Review: SQlab Saddle 611 Active Race - Custom Fit Saddles
March 2nd, 2016
March 2nd, 2016
Anna is a jack-of-all-bikes, and has been riding and racing in a myriad of genres for over seven years; from World Cup level cross-country, to grass roots coaching kids on the road.
The Best Belt-Drive and Internally-Geared Bikes for 2018
What is a Women-Specific Bike?
Best 2018 Budget Mountain Bikes for Under £1,000
Bespoked - The UK's Handmade Bicycle Show announces talks
Did you know we have a marketplace too?
We've got a new, dedicated Marketplace, with no hidden fees or commission.Find your next bike
We wouldn't buy a bike that's too big for us, and we wouldn't buy a pair of lycra shorts that are too small either, so why would you settle for whatever saddle you get given on your new bike? Some of us are lucky enough to have a standard sized booty, but if you're experiencing discomfort on your saddle, the likelihood is that it doesn't fit you, and no amount of gel or cushion will fix it.
Pretty much every saddle brand on the planet offers each saddle model in a variation of sizes these days, and every brand has a different way of sizing you up and prescribing you the perfect perch. SQlabs are no different in this respect; they use a special seat that perforates a measuring guide to size up your pelvis width, but what is unique to them is the added active-saddle technology. On test here is the Saddle 611 Active Race with SQlab's active system. The Saddle 611 is designed for both road and mountain biking with a racy dynamic position. A slight recess in the centre and a step-up at the front offers relief for sensitive areas, and a slim form at the front creates more leg space and less chaffing on the inside of the legs.
The Saddle 611 was chosen for me according to my pelvis width and style of riding. SQlab says that fit is all in the pelvis size and shape, not buttocks. They believe that supporting your pelvis is the best way to offer comfort and performance. As an added measure of comfort, SQlab adds a rubber buffer between the saddle and the rails. This allows the saddle to rock slightly from side to side as you pedal, thus relieving pressure from the sit bones as you make every stroke. The saddle also comes with a choice of buffers depending on your weight and personal preference.
I thought I'd notice the rocking, but I didn't notice it all, which is a good thing. It was sturdy yet forgiving. On long road roads the active system noticeably reduced pressure on the sit bones when I made strong driving pedal strokes. On mountain bike rides, the active system offered a fair amount of vibration damping over rough terrain, even when tested on my carbon race machine with integrated seat post (a showy frame feature that usually really bites you in the butt!). Although I am a big fan of the active system, I wasn't a massive fan of saddle itself. It was quite firm in terms of padding, which meant that I felt every shape shift in the saddle, and I tend to move around a lot on the bike. This of course is personal preference, and perhaps a different model would have been better suited to my riding. The Race 611 is not the prettiest saddle either with orange stitching and an unusually long nose, but again, there are other models available from SQlabs, ranging from sleek, black stealth full-carbon road saddles to bright yellow and blue funky enduro saddles. All in all, although the Race 611 didn't steal my heart, the active system did, and I thoroughly recommend trying it out if you have a firm ride or often feel a build-up of pressure on your sit bones.