarly spec’d top models.

To summarise then, it’s similar to what we ideally wish from our government; we just want a bike saddle to do its job quietly and efficiently in the background, cause no fuss and give no reason for concern, and this saddle does exactly that.

I never notice it or think about it when I’m riding and I still find it every bit as comfortable as it was on day one; the Novus Boost Evo is the most comfortable saddle I use at the moment and, I think, have ever used.

It’s got plenty of life still left in it so I’m hoping after all this time and miles Alessandra won’t be asking for it back.

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Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow – Features

  • price: £254:99 rrp
  • range of use: road bike (officially – or mountain bike unofficially!)
  • material cover: Soft-Tek polyeruthene
  • material shell: carbon composite and high grade nylon polymer
  • material rails: oval, carbon + 10mm
  • dimensions: 245 x 145 mm (L3)
  • diameter rails: ø7×9 mm 
  • weight: 165 g (manufacturer’s specification)
  • more info: