SQlab Active 611 Titube Saddle - Review

May 13, 2014
by Richard Cunningham  
Pinkbike Product Picks

SQ Lab Active Saddle - Reviewed 2014

SQlab's best all-mountain/trailbike saddle is its new 611 Active ATB Titube, easily recognized by its slim, 300-millimeter profile and downward curving nose.



SQlab 611 Active Titube Saddle

SQlab's latest mountain bike saddle, the 611 Active Titube features, among its many innovations, a longer, down-curved nose that gives technical riders extra seating positions for cornering and steep climbing. The 302-millimeter length also provides more options to riders who use the saddle for control while standing. SQlab's 611-series saddles feature a slight step-down ahead of the seating area as well as a slight depressions in the padding that provide pressure relief for soft tissue. The saddle's nose is flattened slightly to offer temporary comfort when using that section for technical climbing. Kevlar fabric reinforces the nose and wings of the saddle for crash protection, and a row of traction nubs is embossed into the synthetic leather cover to keep your butt in place while descending. The rear of the saddle rails nest in special elastomer cups which allow the saddle to rock slightly with the hips as you pedal. Three cup hardnesses are available, although even SQlab admits that the middle-durometer grey ones that come standard are all anyone has ever needed. SQlab is big on selecting the exact padding firmness for each cycling genre, and has developed its own "shore-hardness" scale to that effect. Active 611 saddles use their firmest, 60-durometer Marathon foam padding, which is also found inside SQlab's racing saddles. 611 Active saddles are offered in 13, 14 and 15-centimeter widths and three models are available: one with chromoly rails for $169 and SQlab offers a shorter-length Race version for $169 USD. We reviewed the top-of-the-line titanium-railed, Active 611 Titube model, which retails for $189 and weighs 280 grams in the 13-centimeter width.
SQlab

SQ Lab Active Saddle - Reviewed 2014

(Clockwise) Viewed from the Kevlar-armored rear, the Active saddle's stepped pressure relief area can be seen just ahead of the flared seating area. A look at the elastomer system that allows the saddle to follow the slight rocking motion of the hips. Titanium alloy rails allow 30-millimeters of fore/aft adjustment. The saddle's flattened and curved nose is designed to be used as a temporary position for technical climbing.



The SQlab story

Those unfamiliar with SQlab deserve to know a bit about their story. Regardless of how the tale has been or will be told, it was SQlab that did the groundbreaking research and founded the concept that the sit-bones of the human pelvis vary in width and thus, saddles should be offered in specific widths that correspond to those variables. SQlab discovered this while doing blood-flow and nerve-damage research related to cycling saddles in Germany, where founders Tobias Hild and Dr. Stefan Staudte also came across information that debunks some widely-held "urban legends" about saddles and their construction. While male sit-bones average slightly narrower than female's, the reality is that the width of both sexes' are all over the map, so the notion that women need wider saddles is not true. SQlab also found that there is no need for a specific female or male shape for the saddle either. By using a relieved "shelf" in front of the seating area of the saddle, SQlab solves the issues related to reduced blood flow and soft-tissue irritation that turn out to be common to both sexes. Armed with their findings, Stefan and Tobias launched SQlab - where they continue to research ways to make cycling more comfortable and they produce saddles in all shapes and sizes to cover everything from boardwalk cruising to World Cup XC racing. As you may expect, SQlab also developed a quick and easy method of measuring the width of your sit bones, and they offer their saddles in a number of widths to suit. It could be argued that all contemporary ergonomic saddle design can be classified as pre and post SQlab. So, if you hear another brand talking about saddle width options and pressure relief shapes, think "SQlab" when you come across "we" or "our" in their marketing schpiels.

SQlab 611 Active saddle fit kit review 2014

SQlab began its saddle research using expensive digital pressure pads and related computer software to register and record where conventional saddles bore the rider's weight. Today, SQlab uses corrugated cardboard, The customer sits on the cardboard and rocks back to make imprints of his or her sit bones. The width is recorded on a simple guide that suggests the correct width saddle. SQlab found that a more upright riding position requires a correspondingly wider saddle, which is factored by the chart.



Pinkbike's Take:

bigquotesSQlab is unafraid to push the boundaries of saddle design in the name of comfort and performance. 302-millimeters of 611 Active saddle, perched high on the seatpost, with its day-glo orange accents and curved nose cannot be easily disguised. Prepare for some curious questions at the trailheads. While riding, however, the saddle's elongated nose and ergonomic profile are largely unnoticed. The padding is firm and it takes a few rides for it to settle into a shape that is truly comfortable, which came as a surprise, until one of us read the part in SQlab's instructions that made note of its probable break-in period. The length of the 611 saddle exaggerates any degree of tilt, so be warned to bring an Allen key to make mid-ride angle changes until you find its sweet spot. Once you get those initial rides under saddle, though, the 611 Active becomes quite comfortable and it stays that way during all types of riding conditions. Where the Active 611 saddle delivers the most returns is while climbing steeps. The level of traction control that is available by riding slightly forward on the nose is uncanny - especially when scratching up rolling gravel or loose surfaces. Another attribute that came into play was that we could push the bike into a lean using the outside leg with the crankarm clocked in a variety of positions, and while that move is not often called for, the saddle is there if you need it. Another unexpected attribute of the Active design is the slight rocking action that is built into the rear rail junctions - an added comfort which becomes readily apparent after you hop off the Active saddle and ride a conventional design. The bottom line is that on trail, the 611 Active's features are truly improvements when compared to top selling conventional saddles, but will the availability of custom widths, enhanced comfort and technical performance benefits be enough to convince riders to spend $189 on a new seat? Tough call, but the more I spend on it, the less I am inclined to ride anything else. - RC



63 Comments

  • + 32
 The 'elastomer' looks like a ballsack haha
  • + 9
 Please give me a $189 seat with a nuttsack attached to remind me how uncomfortable this seat is.
  • + 1
 yeah, they could have gone with another colour
  • + 0
 and while they're at it maybe put a hyphen between "ti" and "tube"
  • + 4
 There is one on the rail of the saddle, just not in PB's title.
  • + 2
 I will try it as soon as I see it. Why not?
  • + 4
 the only thing it's missing is hair.
  • - 1
 ...say "SQLAB" as a single word...
  • + 0
 ES-KYU-LAB
  • + 5
 302mm? cool, we are heading of in this direction again... makes sens no that we have bigger wheels too
dirtmountainbike.com/featured/the-15-worst-mountain-bike-products-ever.html/9

lucky i kept one around from the 90ies... unused...
  • + 7
 Awesome link! Shit I had half the stuff on that list! God I'm getting old!
  • + 8
 I think these saddles are like dropper posts: once you have one you cannot do without!
  • + 9
 hmmm, not sure, think I'll sit on it for awhile before I decide.
  • + 4
 Riding my 611 active for almost two years now and I love it.....Once I got used to the different feeling when placing my bum on it, I never wanted to ride another saddle. The saddle feels a bit strange after a longer break, but when back into routine I spend severall hours on it, without any issues. With other saddles I always had the issue, that already after a few kilometers I lost feeling in a region where I don't like to loose feeling (you all probably know, what I mean)...that couldn't be healthy in the long run.

Also a friend of mine is working for SQlab and I could visit the "office". Realy impressing to see the developing facilities and how much energie and knowledge go into the products.
  • + 5
 Is this seat available now or do we have to wait until the review date of May 12, 2015?
  • + 1
 The NEW 2014 SQlab saddles just arrived including the 611 Active MTB reviewed here. They are available through your LBS through who can get through three distributors Hawley USA, BTI and Radsport USA.

For more info email info@radsportusa.com
  • + 2
 you must wait until 2015.
  • + 3
 That's funny, the post-date is programmed, so it should not be possible for that to occur.
  • + 2
 Hey Richard Cunnigham, now that it actually is 2015, are you still riding this saddle?
  • + 4
 Are they going to make an enduro model? This one only good for all mountain/XC
  • + 10
 How dare you use that term! Americans aren't allowed to use that word remember?
  • + 4
 almost 200$ for a 280g saddle??

I dont care how comfortable that is, That's just unacceptable.
  • + 4
 Price and weight become a non-issue when your ass hurts on longer rides, which is what this saddle claims to offer.
  • + 3
 after having my junk go numb ... i dont care how much it weighs or how much it costs, im going to buy it.
  • + 2
 I own an SQ lab seat and love it, when your doing long rides you want an ergonomic saddle, comfy as fuck
  • + 1
 Yeah, seems a bit steep for a saddle. But technology trickles down. I'll stick to what I know I like for now. Not much experimenting when it comes to saddles.
  • + 2
 My Fizik saddles are spendy, but once I found a saddle that worked and worked well for 4-5hr rides, $200 is worth it.
  • + 2
 That's a bit expensive. Especially for something that'll be getting covered in ass sweat all the time...
  • + 1
 Might as well not buy tires then, you might get mud or dog crap on them.
  • + 2
 Elastomer? Oh no, not again...
  • + 1
 The thin nose will snap in two on steep climbs. I'd buy it if there was a titanium shank inside the saddle shell...
  • + 2
 titube. what a great name for a saddle
  • + 3
 In french, that's how you walk when you're drunk Big Grin
  • + 1
 My doctor said if it curves down,you've got issues! But if it curves up, to the left, or to the right...you're alright!
  • + 1
 189$ 280 grams. Say no more.
  • + 1
 I do need a new saddle. Quite expensive though.
  • + 1
 WTB bring back the SST .98!!!!!
  • + 1
 These don't see available at all in the UK.
  • + 2
 I'll stay with SDG. Thx.
  • + 0
 I am looking for a 160 or 170 mm wide light saddle. Any suggestions?
  • + 1
 You want a weight weenie saddle? How about this SQLab saddle?
www.sq-lab.com/en/sqlab-products-en/sqlab-bicycle-saddles-en/race-en/sqlab-super6-1-carbon-race-saddle-en.html
The SQlab Super6.1 active Carbon saddle weighs only 100 grams, about the same as a chocolate bar, but I have to say it looks a bit bizarre, but that's because "Pads of varying shapes, designs and firmness can be mounted on the carbon fiber base utilizing integrated Velcro patches" so it can be set up for road or MTB use. Only problem is.....it cost $400!!!
  • + 1
 Thanks for intereset. 200 or 250g is light enough, but still nothing that wide. It's not that I am sitting straight vertical, but my bottom bones I measured 150mm. The only candidates for now are heavy Brooks Cambium, Charge Pan, ugly Ergon something and my favourite wtb devo which is still too narrow. I think I should use forum for this.
  • + 2
 Specialized makes most of their saddles in 168mm
  • + 1
 Thank you for the info. I'll check them out right away.
  • + 0
 elastomers wear fast just remember the manipoo forks and kobi saddles
  • + 4
 Madmon - Since there is only a slight amount of movement, the amount of duty that these elastomers are put through doesn't really translate to much wear. And if they would fail we would replace them free of charge. Haven't see one wear out yet though since we've been working with SQlab over the last year and a half.
  • + 3
 Remember Turbomatics, still a great elastomer/ti railed saddle!
  • - 5
flag superslushpuppy (May 13, 2014 at 14:14) (Below Threshold)
 Elastomers have no place on a bike.
  • + 4
 Elastomers are often used in vehicle suspension bushings. I'm sure they can support your ass without falling apart!
  • + 0
 i can see a small benefit on a hard tail but a dually needs a solid base. Dropper posts take abuse for any movement.
  • - 1
 Another expensive product review... Really $189 for a saddle!
  • + 0
 Lol... Tit
  • - 1
 Lmfao ,up charge for it having titanium rails?
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