Aspide is the aggressive name of the "best seller" saddle of the italian brand San Marco that has been recently renewed and completely redesigned for the 2014 season in both versions road and off-road.
There are two models that we examine in this article: Aspide Superleggera Open and Aspide Carbon FX Protek Open, respectively for road bikes and mountain bikes.
The young staff of San Marco assures that both models have been developed in close collaboration with professional teams sponsored by the brand of Rossano Veneto (Vicenza).
The saddles are packed with great care, the packaging is similar but immediately indicates the collection that belongs the product: Road or Off-Road.
On the boxes are also shown the characteristics of the shell "waved" and "narrow", identical for both models.
The waved shape unlike the flat one has a slight concavity in the central zone that provides a comfortable support on the tail that helps in particular in the steepest climbs.
Narrow is referred to the width of the shell (tight), it is very elegant and sleek as evidenced by the sizes indicated on the package 131 x 278 mm.
Both saddles have been designed according to the "new ergonomy" concept to get the perfect balance between load and unload areas.
The characteristic conformation of the central opening has been designed to optimize the relationship between unloading areas and support areas and reduces the contact zones between rider and saddle and provides relief to the channel perineal that always represents a critical area for the comfort of the cyclist .
The central opening of the shell also ensures comfort both in the normal endurance riding position, in the front zone using the saddle in aero position or in steep ascents.
Aspide Superleggera Open
The name already reveals the superlight nature of the product, but once you open the packaging you discover several goodies that surely will excite many demanding fans.
The saddle comes wrapped in a sleek microfiber cover that protects the lining Microfeel from possible scratches during transport.
A sticker indicating that the weight of the saddle catches our attention, it is guaranteed to be below the nominal 109 grams!
There is also a rich accompanying documentation: is also included a certificate signed by the worker who made the product by hand in the factory in Rossano Veneto.
There is also a set of stickers and a brochure indicating the terms of the warranty.
On the lower side of the saddle there is a pleasant surprise, a writing with a permanent marker reveals the actual weight of 103.9 grams that we verify immediately on our digital scale. Really an excellent result for a padded and covered saddle!
The structure of the carbon rail with variable section is called "DNA" and has an X shape reinforced where the forces are concentrate and the longest geometry allows a wider range of adjustment on the seat post.
Even the body sheel is in carbon fiber high modulus and presents central opening designed to relieve pressure from the perineal area without decrease the correct support to the rider.
The padding is assured by a new generation of low-density material called Pebax that offers excellent comfort and flexibility even with a weight reduced by 40% compared to the classic EVA.
The Microfeel coating, breathable and with a high abrasive resistance, wraps the shell leaving in view only the two bridges linking the two supporting surfaces and that pass through the central opening.
Apside Carbon FX Protek Open
The top model for the off-road retains the features of the road one "Aspide Superleggera Open", already amply analyzed in the first part of this article.
The is the shape of the shell "Waved" and "Narrow" is the same, like is the same the central opening according to the "new ergonomy" and the DNA "X structure" of the carbon rail with variable section.
What has changed then?
This is a model specifically designed for mountain biking so we have a more generous Pebax padding with the function to provide additional comfort and better damping of the stresses caused by the off-road use.
Unlike the Superleggera the shell is no longer "full carbon" but "nylon carbon reinforced", a material as much light and durable, but certainly cheaper.
The actual weight also in this case is really "juicy", only 119 grams actual verified against the 121 grams promised by the usual sticker on the packaging.
There are in the end (but not less important) some technical devices exclusively for off-road models called "Protek" like the silicone inserts integrated into the cover (a beautiful red color in our tested model) and located in the areas most subject to wear, to protect the saddle and increase also its control skill in the driven out of the saddle riding.
Therefore also this model shows a great attention to detail by the company from Rossano Veneto, it is the result of decades of experience in the field of saddles, the use of highly advanced technologies and materials and an extremely attractive design: in short, an superb example of excellence "made in Italy".
As soon as the weather will be more lenient we will test whether the high expectations that emerged from the technical characteristics presented will be confirmed even on the road.
Per maggiori info: http://www.sellesanmarco.it/