Ergon SM3 Pro Carbon Saddle Review

I’m a big fan of Ergon.  I’ve got GP1 grips on the Big Dummy.  The Mrs. has GP1 Biokorks on her FX.  I ran giant moose antler GP5s on the Rumblefish before stepping down to GP1s.  And now I’ve got GS1 grips on the Superfish.  This review is of the Ergon SM3 Pro Carbon saddle.  It comes in two sizes, and I’ve been riding the Large.  What kind of experience do I have on it?  Well…after trying it on the Superfish, I’ve now adopted it as the saddle of choice on the Mukluk and the Vaya as well.  I’ll stick with the Fizik Antares VS on the Ridley, but for just about anything else…

It has a unique shape.

Narrow and straight at the front.

It’s relatively flat (and check the nice heavy-duty ‘bumper’ around the edge).

In the pic above, you can also see the subtle ‘ergonomic’ scallop in the middle of the seat.

In that pic, you can see how straight/flat the middle/front is.  The rear of the saddle widens quickly, and has a nice, large flat surface.  I tend to like saddles that are wide and flat, with some relief in the middle.  If they are too tapered towards the sides, I feel like the saddle is trying to split my hips or push my sit-bones apart.  The Ergon is perfect in that regard.  In trying it, you really need to move forward and back in 1cm increments, to find the sweet spot.  In riding it at first, I thought I was comfortable…until I tried moving back a couple cm, and I found a spot that was amazingly comfortable.

In riding on technical trails, I have found that it borders on being too wide.  Getting the small would solve that issue…as it stands, I’ll stick with the large simply because it is so comfortable.  I can still easily get around the saddle to get behind it for drops–but because it is wide and square, it does take some adjustment to get used to spreading your legs to get around it.  My previous saddle was a bit more gradual in the adjustment from nose to tail, and made it easier to slide around.

The benefit of the angular shape is that it has tons of clearance for your thighs, when riding.  That’s why it works on the Vaya, for gravel and other drop bar riding…you can spin a high cadence and be totally comfortable on it.

In terms of padding, it has more than the Antares, sure…but not so much that you bounce when you spin a bike up.  But it does a great job dampening gravel, cracks, road chatter, and big hits off-road.  I attribute much of that to the rail and frame design.  It has some titanium alloy rail, but if you look at the saddle’s design, the rails terminate early, front and rear, and transfer weight into structures that serve to suspend and dampen the saddle–kind of like Fizik’s Kurve.

You can see the rear attachment points and composite seat shell in this picture:

And the front in this pic…

TiNox Rails:

For the road, I prefer the rigidity of the Fizik Antares.  For everything else, the SM3 is my new go-to saddle.  I cannot comment on long-term durability yet, but the bumper around the edge is a thoughtful touch–and one that I greatly appreciate.  The saddle upholds Ergon’s high standards and, as the company name implies, is amazingly ergonomic.  I’ve ridden several hundred miles on it now (on 3 different bikes), and have not had a single issue with discomfort, numbness, etc.  It’s great.

 

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8 thoughts on “Ergon SM3 Pro Carbon Saddle Review

  1. Thank you for your post. Did you test Specialized Romin or Henge? They are stiff — when you squeeze the saddle with hand (or simply press the saddle from top) the SHELL will barely move. Now — how this (stiffness of the shell) looks with Antares VS and SM3 (you already wrote that SM3 is more flex than Antares)?

    I am asking about both, because both have good curvature and I am interested in buying one of them (Henge 143 is almost the right pick however it narrows towards the nose too slow, and my thighs were quickly sore).

    • The SM3 rails end short of the front and back of the saddle, and it has composite pieces (shown in the pictures) that link the rails to the front and rear edge of the saddle. That is where the extra compliance (compared to the Antares VS) comes in.

      I have not ridden the Specialized saddles referenced.

      When you just press on the shell with your hand, it feels relatively rigid. I think the extra compliance, compared to the Fizik, comes from the composite pieces linking the rails to the seat shell.

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