German bike accessory maker Ergon has now applied their ergonomic design prowess to the humble mountain bike saddle. As problems with the saddle directly affect your performance, endurance, and general well being on the bike, Ergon focused their design innovation on creating the best fitting and most efficient mountain bike saddle on the market.
Ergon's ergonomically optimized mountain bike saddle, the SM3, uses a 3D saddle shell construction with innovative hollows to allow for considerably more dampening material to be placed in the sit bone area. The ultra-thin GFK or carbon saddle shell features isolated rear mounting rails for added flex.
A central relief area in the middle of the saddle is scooped out, leaving only gentle curves with no hard edges to create extra pressure points. As you tend to bring your weight forward on steep climbs, Ergon added extra padding in the nose, while ensuring the flanks drop away quickly to prevent chaffing. The Y-Flex nose to seat design provides maximum freedom of movement when pedalling.
A wide and angled "U" shaped rear uses multiple layers of padding to reduce impact injury from bumpy terrain. The upper layer is highly elastic, allowing the mountain bike saddle to mold to your specific shape. The lower layer is significantly harder, not only enabling progressive dampening, but also preventing you from bottoming out when taking a big hit.
The Ergon SM3 mountain bike saddle comes in 5 different shell and rail combinations, with either small or large sizes for optimum sit-bone distance. Each SM3 seat is handmade by Selle Italia and ranges in price from $129.95 to $229.95. There is no sign of a women's specific SM3 saddle yet from Ergon.