Selle SMP’s F30C is a New Take on Being Short
It’s somewhat ironic that Italian saddle maker Selle SMP has made the move to the now-trendy short saddle given that the radically curvaceous saddle they are known for basically did what the short saddle purports to do—keep you in a more static position.
After our inside look at the Selle SMP factory (RBA, October 2018), we came home with a slew of saddles to ride, and a few new releases were at the top of our list. Straying from the brand’s 15-year-old signature curved design, Selle SMP has developed a flatter, shorter saddle with the F30C that’s aimed at attracting a wider audience that may have been intimidated by the hammock-like position previously offered.
The F30C (the C stands for compact) was released at the same time as its big brother, the F30 saddle, which measures in at 289mm end to end. At 249mm in length, Selle SMP’s entry into the world of short saddles nears the UCI 240mm minimum.
Weighing in at 281 grams, the F30C is secured with a pair of 7×7 steel rails; upgrade to the carbon rail version and you can save a claimed 50 grams. Hand-bonded to the rails, the F30C’s composite mold maintains the brand’s anatomically proven split center design but opts for a flatter surface than previous SMP designs. The Italians wanted an offering for riders who preferred to ride in multiple positions on the saddle, and designed the mold to encourage fore and aft movement. At its widest, the F30C is 150mm across, which is wider than the traditional SMP mold and is intended for a more universal fit.
Next, the mold is mounted with a foamed elastomer pad and is then hand-wrapped in either black leather or colored microfiber material. The saddle is then heat-treated, and each must pass Selle SMP’s rigorous, in-house quality-control monitoring.
Finding the proper saddle position is made simpler, thanks to the short, flat design. The standard 7x7mm rails are compatible with most seatpost clamps, adding to the ease of compatibility and installation.
While we’ve grown accustomed to the singular position offered with Selle SMP’s unique design, the flatter, wider rear end of the F30C evenly dispensed the pressure of rear ends. While our fits are dialed in, we did appreciate the extra bit of space to slide up on the saddle. Like other SMPs, the split center effectively alleviates pressure on our sensitive parts when positioned on nearly any part of the saddle. The design of the central cutout is so effective, many of our test riders with severe perineal discomfort were able to ride longer and further with the F30C. Some of these same riders were unsure of the minimal padding on the F30C at first glance, but with a proper pair of cycling shorts, the thin layer of foamed elastomer works in unison with the channel to alleviate pressure.
Selle SMP’s move from their shapely, iconic design resulted in the F30 series, and although it is shorter than their traditional model, its flatter profile actually allows for easier fore and aft movement. The snub-nose F30C’s quality construction, leather cover and heavy-duty steel rails combine for a saddle that you may keep longer than your bike.
• New shape, new customer
• Real leather seals the deal
• Handmade in Italy
Weight: 281 grams