Saddle choice is subjective, but I found that the Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women's Saddle provides plenty of comfort through its cutout channel that goes right into the nose of the saddle. With minimal padding it might not be the first choice for multiple long rides, but if you are looking for a racier design for shorter, faster outings, it's a great option. It's not cheap, mind.
- Pros: Design keeps sensitive areas comfortable when in a racy riding position
- Cons: Minimal padding won't suit all, expensive
Comparing it to my usual Selle Italia Diva Lady (reviewed a while back), the racier Ergon SR Pro Carbon has a lot less padding. It's there, in the form of 'Orthopedic AirCell Foam with OrthoCell Pads', and it's in the right places, but it is minimal.
According to Ergon, the new OrthoCell Pad inlays are lighter and more durable than gel versions. It's early days, but in a month's riding on the saddle I had no durability issues.
As the name suggests, the saddle has a carbon composite shell and the rails are carbon as well. It's super-light: the small/medium weighs in at 166g on the road.cc scales.
The SR Pro Carbon has a slightly wider nose than most, with the cutout design set further forward into the nose of the saddle. The female pelvis is more flexible than a male pelvis, and women get more pressure at the front, so it makes perfect sense for Ergon to have designed it this way. By having more of a cutout on the nose of the saddle, it takes the pressure off, though there is still padding here so it doesn't feel like you are sitting on rails. It really did relieve pressure off the front during my rides; I had no problems here at all.
At the rear, the wings of the saddle are quite V shaped, and there is a bit of a ramp to the back of the saddle. These features encourage you to sit on your sit bones, not on your soft, sensitive tissue at the front.
I found it comfortable for rides of 2 to 4 hours – after two consecutive long rides of 65km and 120km I knew about my sit bones, but not in a bad way, though I think a little more setup tweaking and time in the saddle could improve things. It's not your armchair saddle, that's for sure, but if you currently ride something a little too squishy and you're thinking of trying a firmer, faster saddle, this could be an option. I liked it from the first ride, and it's great for faster riding – which is what it's designed for really.
It is on the expensive side, though it's cheaper and lighter than Specialized's unisex Power Arc Pro Elaston at £200, and not much more than Bontrager's Yatra Pro Carbon, which has an rrp of £149.99 and weighs a claimed 165g for the 144mm wide option.
If you were looking to spend less, then the recently reviewed Liv Contact SLR Forward saddle is £129. Or there is a cheaper (and heavier) Ergon option: the Ergon SR Sport Gel, which is £79 and weighs 275g.
Overall, if you want a lightweight performance saddle then the SR Pro Carbon is well worth considering. As ever, though, saddle choice is very individual, so try a few if you can and get a fitting done so you have the best chance to ride in comfort.
A racy road saddle with a long cutout that does its pressure-relieving job very well – for a few hours at least
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women saddle
Size tested: S/M
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?
The Ergon SR Pro Carbon Women saddle is aimed at women wanting a racier performance saddle.
Ergon says: "It could not be better – The choice of world champion Pauline Ferrand Prévot. Flat but still comfortably padded. Shape and relief exactly ﬁt the female anatomy in the typical racingrelated sitting position. OrthoCell® inlays in the genital and sitting area provide optimum pressure distribution – the innovative OrthoCell® material ensures maximum reset force and is also more durable and lighter than gel. Sliding ﬂanks help reduce friction when pedalling. Lightweight version with carbon rail and carbon composite saddle shell – only 170 gram (Size S/M)."
It is a racy, lightweight saddle with minimal padding.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shell - Carbon Composite
Rail - Carbon
Cover - Microfiber
Padding - Orthopedic AirCell Foam with OrthoCell® Pads
Weight - 170 gram (Size S/M)
Gender - women specific
Very well made.
Designed for performance riding and it delivers that.
A month of testing and no sign of wear.
Excellent weight, very light.
For me, 2-4hr rides were comfortable, the cutout design really helps relieve pressure. For multiple long rides my sit bones got a little sore, but with a little tweaking I think I could get my butt used to it.
It's a carbon saddle and the price reflects that, but it's a lot more than the Liv Contact SLR Forward Carbon Saddle at £129.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As a performance saddle, really well: it is light, and comfortable in a racing position.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
It is female specific, and it sounds like a lot of research has gone into the design.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
No dislikes; some women may find it too hard. You're not likely to choose it for multiple long distance rides – unless you are a pro.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, to put on a fast bike.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
It's a great racy performance saddle. It's expensive, and the minimalist padding won't be for everyone, but it's very good for faster riding.
About the tester
I usually ride: Genesis Croix de Fer Ti My best bike is:
I've been riding for: Under 5 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking