Video: SDG Launches the Bel-Air V3 Saddle - 25 Years of Evolution

May 16, 2020 at 14:29
by SDG Components  

PRESS RELEASE: SDG

The year was 1995. The Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) was invented, eBay had just launched, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” topped the Billboard Charts and Mötley Crüe rocker Tommy Lee married Baywatch star Pamela Anderson. In addition, SDG’s new Bel-Air saddle was taking the industry by storm as the premier MTB saddle of choice.

SDG officially releases their new Bel-Air V3 saddle

Chances are if you’ve ridden a mountain bike in the past 25 years, you've probably perched yourself on top of an SDG saddle. Even more likely, that saddle has been a Bel-Air model or one of its offspring. SDG Components started in a garage in Southern California back in 1993. Their first product was the Comp Ti saddle (the first premium Kevlar covered MTB saddle), and by 1995, they added the Bel-Air to their lineup - which utilized the same base as the Comp. It quickly gained popularity as the “go-to” saddle of its era. Since then, SDG Components has sold in excess of one million Bel-Air saddles in various forms and iterations, including the Bel-Air SL – the first I-Beam version. While many popular trends and advanced products have come and gone since 1995, the timeless Bel-Air saddle has remained in the game.



Intense and GT were early adopters of the Bel-Air, along with the Honda G-Cross Team, pictured here using the first Bel-Air I-Beam version.

Although the name and brand have grown since the days of bending titanium rails and stitching fabrics in a garage, the legacy continues for the Bel-Air with the introduction of the new Bel-Air V3 saddle. The new V3 sees some much-needed enhancements that turns the old skool comfort favorite into a contemporary saddle for riders that may have never seen a metal flake SDG or lusted after the wild animal prints and crushed velvet saddles from decades ago.

Back in 2005 the Pinkbike DH Team ran animal print Bel-Air saddles

SDG has tooled a significant amount of saddle models over the years. And surely, as saddle preferences and overall shapes vary, not all saddles are created equal. In fact, some saddles are designed to be firm and stiff for ultimate power transfers, extremely light or even minimalist and relatively flat forward, allowing a rider to move freely on the saddle or even slide off the back end on steep descents. So admittedly, some SDG saddles weren’t overly comfortable, but they were built to serve a function and a intended use. Unlike some of the I-Beam race seats, the Bel-Air has always been a comfort-focused saddle. While the foam shape has slightly morphed over the years, the same base has always remained.

For 2020, SDG’s Bel-Air V3 will continue in the tradition of the iconic shape, with a slight rear rise profile, on a proven 140mm platform. The saddle also takes advantage of new materials and manufacturing techniques to further enhance the performance, overall aesthetics and most importantly, bringing the time tested comfort tradition along for the ride.

The new SDG Bel-Air V3



What Has Changed Then?

- Shorter and Slimmed Down Profile:

Seeing as the Bel-Air and Bel-Air 2.0 continued to be popular sellers in the SDG line, they were a bit outdated and far too bulky. And so the overhaul started nearly 19 months ago. SDG aimed to incorporate the same overall top profile and optimal riding area for the widest range of riders and a wide range of disciplines. As seat tube angles have evolved, so have saddles and the Bel-Air V3 is designed with modern bikes in mind. The new saddle moves to a shorter, padded nose and a reduced overall length (260mm) to match current bike trends. The shoulders of the V3 are also trimmed up, providing a sleeker overall appearance, without compromising comfort.


Kyle Strait with the new SDG Bel-Air V3
A collection of Kyle Strait s SDG saddles from over the years.

bigquotesI’ve ridden SDG saddles and almost every Bel-Air model since the early 2000s. The new V3 is slimmed down and hugely versatile. I now run it across the board, including my slalom bike, trail bike, long travel and ebike. Kyle Strait

- Enhanced Comfort Features:

The SDG Bel-Air V3 keeps a slight rear rise and lowered profile design. This helps rotate the pelvis forward and provide extra support, comfort and power from a seated position. The Hidden Undercut Relief has also been added. It is a strategically placed cutout throughout the bottom of the saddle, relieving perennial pressure in a way its predecessor did not.

With the enhanced base, SDG integrated their reverse Free Float Rail Inserts to allow for more forgiving wings. To maximize power transfer and improve longevity, SDG constructed the new Bel-Air V3 with a long glass fiber reinforced Nylon material, with a new Base Bridge, providing unparalleled strength and stiffness where needed.

Sitting above the cutout is the newest type of EVA Foam technology available - the original Bel-Air uses standard PU. This Injection Molded EVA offers optimal density, saves precious grams and extends all-day comfort. Unlike mass-produced EVA foam, which is stamped off flat sheets and glued onto saddle bases, SDG’s new injection process allows for a lower profile saddle that still offers support and comfort while also increasing the saddle’s lifespan.

The new SDG Bel-Air V3 in Fuel Colorway
The new SDG Bel-Air V3 in Fuel Colorway

The new SDG Bel-Air V3 in Fuel Colorway
The new SDG Bel-Air V3 in Fuel Colorway

The new SDG Bel-Air V3 showing the cutout
The new SDG Bel-Air V3 in Fuel Colorway

The new "Fuel" colorway.

- Modernized Construction and Aesthetics:

To address the finished quality of the new Bel-Air V3, SDG uses Atmos Shaping which eliminates the need for bumpers, staples or glue and leaves a clean seamless transition into the base. With this vacuum sealing process, Kevlar and Cordura side panels were no longer necessary as SDG is now able to Sonic Weld protective edges. By heat-fusing materials together, the Bel-Air V3 has increased durability and reduced friction points that could irritate riders. On top of that, it’s definitely more visually appealing and the injected colored bases can complement any new build.

Also new for the Bel-Air V3 are Lux-Alloy rails. These heat-treated composite rails are nearly 15% stronger than standard Ti-Alloy (in push and fatigue testing) and the weight is only slightly heavier but at a more affordable price.

The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Greg Cunningham s bike.
The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Greg Callaghan s bike.

The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Greg Cunningham s bike.
The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Keegan Wrights bike.
Greg Callaghan and Keegan Wright of the Unior-Devinci Team

The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Kyle Strait s bike.
Lewis Buchanan with the SDG Bel-Air V3
Kyle Strait and Lewis Buchanan

The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Brage Vestavik s bike.

The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Kirt Voreis bike.
The SDG Bel-Air V3 on Kirt Voreis bike.
Brage Vestavik and Kirt Voreis

The SDG Components Bel-Air V3 is set to continue the tradition with enhanced comfort and performance features while offering more color offerings than a bag of Skittles. The SDG Bel-Air V3 extends premium craftsmanship across the full lineup and hits several price points thanks to several rail material options. Stay tuned for new limited art editions, collabs and other wild designs coming soon.

bigquotesI’m proud of the new Bel-Air V3. Understanding our roots, it was important for us to keep the heritage of the Bel-Air alive. My team and I worked tirelessly to further enhance and I strongly believe that the new Bel-Air V3 will continue to keep riders satisfied in the saddle for another decade.Tyler Anspach (SDG Owner)

Carbon, Fuel, Fuel, Neon Green, Tan, Turquoise, Purple, Orange, Black, Red, Steel



Pricing and Models:

Matte UD Finish Carbon Rail: $189.99/€189.99 (181g)

Matte Black Lux-Alloy Rails: $89.99/€89.99 (236g)

Fuel Model: Lux-Alloy Rails with iridescent dipped and coated treatment with custom painted base and printed graphics - $109.99/€109.99

Black Steel Rails: $59.99/€59.99 (318g)

Overall Dimensions:
260mm x 140mm

Colors:
Black, Fuel, Neon Green, Tan, Turquoise, Purple, Orange, Red

Visit SDG for more details: www.sdgcomponents.com
Add on Instagram: sdgcomponents





79 Comments

  • 18 0
 Every time I see Kyle Strait now, I think "shit, is that Tom Delongue!" For a split second.
  • 4 0
 yeah all the small things really add up to make them look alike
  • 18 0
 No animal prints? I’m out
  • 40 0
 Yeah, we need fresh prints on the Bel-Air!
  • 1 4
 I want one with that annoying guys’ face, for those rides after Taco Bell charge...
  • 12 0
 Ha! We tried to get some throwbacks going, but while the new ATMOS sealing makes for a super clean finish we couldn’t use those fabrics for the BA3. You better believe we’re working on a new one fabric though that’ll work for the Bel-Air V3’s!
  • 2 0
 No doubt I'm in for a cheetah leopard zebra... Long as it's got that nice taint cutout to go with it
  • 1 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: Unicorns kick ass!! Just saying...
  • 2 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: I'm voting for laser kittens please! Or a slice of pepperoni pizza!! LOL!!
  • 2 0
 Yeah, the animal prints definitely look much better on these saddles compared to some of the cougars outfits...
  • 3 0
 I miss my cow print.
  • 2 0
 @cdnmtbkr: how good would a slice of pizza look on the rig....lol i need one
  • 11 0
 I have the new V3 on my current bike and it’s hands down the most comfortable saddle. I was on 2 different test bikes earlier this year one Was equipped with a syncros (absolutely destroyed me) and a WTB with annoying silicon top which made pedaling super uncomfortable. Must say SDG delivered the goods with this one!
  • 5 0
 ass down the most comfortable saddle you mean
  • 9 0
 I want to hate the Bel-Air, it seems to go against all we are told about the bike industry needing to have the latest and greatest, but its such a good saddle I keep coming back to. Its like the Porsche 911 of saddles. Because ya know, get it right first time and it will last.
  • 6 1
 Couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Plus, putting us in remotely the same category as the 911 is making us blush.
  • 1 0
 Definitely the Porsche 911 of saddles. I won't ride anything else!
  • 1 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: Ha! Well if you need someone to write copy . . . ;-)
  • 5 0
 I've ridden the SDG Bel-Air off and on for almost 20 years, it's always been something I come back to. Haven't ridden the V3 yet, but I definitely will! Now just need to decide on a color, should probably pick a new bike color first!
  • 6 0
 Having a saddle in 10 colorways and only one width seems like... well... like I'd only forgive it if the cheetah was still an option.
  • 2 0
 I felt pain looking at all those old bikes. The wheelbase on all of them is so short, and the head angle is steep enough with the fork fully extended. I could see myself getting racked on the headtube before flying over the bars and straight into john travolta.
  • 1 0
 The old bikes made for some entertaining DH action!

youtu.be/VzZkKE9Z35g

Nice to set the Toby Henderson special made by Foes, that's a rare bike.
  • 3 0
 @DoubleCrownAddict: One thing I can never understand looking back on it is why early-to-mid-90's DH race footage always features such high saddle positions. I started riding in '96 and it was obvious to me right away that it was easier and more fun dropping the seat for longer descents then putting it back up after. And that was just on my local southern Ontario trails. Leaving your seat up for a dedicated DH run seemed weird even then and now just looks insane.
  • 2 0
 @big-red: Downhill races back then usually had at least one significant pedaling section so I think that was the reason. But when you consider the crashes they caused sometimes the tradeoff wasn't worth it. I think this was just a local race but even in some World Cup races back then you would see the seats jacked up for the pedal sections, this is in 1995 and they are pedaling alot.

youtu.be/WN_fB9n9QbA
  • 2 0
 @big-red: early 90s sometimes the DH was 12 minutes of gravel road with lots of pedalling ona a 50+ ring.. so that makes some sense there
  • 2 0
 @SDG-COMPONETS - is there any differences between the black steel rails version and the others (other than price & weight)? I'm asking as I'd like to spend the least amount of cash to make sure it fits me, then go for one of the colors if it does. TIA Smile
  • 3 1
 The steel rails are heavier than the Lux-Alloy and steel also uses a different foam (air foam) which is also heavier than the EVA foam. The overall shape is identical though so if the steel version fits you then you’ll get on just as well with the lighter Lux-Alloy version!
  • 2 0
 I have a Falcon Ti-alloy in red, looks similar. Feels good, I like the rise in the back, it definitely adjusts your hips in a better climbing position. When it wears out, I’ll check this out, also have the Slater grips, super light and good grip, I like the bar-ends, can take a beating. SDG is alright with me, good quality stuff, V3 looks slick
  • 5 2
 One wonders why they went that entire video without showing a second of someone actually in the saddle, is cool to see people rip but hey it's a saddle you sit in it....
  • 4 6
 Having a sponsored rider say it's my "go to" doesn't really sell it for me.
  • 11 2
 @Beez177: he’s been on the same saddle profile for 17+ years, so we figured that was enough on its own to say how comfortable it is!
  • 10 0
 You can't really see a saddle if someone is sitting on it anyway.
  • 1 0
 @reesty: this is true, lol
  • 1 0
 Sdg bel air still is my favorite saddle of all times ,I’ve tried the circuit (not bad ,but to fragile),the duster (not bad ,but not for me ),the new radar (to straight ,slim and tough,but not very bad ),but the bel air it’s just something I can’t explain ,maybe the nose the slight back rise ,but I prefer the bel air that has lower rails (more close to the saddle),but it has a flaw and that is the rails start to make noises after maybe a year (not only the bel air or sdg brand)but it has that little default from many years (12/13),you have to put wd40 or some lube where the rails enter in the saddle wholes,but ok not every thing can be perfect,bring some more Designs ones like that wolf one,gonna try this new 3.0 one in Christmas
  • 4 0
 That looks fresh, fit for a prince.
  • 2 2
 @SDG-COMPONENTS - can you please make lighter edition of you JR upgrade kit? Maybe flat slater bars? These bars shouldn’t weigh more than 200g, your bars are 300g - a 250lbs fattie can ride them. Your average potential client won’t weigh more than 100lbs. I would also appreciate lighter saddle. Maybe shim being the part of the grip? I tightened the hell out of the Sram MMX Clamp and daughters Guide brake levers are still rotating too easily, even with friction paste. At this price, the only reason to buy your kit is comfy saddle and slater bar diameter, but if this wouldn’t be the case, one can easily cut 300g Worth of “adult” components compared to your set without spending a single dollar more.

Just a few ideas...
  • 1 0
 Thanks for the feedback Waki! The Junior stuff was the only aftermarket option when it was launched designed specifically for junior shredders and as such we had to find that balance of improving over stock options and not breaking the bank. The bars use 6000 series aluminum because while they’re heavier than 7000, they bring the price down to a more attainable place for most while still bringing benefits to the table (smaller OD). We for sure could do a lighter version of the Fly Jr by moving to Lux-Alloy rails and EVA foam, but the issue would be price as it’ll move it into a less attainable position for many then. Unfortunately there’s a ton of mould/tooling costs involved with going to new product/material, so many times this limits our ability to do some of the cool projects you’re suggesting here. We feel that we struck a great balance between price and value with the kit as it offers a massive upgrade for most at it's $149.99 MSRP. We’d love to do an even higher end version but afraid that would price too many out of the upgrade.
  • 1 1
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: Thanks for the reply. My daughter does like the slimmer grips, the pedals and the saddle, considering them an upgrade from her previous 20” Meta with “adult” parts
  • 1 0
 V1 and V2 were great saddles until they started creaking where the rails enter the saddle - like many other models. Any chance this is less likely with V3?
  • 2 0
 Unfortunately this is just a byproduct of mounting metal rails into a nylon/carbon base and not an issue specific to us. We have super tight tolerances for this stuff and have a QC team at the factory check in batches to try to minimize it but it’ll always be a risk unfortunately. Its not common to hear about creaking, so it’s unfortunate you had a couple cases of it on your other BA’s. Hopefully it’s just been bad luck and the V3 will serve you well! It’s one of the reasons we’re working on bringing our popular I-Beam system to the trail/enduro segment as this system eliminates creaking.
  • 1 0
 You can try a low viscosity loctite, either thread locker or a press fit repair, for creaky saddles.
  • 1 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: Do you guys have any plans for an I-Beam dropper post any time soon? It's a great system and as you've mentioned, offers alot of benefits over traditional railled saddles.
  • 2 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: I continued reading and got my answer. Looking forward to it when it lands :^)
  • 1 0
 @blast-off: I found that packing some silicon grease (SIFST720 specifically) into the rail/saddle contact points completely eliminated any creak. Hope it helps.
  • 1 0
 @TreeBeak: Sweet, will check this out!
  • 1 0
 Nice looking seats and comfortable. In my experience the Bel-Airs just don't last very long. Hopefully the V3 is a little more robust. In the meantime gone back to Chromag.
  • 1 0
 Brake the mold Make a wider nose saddle that you can move forward on A modern Azonic Love Seat , comfort - functional anywhere
  • 1 0
 @SDG-COMPONENTS So, I-Beam is basically killed off?
(Which is the only reason I run SDG seats on my bikes which doesn't have a dropper)
  • 1 0
 Not at all. We addressed the I-Beam on trail saddles in another comment thread below. They’re still alive and well for DH/Race/DJ/Freeride applications and we’re continuing to work on a trail version that’ll be compliant enough.
  • 1 0
 I'm rockin a Bel-Air V3 and can say its suuuper comfortable, clean & matchy matchy

Probably gonna put one on my commuter too.
  • 3 0
 Carlton approves.
  • 1 0
 The intense, ih and klien show have SDG ventura saddles. Bring back the ventura!
  • 2 0
 Looks like a .... (gotta say it!)... fabric.
  • 1 0
 First picture made me wonder if SDG is licensing Fabric's Line saddle design....
  • 1 0
 Loyal to the Bel Air since 2000. Love the ramp up in the back. This looks great.
  • 1 0
 Should've named the saddles, "Prince of Bel-Air". These saddles look almost like the Specialized Henge saddles!
  • 5 5
 Why hasn’t ibeam replaces rails already...almost like it’s a conspiracy funded by the rail manufacturers.Planddle
  • 1 0
 dropper posts, that's why
  • 1 1
 @melonhead1145: they just need to update the clamp, really not a valid reason
  • 8 0
 @artistformlyknowasdan: the head is the easy part, the more difficult part is making the I-Beam system compliant enough that it’s comfortable for all day rides, but strong enough that it exceeds traditional rail strength. We’ve been working on it for quite a while now and just want to be fully confident in it before it’s released.
  • 1 4
 ibeam - Creak central
  • 1 1
 @SDG-COMPONENTS: makes sense given how the beam would suspend weight vs 2 rails. Maybe the beam splits towards the rear to provide 2 anchor points... thinking out loud
  • 2 0
 how is Ibeam superior to the normal rails? Does it make a difference? Easier to fix onto the post? Always assumed the rails would give it some extra 'suspension'
  • 6 1
 @saladdodger: the ease of installation is for sure a big benefit, but it also offers more fore/aft adjustment than anything else, lower stack height and is stronger than traditional rails. Plenty of benefits!
  • 4 1
 @saladdodger: The I beam stuff I've ridden was like sitting on an anvil.
  • 2 2
 @schofell84: I fly I-beam, most uncomfortable seat ever, besides some POS Bontrager
  • 1 0
 @Beez177: Meh, it has its merits ... but there's always a unexpected thud that makes you feel like you got smacked with a ball pein in the gooch.

Not pleasant.
  • 1 0
 Does that fuel version exterminate your bush?
  • 1 0
 I'm gonna wait for the next iteration...
  • 1 0
 I need that fuel version to go with purple bits on my bike :/
  • 1 0
 Bel Air V2 is my favourite saddle ever. So excited to try this V3!
  • 1 0
 Kyle Strait rides and Ebike, inconceivable!!!
  • 1 0
 No really. Many pro riders also ride ebikes. Great for training and just having fun...
  • 1 0
 Rubens Barrichello in a PB photo makes me happy.
  • 2 0
 What happened to I-beam?
  • 1 0
 Sdg, homegrown awesomeness. I beam dropper please
  • 1 0
 Special tiger king edition
  • 1 0
 Oil slick... the 2020 equivalent of purple anno from the 90's.
  • 1 1
 well, my thighs already hurt seeing these plastic edges.
Nice one Velo, eh... SDG... Big Grin

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