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Selle Italia X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow Review

This is a uniquely designed and high performing saddle with a polarizing shape
Selle Italia X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow
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Price:  $120 List | $74.99 at Backcountry
Compare prices at 2 resellers
Pros:  Moderate price, comfortable padding, durable, quality feel
Cons:  Very rounded side to side profile, shape will not agree with everyone
Manufacturer:   Selle Italia
By Jeremy Benson ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  May 27, 2020
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76
OVERALL
SCORE


RANKED
#10 of 13
  • Comfort - 30% 6
  • Performance - 20% 8
  • Durability - 20% 9
  • Weight - 20% 8
  • Versatility - 10% 8

Our Verdict

Italian saddle manufacturer, Selle Italia, recently introduced their X-LR line of mountain bike models, and the X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow is at the lower end of the range in price. This saddle has a stealthy look, a unique design, and an interesting shape. It is low profile and unobtrusive on the descents, although our testers found it difficult to get along with its especially rounded side to side profile when seated. This shape may work well for some riders, however, and we were otherwise generally impressed by the saddle's features, construction, and competitive light weight. It also comes in two sizes to accommodate a wide range of sit bone widths.

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Awards  Editors' Choice Award  Top Pick Award Top Pick Award 
Price $74.99 at Backcountry
Compare at 2 sellers
$125 List$120 List$116.95 at Amazon$110.01 at Amazon
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Pros Moderate price, comfortable padding, durable, quality feelLightweight, unique suspended feel, comfortable, versatileComfortable, versatile, reasonably pricedLightweight, comfortable, short lengthLightweight, unique design, suspended feel
Cons Very rounded side to side profile, shape will not agree with everyoneNo tail protectionSlightly heavier than the competitionOnly available in wider widthsOnly available in narrow width
Bottom Line A unique design with high performance if you get along with the shapeA killer combination of comfort, performance, and versatility in a lightweight packageOne of our favorite models, this saddle is comfortable, versatile, and reasonably pricedLightweight and incredibly comfortable, this saddle was designed for women but works great for men tooIf you like a narrower saddle, this unique looking model is a lightweight and comfortable option
Rating Categories X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow Tioga Undercover Stratum TI Specialized Phenom Comp WTB Koda Team Tioga Spyder Outland
Comfort (30%)
6
9
9
9
8
Performance (20%)
8
10
10
8
8
Durability (20%)
9
8
9
8
9
Weight (20%)
8
9
6
9
10
Versatility (10%)
8
9
10
8
7
Specs X-LR TM Air Cross... Tioga Undercover... Specialized Phenom... WTB Koda Team Tioga Spyder Outland
Weight (grams) 224g 202g 243g 203g 202g/178g
Rail Material Manganese Titanium Cr-Mo Titanium Hollow Chromoly
Dimensions 265mm x 145mm 285mm x 140mm 265mm x 143mm 255mm x 142mm 285mm x 125mm
Target Use (mountain, road, etc.) Mountain, Cyclocross, Gravel Mountain, Cross-country, Gravel Mountain, Road Mountain, Cross-country Mountain
Seat Cover Material Air Cross Tech cover Bio X-Pad ReActiv Synthetic Microfiber N/A
Shell Material Not specified SpyderWeb Carbon reinforced, Adaptive Edge Flex-Tuned Duel Tech Carbonite
Anatomical Cut out or channel Anatomical Channel Channel/Anatomical Anatomical Anatomical
Available widths S-131mm, L-145mm 140 mm 143mm, 155mm 142mm, 150mm 125mm

Our Analysis and Test Results

Italian manufacturer Selle Italia has been making quality bike saddles for as long as anyone can remember. It wasn't that long ago that adorning your bike with one of their Flite saddles was like a rite of passage for mountain bikers. These days the market is flooded with competitors, and Selle Italia saddles are a somewhat less common sight. That said, they still make a huge range of quality saddles for every genre of cycling, including the X_LR TM Air Cross Superflow, which is a newer model designed for off-road/mountain use. We were intrigued by this saddle's unique design and look, so we put it up against some of the best models on the market to see how it compares.

Performance Comparison



This saddle is quite unique in its look, shape, and design.
This saddle is quite unique in its look, shape, and design.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Comfort


No single saddle design or shape will work for everyone, and that is especially true of the XL-R. This saddle has an uncommon design and shape that will likely work well for some riders and might feel like a torture device for others. It has a very pronounced, rounded side to side profile, generous medium density padding, and a full-length anatomical pressure relief cut out.

The X-LR comes in two widths, small is 131mm wide, and the large we tested is 145mm. This makes it possible to match your sit bone measurement with the appropriate width saddle. While 145mm is the width that our testers generally prefer, we found the rounded side to side profile to be less than ideal. Even in the right width, the center of the saddle is high while the wings are low, resulting in the rider's weight resting on the perineum as opposed to the sit bones. Obviously, people's bone structures will differ, and this may actually be comfortable for some riders, but it wasn't the ticket for us.

If you like a rounded saddle, this could be a great option. We found...
If you like a rounded saddle, this could be a great option. We found that it put extra pressure where we didn't want it along the edges of the anatomical cutout.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Beyond the unique shape and profile of the X-LR is has generous medium density padding and a full-length anatomical cutout. The anatomical cutout is large and should theoretically reduce pressure on your sensitive underside. We found that due to the especially rounded side to side profile of this saddle, the higher middle resulted in more pressure on the perineum along the edges of the cutout. Otherwise, the dramatically sloping edges of the wings fall away and don't dig into the thighs or hips. It is also worth noting that the rails have a somewhat limited fore/aft adjustment range compared to other saddles we've tested.

We found the low profile shape of the X-LR to be nice on the...
We found the low profile shape of the X-LR to be nice on the descents where it generally went unnoticed.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Performance


It is clear that Selle Italia made the X-LR Air Cross Superflow with mountain biking in mind. It has a very unique look that reminds us of a stealth fighter jet with a drop nose, steeply curved wings, and a tapered tail. The aggressive look caters to aggressive riding, and it is easy to move around this saddle on descents.

The cover of the X-LR is a synthetic Air Cross Tech material that is waterproof and is far from the slipperiest we tested. The added friction of this material keeps you in place well when seated, but it doesn't allow shorts to slide super freely when making micro-adjustments or moving around on the saddle. There is medium density padding throughout which cushions nicely without feeling excessively soft or pillowy. The nose of the saddle is on the narrower side, and it drops down slightly to its tip. The cover on the nose has a little texture added, as do the far edges of the wings. The dramatic sloping of the wings gives this saddle a profile that looks and feels a bit narrower than its 145mm width measurement. When pedaling, there is no shelf or platform to interfere with the legs and power transfer feels quite direct an uninhibited. Likewise, moving the body around this saddle is equally unencumbered, and we found its shape to be generally snag-free.

It seems like a quality product that should stand the test of time...
It seems like a quality product that should stand the test of time. The cover appears to be well bonded to the shell, with reinforced edges on the wings.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Durability


The X-LR TIM Air Cross Superflow saddle appears to be a well made and durable product and has given us no reasons to suspect otherwise. The construction and craftsmanship seems to be top-notch as we've come to expect from Selle Italia. The synthetic upper appears to be one piece with no stitching, and it is cleanly bonded to the saddle's shell below.

Selle Italia has more experience making bike saddles than nearly every other brand on the market, and that shows in the small details. The saddle rails are attached nicely in the shell and never made a peep during testing. The synthetic cover has no seams or stitches, and its edges are tucked under and bonded to the shell beneath it. Extra cover material has also been added to the edges of the wings to reinforce them should you lay the bike down carelessly or stuff it in a rock garden or two. There are crashes that no bike saddle will make it out unscathed, but the X-LR seems ready to handle the usual wear and tear of everyday riding.

Versatility


Assuming you get along with this saddle's unique shape, it could work on just about any bike in your stable. It is designed for mountain biking and is clearly suitable for trail, XC, enduro, or even downhill riding applications. Its interesting shape, including a snub and sloping nose and downward curved wings, help to make it relatively unobtrusive and easy to move around. We can't think of any reason why it wouldn't work well mounted on your gravel or cyclocross bike either.

Other than comfort considerations, we can't think of any reason this...
Other than comfort considerations, we can't think of any reason this saddle wouldn't work for all types of mountain biking as well as gravel or cyclocross riding.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Weight


Weighing in at just 224-grams in the large size we tested, the X-LR is competitively lightweight. It's not the lightest we tested, though it isn't far of, and it will likely represent a weight savings for most riders compared to the stock saddle on most complete bike builds.

Value


The X-LR saddle falls right about in the middle of the pack in terms of price. While this saddle is lightweight and seemingly quite durable, its curved side to side profile will likely be quite polarizing from a comfort standpoint. This saddle will be great for some riders, and absolutely worthless to those who don't get along with its unique shape.

If you get along with the shape, we feel the X-LR TM Air Cross...
If you get along with the shape, we feel the X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow is a quality lightweight option to consider.
Photo: Jeremy Benson

Conclusion


The XL-R TM Air Cross Superflow is a moderately priced high-performance mountain bike saddle with a polarizing shape. While it has a futuristic look, durable construction, and nice design features, its unique profile definitely won't work for everyone. We found it difficult to get along with the shape, despite an otherwise well-designed and quality saddle.

Other Versions


Selle Italia makes several models of X-LR off-road saddles. They represent a huge range in price from the more affordable X-LR TM Air Cross up to the super expensive X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow.

Jeremy Benson