HEEEY YOU GUYYYSSSS (in my best Sloth voice)
So I’ve been absent from the blogsphere for quite some time now and many things have changed and others have stayed the same.
I had a rail break/failure on my Specialized Phenom Expert mountain bike saddle a while back, and I decided to give another saddle a chance to grace my sit bones with some quality and comfort.
Even prior to my Phenom failing, I had my mind set on the Ergon SM3 mountain bike specific saddle due to sparse, but good, reviews that I’d read regarding the quality and feel. I am also somewhat of a non-conforming conformist when it comes to trying out new products. I’ll try something out of the norm to see if there are better options out there.
They are known for their grips and the SM3 is their first saddle offering. In 2012 their SM3 is offered in a variety of levels which include carbon rails, ti-nox rails, and a carbon shell offered in Small and Large sit bone widths. This saddle is NOT gender specific FYI so if you’re expecting that then you would be mistaken.
Upon receiving my new SM3, I definitely liked the looks of the saddle and feel of the material. The material is some synthetic leather material that is quite smooth to the touch. The saddle seemed awfully square and initially gave me some apprehension regarding its potential efficacy.
Pretty standard here the packing included tidbits of information about the saddle and yadda yadda…who reads the manuals anyway huh? RTFM comes to mind, but this isn’t tech support or any sort of support so who cares. Either way, here are some snaps from the packaging (post saddle removal sorry folks).
FYI, click the pics for higher resolution views if you so choose.
Installation was pretty simple that it got done twice. I installed it on my Easton seat post after I got it and then removed it and had my shop install it on my other bike as soon as it arrived (post to come regarding my sweet sweet 2013 Specialized Carve SL). I had the bike shop verify that the saddle was level which was the sweet spot for me and from what I’ve read for many other users as well.
My first ride with this saddle was one of my normal loops in Sierra Vista called Brown Canyon. Depending on how you want to ride it you can do as little as 5.5 miles up to right around 10 as a loop. The first big difference that I noticed versus my old Phenom was that it was super easy to get in and out of the saddle with the SM3. The difference may seem ridiculous because when you think “who has problems getting in and out of the saddle?”… I believe that I attribute the ease of on and off to the shape and material of the Ergon.
The shape accommodate the saddle to want to hatchet/wedge itself up your butt like some of the other curvy types on the market that I’ve used. I have a shapely backside and my butt tends to want to eat things like underwear, bibs, and even my saddle from time to time.
The rear of the saddle is super wide but in a way that gives you more leverage and stability when trying to put a lot of power down to the pedals and assists with steering as a limit point when descending.
When in the saddle, it is business as usual with this saddle because it just lends itself to being comfy during all sorts of efforts spin-worthy as well as mashfests.
I got up and around Brown without feeling like I needed to worry about my saddle. I actually didn’t really have to worry about anything because it is like it isn’t there (not in a weird no saddle and all seat post sort of way).
It happens to us all that we will hit the dirt eventually. Keeping it rubber side down is always the desire but not always the outcome. I hit the dirt once and the saddle didn’t suffer any damage which was nice! I’ve frayed and scuffed up saddles before from dirt diving.
The manual lists some crazy pictures which are somewhat helpful regarding installation, but definitely nothing finite like ft. lbs or newton meters for torque specification. Basically the pictures say don’t smash the rails until it flattens them out. If you don’t have a keen eye for that sort of thing or just bad vision you might ruin your saddle before your first ride.
After a few rides:
I’ve got to say that on my current ride, it performs well in a single/fully rigid application as well geared. No squeaks or squeals coming from the saddle makes me feel like the SM3 will stand the test of time.
MSRP for this saddle is $129.95 which is somewhat steep, but if you shop around or talk with the folks at your LBS, you’ll be able to swing a better deal. That being said, paying fully price for this saddle is still worth it.
The True Test:
My true comfort test will be this weekend when I will be participating in Epic Ride’s Tour of the White Mountains 60 miler. I’ll update after the Tour with a true to booty time test.
I’ve been ranting and raving down at my LBS regarding the fact that I’ve found my saddle and I don’t really have any feel/fit/performance related issues. I have had a couple of people sit down and ride a little bit on the saddle and 1 out of 2 people have found it awesome just like me. Sorry Specialized, I will not be buying another one of your saddles because my manly bits and sit bones thank me much for switching to Ergon.
At Interbike 2012 Ergon stated that they were going to be releasing a road saddle, a split carbon seat post, and a wider range of sizes for their 2013 model line.
Support your local bike shop and keep it rubber side down!
Disclaimer: This product was purchased with my own $ and was not donated. The review is based on solely on my experience and opinions. The goal is to be informative without being a puppet of any company.