Ergon’s SR Allroad Core Comp Men saddle is a gravel saddle that can also be used on the road. It's ideal for big-adventures when you don’t know what’s around the corner. Ergon’s design works well and its use of Infinergy shock absorption compound delivers a smoother ride on rough surfaces. It’s well made and looks smart, if a little heavy, but is it comfortable enough to secure a top spot among the best gravel bike saddles?
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Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp saddle - Technical details
The SR Allroad Core Comp Saddle is designed to deliver shock absorption and comfort as well as retain the no-compromise dynamic sports performance that a racing saddle offers on both road and gravel terrain.
The shape is designed to provide even pressure relief. A good saddle also needs ample clearance for perching on the nose for steep climbing and the ability to shift your body weight back for descending. Ergon believes that it has addressed all these parameters and delivered the perfect saddle for gravel and all-road riding.
The SR Allroad Core Comp has a hard-wearing abrasion-resistant microfibre outer layer covering an Orthopedic Comfort Foam that is designed to increase the rebound force to your sit bones, thus reducing the level of vibrations reaching your sit bones.
The central pressure-relief channel is designed to help relieve pressure on your softer tissues but the channel is only part of the comfort credentials with the middle section in the three-layer sandwich being made from BASF’s Infinergy, the same material as leading brand sport shoes. Infinergy is used to provide consistent damping and regardless of your positional changes (or not) on the saddle, it won’t develop dead spots.
The saddle is very neatly finished and a fully sealed underside gives a clean look. The shell (lowest layer in the saddle construction) is made of a nylon composite and in this version has CroMo rails. Carbon shell and railed versions are also available.
We tested the £125 Small/Medium 139mm x 262mm saddle (pictured here) but there is also a Medium/Large (152mm) option but no comparable women's version. Instead, Ergon offers the slightly different SR Pro Women although it is manufactured differently with different padding and no magic Infinergy material. The SR Allroad Core Comp Saddle weighs in at 284g in this S/M version and is designed to suit sit bine width in a 9-12cm width range.
Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp Saddle - Performance
Lots of saddles have large cutouts for men's (and women’s) soft tissue areas to help improve performance and many have various clever 3D printed covers or differing foam cushioning patterns all designed to reduce vibrations to the rider from the road. Ergon believes that the SR Allroad Core Comp design has achieved the holy grail of a more comfortable riding experience with its combination of shape, Core Foam, and Infinergy Core material.
I’ve been using this S/M saddle on various gravel bikes on and off since the start of the year, it’s a good width for me with a recent SQ Lab measurement of 10. This S/M version has a suggested fit range of 9-12cm. The M/L is suited to 12-16 sit bone width.
The Ergon SR Allroad is not quite a 'short saddle', under 255mm in length according to our colleagues at road.cc, and perhaps that was why I didn’t initially get on with it, coming from a 282mm Fabric saddle. I found the saddle a little bulky and too hard initially with a short fat nose that gave me some concern below which is strange considering its claim.
However, it goes to show that set-up and adjustment are crucial, as is a fresh mind and willingness to try again. After I spent a week in Italy on a road bike with a short saddle having the same initial feelings but leaving Italy feeling very happy without a single sore spot, I went back to the Ergon for a second go, and through longer rides I have found its appeal. In fact, it is exactly the longer rides where you can tell that all the tech speak of different materials rebounding, shock absorbing, and being made of sports shoe rubber really works, especially on rougher surfaces.
My testing route is about 60km and best enjoyed on days when the military is not shelling the plain, but beggars cannot be choosers. I’ve used the saddle for a wide variety of rides that mix gravel road surfaces and potholes that would be better suited to a cross-country mountain biking race course along with a genuine bit of decent Tarmac now and then. Traversing all of these surfaces is easy from my front door and, throughout my extended testing period, I have noticed less need to get off the saddle to relieve pressure in my sit bones. This is definitely noticeable when I’m sat in the same position for longer periods of time.
I’m used to riding between 50-100km so my backside is happy to deal with these distances on the bike. Still, I’d say I felt less tender downstairs the longer the route, confirming that the SR Allroad Core is doing something to reduce buzz and vibrations coming through and making the longer rider more enjoyable. For reference, I’ve been using the same wheels, tyres, and pressures for most of this test period so it's reasonable to conclude the saddle is doing something.
On long mixed surface gravel rides, I’ve noticed improvements over my favoured Fabric Scoop Pro Shallow saddle but it is bulkier between your legs. I’m not referring to the weight which is half as heavy again as the Fabric, more that it feels fatter taller, and chunkier between your thighs and backside when you move around. It’s not a big issue and I’ve got used to it but I did feel initially that I wasn’t going to get on with it, hence its on-off test period.
I think it's similar to a new car, sofa or mattress shopping experience; what feels initially soft and comfortable in the showroom will often be unsupportive and too soft six months down the line. My first few months with the SQ-Lab 611 Ergowave Active with the Medium Elastomer were a perfect example of this logic. Obviously, there are exceptions but the Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp definitely improves on longer rides which allows it to show off its comfort credentials – it's just slightly hard to start with in my experience.
If you are doing mainly shorter rides, on smoother surfaces, or spending a lot of time out of the saddle there are cheaper options for you that weigh less and offer a firm performance-orientated design. However, if you like to do more miles linking byways, bridleways, drovers tracks and the like then the SR Allroad Core Comp is in its element.
It’s an easy saddle to look after as well. The top and undershell are sealed so it's a quick wipe with a sponge and brush underneath and you’re good to go. The CroMo rails on this model are good for carrying large seatpacks for bikepacking and the saddle has a weight load capacity of 120Kg which is pretty high. Ergon also offers a TiNox railed version with a carbon composite shell called the Core Pro and a full Carbon Railed and Composite shell version called the Core Pro Carbon – both of which have a reduced max weight limit of 100Kg.
Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp Saddle - Verdict
The SQ Lab 614 Ergowave Active saddle costs more at £143 but weighs less approx 231g* and is a natural contender although it works in a completely different way offering flexibility at the rear of the saddle allowing the pelvis to rock more naturally. It also features a wavey top surface that has an odd initial feel but holds you in place very comfortably. The 614 version is a little slimmer for more clearance for thighs in a racing riding position and is probably just as comfortable as the 611. (I tested the 611 Ergowave Active version but it uses the exact same system for comfort management)
Another option comes from Fizik with their Terra Argo X3 in either a 150 or 160 mm widths, both in 270mm lengths although Fizik offers a 75mm 'short nose' on both. Fizik doesn't offer any trainer rebound material from BASF but it initially feels more comfortable with plenty of flex on offer from the shell. A full review of this saddle will be coming soon. Cost is greater than the Ergon at £150 but weight is less 259g (1g over claim).
WTB Gravelier Titanium saddle recently reviewed by Matt would also be worth a look at £125 in the Ti railed version which comes in just one size 140x 246mm and 209g, so if that size sounds like it might work for you, see if you can get a demo from a shop, as Matt found it extremely comfortable.
Spend a little more than £165 and there is the Repente Artax GLM Saddle at 275 x 142mm which Matt found fantastically comfortable and is suitable for both on and off-road riding and weighs in at a feathery 164g and offers almost completely independent flex from side to side.
The £125 Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp saddle is a good gravel saddle, if a little heavy, that excels in long-distance comfort with an easy-to-look-after smooth microfibre finish and fully sealed undershell. Pressure relief from the large central channel, Infinergy material and orthopaedic foam all deliver an effective comfort system to reduce impacts delivered through the wheels, frame and up the seatpost. Definitely worth a look if you need more comfort on the bike and like the shape.