Earlier this year I reached out to Selle Repente about testing one of their saddles. I wasn’t very aware of the entire range, but had seen a few athletes (Italian riders specifically) using them, and their designs looked intriguing. While I have moved to the flat, wide, short style of saddles over the past few years – I wasn’t totally convinced that they were exactly what I wanted.
I was sent out a Selle Repente Artax GL saddle in black. It sells for 179 Euro, or $AUD269.99 via South Side Distribution in Australia. The saddle is ostensibly designed for gravel, but that has a lot of crossover into the world of cross-country and marathon mountain biking. The saddle weighs 165g (mine clocked 163g) with full carbon rails and a padded upper with a long relief channel. It reminded me a little of Selle SMP saddles I rode a decade ago, but with more support along the channel, instead of edges.
The Selle Repente Artax GL has a 132mm width, about 10mm narrower than the saddles I have been using, like the PRO Stealth. Compared to their road saddles, the Artax GL also has a little more padding due to the upright nature of either gravel or mountain bike positions, compared to your fit on a road bike.
In terms of fit, the carbon rails are marked so you can make the fine adjustments for setback. The saddle is 275mm long, so if you move from a short/wide saddle like I have, it may take a couple of adjustments to get the fit right. I found this was a simple procedure, and I also enjoyed the narrower fit to sit exactly where I wanted to on my Factor Lando XC.
On the bike with the Selle Repente Artax GL
I’ll be honest, the shape of this saddle looked ‘old school’ and I didn’t expect to get along with it. I fitted it up right before the Bayview Blast XCM, which is 75km of trails and likely close to four hours. And I never thought about the saddle all race, save for being impressed.
What stood out for me was the ability to sit exactly where I wanted without feeling the saddle. I could push back to really drive on the flats, or shift forward to keep the front wheel grounded on steep climbs. The padding and shape allowed freedom of movement with no downsides.
I’ve continued to use the saddle at a number of other events and long training rides, and no issues have come up. There is no noise from where the rails join the shell, and no damage despite transit in my van and in a bikebag. I even kept the saddle on for the Alpine Bike bikepacking route I set out to do in August. That was about 30 hours of riding across 5 days, with no complaints!
There are a few unique features of the Selle Repente Artax GL, including a non-slip cover. The only time I used this saddle in the wet was climbing and descending the Susten Pass, and while I had many other issues, saddle security while keeping the pace high to warm up in the valley was not one of them. A couple of decades ago this was achieved by elaborate stitching, but the change in the covering is barely noticeable – except it’s not slippery in the rain.
There is a carbon bridge at the back that extends rearwards, potentially more for style than purpose. I did wonder if I would catch on it with my bibs given I am currently using an 80mm drop Bike Yoke Divine SL dropper post. I only have once, when dismounting on a steep trail in Switzerland. And that was still likely user error.
The carbon base can be removed from the upper, if there is crash damage to the cover and shell. This is something unique for carbon railed saddles, and I think it’s a good feature to prevent excess waste. This is called RLS or Repente Locking System.
My take on the Selle Repente Artax GL saddle
Overall I really like it. I think saddles are very personal tog et right, and it depends on the quality of bib shorts you use, the hours you spend on the bike, your shape and any relative sacrifice you want to make between comfort and weight.
I was ready to find the Selle Repente Artax GL too aggressive, but found the opposite. I had recently changed to a PRO Stealth Carbon, which is a similar weight, but the Artax GL is far more comfortable for me, as well as being narrower to move around on both in the saddle, and for getting off the back on steep descents. There are more saddles with different shapes available, and I’d encourage you to take a look if you’re looking for a change and a new high end saddle with unique features.
But I’ll happily keep this one on my bike, and I may even need to look at another model for my gravel bike as well.
RRP: 179 Euro | $AUD269.99
From: Selle Repente