£180 › Classy cloth­ing pur­veyor moves into parts

Cycling Plus - - NEW KIT -

RAPHA’S MOVE INTO BIKE COM­PO­NENTS is quite a bold one, and one it’s taken se­ri­ously, devel­op­ing this Clas­sic model sad­dle and a flat, light­weight pro race ver­sion over two years.

The Clas­sic bears all the hall­marks of leg­endary Ital­ian sad­dles of the 1970s and ’80s, with a curved pro­file, which isn’t un­like the San Marco Con­cor, the orig­i­nal Selle Italia Flite and now the mod­ern in­ter­pre­ta­tion of Fizik’s Aliante. Even the per­fo­rated mi­cro­tex cover is rem­i­nis­cent of clas­sic 1980s sad­dles.

Retro styling aside, Rapha’s Clas­sic is bang up to date. The hull is con­structed with car­bon-re­in­forced ny­lon, with full car­bon, over­sized (7mm wide by 9mm deep) rail bonded on. The rail is a neat one-piece unit, which fol­lows the rear edge of the sad­dle, leav­ing most of the hull’s widest part un­sup­ported for plenty of com­fort-giv­ing flex.

Rapha de­signed the sad­dle’s pad­ding to work with its shorts too, so the Clas­sic is de­signed to work with its Clas­sic II bib shorts, and the Pro sad­dle with the Pro shorts. You don’t need to spend the ex­tra £170 on the match­ing shorts to get the best from the sad­dle, but if you’re a fan of a more curved and rounded sad­dle the Rapha is a fine ex­am­ple of the genre. At 196g it’s also light for this type of sad­dle.

We were im­pressed with just how good the Clas­sic feels on the bike, with plenty of hull flex and the pin-hole tex­tured sur­face hold­ing you in po­si­tion well, even in wet con­di­tions. Would we choose it over the sim­i­larly-shaped Fizik Aliante? Pos­si­bly, it loses out weight wise by 11g but is £40 cheaper at the full RRP, but you can shop around for Fiziks..

The Clas­sic pays homage to tra­di­tion­ally-shaped rac­ing sad­dles with a mod­ern tech­ni­cal touch, which is what Rapha has been about since day one.

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