Selle An-Atomica

The number one complaint about bicycles in a 2005 consumer survey was uncomfortable saddles. 57% surveyed wanted better saddles, and an astonishing 79% said they would ride more often if saddles were more comfortable. Many saddles are overstuffed and designed to feel comfortable on the sales floor, which is good only in that it helps to sell bicycles, but on the road they are less than adequate and may contribute to discouraging people from riding their bikes. On the other end of the spectrum, saddles designed primarily for racing are fine for their purposes but may be too inflexible and narrow for less aggressive riders.

Selle An-Atomica is a relatively young saddle company that has garnered a lot of attention with their Titanico LD Watershed leather saddles. S-A saddles are acknowledged as being some of the most comfortable saddles available, especially among randonneurs and ultra-distance cyclists who ride very long distances and spend long hours in the saddle. S-A spent fours years researching saddle issues, building prototypes, and doing a significant amount of real-world testing before introducing their product. The result is a uniquely comfortable saddle with hammock-like qualities that conforms to a person’s physique more than any other saddle I’ve ridden.

I’ve been riding S-A saddles for about a year now, and on any bike with handlebars at or below saddle height, they’re my saddle of choice. The shape and contour are similar to the Brooks B17, but the leather is much more flexible, and the patented slot relieves pressure on the sensitive tissues between the sit bones. Unlike the Brooks, the S-A doesn’t require a break-in period and is comfortable right out of the box. Construction is excellent with long, straight rails for generous fore-aft adjustment, attractive copper rivets, and maintenance-free, waterproof leather. This last bit is especially important for year-round commuters.

The S-A website is loaded with interesting information related to saddles, from sit bone measurements, to saddle height, to anatomical issues related to poor saddle design/fit. The site also has a video showing the underside of a Titanico while being ridden.

I have to throw in the caveat that each person’s physique is unique, and no one saddle will work for every person and every bike build. But if you’ve found average to slightly wider than average saddles workable in the past, you’re likely to love the Selle An-Atomica Titanico.

Selle An-Atomica

20 Responses to “Selle An-Atomica”

  • Eric says:

    I really wanted to like the Selle An-Atomica, but found it to be too wide and squishy. I’m back to loving my laced B17. However, my girlfriend loves the SA. So now it’s on her bike.

  • mike says:

    certainly didn’t work for me, and i gave it a great college try. i always felt like i was sitting atop the seatpost, and that i was losing most of my power… squishy and hammocky for sure, even with the tension dialed out.

    brooks b17 or swallow has been my go to… after many other attempts.

  • Nelson Ralls says:

    I also gave the Selle An-Atomica a long tryout of about 4000 miles before ultimately switching back to a WTB mountain bike saddle. However I know many people who absolutely would not part with it for any amount of money. I ended up deciding it was a bit too wide for me. Customer service is wonderful, and in my experience will likely be needed at some point.

  • Croupier says:

    I tried one last year. It felt like I was riding on a sponge. I got the feeling that I might have liked it if it was stiffer but I also feel like that might be opposed to the intent of the design. I sold it with the bike it was on. I wonder if that guy likes it?

  • Rudy says:

    I got one a few months ago and love it. I’m not sure where the “squishy” and “sponge” comparisons come from; mine feels firm but not hard. Long rides are a real pleasure.

  • Alan says:

    I’m with you Rudy, but saddles are like that: “horses for courses”. The S-A is certainly not as “spongy” as the foam seat on my RANS recumbent… ;-)


  • ToddBS says:

    I think anyone coming from a Brooks saddle might find it squishy. It looks that way to me in the picture. I’ve personally not found Brooks saddles to need a break-in period; they are comfortable for me right out of the box. This might have to do with me being a borderline Clydesdale (190lbs), so I form the leather better. I don’t know.

  • Carlos says:

    I’ve been riding a SA for about 6 months now after switching from a B-17 that didn’t seem to be breaking in after a year of riding. I really like the SA. Took it on a week long tour in June and it did great. The first two days I rode with padded shorts, but felt like I was getting some hot spots. I then switched to shorts with no padding and was much more comfortable for the rest of the tour. No discomfort at all with the saddle. Bought a second SA for my daughter who was on the tour with me and she really liked it also.

  • Keith says:

    I installed an SA just before the Seattle Livestrong Century ride. My butt has never been happier.

  • mike says:

    i found that in addition to the ‘squishy’ feeling i was having chafing issues. street clothes centuries were no longer possible due to how the saddle flexed and flared while riding. i ended up with chafe on the inside of my thighs on more than 1 occasion – and bike shorts did not entirely remedy the situation.

    but i too can pull a brooks out of the box and in short order be happy. the b17s i have went from box to bike with no break in. the swallow took about a month – but i suspect it was more about alignment and angle than leather. i failed with a swift (too round), and a team pro (too narrow for my tourer).

  • MR says:

    Has anyone compared the Selle An-Atomica with the B-17 Imperial ?

  • Rob says:

    I’d like to try a Brooks or the S-A saddle, but as a vegan I can’t justify the purchase of a leather product. Is there anything similar that’s made out of some sort of synthetic?

  • doc says:

    I had the same chafing problem with the SA. I found that tying off the flaps took care of that. A bigger problem, though, occured on a tour where the bike had to sit in the rain overnight. Even though it was a watershed model, the leather stretched considerably and beyond what the adjustment screw could accomodate. I managed to cobble together a couple of nuts and washers to extend the bolt mounting, but it’s not the prettiest solution. Love those long rails, though!

  • MTBMaven says:

    I have an S-A saddle on my road bike and a butchered B-17 on my MTB. I prefer the S-A saddle hands down. Unlike most I really didn’t experience any break in period with my Brooks. I love the Brooks but not as much as the S-A.

    I had my S-A saddle for about 75 miles of riding before doing my first double century. After 13.5 hours in the saddle over 200 miles I had no discomfort with the S-A. Earlier this month I did the Tour of the California Alps: Death Ride, which after 13 hours and 49 minutes in the saddle reconfirmed this is a comfortable all day saddle.

  • Doug D says:

    I have a S-A and it used up most of it’s tension and started to delaminate within a year (and less than 5 000 km). Too bad because it was really comfortable.
    I have a B17 imperial and while it isn’t quite as comfy as the S-A it works well and I am confident that I will have it for at least 100 000 km like my other brooks saddles.

  • Ed says:

    I’ve only got a few hundred miles on my new S-A and the rash looks like hamburger. It’s comfortable otherwise, not squishy. I wonder if the cut outs are chafing the crack. We’ll see.

  • Alan says:

    “I wonder if the cut outs are chafing the crack.”

    TMI… LOL.

  • Wouter says:

    > Has anyone compared the Selle An-Atomica with the B-17 Imperial ?

    Yes, see my web page:

  • Soma Roark says:

    RIP =(

  • EcoVelo » Blog Archive » A Bar Fight says:

    […] Getting set up for this bit of experimentation required ditching my cork grips and replacing them with clamp-on ODIs for easy installation and removal. None of the Civia bars take bar-end shifters, so I also had to order up a set of Paul Thumbies which are currently making the long trip from Chico in a brown truck (hence the drooping shifters in the photo). And finally, since most of these bars have less rise than the North Roads I’ve been running the past two years, I swapped the Brooks B67 saddle for a narrower Selle An-Atomica Titanico. […]

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