Ergon’s new Allroad Core saddle range uses a high tech polyurethane material from BASF to add a bit more plush without the weight/expense of a suspension seat post. I saddled up the most affordable Comp model for a couple of long days bike packing across the rocky trails of Snowdonia.
The construction of the Allroad Core is immediately clear from the side. The single piece top skin is a microfibre with diagonal sipes across the top for grip, with slipperier side sections to stop chafing. The BASF Infinergy part of the sandwich is more obvious at the nose and tail where you can clearly see the thick layer of it’s ‘cellulite’ structure. Infinergy is an expanded thermoplastic polyurethane (E-TPU) that’s used everywhere from Adidas trainers to tennis racket, tires and other industrial applications.
Among other properties, it’s got a particularly high rebound characteristic, returning a score of 57 percent in ISO 8307 ball rebound tests compared to expanded polypropylene (EPP) at 30 percent and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA) at 37 percent. It retains that performance even under a continuous load and it’s recyclable too. On the Allroad saddles it’s sculpted to create a deep central depression from the nose to almost the rear.
The nylon composite shell adds an extra layer of soft flex while also giving the Comp a 120kg rider weight limit compared to the carbon composite shell of the £149.99 / €159.99 Pro with TiNox rails and the €199.99 Carbon model with carbon rails. The shell is 10g heavier though and normal chromoly steel rails make overall weight for my medium/large sample relatively chunky at 299g.
All the Allroad Core saddles are the same 262mm length, but they’re available in two (139mm or 152mm) widths.
With most new saddles I test now of the short and stubby variety it was a pleasant change to get on a full length seat. That gives some fore and aft shift options if you’re in the saddle for a long time or just need to adjust front/rear tire loading for traction. The soft nose and central depression meant I had no issues with numbness in my nethers on two long days and it’s given me no grief since. The extra BASF cushioning and damping where definitely noticeable on rougher sections too. Reducing back fatigue and protecting my peach to the point where I came up with my own* BASF (Bruised Arse Stopping Fun) index where it scored very well.
*They were long, wet, cold days on the bike so I was trying to amuse myself, OK?
My initial thoughts that the large was too wide and might potentially rub were forgotten after a few miles too. What was most surprising for someone like me who normally loves a minimally masochistic perch for my bony pelvis is that despite it’s palpable comfort the deep Infinergy layer never felt too squishy or bouncy. It didn’t obviously squeeze into places it wasn’t welcome and cause chafing/pressure spot issues which is my normal gripe with fatty seats. Probably the most telling endorsement is that while I've taken the saddle off now to test other options, it's currently my first option to put back on after that testing is done.
As the name suggests Ergon have been on a mission to make cycling more comfortable through ergonomics for a long time. The Allroad Core Comp is a noticeably softer and more comfortable place to sit than most other saddles. Crucially it doesn’t feel overly soggy or squishy when pedaling and it definitely relieves rather than increases pressure in the most personal areas.
While it’s slightly heavier and more expensive than other comfy gravel saddles, it’s a lot lighter and cheaper than a suspension seat post that might not give much more movement (or be supple enough to reduce fatigue) and it’s certainly cheaper than a new bike. In other words it’s definitely worth trying as a cost effective option if your current ride is uncomfortably hard. Seeing as the bike I used it on was actually an XC hardtail and I suffered no rail bending/scuff issues, I'd say it's useful for any rider looking for a bit more comfort, not just gravel jockeys.
Tech specs: Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp saddle
- Price: £129.99 / €129.99
- Sizes: Small/medium, medium/large
- Options: Comp (tested) Pro £149.99 / €159.99 and Carbon £173.99 / €199.99
- Weight: 299g (Comp, medium/large)