A while back, Italian saddle maker Selle Royal (SR) sent us one of their TA + TOO urban saddles to test—I thought the saddle design was a really interesting concept, but being designed for the urban commuter market it lacked the refinement seen in saddles designed for more serious cycling.
So, when I found out that SR had been working on a new range of ergonomically designed saddles based on scientific research I was eager to take one for a test run.
In order to develop the new range, called Scientia, Selle Royal teamed up with the Center for Health through Sport and Movement at the German Sport University Cologne, the largest sports university in Europe. By applying theory and data methods to bicycle saddle research the team sought to “unmask the fundamental design characteristics essential to optimising well-being and overall cycling performance”. This might just sound like marketing talk, but the result is a set of 9 ergonomic saddles scientifically engineered to precisely and comprehensively fit each rider.
Choosing the correct fitting Scientia saddle
Each Scientia saddle is designed for a specific ride position, based on the type of bike you are riding, and your ischial variation (a fancy word meaning the distance between your sit bones). The saddle that I’m testing is the A>2.
The range is split into three different riding positions which correspond to specifically-designed saddle profiles and central indent. To find your riding position, you can simply sit on your bike as you would normally cycle, and measure the angle your back makes with the road.
- ‘ATHLETIC’ matches riders with a 45-degree angle between back and road
- ‘MODERATE’ matches riders with a 60-degree angle between back and road
- ‘RELAXED’ matches riders with a 90-degree angle between back and road
Ischial variation (sit bone width)
Each saddle profile comes in three different widths to fit different ischial variations (sit bone width). To find your ischial variation you need to find a memory-foam like surface and sit with your back upright at 90°, applying downward pressure. Find the centres of the two ischial impressions that are left on the surface and measure the distance between them.
- 11cm = Small
- 11-13cm = Medium
- over 13cm = Large
Each saddle in the Scientia line has the same technology to maximize comfort and performance for every type of rider:
- BODY CONTOUR – A radius-specific design to provide optimum comfort for differing spine angles. The more inclined the Riding Position, the smaller the edge-radius.
- REAR PLATEAU – An elevated rear section to prevent backward sliding and decrease pressure in the saddle middle which can cause discomfort.
- CENTRAL RESERVOIR – Indentation in the saddle middle whose shape and dimensions have been studied to correspond to ischial variations for greater comfort.
- 3D SKIN GEL – Royalgel™ is placed intelligently at critical points of contact on the saddle surface for added shock absorption, while reducing overall saddle weight.
- CURVA SUSPENSION – The unique curved suspension design is attached at the rear of the base to offer exclusive comfort by avoiding pressure on the seat bone contact points and guaranteeing additional lateral flexibility.
The look of the Scientia line varies based on size and fit but definitely has a unique aesthetic. In my opinion, they look pretty cool, with a ‘stealthy’ design—even the wider saddles (for upright riding positions) look refined, which is not something you often see in this saddle class.
The amount of research that went into the development of this saddle should not be underestimated and the impressive feature list is a reminder of that.
So, first impressions look promising. If I had to pick one negative so far, I would say that the saddle is slightly on the heavier side (at least when it comes to the athletic fitting saddles). The A>2 saddle that I’m testing is designed for road-bike use and weighs in at 390g. There are other saddles in this class that are 100g lighter or more. That said, there are many heavier saddles and the Scientia saddle probably falls somewhere in the middle, aiming to strike the perfect balance between performance and comfort.
Stay posted for my full review soon.