There was a time in the early 90’s when like many other MTB’ers I was a chronic weight weenie. I was reminded of just how bad the obsession was the other day when I came across the original box for my Selle Italia Evolution Carbon Titanium Saddle while unpacking stuff in the shed. I guess keeping the box all these years isn’t a good look either… it is a sweet box though! 🙂
The regular Selle Italia Flite at the time was a legendary saddle that all other saddles were compared against. I had one and loved it — yes I still have the saddle and original box for that too! There were nowhere near as many premium saddle choices as there are today and while the use of titanium was already widespread in MTB – frames, components etc, there wasn’t much carbon fibre to seen so apart from its light weight it had major cool factor.
With riders looking for ways to save precious grams (that never really mattered much on an MTB anyway) Selle Italia released the Flite Evolution Carbon Titanium saddle – a carbon fibre saddle shell floating over a single titanium rod bent to form the rails. Holding one felt like holding a paper plain, and it was bling-tastic to look at with the carbon fibre texture visible through the polished saddle surface.
Comfort-wise it wasn’t too bad either. The carbon fibre shell had a similar shape to the regular Flite saddle and between the Ti rails and carbon shell there was quite a bit of spring and flex.
But… I guess really the Evolution saddle was intended for road use and weight weenie MTB guys like myself probably should have paid closer attention to:
Caution should be observed in using this saddle while involved in riding that will produce outrageously severe impacts on landing, as a catastrophic failure will compromise delicate human anatomy.
HA! Compromised delicate human anatomy, nobody wants that shit right there I can tell ya. However like other MTB guys at the time I rode with the Evolution saddle, the theory being that a paper plane saddle would somehow make me go faster, until one day dropping down into a steep gully it snapped clean in half as I literally bottomed out, the rails and shards of carbon fibre doing their best to slice and dice by my delicate anatomy but my arse lived to tell the tale. I only wish I’d kept the broken bits and pieces as a souvenir, that would’ve been fun.
My trusty old regular Flite saddle has been fitted on my now vintage 1991 Stumpjumper hardtail ever since.