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.