Sea Otter 2014 – New and Cool MTB Saddles

by Brian Mullin on April 17, 2014

I
spent some time wandering around Sea Otter looking for new and cool
mountain bike saddle offerings from the exhibitors, and found some great
candidates from SQlab, WTB, F’izi:k and Ergon.

SQlab

The
upgraded 611 Active MTB gets a dash of abrasion-resistant Kevlar fabric
on the nose and around the outside of the rear for added protection and
durability. They increased the length of the nose for better control
and power management, while the rear gets a squarer shape for more room,
comfort and derriere footprint.

Like
their other saddles, it uses the Level Plus stepped padding design,
which pushes the riders weight to the sit bones rather than sensitive
soft tissue. The Active damping system uses three different density
Elastomers, which are swappable (plug-n-play) depending on the riders
desired amount of lateral movement of the hips. The front of the saddle
gets a nice cradle for the hand, to make it easier to lift the bike up,
whether that’s for hike-a-bike or general carrying.

The 611 Active MTB will come in three different sit-bone widths, a 13cm, 14cm, and 15cm, and will retail for approximately $165.

For more information: http://www.sq-lab.com/en/

WTB

The
High Tail saddle was developed as a direct request from Pivot Cycles,
who identified an emerging need for a purpose-built saddle while
designing and refining their Phoenix Carbon 27.5” downhill bike. The
saddle features a unique and distinctive cut-out at the back of the
saddle, allowing for additional rear tire clearance as a full suspension
27.5” bike cycles through its travel. I got to see the saddle on the
day before the new Phoenix Carbon DH 27.5” bike was shown to the general
public.

The
saddle not only has the cut-out section in the back, but the rails are
bent outward slightly to allow for a fatter tire to squeeze between
them. I think the saddle will also appeal to Enduro, All Mountain and
29er riders who want as much room as possible for aggressive usage.
Chris Cocalis of Pivot Cycles told me that WTB got the saddle produced
after only eight months of design, tooling and testing time, which is a
fast turnaround time in the saddle industry.

The High Trail comes
in three versions, the Carbon rails for $249.95, the Titanium rails for
$159.95, and the Cromoly rails for $119.95, and will be available in
September 2014.

For more information: http://www.wtb.com/

F’izi:k

The
THAR saddle is specifically developed for big wheel 29er bikes that
have drastically different geometry compared to 26″ and 27.5″. The 29er
geometry has longer chainstays and shallower seat angles, and these
design constraints alter the rider’s weight distribution, positioning
the rider further towards the rear of the bike. F’izi:k designed the
THAR with longer 95mm rails, which gives more fore-and-aft adjustments
of the saddle. The additional length was appended to the rear of the
saddle, so it can be positioned in a more forward location to compensate
for shallower seat angles, longer top tubes and chainstays. In
addition, to prevent the tire from hitting the saddle at maximum
suspension travel with the seat lowered, it has a shorter tail section.
To allow for a more forward seating position, the nose is quite a bit
wider and more padded than their other MTB saddles, so the rider can
spend more time up there in comfort.

The THAR comes with two nylon
spaces, called Tuner Inserts, which allow the rider to customize saddle
flex. It comes in two versions, the K:ium rail for $150 and the
Manganese rail for $99.

For more information: http://www.fizik.it

Ergon

The
new SME3 saddle was ergonomically designed for the Enduro rider, and it
uses their flex optimized shell, EVA padding, CrMo or Tinox or Carbon
Fiber rails, and a synthetic leather lorica micro-fibre cover. The
saddle has a V-Shaped design and is relatively flat, which assists in
quick changes from sitting, standing and descending, and the rear uses
an anti-friction section to prevent bike shorts from snagging.

The SME3 comes in two widths and four models: SME3
($79.95), SME3 Comp ($99.95), SM3 Pro ($129.95), and top of the line Pro Carbon ($199.95). The padding and
flex optimized shell, V-shape design and middle depression should help
with comfort and maneuverability.

For more information: http://www.ergon-bike.com/us/en/home

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