FLITE BASIC: SIZE 275X139 MM (lxw)WEIGHT 235(grams +-8%) RAIL
My expectations for the Selle Italia Flite were pretty high, having ridden the Selle Italia Prolink Trans Am for thousands of miles. At first appearance the Flite looks very similar to the Prolink TA. The contour, the materials, and the style are all very much alike. The key differences are that the Flite adds Gel, uses titanium seat rails.
The overall construction of the Flite is superior, the high quality leather cover is securely stitched to the seat and cleanly trimmed to fit. The leather is sewn in tightly around the pressure relief cut away. The seat rails are made of light weight titanium. The gel padding feels dense and gives the impression that it will keep your rump comfy.
After the road test my impressions changed. Initially the saddle is very firm which in most cases is a good thing but the firmness just gets more and more pronounced as the miles go by. In order to get comfortable I moved back on the saddle but the heel of the saddle was too wide and it encumbered my pedal stroke. When sitting forward enough on the saddle to pedal properly I found that the nose and the topmost surface of the cutaways wasn't padded enough to prevent discomfort. The Ti seat rails added a stiffness to the interface between the saddle and the bike that only increases the sharpness of road irregularities.
I found myself standing on the pedals more than usual just so I wouldn't have to sit in the saddle and experienced some numbness in places I'd prefer not to have go numb.
When I got home I took the Flite off my bike and looked at it side by side with the Prolink Trans Am. There are a couple differences that I think may have lead to the discomfort that I felt:
1. The Prolink has carbon fiber seat rails that are attached to the saddle via rubber footings. This system acts as a shock absorber.
2. The Flite has a flat profile from heel to nose. The Prolink has a slight curvature along its length. It seems that this curvature might provide a better anatomical fit.
3. The Flite has more padding in the middle of the saddle. On the Prolink the padding is fairly evenly placed all along its length. This gives a wider range of comfortable positions for the rider.
In the end, the Flite will stay off my bike. But since most of the issue I had with it are anatomical it is very possible that someone else who is built differently might be perfectly comfortable on it. The Flite is beautifully constructed and a good quality saddle.