Our "Rider Review" article series features the honest reviews from verified purchasers of Worldwide Cyclery. They contain the photos, thoughts, feedback & overall review you are looking for.
Whether it's a mountain or road bike or something in between, your saddle is key to a great and comfortable ride. Fit and style here are just as important, if not more, as the rest of the components since it's one of the only touch points you get. Check out a fellow rider's review on his new Ergon SMC Gel sport saddle below!
I get it. We love trails. We love mountains. We love biking. We love this sport that started in Marin county and became ‘Mountain biking’ whether we ride on grass, gravel, sand, loam or the elusive ‘hero dirt’. We frequent our local trails and then dream of big epic days on trails in far-away places. We ride when it’s hot, when it’s cold, when it’s dark and when our bodies say no. But we don’t ride when it’s muddy*. We know that behavior affects the trails for others and makes maintenance a nightmare. So, what do we do when our trails are closed due to weather conditions? Many people resort to indoor trainers or paved pathways.
I found myself in this dilemma and decided to buy a road bike (gasp) so I could get some fresh air and casual riding in during the shoulder seasons. Like most, my bike was rigid front and back. It was light and fast, but I felt every crack, bump, or caterpillar on the path. I also realized that, unlike mountain biking, I was spending a lot of time in the saddle with pressure on my ‘sit bones’ (ischial tuberosities). I knew there had to be a better saddle for me. Worldwide Cyclery had just done a video about some new saddles by Ergon and the SMC Sport Gel seemed like a good choice.
I quickly researched my size and placed my order. Upon arrival, I was quickly impressed with the style and attention to detail. The rails were beautifully fit and the padded gel cover was as soft as I had expected. I had not been having perineal pain, but the idea of the cutout made sense and it did not reduce the seats stiffness. My only concern was that this saddle was made for mountain biking and was wider than a typical road bike saddle. I knew this when ordering, but decided to give it try anyway. I quickly installed it and jumped on my road steed for a test ride through the neighborhood. Even though I was not wearing my typical padded shorts, I could immediately tell the difference in comfort. My cycling form is far from perfect, but I did not notice any problem with the width of the saddle when on bars and hoods. I even dropped down to the lower position (which my middle age back doesn’t tolerate anymore) and I realized that the saddle was still extremely comfortable. I was having no problem due to the shape or width. This was exciting and a very good first test!
The next weekend I decided to put in some test miles. The trails were still wet so this was the perfect time. I went on my regular loop consisting of about 15 miles of road and bike path. Normally, I am shifting my weight and body position during the ride when I begin noticing a portion of my rear getting sore or numb. This ride was different. There was no saddle soreness and I actually had less leg fatigue due to a more correct posture and cycling position. With this newfound energy, I didn’t want to go home yet so I continued on. After a few more miles, I finally arrived home. While dismounting I examined this new saddle and quietly said, “Whoa, that was awesome!” This was a “eureka” moment.
I went to my trusty carbon, full suspension mountain bike and examined the saddle the high-end builder had supplied it with. It was a great brand name with a beautiful fit and finish, but it was firm and unforgiving. I guess between the standing attack position and dropper post downhills, I hadn’t been sitting enough to care. I began to wonder what 20-mile trail days could feel like with this more comfortable saddle? As I put my bike away and headed inside, I had definitely concluded one thing. The next time a replacement saddle was needed for any of my bikes, the Ergon SMC would be the one I ordered
There are a lot of saddle manufacturers out there and people are looking for different solutions to their individual problems. If you are looking for a comfortable mountain bike (or even road bike) saddle to replace yours, I highly recommend you give the German engineering at Ergon a try. I am a new believer and I will definitely be a repeat customer.
*Some locations have trails that are open even in muddy conditions, but I am referring to the more common situation most riders face.