With a winning saddle in your range it’s really easy for a redesign to fall flat, but the SDG Bel-Air 3.0 is a definite step up, and deserves top marks.
Editor’s Choice 2020
Last year the SDG Bel Air 2.0 made it into Editor’s Choice and won our saddle test. 12 months later and it’s the new improved version that’s usurped the throne. The changes are subtle, and amount to a refined shape and sleek new manufacturing technique that hides all of the construction to create a seamless form. SDG has widened the nose, added height at the tail and made the overall length shorter. What it hasn’t changed is the superb comfort and excellent durability.
The new SDG Bel-Air 3.0 still retains the original DNA but it has a wider nose, a bit more height at the rear and is slightly shorter overall. The Bel-Air has been around for donkey’s years, but with each iteration it seems to get better and better. The reboot is lightweight, comfortable and looks great – a classic trail saddle and a worthy winner.
SDG’s Bel-Air 2.0 was last year’s test winner and for good reason; it had the best shape and most support, making it the perfect trail saddle. But SDG is not sitting on its laurels, and for 2020 has posted an update – the Bel-Air 3.0. There are two big changes – it has a slightly refined shape and a new construction.
Compared to the Ergon SM Enduro Comp, it’s marginally narrower across the nose, but when you rotate forward for a steep climb there’s a deep cut out down the centre to reduce perineum pressure. The saddle feels solid when seated climbing, but with the rails being suspended slightly on the base, there’s plenty of flex for taking the sting out of those bigger impacts on the rough, pedally sections. The rails are a new Lux Alloy, which is lighter and around 15 per cent stronger than titanium-alloy.
SDG has switched to an Atmos sealed construction, which is basically similar to that pioneered by Fabric. There are no exposed seams, no glue or staples showing or rough edges – this saddle just looks incredibly sleek and polished. SDG has also ditched the PU foam used in the Bel-Air 2.0 for a more durable injection moulded EVA. The old stuff used to compress a little over time, but our test sample feels much more supportive. On the back is a sonic-welded rear bumper, which stops wear and doesn’t collect mud like a Kevlar strip.
We thought cutting away material would make the SDG Bel-Air 3.0 feel flimsy, but it’s still a substantial seat. The WTB and Ergon both feel slightly plusher, but there’s still loads of comfort and support in this saddle. Where the Bel-Air 3.0 real shines though, is in the sleek construction and the fact that it’s dead easy to keep clean, making it the perfect UK perch.