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SQlab - 611 Active Saddle

posted Apr 5, 2014, 11:42 AM by GoOut Project   [ updated Apr 9, 2014, 11:52 AM ]

SQlab is a German company specialized in manufacturing cycling accessories, such as pedals, handlebars, grips, and saddles. A field in which SQlab is certainly at the forefront is that of saddle design. SQlab saddle are designed and built in collaboration with orthopedic physicians and urologists. Go Out Project has had the chance to test the new SQlab saddle model for Mountain Bike: the 611 Active saddle. Here, a report of our tests on the trails.

Technical Description

The special design of the SQlab saddles has been dubbed Stepsaddle and is characterised by a rather large rear part, which is also visibly much higher than the "nose". This has the aim to
significantly reduce the pressure in the perineal area by transferring it to the pubic bones. 
Excessive pressure in the perineal area, in fact, may easily lead to numbness and soreness and, in extreme cases, it may even cause quite serious injuries.

The Stepsaddle profile is combined with the MaxContact technology on the nose, which consists of a flatter and wider supporting area, allowing to optimally distribute the body weight. The 611 Active saddle also features another important innovation, a technology dubbed Active Concept. The peculiarity of the Active Concept resides in a flexible insert (provided in 3 distinct hardness levels) that allows a certain degree of flexibility of the saddle around its longitudinal axis during pedaling. According to SQlab, this allows the saddle to follow the natural pelvic movement and reduces the stress on the spine.

SQlab saddles are available in different sizes, with different widths of the rear part. To choose the one that best suits your body shape, which is fundamental for the proper functioning of the whole system, SQlab retailers have a measuring system consisting of a simple corrugated cardboard, on which you should sit with adequate pressure on the pubic bones to leave a visible footprint. Alternatively, if you can't find an official dealer in your area, you can still easily do it yourself (instructions on how to perform the measurement are given together with the saddle).

Our Test

We tested the SQlab 611 Active saddle mounted on a Haro Mary XC 29 steel frame hardtail. We tested it for more than 6 months, mainly for enduro on single track. 

As explained by SQlab, to find the right position of the saddle we had to modify some parameters with respect to our usual position: in particular, given the above average height of the saddle itself, a slight lowering was necessary, together with a slight shift forward to reduce the saddle setback. It is, in fact, essential that the pubic bones precisely and properly sit on the wider part of the saddle. Also the anteroposterior inclination of the seat may require some adjustment. Given the Stepsaddle profile, this adjustment is rather critical since it can greatly influence the stability on the saddle. If the saddle is oriented with the "nose" pointing too low, you may tend to slide forward.

Our Impressions
Some of the comments of our riders:
  • "An ideal combination of comfort and control!"
  • "Using this saddle, a chronic pain on my back muscles, probably caused by a physical defect consisting in having legs of slightly different length, has disappeared! This is, indeed, mentioned among the possible positive effects of the Active Concept system."
The saddle weighs about 300 g, so not exactly a featherweight! However, in our opinion this can still be considered a fairly good result, considering the size of the saddle and its integrated shock absorbing Active Concept system.

The initial feeling was that of a rather hard saddle. The padding is actually not very thick. However, already after a few kilometres, once
you get used to it, you'll start to really appreciate it. We can definitely say that the 611 Active is an extremely comfortable saddle. Moreover, as SQlab explains,
 the soft tissues that are in contact with the saddle get used to the new seat pretty quickly. After a few rides, any possible initial discomfort will gradually decrease, until it disappears completely. The Stepsaddle design may require some adaptation and adjustment, as written above, but you can immediately appreciate the decreased pressure in "sensitive areas", which is undeniably one of the most interesting benefit of these saddles.

The Active Concept is definitely the feature that we liked the most. The freedom of movement granted to the pelvis is really appreciable. Despite the degree of freedom offered, the sitting surface is stable and it also offers a certain degree of absorption of the asperities, certainly of great advantage on hardtails. Thanks to this, over long distances, the 611 Active saddle tends to be much less tiring than a traditional saddle.

In our view, the only flaw of the 611 Active saddle is the lack of cushioning on the nose. During climbs seated on the saddle, we have often found it quite uncomfortable.

Our Verdict

The mountain bike saddle SQlab 611 Active is a customisable saddle with innovative design that offers an ideal combination of comfort and control. Its unique design effectively contributes to eliminate, or at least alleviate, many of the common cycling problems. In conclusion, we have really got a great feeling with the SQlab 611 Active. In fact, we liked so much so, that many of us have not gone back to their old traditional saddle!

+ Excellent workmanship and quality of materials 
+ Great comfort over long distances and over rough terrains 
+ More natural ride and less stress on the spine 

- Lack of padding on the nose 
- Not for "weight maniacs"                                                                                      

Testers: Franco T., Marco M.