To increase my comfort on long mountain bike rides and bikepacking trips, I recently decided to add the Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women’s saddle to my Chumba Sendero Ti. I’ve been overjoyed by how comfortable it is even on the longest days.
If you are looking for a saddle upgrade for your mountain bike, I’d highly recommend the Ergon SMC Sport Gel (or one of it’s close versions). Read on to find out why.
Review In A Nutshell
- Women’s specific design
- Large cut out
- Two different width options
- Soft but supportive
- Gel may be unessary for those with a chamois or more aggressive riders
- Microfiber cover isn’t as high quality as higher end leather saddles
Price & Where To Buy:
- $99.95 List
- $89.92 at Amazon.com* (Last updated: 2023-09-12 at 03:01 – More Info)
- Check price at REI.com*
- Check price at ErgonBike.shop
Why I Chose The Ergon SMC Sport Gel For My New Build
I recently built up at Chumba Sendero Ti from scratch. That means I got to hand pick every single item that went on the bike–including the saddle.
The Chumba is intended to be my bikepacking and “big ride” mountain bike. Therefore, I was looking for a saddle that could spend MANY hours on and still be comfortable.
The Ergon SMC Sport Gel fit the bill. First off, it fits my sitbones. I got the M/L 155mm width. I spent years on a saddle that was too narrow for me, before leaning that all of my soft tissue discomfort was a result of my weight not being supported on my sitbones.
Secondly, I generally do NOT wear a chamois when mountain biking. And I never wear one while bikepacking. So the idea of a little cushion from a gel saddle was attractive.
I read this article on Bikepacking.com where the author also used the SMC Sport Gel for bikepacking with no chamois. Although it was the male version of the saddle, I was intrigued enough to give it a go.
Soft But Supportive
I’m not usually a huge proponent of gel saddles. I just see way too many women, new to the sport, who opt for a big cushy saddle only to suffer even more.
The problem with soft saddles is that they don’t provide enough support. It seems like the cushion will be great, but instead your weight sinks down into the saddle causing saddle sores and chafing.
Fortunately, the Ergon SMC Sport Gel isn’t that kind of saddle. Yes, it has gel but I wouldn’t describe it as SOFT. In fact, it’s quite firm and supportive–with just a little give.
Fantastic On Long Rides
Thus far, I’ve used the Ergon SMC Sport Gel on countless lunchtime rides, a half dozen long days, and two bikepacking trips. The longer the ride, the more I like it!
I’ve had zero saddle sores, zero chafing, and *almost* no discomfort even at the end of Day 2 of bikepacking. While there’s absolutely no reason not to use this saddle for shorter mountain bike rides, it’s women who plan to ride long hours that I think will really appreciate it.
Compared to most saddles, the Ergon SMC Sport Gel has a fairly flat profile. This makes it ideal for riders in a more upright riding position (i.e. your position on long rides).
This flat rear was ideal for supporting my weight on my sitbones. I was able to sit fully back onto the rear of the saddle and keep my weight on my sitbones rather than my soft tissue.
Like any saddle, it did take a bit of adjustment to get the right position. Initially I had my saddle a little too far backward and tilted downward and I was sliding forward onto the nose.
By ride number two, I had things dialed in. But it was a good reminder for y’all. If the saddle isn’t immediately comfortable, experiment with it’s position–or get a professional bike fit!
Large Soft Tissue Cut Out
Like the vast majority of the women’s saddles, the Ergon Women’s SMC Sport Gel has a large front cut out. I found that this did a good job of relieving soft tissue pressure at the times where I need to lean forward on the saddle–on steep climbs, for example.
When it comes to bike components, more expensive usually equals better performance. But that’s not the case when it comes with to Ergon saddles.
They’re super affordable (the Ergon SMC Sport Gel) is under $100 and provides better comfort than other saddles I’ve tested that cost 2 or 3 times as much.
Microfiber Cover Is Decent
The saddle has a microfiber cover which, unlike some, is easy to wipe clean. I’ve ridden in more than my fair share of muddy conditions this spring, and the saddle still looks mostly new. The only minor issue are the small perforations in the rear of the saddle, where I found dirt liked to hang out.
The other thing worth noting is that the cover and stitching aren’t quite as nice as higher end leather saddles. In terms of construction, it comes nowhere near a Brooks saddle, for example.
Who I Wouldn’t Recommend It For
While I really enjoyed the gel version of the saddle, if you wear a chamois or like a really firm saddle, then you will be better off with the non-gel version of the saddle.
Additionally, the flat rear of the saddle makes it best suited for folks who are sitting in a fairly upright position. I wouldn’t put this on a road bike, and I might think twice about it if I was planning to race cross-country.
Bottom-Line: Fantastic Saddle For Long Rides And For Those Who Want A Little Extra Cushion
If you are wanting to increase your saddle time, or maybe even want to try ditching a chamois, I’d recommend the Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women’s saddle. It’s comfortable without being overly cushy, and does a great job of supporting your weight.
I appreciated that the saddle came in two different widths so I could choose the one that best fit me. (That said, three widths might be even better).
Given how well the saddle performs, it’s shocking just how affordable it is. At under $100, you don’t have much to lose giving this one a try.
More Help Getting A Comfy Bum
About The Reviewer
Kristen Bonkoski is the founder and owner of Femme Cyclist.
An avid cyclist for a few decades now, she took to cycling during her late teen years — a time when she needed something to help boost her self-esteem and confidence.
Mission accomplished, the sport has become an important part of her life. Kristen’s favorite disciplines are mountain biking and bike commuting, although you can also find her cranking out a century on her road bike and touring with her husband and son. If it has to do with two wheels, she enjoys doing it.
Kristen is a certified USA Cycling coach, and she runs Rascal Rides, a website about biking with kids.