Ergon's new SR Pro Carbon saddle is specifically shaped for men and provides a comfortable, lightweight ride, though it's best suited to racy crouches – and it might mess with your reach to the bars.
Pros: Comfortable, relieves perineal pressure, light enough for competitive rides
Cons: Can stretch you too far rearwards, and expensive
Before we get into the specifics, I should point out the host of options: there's a 153mm wide version in addition to this 140mm, plus two lower spec/cheaper ones in the non-carbon SR Pro and SR Comp. Furthermore, Ergon does women-specific SRs (we tested the entry-level SR Sport Gel here and there's a review of the women's version of this Pro Carbon to come), so with this range Ergon covers everybody. Which is very lovely of them.
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I found the SR Pro immediately comfortable, but was disappointed to find pressure building up around an hour into my first ride. Eventually I discovered I was just sitting too far forward – it's easy to do, as you fall naturally into the (shallow) central dip. After that, both the 'wave' shape and the lined, grippy microfibre cover tend to keep you there. Shoving right back onto the broad, flat wings solved it with an immediate sensation of pressure relief and a return of comfort.
The slightly lumpy feel under the sit bones disappeared as the saddle broke in a little, though the profile's very flat – it didn't especially suit me, and led to a numb bum on long seated sections. You may be fine with it, of course, and comfort for your more gender-specific bits is good so long as you stay well back on the tail.
Unfortunately, I found the SR Pro worked best when I was too far back from the bottom bracket for efficient pedalling, and rather too stretched out as well. Slamming it right forward to the 'stop' on the clearly marked rails wasn't enough; if I were to run this permanently I'd be looking at inline seatposts at the very least.
> Buyer's Guide: 19 of the best saddles for men and women
The shaping around the thighs is good as I still had no problems with rubbing. It's a design that suits aggressive positions and fast riding, and it's pretty light too. The nose is broad and supportive for steep, seated climbing, while the channel stays deep reasonably far forwards. I never gave it a thought on the climbs, which is exactly what you want.
If you suit its shape and can handle the jokes about the slightly odd square vent (enjoy the 'hilarity' about exhaust ports, wind tunnels and auxiliary sockets...), it's a good choice for longer training efforts, spicy group rides and sportives.
The benefit of that square vent is that mudguards such as the Mucky Nutz Road Butt Fender cover it completely, which is a boon in the wet. The carbon composite hull is – like the AirCell foam padding – firm-ish with a well judged spring to it, and takes the edge off rough roads despite the substantial, ovalised carbon rails beneath. Those rails spread and curve attractively into chunky mounts.
You've got a fair range of choice at this level. The recently reviewed Star Lite from Astute may be £10 more and 42g heavier, but it's better finished and excellent for aggressive riding positions. Selle San Marco's Aspide Carbon FX is also worth a look, as it matches this Ergon for price, offers a similar approach to comfort and is impressively wispy at just 121g.
And at £190 there's the Fizik Antares R1 Versus Evo, which is lighter, fully-channelled, and extremely comfy however you sit. It goes without saying that saddles are very personal, though I still have to say it... and while the SR Pro saddle served me fairly well, I (personally) didn't find it as versatile as a full-length channelled one.
> Buyer's Guide: 14 of the best high-performance saddles
Still, Ergon's SR Pro Carbon is a light, comfortable and tough-feeling perch that could meaningfully help those suffering from numbness – especially those with inline seatposts, or who like to sit well behind the pedals.
Light and effective at managing pressure, but spendy and might mess with your reach to the pedals and bar
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Make and model: Ergon SR Pro Carbon saddle
Size tested: Small/medium
Tell us what the product is for and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Ergon says this is shaped specifically for male anatomy: "Due to their speciﬁc pelvic anatomy men are sitting more upright on the saddle. This creates a higher pressure in the highly sensitive perineal area, which often leads to any of the varying forms of discomfort. This is where the relief concept of the SR Men saddle comes into play."
Sit on it in the correct position and it does provide noticeable pressure relief.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Ergon lists these stats:
Length: (Size S/M) 272 mm, Width: 140 mm (Size M/L) Length: 272 mm, Width: 153 mm
Shell: Carbon Composite
Padding: Orthopedic AirCell Foam with OrthoCell® Pads
Gender: men specific
Rate the product for quality of construction:
Looks and feels excellent to all but the most determined observer.
Rate the product for performance:
Sit to the rear and the pressure relief is noticeable. It's comfy, grippy and a good weight too – an ally for long yet spirited rides.
Rate the product for durability:
Chunky rails, thick fabrics and firm seams all bode well.
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
It's comfortably underneath the 200g mark, and competitive with all but dedicated race saddles.
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
I'm duty-bound to point out the obvious – saddles are personal – but there's no doubt the shaping works to significantly reduce pressure and discomfort. I found it comfy in isolation, but had to sit too far back to get the benefits.
Rate the product for value:
It's a fraction below average on build quality, but offers comfort, weight, performance and looks to rival any saddle in this price bracket.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Very well: comfy, secure and good looking on the bike.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Genuinely works to relieve discomfort...
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
...provided you sit very rearward. Move forward and the benefits disappear.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
It's not cheap, but it's on a par with other carbon saddles.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes, mostly.
Would you consider buying the product? Maybe
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Maybe
Use this box to explain your overall score
Looks good, feels tough and works well – so long as it suits your posture (I couldn't get totally comfy without changing other components, which isn't ideal).
Age: 45 Height: 183cm Weight: 78kg
I usually ride: GT GTR Series 3 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: A few times a week I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: general fitness riding, mountain biking
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