TAICHUNG, Taiwan (BRAIN) — Italian saddle maker Selle San Marco is launching a new product line for the 2014 model year at Taichung Bike Week. Company officials said the line's options and flexible ordering tools are a key to the line's positive reception here.
The Taiwanese-made ERA saddles are stylish models aimed at recreational riders. The line includes three quality levels and a wide variety of other options, including choices for wider width and softer padding, several cover materials and optional silicon corner guards.
To choose colors, bike product managers can log on to the OE section of San Marco's website to match ERA saddles to the bikes they are spec'ing. They can choose between four rail colors, black or white base colors and hundreds of secondary colors specified by Pantone or YS color codes. After customizing the saddle online, product managers can save an image (such as the one published with this article) and order a sample, delivered in 30 days.
San Marco managing director Giovanni Girardi said flexibility is key in today's saddle market. Girardi is the third-generation leader of the family-owned brand.
"You can't make 10,000 black saddles and be done for the season; the world is different," Girardi said.
Besides the options offered for the ERA, San Marco also is flexible in its sourcing. All its aftermarket saddles are made in Italy while OE saddles are made in Taiwan. Taiwanese manufacturing not only allows lower pricing, but also shorter lead times, greater flexibility and improved quality control because of proximity to bike factories, he said.
Girardi said that while Italian and Taiwanese factories are each capable of making high-quality saddles, the proximity to their respective markets improves quality because any errors are caught and corrected quickly.