How To Screw Up A Great Saddle…. (Selle Anatomica Titanico)

Let me start off with a disclaimer…

I’m still fuming after making a pretty eye-opening / disappointing discovery this evening as I prepared our triplet and tandem for this weekend’s Southern Tandem Rally.

Here’s the deal:  We purchased a Selle Anatomica Titanico saddle for Debbie at the May ’13 Georgia Tandem Rally after Debbie had started struggling with comfort issues on the saddle she had been using for a couple of years. The Selle Titanico was a Hail Mary as we were going to be doing a metric century the next day.  Suffices to say, the Titanico was the first saddle that Debbie used that didn’t become the source of any discomfort: it was perfect!  As you’d expect, there’s a detailed review in an earlier blog entry.

Fast forward to GTR ’14 in Athens this past May: Debbie thought she’d be OK using the same F’zik saddle on the triplet that she used on her single bike and that’s what we used on the Friday ride.  Yeah, well… that didn’t work.  Fortunately, I’d brought the Calfee along and was able to move her Titanico over to the triplet for the Saturday & Sunday rides.  But, I decided that before the Southern Tandem Rally (STR) in October when we next pulled the triplet down from the rafters I’d get a second Titanico for the triplet.

With STR approaching, I went out and purchased what I thought was the same Selle Anatomica Titanico saddle in September and set it aside to install in October before we headed to Columbus, Georgia for STR.  Tonight was that night and boy did I get a rude surprise: they redesigned the darn saddle and completely changed the rails!

Below is a pretty good comparison of the original design at the far right, with the new design in the middle and at right.

Screen Shot 2014-10-22 at 8.56.26 PMLet me point out what may or may not be the obvious difference:

  • Take a look at how long the straight segment of the rails are on the original model at the far right.
  • Note how narrow the rails are at the nose and through the neck of the saddle and how far back and narrow the rails remain where they taper along the nose.
  • Now look at the new design and notice that the amount of fore/aft saddle adjustability has been reduced by a full 1/3d from the original.
  • Consider how the wider and more forward taper near the nose of the saddle really adds nothing to the function of the saddle, while creating an interference point for anyone who rides knees-in.

Original Titanico

  selle selle2

New & Improved “T” Model

DSCN0497 DSCN0496

This new design made it impossible for me to get Debbie’s riding position far enough forward for a proper fit.  In fact, the change in saddle rails left the nose of the saddle sitting a full 3cm too far back from the handle bars and the correct saddle nose over crank set-back for a proper fit.

Thanks Selle Anatomica for eliminating what was a great saddle option for my wife.  Of course, I’d already chucked the packaging and other materials that came with the saddle back in September when I foolishly assumed the saddle would be dimensionally similar to the original so I’m pretty much stuck with it and out $150.  I’ll be offering up for sale on eBay just to get rid of it as I now have to figure out if Debbie will do best on a Rivet Cycle Works knock-off of the Titanico with its anatomic cut-out, or a Brooks.  I’m guessing the Rivet will be my next move as I don’t want to put Debbie through the pain and suffering that seems to go hand-in-glove with a Brooks saddle.

Still shaking my head on this one; what the hell were they thinking?  Then again, these were the same folks who decided to undercut their dealers by offering a deep discount / blow-out of their saddles via their on-line store during winter 2013/14, leaving their dealers holding saddles in inventory purchased with a much higher MSRP than what was being offered by Selle.




About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
This entry was posted in Editorials & Rants, Technology & Equip.. Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to How To Screw Up A Great Saddle…. (Selle Anatomica Titanico)

  1. Hi TG. I bought this saddle for my wife last year based on your prior review of this saddle. My wife tried it but preferred her Selle Italia. Based on your pictures, the model we have is the initial model. If you are interested in buying ours I could send it to you and if satisfied with it you send me what you considered a fair price for a used* saddle (e.g.: ~100$). Please reply to me with the address you would like me to ship it if interested.
    *: it has not been used much and still look great.

    • TG says:

      Hey JP:

      Sorry the saddle didn’t work out for your wife, but we’re definitely interested in taking it off your hands. I’ll send an Email with mailing info.

      • TG says:

        Saddle arrived yesterday JP; we’re doing the happy dance as it’s just what the doctor ordered. Check coming back at ya!

  2. Steve Mallinson says:

    Have you tried contacting Selle? I ride with the same saddle and love it, but got it because a friend broke her rails, complained about it months after the fact and Selle sent her a new saddle, no questions asked. You might try that route first.

    • TG says:

      The element of “surprise” when you don’t need a surprise is a powerful thing; so yes, I should have given them a shot at making things right before venting.

      That said, I sent Selle an Email yesterday via their “contact us” utility to express my surprise and frustration with the design change, albeit just before commenting on my blog. I’ve not seen any response today, nor do I know what they can do for me that will undue what I see as a short-sighted design change that reduced the adjustability of their saddle unless they have any of the 1st generation saddles sitting around collecting dust. I’m sure the saddle I have works fine for riders who don’t need less set-back than we use for my wife on our triplet and tandem and who ride with their knees out… so it’s not defective: it’s just incompatible with the fitment needs of my wife.

      But, what I said still stands: the redesign reduced the adjustability of the saddle to a degree I’ve not seen in a contemporary saddle and that has made the new design useless for my wife’s needs. And yes, they really did torpedo their dealers last winter when they dropped the on-line price of their saddles to $99, far less than the MSRP that dealers purchased inventory against. I only know this because I have acquaintances who were Selle dealers that were purportedly caught flat-footed by that move.

      Going forward, I will make-due this weekend by swapping my wife’s saddle off or our tandem onto her waist gunner position on the triplet. Another reader is going to sell me their nearly-new 1st Generation Titanico and that will suffice for our future triplet outings (next one isn’t until April or May ’15) and serve as a “spare” for the tandem if she should ever need it. As for the one I have, I’ll hold onto it for a few weeks in case Selle has a solution for me such as an exchange for a NOS saddle. If not, then I’m sure I can sell it on Ebay (at a loss) to someone whose bike fit will be more compatible with the new rail design.

      However, in the mean time, I’m hopeful that my little rant will ensure current Selle saddle owners like me who are looking to buy a new or replacement saddle will not be as surprised by assuming the current saddles are the same as the 1st generation design.

      • TG says:

        I did, in fact, hear back from Selle and with regard to the limited saddle set-back or fore/aft adjustability…

        “We’re aware of that and have corrected the problem for 2015. Hope to bring you back in. In any case, I appreciate you taking the time to send the feedback. We hear ya loud and clear and we’re on it.”

        So, there will be yet another design change coming to correct the over-correction. In the interim, and perhaps for the long-haul, our friend JP has provided us with a NOS Titanico so we’re covered.

  3. John Tipping says:

    FYI, you can try a rivet saddle for up to a year with no obligation. We currently have a diablo on loan that Sonya tried (without success) and I am going to give it a go. I have a titanico on the tandem now, but it is too wide in the back.

    The rivet saddles are much stiffer than the selle anatomica, but not as stiff as a brooks.

  4. TG says:

    Hey John:

    Rivet definitely looks intriguing; we’ll definitely give it a lot of consideration if and when the Selle saddle’s wear-out / stretch beyond usefulness.

  5. Jacqueline Campbell (pedalpink) says:

    We ride Selle Anatomica Titanic (old model) on our Co-Motion and we both have found it to be a great saddle. Another option for Debbie may be a Brooks Cambium – I am now using this on my single randonneuring bike and like it a lot. No break in period and surprisingly comfortable.

  6. bobswire says:

    I found the same problem when I received mine and contacted Selle Anatomica wondering why they changed the undercarriage design. They replied I can exchange mine for their new model with longer rails,however after riding the saddle I found the new design worked for me. Though I understand your dilemma, Selle Anatomica did state on their packaging “New Rail design for greater reliability”, basically shortening the rails by changing the curvature for strength (I believe for the heavy weights out there who had a tendency to bend the rails). Luckily I was able to make it work and will probably buy another since they are having a sale on these models.

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