Classic Italian style and intricate details define Selle Italia’s new line of handmade leather saddles. The new Sella — notice the final “a” instead of “e” — Italia heritage line was developed to celebrate the company’s 120th anniversary by taking a look back in time.
Founded in 1897 just outside of Milan, Selle Italia gained its chops making leather saddles for everyday bikes that were meant for transportation. When the Bigolin family took over in the 1970s, the company turned its attention toward competitive cycling, manufacturing saddles for professional racers. From Merckx to Moser and Indurain to Pantani, countless victories have been notched atop a Selle Italia saddle.
With owner Giuseppe Bigolin behind the wheel, Selle Italia has embraced new technologies as quickly as they’ve emerged, leading the way in saddle innovation for decades. The company was the first to introduce an anatomical saddle with different thicknesses. It experimented with shock absorbing elements and dove into the carbon market to make its first full carbon saddle in 1991. Experimentation and modern development have been a hallmark of this classic Italian brand.
Taking a step backward, therefore, and looking to the past while designing the new-old Sella Italia line seems like a departure for this forward-looking company. But these leather saddles aren’t just a reproduction of those that Fausto Coppi used. True to Selle Italia’s innovative heritage, the new line builds on history while adding a modern touch to create ornate and durable leather saddles.
Instead of using a single layer of leather, the company employs three layers of material — two leather and one fabric — that Selle Italia says will extend the life of the saddle by preventing sagging from over-tensioning the leather. They are also constructed using dual metal compression rivets that don’t require hammering. This keeps the leather from getting damaged when tensioning the leather.
From top to bottom, the new Sella Italia line is drenched with beautiful craftsmanship and details. Branded designs inlay the tops of the saddles and chrome details speckle the edges with the Sella Italia name found in the company’s original lettering style. With Selle Italia’s proven eye for comfort and quality, these ornate leather saddles look promising.
The Sella Italia line
The new line includes three leather saddle options for different riding styles as well as several leather accessory pieces to compliment the look.
The Storica is the line’s racing saddle. It is the option that most closely resembles the old Selle Italia saddles from the days of Coppi. The Storica has a lower profile and narrower design for a comfortable, aggressive position.
The Epoca is the company’s trekking model that is meant for all-day riding. The saddle is wider in the back and has a shorter nose for a comfortable ride when sitting in a more upright riding position.
Sandwiched between the Storica and Epoca is the Sella Italia Mitica saddle. With a shorter nose and wider design, it’s comfortable for long rides but allows riders to get into a more aggressive position than the trekking model.
Beyond saddles, the Sella line also includes grips — regular and ergonomic — and small leather saddlebags to match the saddles for classic look from top to bottom. And for a final touch of beautiful Italian styling, each saddle comes packaged in a box lined with pink La Gazzetta della Sport clippings from one of Coppi’s Giro d’Italia victories.
Prices for the new leather line of saddles and accessories have not yet been set for the U.S. market, but expect to pay around $150 for these crafted leather saddles.