Ergon SRX3 Cyclocross Saddle Review

ERGON SRX3 SADDLE

Long Story Short: A purpose built cyclocross racing saddle sounds like a gimmick- until you try it.

Long Story Long: After reading my review of Ergon’s CF-3 seatpost, my astute reader noticed their yet-to-be-released SRX3 was perched atop that post and asked what I thought of it.

Before we get to that, here’s some context. When I started racing, er, participating, in cyclocross, the first two seasons I used an old WTB Shadow V (one of my all-time favorite MTB saddles) I had laying around. For CX, the nose could be a little harsh and the internal cut-out made for a lot of flex when remounting. By the time it was re-retired, it was droopy enough to start looking like a Ken doll size hammock.

Next up was Ritchey’s Streem saddle. It lasted about a week before going back on my road bike. The board stiff shell meant every re-mount was a chance to bludgeon your gooch.

Then, on the recommendation of a friend who could actually be classified as a racerFizik’s Arione got the nod. His reasoning for it being the best saddle for cyclocross stemmed from its length. As long as you could get in the same area code when re-mounting, you were never going to miss. With that sound bit of logic, the Arione enjoyed an undisputed run of three perpetually podium adjacent seasons under my tubby butt.

When I got the SRX3, I was actually sad to chuck my Arione into the dark corner of the garage. By comparison, the SRX3 is much shorter, particularly at the nose, which had me a little skeptical. This turned out to be a non-issue and revealed itself to be a positive feature over the course of this past SoCalCross season.

The short nose meant no more chamois snagging when jumping back on the bike. (I know that’s probably not a very common occurrence, but I’m a klutz and am good for pulling that sweet power move at least a couple times a year.) Along with being shorter, the nose is flatter and wider which makes being on the rivet suck a little less. The rest of the saddle stays as flat as possible with a slight kicktail at the back to help keep you planted.

Ergon says its design allows for “fast and unhindered position changes” aka “cyclocross maneuvers.” To that end, they knocked the SRX3 out of the park. The design is so seamless that it’s nearly invisible- especially while racing. There was never a time when coming up with post-race excuses that I even considered pointing a boney, Cheeto dust covered finger of blame at the SRX3.

Seriously, Ergon invented a whole new category with this saddle.

Here’s the Breakdown: The SRX3 measures approximately 130mm wide (measured across the widest point of the black area) by 180mm long (tail to tip). This puts it right in-between Ergon’s small and medium XC saddles. What’s the German word for slightly bigger than small? If you’re someone who’d normally run size large, the SRX3 would probably be comfortable enough for 45 minutes to an hour.

ERGON SRX3 SADDLE DIMENSIONS

While thin, the padding does a great job of being supportive. The SRX3 reminds me of the Selle Italia SLR in terms of size and thickness except for the fact that its padding is up for the job. By contrast, a hard look could bottom out the SLR.

That being said, the SRX3 definitely reminds you of its intended use on longer rides. By the three hour mark that invisibility starts to wear off and its minimal padding becomes noticeable. While this might not be an issue for other riders, it is something to consider. If your CX bike is also your adventure bike, something a little more robust might be in order.

Then again, it all comes down to picking the right tool for the right job.

Want more info? Check out CX Magazine’s take.

Ergon CF3 Carbon Seatpost Review

Ergon CF-3

Long Story Short: German engineering turns bumps into chumps with near set-it-and-forget-it simplicity.

Long Story Long: Before the start of this past cyclocross season, I was offered the chance to test out Ergon‘s new CF3 Seatpost that was about to hit the market after a solid year of suspense. While there was no doubt it was an intriguing item, I was mildly worried that the offer was really more of a dare. My knack for breaking stuff rivals this kid’s, I’m a party ball and half a tube of Pringles away of cresting the posted 220lb weight limit, and I was specifically asked to go race cross with it. At the time, Ergon made it quite clear that the CF3 was for road use only.

After 18 races and four months under my tubby butt (along with rigorous, quantifiable testing back home in Germany) the Ergon CF3 has been deemed fit for cross use.

That’s all fine and dandy, but you’re here because you want to know how it works, right?

Quite simply, the CF3 performs exactly as billed while being virtually invisible. Think of it as a bump silencing ninja. Once the initial “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter” amazement wears off, you don’t realize how well it works until you go back to a standard rigid seatpost and suddenly feel every single bump and imperfection in the surface underneath you.

The fact that it works so effortlessly well is a game changer. Not only is your ride instantly more comfortable (goodbye lower back pain), the suspension action helps keep you planted on the saddle allowing you to pedal through the rough stuff when you’d otherwise be forced to stand.

The amount of flex the post has is a bit of a mystery. While Ergon declines to assign a number, they reinforce basic rules of physics by stating the post will flex more under a heavier rider or more stress. The only time its “travel” has been noticeable is when you pull a sweet move like auguring your rear wheel into a gopher hole at full speed while seated or muffing your remount and doing a Hulk Hogan leg drop on the tail end of the saddle with all your weight.

Even then, the amount of movement you feel is slight as the pivoting head keeps the saddle in an even plane. This is a total 180 from the pogo stick action of the suspension seatposts from the days of yore.

Lest you think it doesn’t really work unless you can feel it flexing, not to worry. There will be at least one person in your riding group who will curiously point out that your seatpost is moving.

Here’s the Breakdown:
 Set up is very easy but I can’t stress enough the importance of taking your time and following the instructions. (That means using a torque wrench.) The flip head gives you plenty of fore/aft range and is a snap to install a saddle. Testing the setback version of the CF3, I found the forward position ideal. With tilt adjustment requiring full seatpost removal, it would be best to get things dialed-in in a controlled environment.

I made the impatient mistake of venturing off for a shakedown ride immediately after installing the post, stopping a few times along the way to dial in the the saddle angle. The CF3 is really two individual pieces connected by the by the head up top and a 3mm-ish bolt at the bottom. Tilt adjustment is accomplished by loosening the bolt and sliding the two halves into your desired position. Being the thoughtful Germans they are, Ergon includes a measurement scale to gauge how much you’ve moved things. There’s second scale along the side of the post to measure seat height.

Even with the help of the scale, tilt adjustment is a bit of trial and error which can be chalked up to simply using a new product for the first time. Over the course of pulling out the post a few times, I managed to wipe off most of the carbon paste which resulted in glacial slippage. The post dropped a good two inches over the course of a 15 mile ride home but not at a rate that was noticeable as it was happening.

And that little nugget of mechanical shame leads to what I feel is the most important part to know about the set up.

Because the CF3 seatpost isn’t perfectly round, (look close and you’ll see a little gap where the two halves meet) carbon paste needs to your best friend to avoid slippage. Those little molecules or whatever is in carbon paste make all the difference. Once I re-installed the post with a fresh coat and seat height and position locked in, I haven’t touched it since. No squeaks, creaks, or slipping to be had.

Want a Second Opinion? Check out this long-term review from Gravel Grinder News.