What is it
While saddle choice will always be a personal decision, there are certain concepts that make sense no matter the width of your sit bones or degree of pelvic flexibility. The Ergowave saddle from SQlab attempts to tap into these norms, utilizing a pressure relief channel and raised aft section that’s designed to provide more rearward support in order to place the rider in a comfortable and efficient pedaling position. The saddle comes in two iterations, 612 for road/XC and 611 for more techy trail endeavors.
Mtbr has spent the better part of a month testing the Ergowave 611 with titanium rails that weighs a respectable 257 grams (size 150mm) and sells for $189. The main difference between the two saddle options is the 611’s wider nose, making it easier to slide up and still have plenty of support. The 611 is also coated with Kevlar in key areas for extra protection in case of a crash.
Both saddles feature a slightly lowered nose and the aforementioned modest channel, which is intended to relieve pressure (63% to be exact) on the sensitive perineal area, especially during extended seated climbing. The 611 saddle’s padding is intended specifically for the needs of mountain biking and has subtle dampening properties.
Lastly, both Ergowave saddles are spec’d with what SQlab calls active technology, which allows them to subtly flex horizontally side to side, providing up to 7 degrees of pelvic movement when pedaling, mimicking the natural walking motion. Pedaling becomes more relaxed, claims SQlab, and premature fatigue is lessened. The unique design is also intended to increase comfort, and allow the mobilization of the rider’s spinal discs while reducing pressure on the sit bones. Press play to learn more:
Each saddle comes equipped with three elastomer inserts of varying density (soft, medium, hard). After trying all three, I settled on the pre-installed medium insert, which was recommended based on my riding weight of 170 pounds.
The fit process itself is fairly straight forward. While wearing riding clothes, I sat on peg board with a piece of paper over the top. That downward pressure poked holes in the paper that indicated the approximate location of my sit bones. The distance between those two points (13cm in my case) is then plugged into a formula that also takes into account general riding position.
In this case semi-aggressive, which represents a normal mountain biking posture, versus road riding, which is more aggressive, or time trialing, which has the most aggressive forward-leaning position. The whole process took about 10 minutes and can be replicated by any SQlab dealer or at home with a fit kit that the company will send you.
- Comfortable and supportive
- Reasonably light
- Reinforced for durability
- Four size options (120mm, 130mm, 140mm, 15omm)
- Customizable flex via included elastomer inserts
- Step-down design keeps body in correct position
- No gender specific models
- Swapping elastomers can be tedious
- Little discernable difference between elastomers
- Expensive for non-carbon rails
I’ve always been a bit saddle agnostic. Sure there are perches out there that I found uncomfortable. But I don’t carry around my personal saddle and swap it onto every bike I ride. After spending most of the last month on the SQlab Ergowave 611 that may change, though. Being on the appropriate width saddle for my sit bone location combined with the subtle channel have added up to a highly comfortable (and pressure free) riding experience. Unlike more traditional cut-out designs, which can lead to sharp edges in the wrong places, the Ergowave channel provides just enough air where you need it most.
I’m also a fan of the raised rear perch design, which helps title the body forward, making it easier to stay in uphill attack mode on slacked out trail bikes. Case in point the Ibis Mojo HD4 that I did the majority of this saddle test on. While an amazing bike in many ways, its 64.9-degree head angle can lead to a light front end feel on steep climbs. But the Ergowave saddle has made it easier to keep body weight forward and thus the front wheel headed in the right direction.
I also like the idea that the saddle is customizable for rider weight via the interchangeable elastomers. But it takes some strong fingers to make the swap, and honestly, I didn’t notice a whole lot of difference between the three densities. But perhaps lighter or heavier riders will. What I can say is that the saddle was superbly comfortable on the myriad long, steep climbs that are commonplace in my test HQ of Crested Butte, Colorado. And for that reason it will be my saddle of choice going forward.
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
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