My first experience with Selle Italia Saddles was on the first PBBC ride this fall. During that ride we tried out several saddles. The one I was lucky enough to try out on that ride was the XO Gel! Described on Selle's Web Site as
Featuring a special shape suitable for any type of bicycle, the XO has a low profile and wider seating area. Using the time proven Flex Control padding and differentiated thickness shell design, the XO offers comfort in critical areas.
I would say that their description rings just about true.
Although I did not notice it at the time, on a later ride when we installed it on Orville's bike I got the opportunity to compare its profile next to that of its stable mates. The saddle is definitely a tat more spacious than others in our sampling. This does not mean that it is a wide saddle by any means! I have generally used Specialized Comfort Saddles and they are wide! This I would call a nice compromise between a performance saddle and something a bit more comfortable.
Fit and finish are very nice and even the underside of the saddle is nicely finished off. Many saddles when you turn them over have excess material trimmed off sloppily and although it probably makes no difference at all in terms of performance, the fact that Selle Italia trims it perfectly to fit smoothly within a small recess into the saddle bottom is a really NICE touch! Quite simply it points to attention to detail.
OK reactions! The saddle is quite colorful, garish even, but our sport is kind of understated normally (NOT). Fit and finish are very good. The saddle is rigid, but the padding seems to be in the right places.
So on to the ride! When I first mounted up I made the comment that this saddle would never have made it out of the shop. This would have been a big mistake! It was basically because I found it hard and oddly fitted to my body in comparison to what I was used to. However once we got on the ride, and I was distracted by other things like not getting killed in traffic etc, I must have found the sweet spot between my hindermost parts and the saddle.
I had noticed of late that I was having some problems with my older saddles as they were beginning to hit the inside of my thighs occasionally, well this was not the case with the XO. I had plenty of clearance and as I mentioned about half way through the ride I realized my butt was just fine! So I paid attention and found that the pressure of sitting was evenly distributed, albeit firmly, and that the saddle hit me on bone, needing no muscle effort to stay there. I checked position by shifting occasionally and my final conclusion was that this could be a very workable saddle when carefully adjusted. Alas I was to ultimately give this saddle up but I look forward to trying its stable mate!