SDG Components Circuit Mtn Ti-Alloy Review
Cons: Firm, flat shape, uncomfortable
Manufacturer: SDG Components
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Prior to testing the Circuit Ti-Alloy, our experience with SDG saddles has primarily been limited to OEM saddles spec'd on complete bikes that we've tested for OutdoorGearLab. Those experiences have never knocked our socks off, but they've never been bad either, so we chose the Circuit Ti-Alloy as a moderately priced SDG saddle to add into our test selection for comparison. We tested it back to back with some of the finest saddles on the market, and in the end, it was bested by the competition mostly because it just isn't very comfortable.
Comfort is one of the most important elements of any bike saddle, and our testers universally agreed that the Circuit Ti-Alloy just isn't incredibly comfortable. It has a good silhouette, width, and length, but it is uncompromisingly stiff and quite flat from tip to tail. It was a far cry from the level of comfort provided by our Top Pick for Comfort Award winner, the WTB Koda Team, or our Editors' Choice Award winner, the Tioga Undercover Stratum.
When viewed from above, the outline of the Circuit Ti-Alloy is a pretty standard shape, almost an identical match to the WTB Volt Race which scored much higher for comfort. There is also a very shallow anatomical depression that runs down the center of the saddle about 3/4 of the length from the tail to the nose.
From the side, the tip to tail profile of the saddle is very flat, with just the slightest bit of swoop towards the middle. The flat profile is fine, but the shell of the saddle is incredibly stiff with just a very thin layer of padding, so there is little give in the system when you sit on it.
A look at the underside of the Circuit Ti-Alloy reveals a hidden anatomical cutout in the nylon glass shell. This is a nice feature, but testers didn't notice any benefit from it since the whole saddle felt so stiff.
Looking down the saddle from the nose shows the flat side to side profile of the saddle which curves down by the outside edges. Again, this isn't necessarily a bad shape, but the shell and padding offered so little cushion or give that you could really feel the edges of this saddle on the sit bones.
On the trail, the performance of this saddle was limited by its lack of comfort while seated and pedaling. Testers struggled to find the sweet spot where they could rest comfortably on this saddle. When off the saddle, however, this saddle performed just fine; the medium width and tapered tail made it easy to move around without brushing against your thighs or snagging on your shorts. We have no complaints about this saddle when descending; it was just hard to get past the lack of comfort the rest of the time.
Durability is one of this saddle's better attributes. The seat cover is made from a durable microfiber that is ringed along the outside edge with a kevlar fabric from nearly the nose back to the tail on both sides. This Kevlar reinforcement provides added protection to the most exposed parts of the saddle in the event of a crash. The shell of the saddle is made from what SDG calls "Nylon Glass", but it seems a lot like a very stiff plastic to us. The seat rail connects feel very secure, and we haven't experienced any squeaking or other unwanted noises coming from them.
Versatility was not the Circuit Ti-Alloy's strong suit. Sure you could use this saddle for any type of riding, but we would steer people who love to pedal away from it. This saddle is simply flat and stiff, not great for long XC rides, or use on your road or gravel bike. That said, we'd put this thing on a bike we used for shuttle laps or ripping at the bike park, it's lightweight, durable, and has a good shape that allows for great freedom of movement.
At 214g, the Circuit Ti-Alloy is among the lightest saddles in our test selection. It was bested only by our Top Pick for Comfort Award winner, the WTB Koda Team, by 11 grams, our Top Pick for Light Weight Award winner, the Tioga Spyder Outland, and our Editor's Choice Award winner, the Tioga Undercover Stratum by 12 grams each.
At its retail price, we don't really think the Circuit Ti-Alloy is a great value unless you're a gravity rider looking for a lightweight saddle with a low stack height. Otherwise, we'd recommend getting a saddle that costs the same, or less, that offers more comfort and versatility.
We weren't sure what to expect from the Circuit Ti-Alloy saddle, but it quickly became apparent to our testers that this lightweight competitor just wasn't all that comfortable. It is flat and stiff, and just not a great place to rest your bones for long periods of time. We would not recommend it for anyone who loves to pedal, but if you're more of a gravity-oriented rider who spends more time riding down the hill than up it, then this is a lightweight option for you.
SDG Components make a full line of mountain bike saddles for all types of riding. They produce a range of different saddles in their MTN line, including two models of the Circuit.
- Circuit Carbon: $190, Weight: 185g, Rails: Carbon, Size: Length 280mm x Width 135mm
— Jeremy Benson