Ergon SM3 Saddle: Final Review- by Guitar Ted
Ergon has made a name for itself by putting out contact point products that are unique, high quality, and effective for many riders. Starting with grips, then moving on to pedals, the only item missing from the range was a saddle. Obviously, the new SM3 has closed that gap. For a full and detailed look at the SM3, see my previous post here.
I have ridden this saddle for well over two months on short rides and long. As written up in the previous post, the saddle first found a home on one of my single speeds, but I felt a more telling result might be gained from a bike that I sat in the saddle more than I do while single speed riding, which is punctuated by several out of the saddle efforts. To that end, I placed the Ergon saddle on my Salsa Cycles Mukluk and rode it for rides of a half an hour to three hours in length at times for the last two months I have tested it.
The interesting thing about this saddle for me is that it gives me the sensation that my legs are freer to move near my hip area. This never seemed to be something I would have thought was necessary, or even good until I rode the SM3. Now going back to other saddles my legs feel a tiny bit restricted, and I can see why sometimes I get chafing or just fatigued from saddles that aren’t fitting me as well as this Ergon one does.
The other main thing I have noticed is how easy,(and then how much), it is to slightly shift my weight on this saddle to not only weight the bike differently, but to use my leg muscles in different ways. Important on long pedaling sessions where sitting in one spot can get tiresome and cause soreness more quickly.
The Ergon SM3 has not only proven to be a very comfortable saddle for me, but a tough one as well. Before removing it from the single speed, I came down on it so abruptly and hard that I broke the carbon seat post I was using right in half. On another occasion, while using it on the Mukluk, I slipped off the platform pedals and came crashing down on top of the saddle with my full weight. No negative effect to the Ergon SM3, and fortunately, none to me, with the exception of a bruised ego.
Conclusions: While I have not noticed anything negative concerning the construction or performance of the SM3 to speak of, Ergon CEO Franc Arnold told me at Interbike that little details he is not pleased with are being refined to make the Ergon SM3 even better. That said, if Ergon improves this already really great saddle, I can’t imagine I would notice much in my riding, but all the better, right?
As for mountain biking use, I can say the SM3 is easy to move around on, doesn’t snag my shorts, and is durable. The SM3 does require a bit of a flat profile, to “nose down” attitude, from my usual slightly “nose up” saddle settings, so do note that you may need to go outside your usual parameters to make this work for your needs. Once I got the SM3 dialed in though, I found it to be very comfortable, less fatiguing, and I could even do rides without a chamois in comfort. Finally, while saddle choice is highly personal, I can highly recommend taking a hard look at what Ergon has to offer here. While they are a “new” player in the performance saddle market, the SM3 has a lot going for it for a first time effort.
Note: Ergon sent the SM3 Pro saddle over to Twenty Nine Inches at no charge. We are not being paid nor bribed for this review and we strive to give our honest thoughts and opinions throughout.