Deep Dive: Ergon Pro Carbon Men’s Saddle
A German maker of all things bikes may have hit the nail on the head with this excellent saddle. Our expert fitter digs in.
Fantastic design that works great for many riders
Available in two sizes (S/M and M/L) and in male/female versions
Relatively affordable carbon-railed saddle
Saddle cushion and surface tend to wear quickly
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A saddle that works great for one person may not work at all for another, very similar person. Every rider, regardless of gender will have their own specific needs, sensitives, pain thresholds, etc. With this review, I am looking to be as factual as possible and use my experience testing Ergon saddles alongside their competitors in my fit studio.
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Ergon Pro Carbon Men’s Saddle: The Basics
Ergon is a not-so-well-known brand that designs and manufactures products to improve bike-related ERGONomics including grips for flat-bar bikes, insoles, bike-fitting tools and most importantly, saddles. Ergon’s saddles serve a large variety of markets, and I first noticed them a few years ago when they released the SR Pro Women’s saddle—a saddle that I felt was as good as any ever made for a drop bar road bike. While the SR Pro Women’s saddle was obviously designed with the female rider in mind, I found that this saddle worked extremely well for both men and women. This is a common thread, and many believe that the über-popular Specialized Power saddle—which is advertised as unisex—was first developed as a women’s-specific saddle. We have reviewed and recommended the Ergon SR Pro Women’s saddle in the past, so this time we will focus on the SR Pro Men’s.
Both saddles are available in three versions that cost approximately $90, $130, and $200. The less expensive version has steel rails, the mid-price has titanium rails, and the most-expensive version has carbon rails. The cushioning on the least expensive version is also a bit softer than on the mid and higher priced versions.
Ergon Pro Carbon Men’s Saddle: The Good
The Ergon SR Pro Carbon Men’s saddle is similar to the women’s version with a few subtle variations. Geometrically, the male version of this saddle has a slightly longer and narrower nose, and the pressure relief cut out has been located slightly differently. The advertised widths, available in two sizes, only varies by 1mm between the Male and Female versions. We have found in testing that regardless of how these saddles are marketed, they work equally well for both men and women. We’ve had days in our fit studio where a woman prefers the men’s version and vice versa. This is a great do-it-all saddle, and is at home on any drop-bar bike.
Ergon Pro Carbon Men’s Saddle: The Alright
While first impressions of this saddle are generally positive, we have seen some wear issues. The synthetic covers of the saddles do seem to wear faster than other saddles, and some of our high-mileage riders have put holes through them faster than we would have expected. We have also found that the padding tends to break down a bit quicker than on other saddles. While this saddle definitely comes at a pretty attractive price, it may be due for replacement after a year or two of regular riding, so be sure to work that into your cost analysis.
Ergon Pro Carbon Men’s Saddle: Personal Impressions
This saddle replaced the Specialized Power Expert saddle that I have been using on my road bike for the last few years. While I didn’t have any major complaints with my Power saddle, I did shuffle around a bit on it and would experience numbness from time to time on the trainer or rollers (never outdoors however). I had tested the Ergon saddles in bike fit demos over the years and always found them to be comfortable, at least during short sessions on a fitting cycle. There has been a lot of snow on the ground lately, so the majority of my rides have been indoors, but this is where saddles are typically at their worst so it makes for a great saddle testing ground. I slapped the Ergon saddle on my road bike with little regard for any differences between it and my Power and took it out for a short outdoor ride. I felt that I still had plenty of support under my Pubic Ramus but without as much excess material as on the Power. I felt more centered on the Ergon, something I’ve struggled with on the Power, so I didn’t have to shuffle around as much. My next few rides were all indoors, and my first two rides went well, but I was definitely acclimating to the new pressure points of this saddle. Nothing was uncomfortable but there were a few moments when I was more aware of the saddle than I wanted to be. However, I continued to feel well centered, didn’t have any numbness issues, and didn’t shuffle around much at all. After a few more rides, I lowered the saddle height slightly and adjusted the saddle slightly forwards, and I believe that I have achieved saddle Nirvana. I was pedaling smoother and easier. The best thing one can say about a saddle is that they don’t notice it at all, and this is the closest I’ve ever felt in my 20 years of riding to that moment of “saddle Zen.” I plan to keep this saddle on my bike and look forward to some longer rides in the open air.
Jon Blyer is one of the co-owners of ACME Bicycle Co., a bike-fitting studio in Brooklyn, New York, dedicated to a fit-first approach to cycling. He holds numerous fitting certifications and is involved with bike fit education through GURU Sports as an instructor in GURU’s fitting academy.