Selle Italia and Prototek Create More Comfortable Performance Saddles for Elite Cyclists

Selle Italia Watt 3D saddle


Selle Italia is a saddle manufacturer based just outside Venice, Italy. The century-old company has a reputation for embracing innovation and decided it wanted to create a hi-tech saddle for its brands Selle Italia and Selle San Marco, which have provided its customers with a higher level of comfort for their rides.

While other saddle manufacturers are embracing 3D printing as well, Selle Italia wanted to differentiate its offering, so it turned to nearby Carbon partner Prototek to develop something special.

The relationship and product line quickly shifted into high gear, resulting in several signature saddles printed with the Carbon platform.

Materials and Part Requirements

Selle Italia wanted to bring its saddles to the next level, and to do that decided to leverage additive manufacturing. Many years of experience with road cycling and racing as well as the engineering of the saddle experience put the company in a great position to develop something new and exciting.

To meet the highest levels of performance that its elite cyclists required, Selle Italia wanted to find a material that was not only supportive for riders but was also breathable and ultimately provided a more comfortable ride. Requirements included:

  • Multiple zones within the saddle space to optimize performance and comfort
  • Energy-returning elastomeric material that was both soft and grippy
  • High breathability
  • Increased comfort for the rider
  • Ease of printability with difficult shapes


Finding the Right Partner

Selle Italia wasn’t interested in installing its own manufacturing fleet of printers, so it went in search of a partner who could assist in the actual design and product development of the saddle as well as the path to production. After reviewing local options, Selle Italia chose to partner with Prototek, a member of Carbon’s Production Network. Prototek’s design expertise and digital factory gave Selle Italia the confidence to get started updating the design of its classic saddles, the Selle Italia SLR Boost and the Selle San Marco Shortfit 2.0, with Prototek.

Selle Italia SLR Boost and Shortfit 2.0

Identifying the Best Printing Platform

Prototek recommended Selle Italia leverage the Carbon platform for the production of the SLR Boost and Shortfit 2.0 saddles, as Carbon’s printing technology could easily print the unique design spaces Selle Italia and Selle San Marco had in mind, and its end materials were well-suited for saddle applications. With Carbon, Prototek knew Selle Italia would be able to achieve something they had been unable to achieve another way.

Prototek suggested Carbon’s EPU 41, which is a durable, highly elastomeric, energy-returning material that offers cushioning and gripping for the rider. It also lends itself to multi-zonal lattice designs that are extremely breathable and can be tuned precisely to offer a variety of mechanical responses to give riders a better ride overall.

Selle Italia Shortfit 2.0

When Selle Italia and Prototek initially started working together, Prototek had one M2 printer installed. While fully capable of producing premium lattices, the size of the M2 build platform is limited for saddle production. However, Prototek cleverly engineered a way to print the saddle in two pieces and assemble it into one for Selle Italia to test, which paid off! The success of the prototype on the M2 showed Selle Italia the potential and moved into production with the Carbon platform on the larger, L1 printers. This allowed the saddles to be printed in one piece.

“It’s always a pleasure to be involved in projects for top brands like Selle Italia. They have top-level standards, but with Carbon technology and materials we were able to attain their goals and deliver what they were looking for.”
Andrea Barchi Head of Prototyping and 3D Production Division, Prototek

Product Expansion and Growth

By the summer of 2023, Selle Italia had seen its 3D-printed models take off with very positive customer reception and believed the technology, especially Carbon Digital Light Synthesis™ (Carbon DLS™), was integral to the differentiation of its saddles in the market. The company expanded its 3D-printed line to include four saddles across two brands for performance cycling, comfort cycling, and triathlons—the first ever made with additive manufacturing and developed in partnership with world champion triathlete Patrick Lange. These saddles include:

  • Selle Italia Watt 3D
  • Selle Italia SLR Boost 3D
  • Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo 3D
  • Selle San Marco Shortfit 2.0 3D


With the introduction of 3D-printed saddles, Selle Italia has seen interest from tech-savvy customers who appreciate high-end products increase sharply, showing consumers are enjoying this riding experience. In 2024, Selle Italia’s racing saddles will start to make the rounds on the professional circuit with riders in the Giro d’Italia, Tour de France, and La Vuelta a España.

“We always develop our products to meet the needs of the most demanding cyclists, trying to improve their comfort and enhance their performance on the bike. For this reason, we have trusted our 3D saddles projects with high-level partners like Carbon and Prototek, strongly believing that the constant collaboration between us helps us all increase the level of innovation in cycling.”

Andrea Buzzavo General Manager Selle Italia Srl

Since moving into production with Prototek, more than 15,000 saddles have been printed across the five product lines, which is a testament not only to customer demand but also to Selle Italia’s innovation and Prototek’s design and production expertise.

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