Bel-Air RLTi-Alloy RailsThe Bel-Air line of saddles is known for its all-around comfort and functionality. For nearly a decade,The Bel-Air has been SDGs most popular saddle. New comfort enhancements and an updated profile makesThe latest generation Bel-Air RL more comfortableThan ever. 273mm x 140mm Approx. 276 grams
Strengths: Good shape. Feels firm at first but is just right after break in. Nose feels well cushioned if you want to put your weight forward when climbing. Can be found for good prices.
Weaknesses: Wish more of them came with the perforated upper material (ie on the snow camo model). I find the non-perforated cover is too tacky when wet, so if your shorts are wet/sweaty on a hot and humid day, they don't glide over the material as well, there is some stiction that leads to more chafing than necessary. I guess my preference is a saddle that is pretty slippery with just a little traction on the sides.
I have one of the older models (kevlar goes all the way to the front) and one of the newer models (kevlar stops 2 inches before the nose). The older models are thicker, softer and plusher and feel more like a hammock (too much so for my taste). The new models while looking similar and having the same shape are considerably more supportive and this was the one that I felt was stiff at first, but broke in to become "just right."
Durability has been good for me with my two saddles used for about 5 seasons, my guess is the reason some people bend the rails is likely due to a poor seatpost design (one that does not hold the rails very well and puts too much stress on them). I weigh about 200 lbs ready to ride. I only recently damaged a saddle when I tried to climb a wet, root-covered hill and slid down backwards and the rear of the saddle was what stopped me when it backed into a tree. There was a pop and the rail is now loose where it goes in, although it did not bend and still does not creak a couple rides later. I guess I will put that saddle on a less-used bike and buy a new one (this time with TI rails) for my Tallboy.
Similar Products Used: WTB Pure (wider and softer, more hammocklike), WTB Speed (most similar of what I've tried, but feels stubbier and narrower like there is no where to shift your weight and less support for someone with wider bones), WTB Rocket (way too short and narrow for my liking), a few others I don't remember
Bike Setup: Thomson Elite and 2012 Truvativ Holzfeller posts, XC bikes
Date Reviewed: May 19, 2012
Strengths: very comfortable, affordable saddle. looks good with lots of colorful options
Weaknesses: Bent the rails after 2-3 rides off road. Cover began peeling away after about a half of season hard riding
This saddle can be found at very reasonable prices and in several different color schemes. I was psyched to grab one but was disappointed one of the rails bent significantly after just a few off road rides. I stuck it out for about a year but the bent rail creaked on every ride. I'm a heavy rider and hit some pretty rough trails, but overall I have only ever bent one other saddle. I was also disappointed the cover peeling off several months ago. Lots of cheaper products have held up better. To be fair the saddle was always very comfortable.
Bike Setup: '09 TREK Remedy 9, Van 36, PCC AMP seatpost, Hope Pro2 hubs, DT Swiss hoops with Maxxis High Rollers, SRAM drivetrain.
a Weekend Warrior
Date Reviewed: January 16, 2009
came stock on my GT idrive. this is a great saddle. very comfortable. can ride for hours without getting sore. i purchased a wtb rocket and its not nearly as comfortable...for me anyway. the rocket is a little smaller and just doesn't fit me right. i'm gonna get another one of these for my spec enduro sx...the enduro saddle is flat and not comfortable for longer rides.
a Cross Country Rider
from Tasmania, Australia
Date Reviewed: August 16, 2008
Strengths: Comfortable, good looking, decent rails, good cover (water and tear resistant, easy to clean). Good for moderate Xc racing, or trail riding.
Weaknesses: Too heavy for hardcore XC
Great seat for riding the trails and going on long rides. Good and comfortabe, but without all of the fat cuchioning that you see on some saddles. Looks good. I wouldnt have this saddle it I was looking to do Hardcore XC Racing, But for just cruising the trails and entry level XC its pretty good. Easy to clean and damage resistent. All together, a good buy.
a Weekend Warrior
from Birmingham, UK
Date Reviewed: December 26, 2006
Strengths: all day comfort, without all the lardy padding, light, alot of styling choise.
Weaknesses: materials differ depending on what colour option you have.
no womens version
i settled on this saddle after working my way through several other brands, i personally find it comfy, it offers a good range of positions, it doesnt snag your shorts easily, its light (Although not XC light, but XC light doesnt = all day comfort)
my only issues you may have are materials, some colour options (mainly fury models, zebra, tiger stripes etc) soak up water like a sponge, whereas slicker models (cammo, cork, cow print etc) are pretty much water proof - bare this in mind when considering which to buy.
i personally have a limited edition blue cammo on giant trance trail bike, and a zebra stripe finish on a kinesis maxlight hardtail.
Bike Setup: i have these saddles on my xc bike and my trail bike
Date Reviewed: December 10, 2006
Strengths: looks cool, not to hard
Weaknesses: rails on bottom are weak
this seat sucks i got home with my new bike rode for 15 minites the next day it was bent and i dident even wipe out and im not fat ether im 120 pounds so i had to ride with a broken seat for a month entel i had enuf money to get a new one.if i were you i wouldent buy this seat its a waste of money.
Bike Setup: Ellsworth Epiphany, Fox Talas 130, Mavic XL wheels, XO shifters, XO rear mech, FSA carbon cranks, Thompson x4 stem, Thompson seat post, FSA carbon bars, Hope M4 with floating disks and braided hoses, Crank Bro' Candy SL pedals, Panaracer fire XC's
from Littleton, CO, USA
Date Reviewed: August 14, 2006
Strengths: Fit and finish are second to none - light and strong - tough as nails, cased a double and left no marks - nose and sideguards work as designed - not sure what others were talking about but this is a comfortable seat!
Weaknesses: After about sixty total hours of hard DH, still looks brand new even after some brutal rock garden tumbling -nothing weak to report yet!
You want a top shelf seat, give this one a try. tons of flavors to choose from too. If you are a weight weenie, most models are offered in Ti. I have already ordered another saddle for my Mtn Cross/DS bike - these seats are tasty!
Not sure what seat the other fellas are talking about.
Similar Products Used: Marzocchi Karve (former favorite), Titec Beserker, Azonic Love Seat.
Bike Setup: SDG in pimpin' Tiger print, Giant DH Team with Swinger six-way, Super T Pro with DJ springs and direct mount stem, low pro mag pedals, Sram drivetrain, O.S. Big Earl bars with Dangerboy levers and ODI Rogue lock-ons, HFX-9's, Azonic Outlaws matched to Minion super tacky front and High Roller 3c back - Hell Yeah!
a Cross Country Rider
Date Reviewed: May 26, 2006
Weaknesses: Bad quality
My saddle (black/red) came with bike wich I've bought last week. On the first ride home from shop (about 30km) red paint wore out and coloured my pants :(, not funny, red ass... And the saddle now looks as bad as my pants.
Not to say that this saddle is not comfortable (I've ridden about 130km on it), on the same level with my previous WTB Speed V Race.
I'll give this saddle 1/5 because of poor quality.
Similar Products Used: WTB Rocket V; Bontrager Race Lux
Bike Setup: STP
a Weekend Warrior
from Manchester, CT
Date Reviewed: February 18, 2006
Strengths: comfy, light, super strong
Weaknesses: none at all
I needed a good saddle that was going to be light weight and durable. Those two are not a combination you find very often, especially in a saddle that's only $58. I bought it with some reservation. During the first few rides I was careful, not wanting to bend the rails (as I have on a few other saddles). Then the "accidents" started happening. I've smashed this saddle against rocks while bailing out; I've landed very short, and hurt myself bouncing off the saddle; I've ridden off plenty of little drops while remaining seated. Absolutely nothing has happened to the saddle. If it weren't for the lable becoming slightly flaked, you wouldn't know this saddle had a hard year's worth of riding on it.
a Cross Country Rider
from St. John's, Newfoundland, Canada
Date Reviewed: November 5, 2005
Strengths: Lightweight, comfortable, ti rails, "love channel"
Weaknesses: None yet
This is a great saddle. Although I have used it for a brief period, it is comfortable (still breaking it in so I think it will only get better). It is very lightweight which is nice for XC. I will write back with an update ina few months (well, at least after winter). First impression is very good.