SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM
REVIEW

SQLab 610 Ergolux Active Saddle

Words Andrew Major
Photos Andrew Major
Date Jul 20, 2018

Ergolux VS Ergowave

The SQLab 611 Ergowave saddle is one of my top five NSMB review experiences. Even ten months after my review it still looks fresh and it remains the most comfortable saddle I've perched on for an extended time. 

Writing a review that improves someone's riding experience, which has happened in spades with SQLab saddles, is a rare pleasure. The reader feedback I received, and continue to receive, made the experience memorable. Like the SQLab 12° and 16° handlebars, many riders will see these saddles as weird and expensive. For riders who have been unable to ride due to discomfort, these products could allow them to enjoy riding again. That sort of experience can encourage you to pay more and forgive clunky looks.


I took the plunge and picked up one of these saddles for my hardtail. The difference is mind-boggling. I didn't expect it to live up to the hype, but it's easily surpassed my expectations." - Goose8 on the 611 Ergowave.
SQLab 611 Saddle AndrewM

The SQLab 611 Ergowave Active saddle is a little bit different looking. But it has nothing on...

SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

...the SQLab 610 Ergolux Active saddle with its large rear shelf and organic cascading terraces. 

I've been riding the SQLab 610 Ergolux saddle for several months now and, like the 611 Ergowave, it's available in four widths. The 611 comes in 12cm-15cm widths and the 610 is available in 13cm-16cm* options. As with the 611, I'm on the 14cm model. The 610 uses the same active-saddle technology to allow the saddle to "follow" a rider's pedaling motion. The idea is to mobilize the spine and minimize pressure on the sit bones to reduce back pain. 

*13cm, 14cm, 15cm, and 16cm

Where the 611 has a performance bent, with a shape focussed on technical climbs and a more supportive foam structure, SQLab states the 610 is catering to a more "comfort-oriented mountain biker."


SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

Like the Ergowave, the Ergolux comes with three different elastomers. And, also like Ergowave, I've been running the saddle without any of them installed. 

One interesting element of the new Ergolux is that SQLab is marketing it for both men and women. This man loves a women's saddle so I don't generally buy into gender-specific components, so this human-specific marketing aligns with my philosophy. 


The lower saddle nose provides pressure relief to the sensitive structures and for the branches of the pubic bones to the same extent in men and women." - SQLab

Three Steps

There are three steps to deciding whether the three-step Ergolux saddle is right for you. First off, if you have a current saddle that works great for you and no issues with back pain when riding, best not to fix what ain't broke. If not move to the next step. 

Before choosing an SQLab saddle you need to determine width using the company's measuring technique. In my experience, the majority of men will ride a 140mm saddle and the majority of women will be on a 150mm saddle but all that's required is a piece of corrugated cardboard to order with certainty. 

The third step is figuring out your bike's seat tube angle. The more upright the riding position will be, the more benefit the Ergolux presents. 

nsmb_2018_gearreview_kona_satori-4915.jpg

Seated climbing on a bike with a relatively steep seat tube angle, like Kona's Satori, the 610 Ergolux is the winner. Photo: Dave Smith

nsmb_2017_marin_wolfridge_7mesh-6819-24.jpg

By comparison, the relatively slack seat tube angle of a bike like Marin's Wolfridge is much better suited to the 611 Ergowave. Photo: Dave Smith

Three Ergolux Steps

The first step of the Ergolux is the rear shelf which provides great support when climbing a bike with a steep seat tube angle and an upright riding position. The steepest seat angle bike I've ever ridden is the 78°+ STA on the Kona Satori and the difference in power on steep climbs between the Ergolux and the stock WTB saddle was clear. It feels like there is something solid to push against. 

The second step is the more padded (compared to the Ergowave) seating position. Historically I could adapt to a wide range of saddles, from couches to ass-hatchets, but with a steep seat angle and more upright riding position, I've become much more discerning about getting the right combination of support and pressure relief for my sit bones. 

I can happily run either saddle on my Marin Rift Zone, which has an effective seat angle* around 75°. On the Satori the Ergolux was the obvious choice. On my over-forked Honzo the Ergowave is the sure winner. 

*saddle position measured at the same height as handlebars

SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

The three obvious steps, or stages, of the SQLab 610 Ergolux saddle. 

The last step is the dropped nose. When the going gets truly steep and I drop my elbows and lean forward, the nose of the 610 exerts very limited pressure. At the same time, the long saddle provides lots of room to move around when climbing and plentiful contact area when descending.  The nose shape is the human-specific feature I mentioned earlier. It's designed to relieve pressure on both men's and women's "sensitive structures".

Active-Shell

At the back of SQLab's active-shell saddles, the rails attach to a central pillar instead of directly to the base of the saddle. This allows the 'wings' to flex as I'm pedaling. making for a supportive saddle that is also very comfortable. With the added padding of the Ergolux saddle I suspected I'd like the active-shell function to be firmer but after months of experimenting, I'm back where I ended up with the Ergowave. Of three elastomer supports included with the saddle, I'm running a fourth option. None. 

SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

The active-shell saddles mount the rails to a center post allowing the wings of the saddle to flex. 

SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

Three different elastomer supports are available to tune flex but I prefer to run the saddle without them. 

It's fairly quick and straightforward to swap the elastomers. They are a tight fit which I appreciate on the trail but that could make a rider less likely to experiment. I recommend starting with the softest elastomer option, which is white, and then stepping up to the medium (grey) and finally firm (black) if more support is warranted. If the white elastomer feels wonderful I'd also suggest (thanks Kenny!) removing the elastomers entirely and giving that a try. It's the winner for me. 

Compromise

A specific concern for riders pedaling up to ride down steep and technical trails is the relative girth of this saddle's rear end. There's a lot of junk in that trunk to keep everything comfortable on the climb. This compounds the need for a longer dropper post on bikes with steep seat tube angles since the saddle is right beneath me whenever I stand up. I have historically been happy with 5" droppers but between steeper seat angles and this saddle, a 170mm post makes perfect sense to me. If this saddle makes climbs and traverses significantly more comfortable it's likely most riders  will adapt to it for descending       

SQLab 610 Ergolux Saddle AndrewM

Descending steep technical trails the shape and volume of the back of the Ergolux are apparent but I feel it can be mitigated with a longer dropper post getting the saddle further out of the way. 

Final Thoughts

For most bikes, and riding situations, I'd purchase the active-shell version of the SQLab 611 Ergowave. I like the increased support from the firmer padding and the shape works for me, especially since my personal bikes don't have cutting-edge-steep seat tube angles. 

For bikes with steep seat angles and more upright positions, the active-shell 610 Ergolux works great. It would also be my first recommendation for riders who prefer a softer saddle but are looking for the comfort and performance benefits of the saddle's wing movement. 

Hit me with any questions below. This version of the Ergolux has an SRP of 140 USD and can be purchased through your preferred local shop or directly from SQLab here

Comments

shoreboy
0
Shoreboy  - July 20, 2018, 8:22 a.m.

I recently bought the 611 active carbon model when it was on sale.  I did all my sitbone measuring, and to my surprise, I had narrower sitbones than I thought I would.  11cm to be precise. I opted for the 13cm saddle based on this measurement.  So far I have been happy with the SQlab saddle.  Its shape takes a bit of getting used to, but once you find the 'pocket' where everything feels right, it is more comfortable than previous saddles I have tried.  I am on the medium elastomer right now, but might give the soft one a try. The literature I was given with the saddle warned NOT to ride it without an elastomer as it will cause too much flex in the wings and could lead to failure.  If you were informed otherwise by SQlab that would be interesting to know. Thinking of getting one for my wife to replace her Terry saddle, but I am not sure just how 'unisex' these saddles will actually fit.

Reply

Cheez1ts
0
Garrett Thibault  - July 20, 2018, 8:38 a.m.

I’ve run a woman’s saddle. My dad currently has it on his commuter and loves it. I don’t think he knows it was woman specific. I’m not sure what makes the non-unisex ones not unisex.

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AndrewMajor
+1 Mammal
Andrew Major  - July 20, 2018, 9:53 a.m.

@Garrett

When bike brand's first started down the road of shrink-and-pink they were putting WTB Deva saddles on everything. The problem is that for women - in my experience - the Deva is one of the most polarizing saddles on the market. Either it's awesome or it's abusive. 

So, we ended up with a lot of them in the $5 take-off saddle bin at the shop I worked at (about 1/2 of bikes that came with them went out with something else). I needed a saddle one day when I was running very light on cash so I gave one a try and the rest is history. Love the Deva. 

.

My other "Women's Specific" life hack is for anyone looking for a really good full suspension bike for the minimal $$$$ input for their teenager. The XS or Small Specialized Safire from 2011+ (horizontal shock mount) comes in really 'non-girly' colourways and is a 140mm fork and a shock tune away from holding it's own against current 120-140mm bikes. 

Tapered headtube, thread in BB, really nice frame hardware, easy to swap frame pivot bearings, and it pedals really well with smaller chainrings so it's a prime candidate for a 1x conversion with a 22t-28t ring up front an a 11-42 or 11-46t cassette out back.

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 20, 2018, 9:42 a.m.

@Shoreboy

I covered it more in my two pieces on the 611, but it was at SQLab's recommendation that I tried my saddle without the elastomer.

I think it's fair to say the saddle will probably wear out faster run like this - for example, my favorite road saddle the Specialized Romin relies on a lot of wing flex for comfort and they would only last me a year - but I've been using the 611 for a long time now and there's no shell fatigue (sagginess) yet.

Certainly, I imagine there's going to come along a rider at a heavier weight (I'm ~185lbs) where the support of the elastomer is necessary for integrity.

Trying to offer a product that works from riders between 100(-) and 300(+) pounds often requires things to be overbuilt and I can, based on my experience, imagine a 300lbs dude buying one of these saddles pulling out the elastomer and riding it offroad on their 'cross bike benefiting from the warning.

.

I know women who love the Chromag Mood (Moon) and use it for Shore-XC epics and I know women who mountain bike with the biggest saddle that Terry offers on their DH Bikes which informs my belief that anyone searching for their most comfortable saddle should ignore labels and try everything until they are either comfortable or have exhausted what they can find to demo.

The good news is that, in my experience, many a rider has been there in the search-for-a-perch and aside from shops and brands offering saddle demo programs your wife's friends are probably happy to loan her saddles to try until she finds her fit.

Happy hunting.

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Endur-Bro
0
Endur-Bro  - July 23, 2018, 11:20 a.m.

Deva was my saddle choice for a few years.  Like the Moon/Mood saddle as it has a wider and longer nose than the Deva.  Measured up the same length as the Fiz:ik saddle on my road bike.  Really itching to try a SQLab on my G16

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taprider
0
taprider  - July 20, 2018, 10:46 a.m.

what do you suggest for someone who does not like sharp radius curves or features on saddles?

medium width butt and torso pivoted forward at 45 degree angle too

demoed lots over the winter from Brooks Cambium, SDG, Terry, WTB, Chromag, Fizik, Fabric to Specialized and my favourite so far is still a 1981 Selle Italia Turbo with the Bernard Hinault edition decal

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 20, 2018, 11:32 a.m.

There was a classic Turbo re-release a few years ago (original shape) and if that’s your preferred perch they’re not hard to track down. 

Did you try the Fizik Gobi? I’d say it’s similarly supportive through the center, compared to the Turbo, and the shape of the nose/wing interface is similar.

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - July 20, 2018, 10:54 a.m.

Hey Andrew,

I bought the 16 degree SQ-lab handlebar based on your previous review, and love it. I splurged when I needed to buy a few replacement parts after my bike decided to pop off the roof rack on the Inland Island Highway at 120 km/h. That being said, I ordered them through one of the bigger online retailers from the states and just accepted the ass pounding at the border, since I couldn't easily find an accessible shop. Are there any local shops (lower mainland, island) you know of selling SQ-lab stuff?

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AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 20, 2018, 11:53 a.m.

Hi Brad,

Sorry about your bike; Awesome the bar works great for you.

I wish I knew of a BC dealer for their saddles and bars as I get asked semi-regularly.

I run a 16° alloy on my single speed (Fromme & Seymour MTB) and my commuter bike and I think it’s an easy sale for riders who are seeking options to resolve pain/discomfort on their bikes. 

For me personally, pain in my elbow was really limiting how much I could ride my SS and the 16° made it all go away. Now my only excuse is fitness.

I’ve met riders who’ve tried every crazy grip on the market for wrist or elbow issues and the extra sweep (12 or 16) makes a huge difference.

Salsa makes a wide 11° bar now which is available through LTP and is a good sub for the 12°.

For the 16°, I’m left recommending an online order. If you do find a shop bringing their stuff in let me know and I’ll give them a plug.

Reply

Estade
+1 Brad Sedola
Estade  - July 21, 2018, 2:36 p.m.

I'm pretty sure Cowichan Cycles in Duncan, has SQ Lab saddles.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 21, 2018, 4:54 p.m.

Good to know, I’ll try to verify. Thanks!

Reply

brad-sedola
0
Brad Sedola  - Aug. 8, 2018, 12:14 p.m.

Confirmed. I stopped in at Cowichan Cycles last Saturday, got measured up and walked out with a 611 Ergowave active. They have quite bit of SQlab stuff in stock. Great bunch of guys.

Tonight will be my first ride out on it.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Aug. 8, 2018, 11:36 p.m.

Thanks Brad! I'll have to follow up with them to see how the program is working. 

Hope that saddle works great for you.

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morgan-heater
+1 Garrett Thibault
Morgan Heater  - July 20, 2018, 11:15 a.m.

Out of curiosity, why do saddles have noses?

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AndrewMajor
+3 Zapp Dustin Meyer James Vasilyev
Andrew Major  - July 20, 2018, 11:38 a.m.

Ascending body position will determine how much the nose is in play climbing but even the most upright riding position is going to end up needing the nose for support/balance on steep climbs. For example, my Deva has a fairly short nose so I prefer it on my bike where I stand up on steep climbs.

Descending the thigh/knee/nose saddle interface is important for landmarking and cornering.

Reply

Cheez1ts
0
Garrett Thibault  - July 20, 2018, 4:24 p.m.

I’ve run the SQLab medical saddle on my hardtail a couplent of time a without it effecting my descent other than it’s massive width. I only did fireroad climbs up Sumas and fromme, but I found it really nice to still be sitting on my ass as the pitch steepened instead of my taint. I’d try a mtb specific noiseless saddle.

Reply

morgan-heater
0
Morgan Heater  - July 23, 2018, 8:40 a.m.

I have a feeling that they are a left over habit from road riding, like crazy long stems.

Reply

gt-dad
0
GT dad  - July 27, 2018, 9:14 a.m.

I am surprised NSMB never reviews SMP saddles. I have tried a lot of saddles and the SMP Hell is fantastic Ergomic saddle. The bent down nose overs a very comfortable perch for climbing and never snags on your shorts if they droop.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - July 27, 2018, 9:41 p.m.

It takes two to tango. In my experience, NSMB is always into testing interesting products with interesting backstories. Hell, I tested magnetic clipless pedals

Personally, I've experienced a couple of SMP saddles on the road and neither of them worked for me - even sporting a high-end chamois. Have you ridden the road saddles?

With the exception of truly epic rides, and occasionally when I've ridden a lot of days in a row, I don't sport a chamois anymore and there is a whole list of - popular - saddles which I'd categorize as chamois-only.

Do you think the Hell is comfortable sans chamois?

Reply

mzro
0
mzro  - Oct. 5, 2018, 12:54 a.m.

Hi Andrew,

Thanks for your all awesome reviews. For the long days in a saddle, when you do trail riding with lots of pedaling over dirt/loam in-between, what you would recommend - 610 or 611? Basically, I am looking for a saddle that is both comfortable for long pedaling backcountry sessions and trail riding too. I read that some people find 611 to be more comfortable despite 610 is advertised as more comfortable one.

Reply

AndrewMajor
0
Andrew Major  - Oct. 5, 2018, 8:01 a.m.

A correct width 611 Active is my first choice from their lineup. The 610 is very comfortable - especially on bikes with steep-steep STAs but riding both back to back the 611 works best for me.

I haven’t had an issue myself but there is feedback that the 611 cover is more durable as well so if you’re on the fence on what to try that could be the deciding factor. 

Currently spending the most hours on a WTB Koda. Anyone who liked the Deva but couldn’t sit on it for long rides would do well to check out the Koda.

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