Selle Italia recently launched a more affordable line of their venerable SLR saddles that looks and performs similarly to their more expensive counterparts. I’ve been running an older, more expensive version of the SLR Flow saddle for nearly 8 years now, so I was anxious to see how the new SLR TM Flow ($129.99 USD) compares.
Saddle Form and Materials
Selle Italia SLR saddles cut a sleek, streamlined profile that’s instantly recognizable across the entire line, including the more affordable TM models. The SLR TM Flow officially measures 131x275mm, which is more narrow and about as long as the average mountain bike saddle. This means the saddle is well-suited to riders with narrow sit bones (more on fit below) and is good for both climbing and descending.
Although the SLR TM Flow is meant to appeal to more budget-minded buyers, Selle Italia didn’t skimp on materials. The saddle shell is constructed of 30% carbon composite material, which is both stiff and lightweight. Like their more expensive saddles, Selle Italia assembles the SLR TM Flow in Italy, and both the craftsmanship and quality are apparent.
The saddle features a Duro Tek synthetic cover, which appears to be fairly durable. The biggest cost savings seems to come from Selle Italia’s choice of manganese rails on the SLR TM Flow. More expensive versions of this saddle utilize titanium or carbon fiber rails to reduce weight. Still, the SLR TM Flow I tested weighs a respectable 205g–just 35g more than the Vanox-railed, ~$220 SLR Flow saddle I tested nearly 8 years ago.
It’s been said over and over that saddle fit and comfort are the keys to choosing the best mountain bike saddle. The best advice is often to try a number of saddles and see what works, but in reality few have the time to make this happen. Selle Italia understands this and has developed their own measurement system called ID Match to help consumers choose the best saddle.
I had myself measured at Sea Otter in 2016, and based on ID Match, the system selected the SLR Flow saddle for me. As it turns out, I had found the exact same saddle, though trial and error, over 8 years ago–and I’ve been enjoying it ever since. I don’t know if ID Match works for everyone, but I can say I’m a believer based on my experience.
The SLR TM Flow saddle is designated S2 in the company’s ID Match system. There’s another similar version of this saddle–the SLR TM–that does away with the cutout and is designated S1, which is a slightly different fit. The cutout on the Flow version is mainly designed to alleviate pressure, though it also officially cuts 5g of weight and adds $10 to the MSRP.
Saddle Up and Ride
Installation was quick and easy. I tested the SLR TM Flow saddle on two different full suspension bikes and found it to perform similarly on both. The rails are solid and offer little to no noticeable flex, and have stayed silent throughout my tests. I’ve found the nose on the Selle Italia SLR saddles is slightly more narrow than on other saddles, which makes it easier to slide backward and forward during the ride.
So far, the Duro Tek synthetic cover has held up well. If the cover is even half as durable as the Lorica covering on my older SLR Flow saddle, that means I’ll get four years of rip-free riding out of this baby! Unlike my older saddle, the SLR TM Flow’s Duro Tek cover encapsulates the entire saddle, which makes it easy to keep the saddle clean and dry.
The Selle Italia SLR TM Flow offers an excellent price point for mountain bikers looking for a smartly-designed and expertly-executed saddle. For those who aren’t worried about taking a slight weight penalty, the SLR Flow TM saddle should withstand years of use and abuse.
Thanks to Selle Italia for providing the SLR Flow TR saddle for review.