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The Ergon SR AllRoad Core Comp Men saddle offers a magical, buttery-smooth ride quality, filtering out lumps and bumps and ensuring you can keep riding all day long, on the rough stuff as well as smooth tarmac. It's rather weighty in this basic version, though – there are lighter options out there for the same money.
Saddle comfort on the rough stuff is arguably more critical than it is on the smooth(er) stuff, with considerably more bumps and vibration transmitted to the rider. My go-to saddle for road riding is very comfortable, and the flex ensures I can keep riding for miles, but on gravel, not so much.
Read our guide to the best bike saddles for more ideas.
As ever with saddle reviews, when it comes to comfort it's entirely subjective – what I find comfortable might, to you, feel like sitting on a bed of nails, or what is uncomfortable for me might make you feel like you're floating on a cushion of air.
I've heard good things about German manufacturer Ergon's products – in particular its grips seem to get rave reviews in the bikepacking/touring scene. Its SR AllRoad Core Comp is designed to keep your backside happy on gravel as well as tarmac, and it does this thanks to a thin sandwich of shock-absorbing material between the shell and seat foam that Ergon calls the Core HD.
Visible from the around the outside of the saddle, the BASF Infinergy material (a thermoplastic polyurethane or E-TPU) consists of thousands of tiny foam particles – it's effectively a filter which helps to mute the bad vibes before they hit your butt, a bit like wearing noise-cancelling headphones in a noisy environment.
Atop the Core HD is an orthopaedic AirCell seat foam with a microfibre cover, which is firm, and though initially it doesn't feel especially comfortable, as there's not much give, you quickly forget it's there. On the underside, you get a nylon composite shell with chromoly rails on this base Core Comp model. There are two upgrade versions available: the Core Pro (with TiNox rails) and the Core Pro Carbon (with, you guessed it, carbon rails).
The chromoly is the heaviest, as you might expect, and came in at 292g on the road.cc scales in the wider size. That's pretty hefty, and surprisingly much more than the claimed 275g weight (the narrower version is a claimed 260g). The difference was such that I had a scout around online and reports seemed to suggest a much lower weight, so I verified it on my own digital scales and it was the same. Either Ergon has some manufacturing inconsistencies, or there are some really dodgy weighing scales out there.
In the interests of weight saving, then, the TiNox version is a claimed 240g (S/M) and 255g (M/L), while the carbon version is 195g (S/M) and M/L (210g). If it were my money, I would certainly consider investing in the carbon version to keep the weight respectably low, though the oval rails require a compatible seatpost (unlike the chromoly or TiNox versions).
At 262mm long, the SR AllRoad Core Comp falls into the short nose saddle category (even though Ergon doesn't position it as such), shorter than even the fairly short Fizik Argo Terra X1, which is 270mm long. I only ride on short nose saddles these days, so I felt right at home on the Ergon.
The saddle also comes in two widths: medium/large, which is 152mm and designed for sit bones between 12-16cm, and small/medium, which is 139mm and designed for sit bones between 9-12cm. I normally ride on a 143mm saddle, so I presumed the medium/large version I had on test would be too wide for my sit bones, but it actually worked out just fine. Presumably, my sit bones fall somewhere in the middle, which puts me near the low end of the larger size, whereas I'd probably be at the top end of the smaller size.
The saddle has fairly pronounced side flanks – initially I tested it on my hybrid bike in a fairly upright position, and found this caused some soreness, more so on my left side. My sit bones were pretty uncomfortable too. On my gravel bike, where my position on the bike is much lower because of a fairly hefty saddle-to-bar drop, I felt like I was riding on an entirely different saddle. It was not only very comfortable on my sit bones, I didn't experience any of the side soreness that I expected to.
Not only that, but the shock-absorbing core does genuinely work. Although I was initially sceptical about the claims, I couldn't believe the difference it made – it feels a bit like riding on a pillow, albeit one that doesn't feel squishy, or vague. You can still tell what's going on underneath you, but all the bumps and shocks are pretty much eliminated.
Such was the feeling of bliss that at one point I had to check my rear tyre hadn't suddenly dropped a few psi, just in case, and this was on gravel.
And at no point during testing (which included a 63-mile gravel loop around the New Forest) did I experience the dread of the saddle gradually becoming less and less comfortable as the miles piled on. It stayed relatively comfy on my sit bones for most of the way, and thanks to the male-specific cutout, which is designed to reduce perineal pressure, there was no numbness to speak of either.
It's worth noting that the closed style channel of this cutout also prevents water and mud getting sprayed onto the underside of your bibs, which is a plus.
Though the retail price is £129.99, I've seen this saddle for about £100, and I even spotted the flagship carbon version for as little as £128 (though it was only available in the narrower width).
Looking at other allroad/gravel saddles we've tested, the aforementioned Fizik Terra Argo X1 is £50 more at £179.99, though it's much lighter thanks to its carbon rails.
The cheapest model, the X5, is a little lighter still, at 271g, and it's much less expensive at £99.99. Clearly, if fewer pounds for fewer pounds is important, this is one to look at.
There's also the PRO Stealth Offroad Saddle, which Shaun found to be a little on the firm side and costs a tenner more than the Ergon SR AllRoad Core Comp, though it weighs just 207g. If shaving weight is your goal, this is one to look at.
If ultimate comfort over the rough stuff is your primary concern, I'd highly recommend the Ergon SR AllRoad Core Comp. Yes, it's a bit heavy versus similar competition, and slightly pricey, but personally, when I'm riding over rough stuff I'll take any extra comfort I can get.
And this is where the Ergon excels – it really is a huge improvement, thanks to the shock-absorbing core, which in my opinion is a cheaper, neater alternative to a suspension seatpost, though clearly it won't take the sting out of the bigger bumps. That all being said, as ever, saddles are a personal thing, but this one is definitely worth a try.
A dramatic improvement in comfort for gravel riding, though it's a bit weighty and slightly pricey
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ergon SR AllRoad Core Comp Men
Size tested: Medium/Large
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 says, "With the SR Allroad, Ergon has crafted a saddle that delivers sporty performance able to take on asphalt as easily as a hard-packed dirt road. Perfectly adapted for today's modern road cycling, the saddle's CORE HD® technology combines ergonomic comfort without sacrificing dynamic cycling fun. The innovative saddle design of the SR Allroad Core offers a completely new riding experience: road shock and vibrations are fully damped, numbness in the perineal area is alleviated, and seat pressure is significantly reduced – allowing you to be fully in sync with your bike, whatever your chosen path."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Use Allroad/Gravel/Cyclocross, Road
Size S/M, M/L
BASF Infinergy® (E-TPU / Closed Cell Particle Foam)
Padding Orthopedic AirCell Foam
Gender men specific
max. load 120 kg
A very well made saddle.
Comfortable, and the shock-absorbing core does a brilliant job of filtering out the majority of lumps and bumps on gravel tracks.
No issues after many miles off road.
Initially, the saddle feels a little uncomfortable, since the AirCell seat foam is fairly firm, but I had no aches or pains over many miles of riding. It's definitely worth mentioning that the saddle comfort is optimised more for a slightly lower riding position.
Fairly expensive, considering how much it weighs, but I'd argue the comfort benefit is somewhat worth the higher price tag.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Brilliantly – a pain-free experience over many miles, and the shock-absorbing core magically filters out lumps and bumps on gravel tracks.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The magic ride quality.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's weighty, for sure – I'd certainly be shopping for the carbon model if it were my money.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's cheaper than the Fizik Terra Argo X1, but a lot heavier, and according to reviewer Jamie the X1 is comfortable too. The PRO Stealth Offroad Saddle is a tenner more than the Ergon, and Shaun found it to be rather on the firm side, though it's much lighter.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, but I'd buy the carbon version in the sale.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
If all you care about is getting the most comfortable ride, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend this saddle. The weight is annoying, but it's not the primary concern on rough stuff, in my opinion. Overall, it's very good.
About the tester
I usually ride: Condor Italia RC custom build My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, mtb,