Fit and Construction
Ergon's downhill products were released back in June at Crankworx in France. After a summer of testing, I was duly impressed by the GD1 grips in my recent review
, but can the matching saddle perform equally as well?
I was supplied with the $149.95 USD / €149.95, top of the range, Pro Ti saddle that comes with solid titanium rails, a microfiber surface on the nose and edges of the saddle, and an anti-slip surface under your sit bones. Two more affordable options are available in the form of the SMD2 Comp with chromoly rails, and the SMD2 with chromoly rails and a lack of anti-slip material.
SMD2 Pro Ti Details:
• Solid titanium rails
• Anti-slip seating surface
• Low Friction nose and edge surface
• Carbon composite shell
• 360° edge padding
• 'Wheel Gap' to avoid tire contact
• Length: 260mm
• Width: 130mm
• Weight: 205g
• Price: $149.95 USD / €149.95
The SMD2 is one of the few mountain bike saddles, if any, that's design focus was not based around sitting down comfortably. Instead, riding control was the target. Its main features are the dimpled seated surface, said to aid grip when sitting, especially in muddy conditions. The low-friction surface on the nose and sides of the saddle are meant to help to allow the movement of the bike between you legs.
The carbon composite shell is shaped with vertical edges around its complete circumference. This means the foam and surface cover will wrap around the saddle and leave padded sides for bashing about your inner legs when the going gets rough. The nose of the saddle is quite wide; this is designed for sitting down through foot out, flat out corners when you need to weight the front wheel, or if you just want to be 'moto.'
Most saddles have a forward bias to aid climbing when sliding your weight towards the nose, and a central position is said to be better for weight distribution on the bike when sitting. The SMD2 is also tipped backward more than normal seat, so you don't slide forward when sitting down and descending. The SMD2's carbon composite shell is shaped with a 'wheel gap' that can give that little bit of extra clearance when the low seat height on your downhill bike gets close during bottom-out.
Solid titanium rails are the choice, even though a lighter carbon version could be spec'd at this price-point. Even though they may bend, you should make it to the bottom of the hill with your perch, and percher intact.Performance
The SMD2 did everything promised by the marketing team, except being grippy when sitting down – the dimpled surface is too shallow to make any real difference except when everything is clean and dry, especially compared to something like an SDG Fly RL Storm which has real world lugs on its top. The 'Wheel Gap' isn't much to shout about, either, though it may give you a couple of extra millimeters clearance, it's not wide enough to let a full-size downhill tire in.
Aside from this, performance was spot on. It's plenty comfortable to sit on in lift cues or chatting (DH comes in a close second to dirt jumping when it comes to this). It really is easier to slide between your legs than others, and there is a distinct lack of sharp edges. The saddle is waterproofed well and has hardly shown any noticeable signs of wear and tear after a plenty of rides in the worst conditions.Pinkbike's Take
|The SMD2 does nearly everything it set out to do, and very well. For those who don't think downhill saddle choice is important, this product might change your mind. - Paul Aston|
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