By Rick Schultz
- $179 – VT30C 304 SS rails
- $299 – VT30C Carbon rails (coming soon)
- $269 – F30C 304 SS rails
- $429 – F30C Carbon rails
Source: Bike shops, Websites, Albabici.com
Best Features: One of their best sellers now costs $90 less
Summary: This could be the world’s best bang for the buck saddle
- Basically, the same great saddle as the F30C but with a man-made covering that allows Selle SMP to offer it at a $90 reduction in price compared to the leather covered F30C
- Both saddles are/will be offered in both 304SS and Carbon rails
- Large cutout for pressure relief of the pudendal and perineal
- None so far, actually a very comfortable saddle
But first… What’s the difference in the two saddles pictured below?
My fitting business is also a Selle SMP Demo Center. How this came about is that I do a lot of work with triathletes to help them find their optimal saddle and saddle position, which proved to be more difficult than originally thought.
Due to a very aggressive, aero position on a bike, many of my clients complain that they are always riding in pain. Often, bike fitters don’t know how to deal with how triathletes often move forward the saddle when riding hard. What I see a lot is that a triathlete will be fit to a certain position on the saddle that optimizes their comfort and power. But then, when they race, they slide forward 6”-8” and end up reversing everything the fitter did for them. They start to struggle on the bike, and at the same time are fatiguing all of the muscles they are trying to save for the run.
Albabici (Selle SMP Importer and Distributor) sent me their Drakon saddle. There is just enough padding to keep them comfortable and just enough of a ‘saddle’ to keep the triathlete planted in the position that the fitter determined was optimal for them. In my bike fitting business, this has become the triathletes saddle of choice.
Attending a recent West Coast bike show, Selle SMP gave a talk on a new saddle they were coming out with. They received a lot of feedback from the road cyclists to build a more traditional and shorter road saddle. Especially one that is more affordable. Selle SMP answered this with the brand new VT30C. It is basically the same as the popular F30C model, but with a less expensive man-made covering.
For my test bike, I have two carbon seatposts, both used for testing. I reconfigured the ‘spare’ post with the VT30C and removed the post with the Shimano Stealth saddle (another short saddle with a large cutout opening).
I quickly put the saddle at the right height and then fiddled with the fore/aft and tilt. Final configuration was the saddle pushed all the way forward and tilted slightly nose-up. It’s actually a very good looking saddle, but how comfortable would it be?
Ready for a ride.
After a couple loops in the front of the house, I had to fine-tune the height by 2 mm and the tilt by 1 degree. Finally, I was ready for a ride.
The first ride was a three hour, 60-mile ride. The saddle performed flawlessly. Just enough padding where I was not sore, and plenty of width to keep my sit bones on the saddle and no numbness either.
All-in-all a very comfortable, well-made saddle at a very competitive price that will allow anyone to pick one up. If you still have doubts, stop by your local Selle SMP Demo Center and borrow one for a quick spin!
RECOMMENDED: A true 5 out of 5 STAR rating.
Coach Rick Schultz is an avid cyclist who trains, races and coaches in Southern California. Rick is an engineer by trade, and in addition to being a coach, he's a bike fitter and prolific product reviewer. He's the author of Stretching & Core Strengthening for the Cyclist and Bike Fit 101: Your Toolset for a Great Bike Fit in the RBR eBookstore. Check his product reviews website, www.biketestreviews.com, and his coaching site, www.bikefitnesscoaching.com. Click to read Rick's full bio.