Company: Ergon Bike (www.ergon-bike.com)
Product: Ergon SM3 Pr0
Rails: TiNox Hollow
Intended Use: Mountain Bike, Endurance
Reviewed By: Jordan May
Review Period: May – August
Usage: 800+ miles and 35,000 feet of climbing
As with everything we review here on AGW, we put it to the test. With no shortage of miles, it was time to talk about my time with the Ergon SM3 Pro saddle. The first thing I noticed as with everything I have seen from Ergon, is the attention to detail. The saddle, much like their grips, is a thing of beauty. Sexy curves, smooth surfaces and clean lines make you just wanna touch it. Put your butt on it. I am not one to resist desire.
I feel like in order to properly talk about my feelings in regards to my time on the SM3, I should tell you a little bit about the last couple of saddles I’ve used. First, the most recent mountain saddle I have really enjoyed over the past couple of years is the Specialized Phenom. It has been comfortable, flexible, but sometimes bordering on too squishy. Overall, I don’t have many complaints about it. Though, one can always look for “more” comfort in the downtown zone. Am I right?
The other saddle that didn’t last as long as the Phenom was the Fizik GOBI. The Fizik was a great looking saddle, lightweight, but just didn’t fit my sit bones very well. I enjoyed the more narrow shape compared to the Phenom but it just didn’t have the comfort I was seeking. I sold the saddle to a friend who has said and I quote, “This thing is sweet I am stoked that you didn’t like it.” Just goes to show you that when it comes to butts, no two are alike.
Let’s talk a little bit about the shape and feel of the SM3.
1. After my first ride I instantly noticed the extended length of the nose. The longer nose and shorter seat area of the saddle meant my legs had plenty of room to move without the saddle rubbing my inner thigh. This is great for those with large quads, which is the majority of the cycling world.
2. During extended climbing sections, as with most riders, I scoot my butt toward the nose of my saddle. This is one area the SM3 excelled over others I’ve used due to the lack of vibration coming off the nose. The soft-zone as I like to call it, or the most comfortable section of the saddle, usually is the rear. I was surprised how comfy the front end of the SM3 was. It didn’t give me that, “hey I am going to dig into your groin now” treatment.
3. So there’s this channel as you can see running down the center of the saddle. Although, I could make some educated guesses as to what this does or relieves, I honestly am not sure if I felt it was doing much of anything. It isn’t mentioned on the Ergon website so it may be simply a design feature or added to give you a little extra “breathing room”.
The front or nose of the saddle sits higher than the concave sit bones section. I ended up tilting the saddle slightly down in the front to accommodate my usual saddle fit.
I am going to be honest and tell you my first two weeks on the SM3 were not very pleasant. Getting used to a completely new saddle after 3 years is not a treat. My sit bones were not happy with me. As weeks passed, I noticed the saddle was breaking in, or my sit bones were getting readjusted to the shape. I was comfortable for longer periods of time on the bike as time went on. It wasn’t until 3-4 weeks passed that I could ride 4-5 hours pain free.
While that doesn’t speak highly for the SM3, I will say that after I finally got comfortable on it, it has been all gravy. It has been on my bike nearly 4 months now and going strong. My previous Phenom was 143mm wide and the SM3 is 146mm. This could be the reason it took me a little longer to get it dialed in, or get me dialed in to it. If there was a 143mm option, I would have taken it. Currently, Ergon only offers the SM3 in two sizes, 135mm and 146mm. Hopefully, your fit numbers are close enough to those.
The saddle hit the dirt on more than one occasion. Cleaning it was a breeze with a quick squirt of Simple Green and a towel. The synthetic leather, micro-fibre cover is a nice touch and very durable. I took a few spills over the summer, one that tumbled the bike behind me a few times. The saddle still looks new.
Don’t you hate annoying popping noises coming from your bike that are near impossible to find? I’ve had plenty of saddles that were the cause of this all the while I was convinced it was my headset, seatpost or cranks. Well, the Ergon saddle hasn’t made a squeak yet and I’m no featherweight.
If I had to make a direct comparison between the SM3, Phenom and GOBI, I would say the Ergon fits perfectly between the other two. If you like a firm yet responsive saddle that looks great, will last a long time and I feel is priced right, you should be considering the SM3.
So, is the SM3 my new favorite? Well, that’s tough to answer. I plan on throwing the Phenom back on the bike this month to see how it feels. Maybe I will go back and forth a few times before making a final judgement. Most likely, it will be a toss up either way as both feel completely different. One day I may want a firm touch and others a little softer. Don’t let your mind wander too far with that.
For more information and where to purchase the Ergon SM3 Pro saddle, visit their website at www.ergon-bike.com. If you’re heading to Interbike next month, be sure to stop by the booth and give the SM3 a look.
At the same time I picked up the saddle I also grabbed the new Ergon BA3 Super Enduro pack. With over 30 rides in the books using it, I still don’t think I’ve used every little pocket on it! Look for that detailed review coming soon.
Go ride your bike!
The Ergon SM3 Pro saddle took some getting used to but in the end it treated us right.