We’ve said it so many times – if you want to ride more confidently and comfortably you have to pay attention to your contact points! Whether that is good quality shorts, new shoes and pedals, the right tyres and pressure, or grips that aren’t flogged out, it all counts. Ergon are quintessentially German. All of their products are based on extensive research, development, lab tests and real-world testing. Across their product range of saddles, grips, seatposts and accessories they have won over 15 design awards, amongst accolades from other indsutry platforms.
With a broad range of products, I used an online saddle selector tool to narrow down what might suit my trail bike. The stock saddle didn’t really cut it and I ended up looking at the SMA3 Comp in small, and the SME3 Comp medium. Visually there isn’t a huge difference save for a slight difference in the pressure relief channel. But on the bike it was quite noticeable. The SMA3 Comp has designed to be a flat saddle, so one you can move along easily to find the right position. Pushing back, or sliding forward, so I’m sitting in the right spot is the norm for me, and compared to the stock saddle I replaced the SMA3 delivered on shape. The padding feels firm until you’re sitting on it, the depth is really good in the back and a long day in the saddle was comfortable. The rounded shoulders really helped for getting off the back of the seat and the nose was free from snagging. Some flat saddles have a pronounced nose that can snag your shorts way too easily when riding offroad, and that’s never good. The SME3 Comp is a little different. It’s been designed for enduro racing, and shares many similarities with the SMA3 Comp. But on the saddle the subtle differences are noticeable. While it still has a flat shape and the same AirCell foam padding (meaning both saddles are under 250g), the shell is a slightly different profile. The design is there so it flexes a little when pedalling, but I think the best way to translate this is at it lets you push back into the saddle if pedalling hard when seated, and you have more support. So there’s no part of the saddle that kicks up in the back to catch when sliding off the back, but if you’re seated on a climb working against a time cut off, you can really find a stable position. Interestingly, that position is a little more forward than it looks for the saddle placement, which works with slacker bikes where seat angles are being increased to keep you over the front when climbing. It’s savvy design that would be easy to miss, but it works. Both saddles look simple, and that’s intelligent design. Ergon state that the SMA3 suits trail and all-mountain riding while the SME3 suits enduro racing – and I would agree. The SME3 is a really good shape but how it promotes a forward position when seated might throw out your fit on a fast trail bike or for a bike you expect to spend a long time in the saddle on. But I had zero complaints on comfort or quality on both.
- Category specific saddle design,
that works - Available to suit different rider sizes - Basic black – or colours!
- It can still be hard to judge a saddle without testing it yourself.
RRP: $139.95 FROM: BikeBox Australia
GET A GRIP
You might think that Ergon only do big, flared grips. They sure have a good range of them, even in cork, but their highperformance mountain bike grips are the favourites of downhill, freeride, enduro and XC riders globally. Ergon sent out four grips to play with. The super-thin GD1 Slim, the aggressive GE1 Factory, and the popular GA2 and GA2 Fat. All four grips having locking collars onboard, with a guide to get them set up correctly and evenly. Ergon have created grips that are built from the core up. So the core for the gravity inspired GD1 is completely different to the GA2 Fat, for example. And that’s the point, match the grips for how and what you ride, and the fit and comfort you need. The GA2 in regular and fat are a designed for gravity riding, with a little softer rubber, a super-tactile feel and two diameters available. The soft rubber feels great and has good characteristics for vibration reduction. For me the standard felt great – but my hands didn’t like the Fat size. Sizing down to the GD1 Slim, you have a longer grip with less rubber and still with a super soft rubber. With an inner stop before the clamp, you do end up with a lot of grip to still use, and if you tend to move inwards or out depending on the terrain you could love this grip. I really rated it even on my trail bike. My absolute favourite was the GE1. It promotes and ‘elbows out’ approach via the cant of the grip both in the core and rubber. With the angled ends it also means you’re more likely to glance off a tree than snag. Also, there is specific shaping for your forefinger to lock around the grip. This grip really stood out as the one that required the most time getting the set up just right – but I felt it was the most rewarding. This is just a taste of Ergon’s lock on grips for gravity riding. But I would happily throw them on any bike you like to ride fast. The GE1 would be a whole lot of fun on your fast trail bike or XC bike that you like to ride hard and throw around. I highly recommend taking a look at their range at a dealer or online – as their grips are rock solid with their locking, dialled with their compounds and you can find the shape, and colour, to suit. Jumping back on a bike with silicone grips made me realise just how good the Ergon grips are – the sense of control is way more precise. And that’s exactly what I want with a key contact point.
- A wide range of versatile designs - Great rubber compounds - Options for small and big hands
- A little more than a cheap pair of rubber grips RRP: GA2/GA2 Fat $44.95 GD1 Slim/GE1 $54.95 FROM: BikeBox Australia