The growing popularity of electric-assisted pedaling presented the Selle Royal designers with a unique opportunity—and a reliable power supply. By tapping into an e-bike’s battery, they could create the type of saddle feature that would transform the way many riders feel about cycling in winter, providing cold-weather relief with an innovative heated seat.
“The research and development of this saddle were carried out entirely in-house at our Italian headquarters,” describes Selle Royal Group R&D Director Marco Malfatti. “Our R&D team immediately took up the challenge of being able to maintain the same level of comfort and aesthetics of one of our OEMs most popular saddles, while incorporating a heating system that would change the way our customers feel about winter riding.”
Familiar form, unique feeling
Starting from the top-selling OEM saddle Essenza Moderate model, a supportive all-rounder for everyday riding, the team set out to develop and incorporate a heating element in a way that wouldn’t compromise the look or feel of the original bike seat. They created an ultra-thin heating element that could fit between the saddle’s base and its padding.
Also housed inside the saddle’s base is a PCB motherboard, which allows the saddle to be factory-tuned to different temperature settings and power levels, as well as the soft-touch operating button to activate and deactivate the heating element.
“Another challenge we met and overcame was keeping the product sealed and 100% waterproof,” describes Marco Malfatti. “This ensures the Essenza+ will continue to work reliably in any weather.” Protecting the entire electronic assembly is Selle Royal’s signature Strengtex cover, a durable triple-layer material that helps ensure wet weather doesn’t affect the Essenza+ Heating Tech’s operation.
Dialing in the details
To find the ideal default temperature setting for the Essenza+ Heating Tech saddle, Sell Royal ran a series of tests, both in a controlled factory environment and out in the real world, studying consumer comfort perception in relation to outside temperature. Through these tests, they determined 37° Celsius (98.6° Fahrenheit) to be the magic number for more comfortable winter riding—a target temperature the Essenza+ can reach in 30 seconds.
Consuming just 16.8 watts per hour, the Essenza+ Heating Tech saddle is compatible with Bosch CX series e-bike systems, connecting quickly to the battery via a power supply cable at the saddle’s base.
The Selle Royal Essenza+ Heating Tech saddle is currently patent and process pending, and it will soon be available to the brand’s OEM partners, as well as for two upcoming releases from German brand Riese & Müller, their new Charger4 and Nevo4 e-bikes.
This article is sponsored by Selle Royal.