SQlab 611 Ergowave active saddle uses elastomers that allow the saddle to rock side-to-side as you pedal. We’ve been putting some kms on this radical concept to see how the new concept works.
Words - James Raison Images - Lana Adams
SQlab’s saddle division has drafted in some anatomy and biomechanics boffins for their new range of saddles. The 611 Ergowave Active is one of the results. “Ergowave” describes the saddle profile that is raised in the rear before dipping down and flattening of at the front. SQlab claim that profile helps with pressure distribution and allows for better power transfer.
“Active” refers to the elastomer under the rear that lets the saddle rock side-to-side on a horizontal plane. This concept is based on walking biomechanics where the pelvis doesn’t stay flat, but rocks by 7 degrees. On the bike, that saddle movement reduces the pressure on sit bones as compared to a fixed saddle. Claimed results are increased sit-bone and spinal comfort.
The 611 is their MTB saddle, but padding thickness is the only consequential difference between this and their 612 road bike version. It has quite a wide, flat shape and measures a lengthy 280 mm. My 140 mm wide version tipped the scales at 230 grams.
I was initially sceptical of the saddle because its long, wide, and flat profile is completely different to the saddles that I favour. It took a few tweaks to seat height and saddle angle before I really dialled in the 611. Once I did, the spruiked benefits became very clear.
The saddle drastically reduced sit bone pressure for me. I hate sit bone pressure. A lot. That’s why my saddle of choice is the ultra-curved and springy carbon Tune Komm Vor Plus. I’ve owned an older SQlab 612 saddle without the elastomers so I can directly comment on the virtues of the new design. The saddle movement makes a massive difference.
Once the 611 was set right I stopped thinking about sit bone pressure and I stopped noticing the saddle moving underneath me. It starts to feel natural, like the saddle was working with me. That is the ultimate aim of a saddle; to stop you being aware of it. I tested the saddle on some long days with plenty of seated tempo climbing. The comfort is outstanding. I’ve never liked wide, flat saddles until this one. There's even a subtle shock absorbing effect as an added bonus as the elastomer absorbs bumps.
My only complaint with the saddle is that its considerable comfort is focused in one position. Comfort reduces when you slide forward onto the nose. It’s very wide, flat, and there isn’t much padding up front. I assessed the saddle for use with aero handlebars on my endurance bike but it wasn’t comfortable enough when I slid forward for the aero position. That doesn't matter much when the aero bars aren't on.
THE FITTER’S PERSPECTIVE
SQlab's distributor EightyOne Spices recommended I talk to Aaron Dunford from Fusion Peak Cycle Fitting who’s been fitting customers to these saddles. I wanted to get his perspective on the new concept and how his customers are responding:
“Bike fitting is my business, and I don’t make any judgements about what to prescribe who before I find out exactly what is going on for each individual. If people don’t like their current saddle after it’s in a great spot, I will go back to their imprint [SQlab has an imprint-based sit bone measurement system] and suggest a 612 Active for a road bike and a 611 Active for a mountain bike. Then send them on their way for road and or trail testing.
Active models provide the sit bones with excellent support and the added benefit of pressure relief when the leg is at full extension. This seems to work especially well once the saddle was at the right height for the rider. And did not destabilize the pelvis at any point.
I have had a few very good results with women especially. One lady I remember sat on the new saddle after I installed it and she made the very long and pleasurable sigh or relief. ‘I feel like it’s not even there’ she said. Because the nose of the saddle drops away the pressure on the front of the groin is greatly reduced and sometimes the pressure is not even there. This is a welcome feeling for anyone who has struggled with perennial numbness or comfort.
So now I carry a full range of SQlab road and mountain Active saddles and sell them regularly. I ride them, find the quality to be top notch and the look is very cool. They seem to look great on high end road bikes.”
I’m a believer in the SQlab Ergowave Active saddle concept. It drastically reduced sit bone pressure discomfort once I had the position sorted. Other wide and flat saddles have been unusable for me exactly because of that pressure. It’s a saddle that you just forget about because it feels natural. The elastomer rocks away beneath you and lets you get on with riding.
Disclosure statement: This saddle was supplied for review by EightyOne Spices. It is not a paid review and we do not receive any proceeds from the sale of SQlab saddles.