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SDG Bel Air V3.0 Lux-Alloy saddle review

Can new materials and rail tech put the SDG Bel Air trail saddle back in the hot seat?

SDG Bel Air V3
(Image: © Guy Kesteven)

Our Verdict

Super comfy, tough and versatile saddle at a reasonable price, but the steel railed version is very heavy

For

  • Excellent technical riding shape
  • Comfortable
  • Impressively shock shrugging
  • Alloy version is very light

Against

  • Steel version is heavy

The SDG Bel Air saddle has been a classic since the original mid-'90s versions, which introduced the concept of funky camo, cowskin and other novelty covers. The latest version keeps a similar overall profile but is underlined with the latest construction tech to boost the comfort even further creating a fantastic feeling, if slightly weighty, saddle. Although you only get a hint of funkiness with the alloy railed version. 

The obvious change in the 3rd generation Bel Air is that it’s a lot flatter. That doesn’t mean the top profile has lost it’s subtle raised rear S bend profile, but it’s nowhere near as deep underneath. If you get the measuring tape out, it’s also a bit shorter than before, but there’s still enough shuffling room without falling off the front compared to the latest stub nosed setups. 

The shell drops under the snout to give the deepest padding when you’re on the rivet, and the top is flattened off for easy, effective seat-angle shifting. A ‘Peri-Canal’ groove runs from front to rear, with an ‘undercut’ pressure-relieving hole hidden in the center of the nylon and glass base to protect your plumbing. The rear of the saddle kicks up in the center to keep you anchored when you’re churning a serious gear but drops away quickly over rounded flanks for a balance of sit bone support and easy movement that worked for everyone who tried it. If you’ve been finding seated salvation in a flatter, wider 150mm+ seat, this likely won’t include you. 

SDG Bel Air V3

The SDG has a width of 140mm (Image credit: Guy Kesteven)

In terms of construction, the one-piece ATMOS ‘sonic welded’ cover still gets protective corner bumpers, which is pretty rare these days. It’s really easy to clean, and it’s survived several months of hard riding and several crashes without a scratch. The rails are polished raw where they stick out from under the nose. 

The thin layer of EVA foam gives firm support over the flexible base, and the rails have a particularly narrow stance at the rear with flexible ‘free float’ anchors increasing mobility and helping reduce ‘bottoming out’ impacts. This all sets up a seat that was universally loved by the wide range of riders who’ve been using our Pace RC295 host bike, but it’s shock shrugging enough that it’ll work really well on a hardtail too.

Verdict

The latest material tech and smart profiling mean SDG’s classic saddle gets even comfier and lighter. The V3 range starts with the basic ‘steel’ at $59.99/£54.95, but with a claimed weight of 318g, it’s definitely worth upgrading to the Lux-Alloy tested here or even the carbon rail ($189.99/£179.95, 181g) versions if you’re worried about grams. 

Tech Specs: SDG Bel Air V3.0 Lux-Alloy

  • Price: $89.99/£79.95
  • Size: 260mm x 140mm
  • Weight: 236g (actual)