The Ergon SR Sport Gel Women's Saddle will be a hit with many female road riders. The design really does help remove pressure from the most sensitive parts, so longer rides are more comfortable than with some alternatives.
Ergon spent two years collaborating with the Canyon//SRAM Women's Team to perfect the SR Saddle. Initial designs were drawn up, taking into account the basic anatomical differences in male and female pelvises, as well as the fact that women tend to be more flexible and so rock about more on the saddle. You can read and watch videos about the research here, it's really interesting, honest.
The wide cutout of the Ergon is designed to relieve pressure on the soft tissue between the pelvic bone and the saddle. The opening is certainly more generous than ones I have used previously. Where some cutouts stop halfway down the saddle, this one continues right to the nose. The nose itself is wider too, with a flatter and wider surround to the opening. Pressure is more spread out and any lateral micro-movement is smooth. The gel pad inserts extend through to the nose of the saddle (with many, pads are just in the widest part).
All of this technology is really noticeable, especially when adopting a racing position, even on rough roads. I had absolutely no issue with discomfort around the sensitive bits during testing, which is pretty unusual for any initial change of saddle. The saddle itself is nowhere near as hard as many out there, Ergon has this element spot on (for me, anyway). The only slight issue I did have was that after longer rides when I had spent much of my time on the tops or hoods, my sit bones felt very slightly bruised. It's hard to pinpoint exactly what caused this, and saddle comfort is so subjective, but unlike my usual saddle the Ergon's rear curves up slightly, so it might just be a case of getting used to it.
With its chunky front end and shorter-than-average nose length, the saddle doesn't look like most 'racy' designs. I thought it looked a little out of place on my carbon road bike, but in reality it's not there to be admired, I just needed to sit on it! It comes in two colour options, which is nice: berry and black. If you opt for the rather loud berry, Ergon throws in some free matching tape and bar ends.
The saddle comes in two sizes, S/M and M/L, dictated by pelvic width. On the road.cc scales the S/M saddle I tested weighs in at 275g, which is comparable to other 'sport saddle' options out there. The SDG Allure Women's Ti-Rail saddle that Siobhan reviewed last year is 268g and costs exactly the same, and Specialized's Power Arc Expert is a similar design, weighing 243g and costing £100.
I certainly found the Ergon much more comfortable than many I have previously used and, most importantly, there was absolutely no discomfort, irritation or pain inflicted on the most sensitive tissue. If you are on the lookout for a new saddle I'd certainly recommend testing it via your local bike shop if that is an option available to you.
Affordable saddle effectively designed to protect the most sensitive tissue
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ergon SR Sport Gel Women's
Size tested: S/M
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Ergon tells us that its SR Sport Gel Women's saddle is 'the flawless road bike saddle for women. Flat but still comfortably padded. Shape and relief exactly fit the female anatomy in the typical racing-related sitting position. The genital and seating areas are noticeably relieved by means of large gel pads.'
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
· Even pressure distribution on the sit bones
· Padding with high restoring force
· Rails: CrMo (chrome molybdenum alloy), 7 mm Ø
· Seat shell: nylon composite
· Padding: orthopaedic comfort foam with gel pads
· Upper material: microfibre
· Size: 261 x 141 mm (S/M), 261 x 152 mm (M/L)
· Size index sit bone distance: 9 - 12 cm (S/M), 12 - 16 cm (M/L)
· Weight approx.: 265 g (S/M), 275 g (M/L)
Solid and tidy looking.
Zero discomfort for the most sensitive tissue for hour after hour. My sit bones felt very slightly bruised.
Grit/dirt got into the micro holes when I used the saddle in rainy weather. I am not sure how this will affect it in the long run, particularly if it isn't dried out quickly enough.
Not the lightest out there but comparable with others in a similar price bracket.
One of the best I have ridden in terms of comfort for the most sensitive tissue. Softer than some alternatives on the market.
For something that has had so much R&D and offers excellent comfort, I consider it great value.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Marginal discomfort for my sit bones but zero irritation for the most sensitive tissue – this is what impressed.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The flatter, wider nose and opening; it just does the job well!
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The curved back end; my usual saddle doesn't have that.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Comparable and competitive.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? I am going to persist with the saddle and see if the sit bones adapt, and if they do, yes.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes, but try before you buy if possible.
Use this box to explain your overall score
For me it provided exceptional front end comfort; I wasn't keen on the curved rear, but saddles are a subjective thing. There's little to fault, and value is very good too.
About the tester
I usually ride: Road My best bike is: Carbon road
I've been riding for: Over 20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, general fitness riding, getting to grips with off-roading too!
Emma’s first encounters with a road bike were in between swimming and running. Soon after competing for GB in the World Age Group Triathlon Championships in Edmonton in 2001 she saw the light and decided to focus on cycling.
After a couple of half decent UK road seasons racing for Leisure Lakes, she went out to Belgium to sample the racing there and spent two years with Lotto-Belisol Ladies team, racing alongside the likes of Sara Carrigan, Grace Verbeke, Rochelle Gilmore and Lizzie Deignan. Emma moved from Lotto-Belisol to Dutch team Redsun, then a new Belgian team of primarily developing riders, where there was less pressure, an opportunity to share her experience and help build a whole new team; a nice way to spend her final years of professional racing.
Since retiring Emma has returned to teaching. When not coercing kids to do maths, she is invariably out on two wheels. In addition to the daily commute, Emma still enjoys getting out on her road bike and having her legs ripped off on the local club rides and chain gangs. She has also developed an addiction to touring, with destinations including Iceland, Georgia and Albania, to mention just a few. There have also been rare sightings of Emma off-road on a mountain bike…