The SME saddle series from Ergon is their flagship enduro range. Without reading this review you will know that these saddles are well built for this arena simply because many of the top riders in the Enduro World Series (EWS) use them including the Canyon Factory Enduro team. i.e Richie Rude and Fabian Barel.
In Ergons words “the saddle allows for uninterrupted rider position changes.” Basically the saddle is design for free movement to allow you to shift position quickly and for the bike to move freely beneath you as well.
This is obviously very important in the gravity disciplines.
I’ve been using the saddle for about 3 months and over this time have been on various rides mixing it up between technical, loose and sometimes just flat speed. Bike Park Wales has been a great place for this as has CwmCarn. So let’s cut to the chase.
Build Quality| the saddle is well built. I’ve had my fair share of crashes and general rough handling in this time. The saddle has held together well and the wear on the seat has been minimal. Rails show no sign of distortion and no sign of cracking or loose fitting where the rails meet the saddle frame. I cannot fault it here.
Weight & Sizing| This is the entry level saddle in the series and as a medium weighs 250g which is pretty standard. They only come in 2 sizes though. Small and Medium. The medium is 275mm long and 146mm wide. So, if you have a large ass then this saddle may not be for you. I’m not sure home much of an issue (if any) not having a larger size has been for Ergon.
Comfort | For long trail rides the SME3 is less comfortable than my usual go-to saddle. However, you have to keep in mind that the SME3 series is designed for gravity enduro and not trail/xc. Considering this, it is pretty comfortable. The only improvement I think that could have been made was around the density of the foam padding. I found that the padding is quite dense. This would be expected on an xc/trail saddle as the ergonomics would balance this out. However, on a gravity saddle a lower density would have been better. By no means is the saddle uncomfortable, but this would simply be a noticed improvement.
Ergonomics for gravity| Surely the most important part of all. As you will notice, the “Wings” of the saddle are very different to a traditional trail saddle. Instead of all the support sitting way back, this profile seems smaller and positioned slightly forward with the wings curved downward. This is the primary reason why this is less suited to XE/Trail as there is obviously less support for your ass.
However, the design is very good for gravity. I found that getting behind the saddle and back over quickly would happen with less interaction between me and the saddle. What I mean by this is that often I can feel the saddle rub against my leg and shorts during this motion. Often, this has led to snagging, slowing the movement or just causing irritation on my leg.
On a typical ride this may not be a big deal. But enduro is about long descents across 5+ stages and usually over 2 days. (5+ stages per day).
Ensuring that you have this free movement means you have less interruption and distraction from the trail in front of you which will make a noticeable impact on your stage time. Overall the design works well. Personally some slight changes to foam density and perhaps the addition of a larger size would be a cherry on the top of what is undoubtedly a very good enduro saddle.
Cost|The SME3 saddle retails at £70 but I’ve seen it at £58 across various sites. This is a pretty good price for a saddle at this level.
|Dimensions||Length: 275 mm, Width: 146 mm|
|Weight||ca. 250 g*|
|Padding||Orthopedic AirCell Foam|