Reviewed: SQlab 611 Race Ergonomic Saddle
SQlab is a German company that makes saddles, pedals, handlebars, insoles, and bar ends engineered around creating a proper, individualized ergonomic fit on the bike. When we buy shoes, for example, we take the time to find the right size to ensure a comfortable and bio-mechanically efficient ride. Well, why not do the same with our other contact points? After all, not everyone has the same seat bone or hip width, nor are they necessarily related. To that end, SQlabs offers saddles in different sizes and pedals with different spindle lengths. Now, let’s get to the 611 Race with TiTube alloy rails and stiff, yet comfy Marathon foam padding.
The 611 Race, like most of SQlab’s saddles, is available in four different sizes ranging in width from 12cm to 15cm with a 279mm length.
Our size 14 saddle came in at a respectable, though quite not horse jockey svelte, 275 grams. The 611 also comes in a sub 200 gram, carbon railed LTD version.
The TiTube alloy rails give the 611 a short profile, which, combined with the stiffness of the upper give it a stable, efficient feel, yet it can still be ridden all day — I rarely had hot spots or numbness. Notice, however, that there’s no crazy love-channel cutout or middle-less shape. The 611 relieves pressure on the perineum subtly and effectively. Too much or too soft of padding can actually get uncomfortable over time as the padding compresses and starts to put pressure on certain body parts with lots of fun slang nick-names.
For riders with spine and joint pain aggravated by cycling, there’s also the 611 Active which has an elastomer (exchangeable, with three different densities) creating a “dampened lateral tilt [that] allows it to follow the biomechanical movement of the pelvis on each pedal stroke. This results in a decrease of pressure on the sitbones and a mobilization of the spinal discs.”
I do, however, have a caveat about the shape. Recognizing that saddle shape is a rather personal choice, the higher rear didn’t quite work for me and left me feeling like I was always sliding forward. Without getting too intimate about my saddle region, my natural tendency is to ride a slightly positive saddle position (nose higher than wings), and I’ve worked myself down to a neutral position. Therefore, saddle shapes with taller, scooping wings haven’t been my favorite. WTB’s Rocket V, for example, didn’t work as well for me as some of the their other models. At first I thought the 14cm 611 might be too wide, so I tried it on my MTB and my commuter, which have more upright positions, but I still found myself re-positioning. I compared it to other saddles I like and the dimensions were pretty identical. I moved it forward, back, tilted it, same thing. The 611 was close, real close, but not quite perfect, at least for me.