No Numb Bums: SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

Saddles are perhaps the most personal item in cycling – what works perfectly for one rider could feel like sitting on pine cones to another. For some, even the visual appeal of a particular saddle could be enough for them to persist with something less comfortable, or to reject what might otherwise be the perfect perch in the case of an uglier duckling.

We reviewed three of the SQlab road range previously. It is fair to say that visually they are more intriguing than most saddles, but they are far from ugly – and, when they work as well as they do, the looks certainly aren’t enough to be put off them. There’s now a new range of saddles in the SQlab lineup. Once again, the ever-helpful Krischan from EightyOneSpices sent one our way to test in a follow-up to our previous review.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

The Ergowave saddles are so named due to the side profile wave shape of the saddles with raised rear, coupled with the ergonomics that the saddle is designed to provide. The Ergowave range is available with titanium or carbon rails and in both active or non-active versions. Krischan sent us the 612 Ergowave active Carbon – the ‘612’ referring to the fact that this version is road-focused, having a slimmer and shorter nose and slightly firmer, thinner padding compared to the 611 models. The carbon rails of this example drop the weight down to 220g despite utilising SQlab’s ‘active’ technology – an innovation which enables the saddle to tilt with the hips as the rider pedals.

Visually this new model is a more refined version of the saddles we reviewed previously. They still use a step saddle design with the raised rear portion and centre dip for pressure relief, but the dip is now a much more defined and somewhat deeper which offers even better pressure relief than before. The overall style of the saddle has also been polished, resulting in a less quirky looking product – which might help to broaden its appeal.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

As with the initial setup of the previously tested saddles, this one took a little while to feel right in terms of its position on the bike relative to a more normal flatter saddle. The wave shape means there are a number of points along the saddle at different heights, making it challenging to know where to measure your saddle height from. However, once the saddle is in the right position it instantly feels really good, despite being slightly firmer feeling than the previously tested saddles.

SQlab suggest that their saddles be setup slightly forward compared to your existing saddle to encourage you to sit ‘in’ the rear portion of the Ergowave and maximise the benefit of the shape. This can take a while to get used to, but once you are used to sitting further back the pressure relief that the Ergowave centre dip offers is, in my experience, totally unmatched by any other saddle design I have used – be that with or without any pressure relief channels or cutouts.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

In the previous review the active version of the 612 wasn’t available, but we did find that the carbon rails of the 612 stiffened the saddle noticeably over the titanium-railed 611 Race. In a similar vein, this active version of the 612 Ergowave seems stiffer than I recall the active version of the titanium-railed 611 Race being; and I suspect the carbon rails are coming into play again here. This also seems to lessen the difference between the supplied elastomers compared to what we noticed on the 611 Active, but the 7º tilt offered by the Active saddle design is still evident – particularly with the soft elastomer.

A feature I was very glad to see carried over from the previous SQlab saddles is the brilliantly executed nose shape, which SQlab refer to as ‘MaxContact’. It is shaped to offer as much support as is needed whilst remaining narrow enough to prevent impeding the pedal stroke. I still struggle to understand how so few other saddle companies are able to get this right.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

This saddle did cause one major issue for me.  I had a pair each of two different saddles that I had settled on as being my go-to saddle options. Each of these four saddles was quite expensive as an individual item, and the total value of the two pairs is bordering on obscene. Thanks to this 612 active Ergowave, those are now redundant. My backside is happier, though – and even if the SQlab is slightly less ‘cool’ or stylish, the improved looks of this version over the previous models makes me much more willing to accept that; so much so that I bought this saddle and sold the others.

Before this review was finished, I also took ownership of a non-active ‘Race’ version of the 612 Ergowave carbon. At only 150g, I expected this lighter weight version to feel a lot firmer than the active version but took the gamble anyway. Whilst not quite as cushioning as the 612 Ergowave active, the Race is still perfectly comfortable and has taken pride of place on my #1 bike.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

For clarity surrounding the SQlab range, the 611 models are more MTB and CX focused. They have a slightly wider and longer nose for off-road technical climbs and both a softer and slightly thicker padding to better absorb trail chatter. They also have areas of Kevlar around the sides and edges to protect from scuffs.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

Worth noting is the fact that SQlab consider their saddles to be unisex. This is on the basis that sit bone width is what determines the correct saddle to use; and coupling this with the step saddle approach and centre dip pressure relief of the Ergowave design means men and women alike should be able to find a saddle in the Ergowave range that works for them.

SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review

Enhanced looks, an even more effective pressure relief system and the excellent shape carried over and improved upon from previous models has resulted in a new happy place for my backside; and at a time when I thought it was already perfectly happy. If you’re in the market for a new saddle or curious to try something new, I wholeheartedly recommend starting here and seeing how you get on.

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SQlab 612 Active Ergowave Saddle Review