“It’s the first ever saddle I can use with no pain at all.” ~ Pauline Ferrand-Prévot.
“My prediction is that these new saddles will revolutionise the women’s saddle market. Our collaboration with Ergon has produced a saddle that is suitable for at least half our team members. That’s unheard of with this kind of product.” ~ Alexis Ryan.
When Ergon partnered with CANYON//SRAM Racing in 2016 they saw a unique chance to get the best female road riders around the table to discuss products and concepts. Their first objective: To make a women’s-specific road saddle. And it seems they have made a good one.
Popular for high-end ergonomic grips and saddles in the mountain bike and touring disciplines, Ergon’s road portfolio was relatively small. Enter 11 women with a combined riding experience of over 150 years, 70 of those as professionals. Add ergonomists and experts from Ergon and their road portfolio has quickly grown with the launch at Eurobike last week of new road saddles SM Women and SR Women.
With a product focus on contact points between the rider and bike (Ergon already developed the grips for the team’s Canyon Speedmax CF SLX time trial bike and Pauline Ferrand-Prévot’s mountain bikes), the brand started a women’s-specific road saddle project with CANYON//SRAM Racing. Many months of discussions, pressure mapping, testing, feedback sessions and prototype test-runs of women’s-specific road bike saddles followed.
Janina Haas, Ergonomist at Ergon:
“We thought about women’s products from the very roots of the problem – starting with the characteristics of the female anatomy and the specific problems that occur while riding road bikes. We questioned and discussed every detail of the existing concepts and knowledge. The input of the team has been very valuable as the ladies (unfortunately) know all about the issues that come up when spending a lot of time on a road saddle. And of course, they tested many different concepts over the last years, and continually communicated valuable feedback.”
Pauline Ferrand-Prévot uses Ergon saddles across her road and mountain bikes:
“Since I did the first saddle test in Mallorca in December 2016 with Janina, I never felt like this on my bike. It’s the first time I feel comfortable but also very stable. Before I had all the pressure of my body in one place, but now the pressure is more even. Because of that I don’t have any pain anymore, I can ride longer and the day after I’m still happy to go training.”
Alexis Ryan has been one rider involved in testing the prototype saddles.
“Prior to the team’s partnership with Ergon, the process of picking a saddle was arduous and, usually, futile. I didn’t know what features to look for, or if the idea I had in my head was even a possibility. Ergon has simplified that process and given our team exactly what we requested.”
“The sensations I experienced with each test saddle were clearly depicted in the pressure mapping, and the Ergon specialists worked hard to develop a saddle that alleviated my discomfort.”
Janina Haas from Ergon:
“The input we received from professional riders and non-professional, recreational riders was not too far apart, in reality it was identical in most aspects. So, in the end we combined the feedback from all the different riders and the anatomical data to start with our first prototypes. Six different prototypes underwent several test loops. Every detail of the saddle has been considered and alterations made based on feedback of our two testing groups. The team uses two different saddles sizes – a small/medium and a medium/large size, depending on the sit-bone width.”
Alexis Ryan says the prototype testing on the road in training and racing has been vital. “The prototype saddle testing was important for ruling out, or in, certain features. Personally, I had ideas in my head about the perfect saddle, but not all of them were realistic. I gave a lot of feedback to Janina and Ergon, and they utilized that feedback to develop an incredible saddle.”
Former British road race champion Hannah Barnes:
“I wasn’t unhappy with the saddles I had ridden in previous years but I was never truly comfortable riding them. Being able to work with Ergon to make a saddle that had elements that I really liked from saddles I have used in the past and also adapt the bits that I didn’t like was really great. I really believe that a lot of women would like the Ergon saddles.”
Along with Barnes, Ryan and Ferrand-Prévot many other riders from CANYON//SRAM Racing have tested and used the women’s road saddle from Ergon. Trixi Worrack is the most experienced rider in the team:
“Finding a right saddle is always a hard topic. Everyone sits differently, with pressure in different areas. The testing has been important in both training and racing. We’ve given a lot of feedback on what is or isn’t necessary.”
Italian sprinter Barbara Guarischi:
“Before I used an Ergon saddle it was hard for me find a good shape and comfort in a saddle. I had a lot of problems with this. It’s not easy to try to get a saddle that suits everyone because we have different styles and we sit differently. But Ergon have done a great job with this new saddle.”
Former time trial world champion Lisa Brennauer:
“It’s not easy to find a saddle that works well. The riding on the rollers was one thing but trying the prototype saddles on the road was necessary to understand what really works best. As a rider you know your body pretty well and you find out quickly what works and doesn’t work for you. I’m sure other women will like the saddles that have been produced after all the research that Ergon has done.”
“We had high expectations when we committed to the partnership. Now it’s the second year of our partnership and our expectations have been blown away. The contact is very close, feedback was forwarded almost every week in the early stages of testing, the riders and the team management are top professionals, you can feel the passion for every detail. They are bike-passionate people who love what they do – this totally matches with the way we think at Ergon.”
“As a professional cyclist, the value of the Ergon saddle is unparalleled. To have a sponsor intently listen to our wants and concerns, develop a product, and deliver on a promise is something not often seen,” Alexis Ryan.
The new women’s-specific Ergon road saddles, SM Women and SR Women were launched at the Eurobike Show last week and will be available for customers in winter 2017/2018.