A truly legendary brand in the realm of mountain bike saddles, SDG recently released an updated version of a classic model, the Bel-Air. The Bel-Air has seen many iterations in its life – you may remember it from the years it featured various animal patterns and prints. The updated Bel-Air has been trimmed down in size to meet current trends and bike geometry.It is ultra sleek in terms of its aesthetics and comes in a plethora of colors. Three tiers are available: steel ($59.99), lux-alloy (tested – $ 89.99), and carbon ($189.99) Read on for a full run down on SDG’s latest.
- Rail: Lux-Alloy
- Length: 260mm
- Width: 140mm
- Weight 235 g
- $ 89.99 USD
- Colors: Black, Purple, Orange, Red, Green, Tan, Turquoise
The Bel-Air features a fairly traditional outer shape, an inner relief channel (Deep Peri-Canal), and a wide nose for climbing comfort.
A side profile view shows the fairly scooped design, the lifted rear is aimed to provide power and support.
A textured rear panel adds some grip & durability, and aesthetically helps break up the visual of a fully smooth surface.
The saddle has free float comfort flex rail inserts, “allowing more forgiveness at the wings”. A stealthy cut out in the center of the saddle provides additional comfort and relief.
To cap off SDG’s tech, the Bel-Air has been designed with ‘ATMOS Shaping’ meaning the EVA foam is attached to the stiff and strong Nylon Glass base without the use of staples, bumpers or even glue.
On the Trail
The Bel-Air is a far cry from the many flat profiled saddles of today, and the scooped design may take some time to get accustomed to. After an adjustment in saddle angle following our first ride, we found the sweet spot of feeling well supported. We were fond of the comfort the foam thickness gave us, as we’ve found many modern saddles are ultra thin, thus very dense/hard. The Peri-Canal, provided needed pressure relief, helping keep body weight resting on the sit bones, rather than uncomfortable numbing areas.
Having the wide nose profile seemed to add support when leaning over the front on punchy climbs, but we always were able to slide back into position without getting hung up. The material covering the top of the seat made for a good blend between grip and slide factor, we don’t like the feeling of being locked into place, nor do we want to always be shifting around. SDG’s ATMOS shaping makes for a worry free spot to grab the bike, and reduces the likelihood of a rail popping out.
Speaking on sizing, the Bel-Air falls into a middle ground, the 140mm width felt a bit small for our body shape, perhaps 5mm extra might make the difference. As with grips and pedals, saddles are one of the few direct contact points to your bike, so personal preference and body shape play a large role. Overall comfort was good, yet at times, particularly after long climbs, we needed to stand up and/or re-adjust in order to give ourselves a break from pressure. A worthy note is we’ve yet to find a saddle that is 100% pressure free during a never ending climb, meaning we typically stand up off the seat for a break on all rides, regardless of our saddle’s make or model.
The Bel-Air is a great modern interpretation of its predecessors, bringing more comfort, lighter weight and a sleeker design. At $ 89.99 the saddle is well priced, particularly for its weight. If you’re looking to go into stealth mode, the all black option is subtle and clean, or if you’re looking to spruce up your ride, a ton of color options add to the Bel-Air’s highlights (Note that steel and carbon tiers only come in black). Aimed as an all around trail saddle, we’d say it’s definitely worth checking out the Bel-Air V3.
More at: SDG Components