Selle Anatomica

What if there was a better way?

Leather saddles aren't just trendy saddles for your hipster buddy's commuter. In spite of the throwback looks, they remain the first choice of endurance athlete cyclists, called randonneurs, because leather is the best choice for keeping your main point of contact with the bike - your butt, perineum, and sex organs - comfortable, and more importantly, safe. Sufficiently soft leather moves with and shapes to your body just like the skin you're already in. The main problem is that it takes a long time for that traditional leather saddle to reach this point. Over a decade ago, we developed a better process for molding leather saddles. But first, some history.

The Leather Top

Brooks England and everybody else use a cold and wet molding process to shape their leather. The B17 has been made the same way for over 100 years. The leather is soaked and then shaped in a press, molding the leather into that iconic shape. Then the newly formed leather top is baked in an oven to harden it. A tried and true technique, this process ensures the leather will take a beating and still last for years. It also ensures that you'll go through a lot of miles, time, and money on softening products, breaking it down so that it is soft, comfortable and molded to your shape.

Two layers are better than one

All of the tension and firmness in leather is held in the top most layer, called the Top Grain. When you sheer away that top layer you get suede. Soft, but flimsy. Brooks uses one layer of leather to form their saddle tops. It's called Full Grain leather because it is the full thickness of the hide. Nothing has been sheered away. Just like Brooks, we use the leather industry's best Full Grain leather as the basis for our tops. But because our process yields such a soft top (more on that in a moment), if we only used one layer, the saddle would be too soft. To overcome this, we add a second Top Grain layer underneath, effectively doubling the stiffness of our saddle top. The combination of this natural stiffness from the two layers and our hot molded, dry process, yields a saddle top that doesn't need to be broken in. It is immediately flexible and takes on your unique shape far faster than saddles made using the traditional wet molding process. 

Hot and dry molding

As we said above, over a decade ago, Selle Anatomica developed a completely new process for molding leather that is similar to the process used to form aerospace composite parts. Instead of a cold mold, we use a very sophisticated heated tool to form our leather tops. Just like in aerospace, our top is a composite. However, instead of carbon and resin, we're molding leather and resin. The leather and resin are heated by the tool to the proper temperature for a predefined period of time and at the end of the process, a more flexible leather top is formed. 

Differing rider weights and what we do about them

A cyclist who weights 130 pounds is not going to be comfortable on a saddle top that was designed for a 200 pound rider. Conversely, a saddle designed for a 130 pound rider is going to feel too soft and break down too quickly for a rider who weighs 200 pounds or more. We can dial up and down the stiffness of a leather top by adjusting the thickness of the leather layers. Our T, X, and H series saddles are progressively stiffer tops we've designed specifically for progressively heavier cyclists.

The Slot

The second feature of our saddles that differentiates Selle Anatomica from the Brooks B17 is our patented anatomical slot. The Slot introduces extra movement into the saddle top. We call it Flex-Fly. Flex-Fly is our fancy pants marketing term for the saddle platform moving up and down with the cyclist as he or she rides. With each pedal stroke, your sit bone moves down and then back up. Over many miles, this repetitive motion will create a bruised sit bone if the surface it is pressing into doesn’t move out of the sit bones’ way. That's what Flex-Fly does. It allows the saddle surface to move underneath the sit bone so that there is no bruising. 

Why not foams and gel tops?

Foam and gel tops make for great demos in bike shops because they're so soft and squishy at first. The problem is that over many miles those materials become compacted and you end up sitting on and pressing on whatever is underneath. Usually a hard plastic substrate. Ouch.

The Frame

Our original frame which we refer to as the Series 1 is a 4130 Chromoly steel rod based frame. Brooks uses a cheaper carbon steel rod in the B17 and other saddles. Where 4130 will bend under load, carbon steel just snaps. We consider a bend safer than a break. Especially in this very important anatomical area. 

In 2017 we introduced the Series 2 frame. In addition to being 90 grams lighter, the new frame is also modular. It comes apart. You can swap components yourself without sending them to us. Carbon rails, different leather tops, etc. can all be installed at home without any down time. 


Brooks England makes an excellent product. The B17 is an iconic saddle that dominates the leather saddle market. If you love Brooks saddles and have been riding them for years, we are certain you'll love our saddles. Try one for thirty days risk free so you can find out for yourself what all of that hype is about. You won't be disappointed.