Selle Royal Contour

Nostalgia isn’t a bad thing. And not all old things are obsolete. Take the ’68 Ford Mustang. If Ford started rolling those off the assembly line tomorrow, I’m sure there would be a line out the dealership of 40-, 50- and 60-something people (let’s be honest, they’d be mostly men) waiting to buy one. Forget traction control. I’ll take old-school muscle for $1000, Alex.

I offer that as a prelude to Selle Royal’s reintroduction of the first saddle I ever liked, the Selle Royal Contour. Now, the Contour is to current technology exactly what the ’68 Mustang is. Not remotely up-to-date, but undeniably functional and containing a depth of style that runs straight to its DNA.

This isn’t the saddle you should put on your Pinarello Dogma. But if you’re rebuilding a Colnago Master Light, this is the cherry on top. Alternately, if you’re turning an old steel frame into an around town fixie and you don’t put this on it, well, you’d better have a good excuse, or a Regal.

In my case, I put it on my steel Torelli and then immediately rolled around my neighborhood. Something in the familiarity of its shape transported me back to midtown Memphis and the streets near my favorite bike shop and book store. They don’t make saddles with this shape anymore, or at least, not often. The Contour has just that: contours. It’s round where so many other saddles are essentially flat. Honestly, for when I’m down in the drops, it’s still one of my favorite shapes ever.

At nearly 400 grams this thing is heavier than Neil Diamond, but it should last as long as the frame you mount it on and the old-school stitching reminds me of just how durable a pair of Levi’s jeans used to be. C’est la vie.

I’ve been riding the handmade version ($90) that uses real leather (identifiable by the stitching at the bottom) but there’s also a low-fi version with an even longer-lasting microtex cover ($60). Mine is the natural leather pictured above but it also comes in nabuk (white) and black (black).

Final thoughts: Some shapes shouldn’t change. I just wish my body would get on board with that.


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1 comment

  1. sophrosune

    Nice post, Padraig. I just bought a vintage Masi with the intention of riding L’Eroica next year. It hasn’t been delivered yet, but from the photos I saw on Ebay it appears to have a Selle Italia Turbo, which I hate. Once I get the Masi I’m pretty determined to get a Selle San Marco Regal. I’ve always loved the look of that saddle with its rivets. Plus, with my wide body, I suppose it’s a good thing for me ergonomically that it’s called the ‘Belgian Couch’

    Just an additional thought, looking back at vintage bikes and parts is a great angle with the rising popularity of L’Eroica and fixies. I hope there’s more to come.

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