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Saddle pillar in carbon fibers thermoplastic composite

News International-French

23 Sep 2013

Selle Italia achieve to obtain a saddle pillar with unmatched characteristics in terms of structural strength, comfort and lightness thanks to the cooperation with Xenia Materials, the company in Vicenza.

The saddle pillar and the connection between the saddle support and frame are considered as one of the most critical parts of a bicycle, especially at a competitive level. These components, sometimes particularly stressed, thanks to their mechanical and ergonomic properties are of fundamental importance for the comfort (and efficacy) of the pedal stroke but first of all when considering cyclist safety.

Traditional materials and processes seemed not be enough to move forward to a product with superior characteristics. Xenia could offer to Selle Italia, a leading company in the manufacturing of saddles for top quality bicycles, the necessary support to identify the material with the required features and for the product development.

The result is Monolink saddle pillar, a “super-component” setting new safety and performance standards in cycling world. For both the Monolink saddle pillar and the frame of “friction free” Slr XC and XC Flow saddles it has been used a thermoplastic-based compound reinforced with carbon fibers, the Xecarb 22-C30. The advantages given by this “super-component” are amazing: its strength has increased by 50% if compared to previous saddle pillars, along with an overall enhancement of the cyclist performances.

Xenia contribution in terms of technology has allowed maximizing flexibility and resistance of the system composed by the saddle and its pillar, increasing comfort without affecting weight. The sensible lightness of the chosen compound requires a minor boost uphill and when restarting, and produces a not insignificant effect, as it lowers the bike barycenter, making it more stable and safer.

The saddle frame was previously produced with a thermoset-based carbon-fiber compound. Xenia has supplied a thermoplastic-based compound to be processed through injection molding, which is a production process less expensive and complex to be carried out. The Xecarb 22-C30 can also give aesthetical advantages as the surface finishing is of excellent quality.

The engineering process developed by Xenia Materials team, in cooperation with Selle Italia, started with the study of the geometry chosen by the customer and with FEM (Finite Element Method) simulation, enabling the correction of possible structural defects. The next step was to produce a first sampling with different materials through a prototype moulding. The best performance after testing was given by Xecarb 22-C30. After some further processing analyses and a few geometry adjustments, a sampling has been realized on the definitive moulding.

Xecarb 22-C30 is an extremely versatile compound and could be employed in various industrial applications, being lighter and cheaper than metals with equal strength.

About Xenia:
Xenia Materials is an Italian company, specialized in engineering and production of innovative polymer-based materials to be used for the most advanced and challenging industries. The company is located in Vicenza, in the northeastern part of Italy, and it consists of an Engineering Dept., which supports customers for the development of new components, and by an R&D Dept., devoted to product innovation.

About Selle Italia:
Selle Italia history is made up of victories, some of them we dreamt of, others only toyed with, and some we could achieve. Selle Italia has been the pioneer in implementing technological discoveries studied specifically for the cyclist anatomy, it has launched the use of gel and reached previously unthinkable levels of comfort and lightness, setting new aesthetical standards for the saddle.