03 June 2008

bikefix Exclusive Review: Selle Italia Yutaak saddle

The Yutaak is Selle Italia’s new off-road saddle. It is being billed as a all-mountain/DH saddle, but seeing as its not particularly porky (260g), I thought I would try it out on my long-travel trail bike.

The first thing you notice is the orange back and “wingtips,” and you probably think “ugly” too. I also think this saddle is ugly but really don’t care anymore because it's proving to be a fantastic saddle. The orange tabs are Vibram rubber that are cushioned in the rear and add extra grip for the sides. You can’t see from the pictures that there is also Vibram underneath the nose- presumably to help carry the bike, or to toughen the saddle for the inevitable nose hanging and crashing.

The whole seat is covered in a non-slip a Cordura/Kevlar fabric which combined with the Vibram side tabs, is great for controlling the bike with your thighs on the descents. The fabric is intended to be tougher than leather and probably is- I haven’t managed to rip it yet. [while I found the saddle largely comfortable when I borrowed it for a recent ride, the fabric is a bit rough for those of us who prefer Lycra shorts. Long descents can actually cause some rather unpleasant inner-thigh chafing. That said, if you're buying this saddle, you're probably not in the habit of sporting tighties anyways. -marc] The seat is very well cushioned for outstanding all-day comfort. The nose is also better padded than any saddle I’ve tried recently, which anybody who climbs super-steep hills on long-travel bikes will certainly appreciate.

The 140mm wide stance is perfect for my largish ass but is the only width the seat comes in. Selle Italia uses tubular Titanium 316 rails to keep weight down and comfort up. If you look closely, you can see the rails are not round but shaped. This is to make the saddle rails more resistant to bending without adding much weight or requiring a non-standard seatpost (not all posts' clamps will work, though, so make sure to buy from a local shop with an exchange policy).
The Yutaak may not be the lightest saddle but it’s not much heavier than many more cross-country oriented saddles. It is tough, comfortable, and absolutely deserves a shot at your wallet. As far as the looks go- either you'll like it or you won't. The Yutaak retails for around $125.00. There is also a Gel Flow version, which I haven’t tried and is more expensive.



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