SQLab Saddles – the Ergowave Advantage
Updated: May 2
If you want to be comfortable on your bike then one of the key components to get right is your saddle. There is plenty of science emerging that a poor choice of saddle causes poor blood flow to the genital region and excessive pressure on your perineum (the “saddle region” between your legs). In contrast, a well-designed ergonomic saddle can alleviate some of this pressure and permit better blood flow to, well you know, those areas you would like to still have working properly after you get off your bike!
Here’s where SQlab comes in. They are a German manufacturer of ergonomic saddles and offer a unique way of minimising pressure and maximising blood flow via saddle design. So what’s different about SQlab saddles?
SQlab unload the pelvis with a unique shape which they call “Ergowave” which you can see when viewed from the side. Effectively the nose of the saddle steps down approximately 1cm below the point at which your ischial tuberosities (“sit bones”) contact the saddle. It’s a unique and effective way of relieving pressure.
There is central dip or relief area which further unloads sensitive perineal structures.
The result is two-fold: you can rotate the pelvis forward for a better spinal posture (see our blog HERE about why this matters), and you weight-bear primarily on the tuberosities rather than the sensitive soft tissues (for more information see our blog HERE).
The images below (courtesy of SQlabs) demonstrate the change in pressure area using the Ergowave design.
On the left: traditional racing saddle: high pressure in the central perineum.
Second from left: gel padded saddle: less perineal pressure.
Second from right: cut-out saddle: higher pressure in the nerve and blood vessel region.
On the right: SQlab Ergowave saddle: minimal pressure in nerve & blood vessel region and minimal pressure central perineum.
As the images demonstrate, if you are getting excessive pressure on the genital region you might find the Egowave design can really alleviate the symptoms. Excessive pressure is defined as >15N/cm2 over a 1-5h hour period (higher pressure tends to result in soft tissue pain or formation of a pressure / saddle sore). This design is effective for both men and women despite obvious anatomical differences.
What are the signs of excessive pressure or a poorly fitting saddle? You might notice things like saddle sores, perineal pain, numbness (including genital numbness), and sexual dysfunction in both genders (impotence, poor lubrication, poor arousal, pain with intercourse).
Here is a synopsis of the options in the SQlab saddle range: note that the 611 and 612 saddles are the same shape, with the 611 saddles having a little more padding that is marginally softer.
There is also a SQlab 612R short nose race saddle that is otherwise similar in design to the 612 road saddle but has a shorter nose. It comes in at a very light 125gm (carbon rail).
Choosing which saddle is best for you will depend on size – how wide are your pelvic bones, and how aggressively positioned is your body and posture on the bike? For more information about this see our blog HERE. The 612 saddle is built for road racing primarily or shorter duration MTB events. For long distance work or MTB and other off-road pursuits like gravel riding, the 611 is likely your go to saddle in the SQlab range. At Cycle Physio I have a number of SQlab saddles (amongst other brands) for riders to trial during a bike fit should their current saddle be unsuitable.