The Repente Artax GLM is a lightweight, high-performance saddle suitable for on and off-road use. While it might look minimal, I found it to be extremely comfortable, in fact, one of the most comfortable saddles I have ever used.
- The best saddles you can buy for mtb and gravel bikes - tried and tested
- Tioga Undercover Stratum Carbon Saddle Review
- Fabric Scoop Elite Shallow saddle review
Selle Repente is an Italian brand that is gaining significant traction. While they might not yet be as well known as other saddle manufacturers, if the performance of the Artax GLM is anything to go by, that is set to change.
The Artax GLM is a saddle aimed towards the gravel market. However, there is no reason why it could not be used for road cycling and potentially cross-country mountain biking. The GLM model has a 142mm width, and Repente also produces the GL, which is a narrower 132mm version.
The saddle features oval carbon rails, measuring 7x9mm, which means it won't fit all seatposts. You will need either a top-bottom style clamp or a clamp that can specifically be used with carbon rails. For the test, I used a Canyon VCLS 2.0 seatpost with an adapter for oval rails.
The comfort-improving features of this saddle include an open central channel and the RLS attachment system. Repente designed this to initially allow the base to be separated from the rails for possible replacement, but they claim comfort is also increased.
Our test saddle weighed 164g, making it lightweight but not as extreme as some very minimal road saddles, and there is no rider weight limit.
The range of fore and aft movement on the carbon rails is excellent, 7cm for the Artax versus only 5cm on a Specialized S-works Romin Evo for instance, and hence allows for more positioning options. This wider range is an element often missing with other saddle brands with carbon rails, where their limited range affects riders who are close to the forward, or backward limit of the rails.
With the saddle mounted on a post, the flex in the saddle as a whole is very evident. The shell has almost complete independent movement on each side of the base. While riding, I found the level of comfort superb, with the slightly scooped rear section holding me in the right position and the open channel reducing soft tissue pressure.
One key feature of the saddle that sets it apart from most other designs is its transition from the forward leading edge of the wing toward the nose and the way the top rolls over in a smooth downward curve, as opposed to some more angular blunt sided designs. This all helps to reduce rubbing and abrasion on the legs while pedaling and combines to make it a seat that works all day long.
Saddle comfort is very personal, with different shapes, widths, and styles that suit different people. I have tested hundreds of saddles over the years and found that during the first few pedal strokes, I can tell if it’s going to work for me. The Artax GLM just felt perfect and by the end of the first ride, which was a reasonable 90km, it felt good with no discomfort or rubbing which can sometimes happen when using a new saddle.
Saddles with open channels are reasonably common and widely regarded to have the ability to relieve pressure while seated, and the Artax GLM certainly seemed to do just that. Even as a rider who generally prefers to climb standing, I spent a lot of time climbing while seated and felt less need to rise out to pedal.
However, open channel saddles have a potential downside, as water sprayed from the rear wheel will directly hit your shorts, as with all other similar saddles. You could prevent it by using a saddlebag or lightweight rear mudguard that clips onto the saddle rail. Some brands use a mud shield on the saddle itself, but this will often cause problems of its own, like water and mud to pool, which at least will not happen on the Artax.
Repente Artax GLM | Value & verdict
The Repente replaced the Fizik Terra Argo X5 I was using, another gravel-orientated saddle at 279g. The Repente immediately offered a significant weight saving of over 100g. Compared to other saddles, Fizik also makes the Tundra M1 at a claimed weight of 160g, with a reasonably narrow rear width of 126mm and while there are lighter saddles, such as the Specialized S-Works Phenom at a claimed 153g, it costs significantly more at £255. Perhaps the most similar, in style, weight and price is the Selle San Marco Aspide Open-Fit Carbon FX (quite a mouthful!), 150g claimed weight with an open channel, similar 142mm rear, and £180.
At £165 this is an expensive saddle, but for those after a high-performance, and lightweight saddle the price seems fair. If counting the grams is less of a concern, the Fabric Scoop Elite Shallow at £65 and 266g is a saddle that many rave about, including Jim when he tested it.
If you are after a lightweight saddle but don't want to compromise on comfort the Repente Artax GLM is a saddle to seriously consider and for me, it is a saddle that I found instantly comfortable, even for long rides, and is one of the most comfortable saddles I have ever used.
You might also like: