Inside Selle SanMarco
Handmade in Italy
WORDS & PHOTOS: Matt Wragg
In the road cycling world Selle San Marco are one of the biggest names in saddles. They have been handmaking saddles in the foothills of the Dolomite mountains in Northern Italy since 1935. They were one of the first companies to introduce plastic hulls to their saddles, which may not seem like a big deal now, but at the time it marked a seismic shift and meant saddles no longer solely relied on padding for comfort. Victory is a theme throughout that history, the winners of 12 Tour De Frances, 11 Giri Di Italia’s, 9 Paris Roubaix and 11 World Championships rode with Selle San Marco saddles. In more recent years they are more famous for pros running de-badged versions of their models against their sponsors' wishes. In recent years they have expanded into mountain biking too, with their Selle San Marco products for cross-country and their new Dirty lineup for downhill, enduro and the other gravity disciplines.
We stopped by their factory in the small village of Bassano del Grappa to see how such a tiny company with such a big international reputation makes their saddles. It's worth noting that they couldn't alter their production schedules just for us, so we saw various models from their range as we followed the process, but the way they are made is the same, regardless of whether the saddle is going to a sit up and beg shopping bike, or to Cedric Gracia or a Tour de France contender.