Ergon SM Pro Men Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Moderately priced, reasonably lightweight, ergonomic design
Cons: Flat side to side profile may not work for everyone
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Ergon is a German components manufacturer that has a dedicated focus on ergonomics and adapting the bike to the rider. They specialize in bike saddles and grips, although they also produce backpacks, insoles, and bike fitting products. The SM Pro is one of many mountain bike saddles in their line, a trail riding model that is specifically designed with the male anatomy in mind. We tested it extensively against the best saddles on the market to see how it compares.
Ergon has based their entire design philosophy on ergonomics, and the SM Pro is an impressively comfortable saddle as a result. It has a relatively flat profile, a generous anatomical pressure-relief cutout, a classic Y-shape, a slight rise to the tail, and dense yet comfortable padding throughout.
The SM Pro Men has been specifically designed for the male anatomy, and Ergon goes into great detail about this design on their website. The gist of it all is that they have done extensive research about the differences between male and female anatomy and bone structure, and crafted a saddle that they believe will best suit the needs of men (they make women's specific models too). One of the most obvious design features is the pronounced, deep pressure relief channel that runs nearly the entire length of the saddle. Testers found this channel to effectively take pressure off the perineum with most of their weight distributed on the sit bones resting on the wings. We did not notice any pressure points or experience any discomfort caused by the edges of the channel.
The SM Pro comes in two sizes, S/M is 144mm wide, and M/L is 160mm wide. We tested the M/L, and we found that it measured closer to 150mm at its widest point. It has a relatively flat side to side profile that drops steeply by the edges. The padding where the sit bones rest is a new OrthoCell material that Ergon claims is more durable and lighter than gel with a high rebound force. Testers found the padding to feel a touch stiffer than some of the competition, but still forgiving enough for long term comfort. The tip to tail profile is generally flat with a gradual rise at the tail. While we found that it didn't cradle as much as some competitors, it did provide adequate support while pedaling over the course of long test rides.
Overall, we found the performance of the SM Pro to be quite good. It has a well-refined shape that is unobtrusive on the descents and allows for optimal power transfer on the climbs. Like most good saddles, it generally went unnoticed, which was pretty much ideal.
When pedaling, we found the classic Y-shape of the SM Pro to work very well. While the side to side profile is relatively flat, it drops steeply at its edges to allow for direct transfer of power to the pedals. The OrthoCell padding feels comfortable, yet stiff enough that your power isn't being sapped by excessive movement. The seat cover has texture added on the top where you sit, while the edges are smooth to help reduce friction. On the descents, the SM Pro disappears beneath you. We found that it allowed for unobstructed freedom of movement with low friction material along its edges and a snag-free shape. We had no issues positioning our bodies where we needed, no matter the terrain.
The SM Pro appears to be a well made and durable mountain bike saddle. Attention to detail seems like it is important for the folks at Ergon, and this is evident in the quality craftsmanship of their bike saddles. Every aspect of the construction appears flawless, from the TiNox rails and nylon composite shell to the microfiber seat cover. The seat cover material wraps over the edge of the shell where it is cleanly bonded on the underside. While it isn't specified as such, there is also what appears to be a reinforcement around the entire tail of the saddle from wing to wing as an added layer of protection in case of a crash.
Ergon refers to the SM Pro as the "choice of the marathon pros" on their website, so clearly it works well for those who spend long hours in the saddle. During testing, we found it to work well on trail rides ranging from an hour to four hours, with ample support and a high degree of comfort. We feel it should work well for any discipline of mountain biking, but particularly those like everyday trail riding or bike touring, where you spend lots of time in the saddle. We never mounted it on our road or gravel bikes, but if we did, we assume that it would likely provide the same level of comfort over the course of a long day. The SM Pro also comes with a QuickClick adapter that works with certain ToPeak saddlebags.
At 235-grams, the SM Pro is relatively lightweight. It is slightly below the average in our test field, and only about 30-grams heavier than the lightest models. Unless you're really hypersensitive to weight, you'll likely never notice a 30-gram weight penalty. It's likely that this saddle will also be lighter than what comes stock on most complete builds.
At retail, the SM Pro falls right about in the middle of the range of price of the models in this test. We feel this makes it a good value to the male rider who seeks the ergonomic benefits and comfort that it provides.
The SM Pro is a great saddle that we feel works well for any style of mountain bike riding. Its competitively lightweight and durable, plus it has an ergonomic design and a high level of comfort. We found its overall performance to be quite good, and it quickly became a tester favorite for its pressure relief and refined feel.
Ergon makes several models in the SM series with the Pro Men at the top of the line. They make two models specifically for women, including the SM Women and SM Sport Gel Women. They also have two additional men's models with the SM Sport Men and the SM Comp Men.
— Jeremy Benson