It didn't take long for testers to decide that the SDG Circuit Ti-Alloy wasn't all that comfortable. This saddle is very firm and quite flat, making it far less friendly for long rides with lots of pedaling than most of the competition. Despite being less comfortable, it does have a few things going for it. It's one of the lightest weight saddles we tested and has a kevlar wrapped edge for enhanced durability. While we wouldn't take this saddle out for any pedal heavy rides, it is a reasonable option for gravity oriented riders who spend their days shuttling, riding lifts, or taking laps around the bike park.
SDG Components Circuit Mtn Ti-Alloy Review
Compare prices at 2 resellers Pros: Kevlar reinforced edges, lightweight
Cons: Firm, flat shape, uncomfortable
Manufacturer: SDG Components
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SDG Components Circuit Mtn Ti-Alloy
|Price||$52.95 at Amazon|
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|$125 List||$120 List||$116.95 at Competitive Cyclist|
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|$91.57 at Amazon|
|Pros||Kevlar reinforced edges, lightweight||Lightweight, unique suspended feel, comfortable, versatile||Comfortable, versatile, reasonably priced||Lightweight, comfortable, short length||Lightweight, unique design, suspended feel|
|Cons||Firm, flat shape, uncomfortable||No tail protection||Slightly heavier than the competition||Only available in wider widths||Only available in narrow width|
|Bottom Line||The Circuit Ti-Alloy is lightweight, but testers found it to be far less comfortable than the competition.||The Undercover Stratum is an excellent combination of comfort, performance, and versatility in a lightweight package and the new winner of our Editor's Choice Award.||The Phenom Comp is is one of our highest rated models with comfort, performance, and versatility.||The Koda Team was originally designed for women but this unisex saddle delivers incredible comfort in a lightweight package.||Despite its unique design and appearance, the lightweight Spyder Outland saddle is a comfortable performer for people with narrower sit bones.|
|Rating Categories||Circuit Mtn Ti-Alloy||Tioga Undercover Stratum TI||Specialized Phenom Comp||WTB Koda Team||Tioga Spyder Outland|
|Specs||Circuit Mtn Ti-Alloy||Tioga Undercover...||Specialized Phenom...||WTB Koda Team||Tioga Spyder Outland|
|Rail Material||Titanium Alloy||Titanium||Cr-Mo||Titanium||Hollow Chromoly|
|Dimensions||280 mm x 135mm||285 mm x 140 mm||265 mm x 143 mm||255 mm x 142 mm||285 mm x 125 mm|
|Target Use (mountain, road, etc.)||Mountain||Mountain, Cross-country, Gravel||Mountain, Road||Mountain, Cross-country||Mountain|
|Seat Cover Material||2 pc microfiber & kevlar||Bio X-Pad ReActiv||Synthetic||Microfiber||N/A|
|Shell Material||Nylon Glass Base with Bridge||SpyderWeb||Carbon reinforced, Adaptive Edge||Flex-Tuned||Duel Tech Carbonite|
|Anatomical Cut out or channel||Anatomical||Channel||Channel/Anatomical||Anatomical||Anatomical|
|Available widths||135mm||140 mm||143mm, 155mm||142mm, 150mm||125mm|
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.
The Circuit Ti Alloy is best suited to gravity oriented riders who don't spend a lot of time seated while pedaling but still want a lightweight saddle. Testers found this saddle to be quite flat, stiff, and uncomfortable for big pedaling missions; if that's your thing, then we'd suggest you look elsewhere.
At a retail price of $100, 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