Bikepacking & Ergonomics: Test ride with Ergon Allroad Saddle, CF Seatpost, BT Gravel Handlebar Tape & Orthocell Pads

Bikepacking & Ergonomie: Testfahrt mit Ergon Allroad Sattel, CF Sattelstütze, BT Gravel Lenkerband & Orthocell Pads

Notice:

This is advertising as RTI Sports & Ergon provided me with the products reviewed here and allowed me to ride them. Thanks for that!

Ergon you certainly know and I have actually “always” used Ergon products on the touring bike. They are known to me mainly by their handlebar grips and touring saddle.

A few months ago, I was contacted by RTI Sports, who are responsible for the distribution of Ergon products and are also physically located directly at Ergon in Koblenz. Speaking of local: design and development at Ergon takes place in this country and also many Ergon suppliers are located here.

Anyway, so I got the opportunity to test the new Ergon CF Allroad Carbon seatpost, the Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp saddle, the Ergon BT Gravel handlebar tape and the Ergon Orthocell handlebar pads.

This fit quite well, since I was anyway in preparation for the Bohemian Border Bash Race and therefore also prepared my bike accordingly. In the meantime, I have ridden the saddle and seatpost 700 km and the handlebar tape 300 km. A good distance for a first impression, which I would like to share with you.

 

Ergon Seatpost CF Allroad Pro Carbon

You may remember my complaints in Kyrgyzstan, where I had significant problems with the power transmission. At that time I thought it was an undersupply of the body. But what also came into question was an overload of the muscles and nerves in the pelvic area, which then accordingly provided for the power interruptions.

And a suspension seat post can perhaps provide the decisive relief. It protects the back and thus also reduces irritation of the muscles and tendons.

Suspension seatposts are not new, but they very often have a larger spring element below the saddle seat. Such as, for example, the Suntour or Cane Creek. And they are respectively heavier.

The CF Allroad Carbon Seatpost // @Ergonbike.com

With the CF Allroad Pro Carbon, Ergon takes a different approach and relies entirely on carbon and the flexibility of two carbon leaf springs. Canyon fans will probably feel reminded of the Canyon S15 VCLS 2.0 CF seatpost, but the head of the Ergon looks a little different (right?), the weight is different, the weight allowance is also different and the price as well.

Rough ground and gravel are ironed smooth by the two VCLS leaf springs made of carbon fiber composite, while the saddle tilt always remains unchanged by the parallel displacement of the two leaf springs and the floating flip head.

The spring travel is “only” 20mm, but you absolutely notice. I have now ridden the CF Allroad 700 km and am a fan of this very pleasant relief in the back. The flex is so noticeable that I thought at the beginning, my rear wheel loses air.

Off-road with the CF Allroad

The two bendable VCLS leaf springs are made from the highest quality carbon fiber composites. VCLS stands for “Vertical Comfort Lateral Stiffness” (vertically damping, laterally torsionally stiff). (…) This construction excellently reduces shocks and effectively absorbs vibrations. This means that your muscles are not subjected to unnecessary additional stress and you remain more efficient for longer.

In addition, it is of course also quite light with around 240g and has a length of 345mm. The price is similar to the weight: 250 euros.

The Flip Head

Also worth noting is the Flip Head. This takes the saddle, is rotatable and thus offers a wide adjustment range. The Flip Head has screws only on one side and the saddle frame is clamped by these. This is very easy to do. The tilt of the saddle is done by moving the leaf springs. If these are finally adjusted or shifted and thus the saddle tilt is correct, both leaf springs are fixed or screwed by means of an Allen screw at the end of the springs. This is well described in the instruction manual. Then only the fine adjustment of the saddle position remains. In addition to the classic flip head for round saddle frames with a diameter of 7mm, Ergon also offers a flip head for oval carbon frames.

The CF Allroad on the Fargo

It is important that plenty of carbon paste is used during assembly. There you should get some more supplies, although a small pack is included. This paste is applied between the blades and outside around the post before it is installed.

I actually wanted to use the seatpost in the Bohemian Border Bash Race. For this it should withstand me, a light saddle bag (Restrap) and the appropriate track conditions in Bohemia.

However, Ergon had concerns there:

The CF Allroad seatpost can only be used for ASTM Level 1 and 2 conditions. This means unpaved roads, paths or trails with moderate slopes and jumps up to a maximum of 15 cm.

I then searched for explanations for ASTM and found a good description at BMC:

 

LEVEL 1

This is a set of conditions for the operation of a bicycle on a regular paved surface where the tires are intended to maintain ground contact.

 

LEVEL 2

This is a set of conditions for the operation of a bicycle that includes Condition 1 as well as unpaved and gravel roads and trails with moderate grades. In this set of conditions, contact with irregular terrain and loss of tire contact with the ground may occur. Drops are intended to be limited to 15cm (6″) or less.

 

LEVEL 3

This is a set of conditions for operation of a bicycle that includes Condition 1 and Condition 2 as well as rough trails, rough unpaved roads, and rough terrain and unimproved trails that require technical skills. Jumps and drops are intended to be less than 61cm (24″).

(There are two more levels)

Bikepacking with the Ergon CF Allroad

At first glance, I would claim that a seatpost level 3 should go along. However, Level 2 sounds also already sufficient and should be enough for most of us. When asked, Ergon or RTI Sports confirmed to me that the CF Allroad is approved up to a load of 100kg.

That would actually fit pretty well, even with saddle bag. However, often such bags on carbon seatposts are not actually approved. Often behind this is the concern of manufacturers that friction and leverage effects of the straps and bag itself when riding off-road can then damage the carbon structure. But there are also saddlebags that are approved for carbon seatposts. Or where it is not explicitly excluded, such as my Restrap Race Saddle Bag. This I would ride in any case without worry here. With my Revelate Spinelock or the Ortlieb Saddlebag I would think again. Ideal would be of course such a support, which can also saddlebags from.

You notice it already: I like the CF Allroad Pro Carbon very much and I’m riding around with it for now. If I start again in a Bikepacking adventure that requires more luggage on the saddle, I exchange them possibly. Or I just risk it … Another note: The CF Allroad can be installed about +5mm higher than a rigid post, because it yields under load accordingly. And who has like me after a bike fitting exact data on the seating position, can then simply add the 5mm in height. I sit perfectly in any case.

I have the CF Allroad without set-back. But there are also with set-back. Both have a diameter of 27.2mm and a minimum and maximum insertion depth of 110mm/210mm.

Another note from my practice: The CF Allroad should be clamped with a maximum tension of 5 NM. In my Bombtrack this tension is sufficient to hold the seatpost well. On my Fargo, it always slips back in at only 5 NM. So this may vary from bike to bike. I have now tightened them “handwarm” and think it is now rather 6-7 NM. With carbon you should better use a wrench with torque, because if the tension is too high, the carbon can be damaged. The torque wrench I also have at home in the workshop. On the road is then rather feeling.

Ergon CF Allroad seatpost & SR Allroad saddle

 

Ergon Saddle SR Allroad Core Comp Men

The Ergon SR Allroad Core Comp I have already seen at the Silk Road Mountain Race in use and what I have heard so far – including from Jonas Deichmann – it convinces with a narrow shape (good for the distance to the legs) and good cushioning, thanks to three-part construction, from saddle shell (nylon or carbon composite), ergonomic saddle core (Ergon Core HD) and surface of orthopedic AirCell foam.

The SR Allroad Saddle

The SR Allroad is built specifically for men, has a length of 262mm and a width of 139mm (S/M) or 152mm (M/L) depending on the size. And most importantly, a relief channel and it works pretty well.

When cycling, most of your body weight rests on the small saddle area. If the weight is not evenly shifted to the sit bones, pressure is created in the extremely sensitive perineal and genital area – unpleasant discomfort is the result. A relief channel helps, but is not the only important factor.

The relief channel on the SR Allroad / @Ergonbike.com

The saddle was comfortable from the first kilometer. And above all: I didn’t notice it any further. And that’s high praise. It reacts quite flexibly to my changed body posture when I rode in the upper or lower handlebars, or in the aerobar. The reason for this, according to Ergon, is the combination of AirCell foam, Core HD and BASF Infinergy® material:

If the saddle pressure subsides, the Ergon CORE HD®, which consists of thousands of foam particles, returns to its original shape in a flash – even under continuous load.

The suspension and damping is noticeable. I first rode the saddle without suspension seatpost and found there already the good seat bone support and the shorter nose very comfortable. Together with the CF Allroad seatpost is already almost sofa quality.

Joking aside: This combination makes the long haul much more bearable and especially painless. But I also find it important that a bike fitting can help a lot here to find the right saddle position and inclination. I have when mounting my fitting values then accordingly also transferred to the saddle and seatpost. And so it fit from the start.

Overall, there are two models of SR Allroad:

  • I have the SR Allroad Core Comp Men with CroMo frame and nylon seat shell. The costs 140 euros (there are already in the trade for less) and weighs 275g in my size according to Ergon (M/L).

 

  • The second model is the SR Allroad Core Pro Men, which has a carbon seat shell and a titanium frame. It costs 160 euros and weighs 255g in M/L size according to Ergon.

The focus here is clearly on saddles for men, but Ergon has in its SR series also specially made for women saddles, which are then specifically oriented to the female conditions and pelvic shapes.

In use on the Fargo

I am in any case very curious how long the saddle holds. By that I don’t mean break or tear, but how long it can maintain this high level of comfort. I plan anyway a podcast with Ergon and will ask how long such a saddle actually lasts.

 

Ergon handlebar tape BT Gravel & Orthocell Pad Set

My first impression of the handlebar tape: Thick. 3.5mm in the BT Gravel version and 2.5mm in the BT Allroad function. This is already neat damping, which everyone will learn to appreciate who is much and especially long on rough ground. Since the hands need namely every relief that there is.

The good thick one! / @Ergonbike.com

With 2,300mm it is also long enough for handlebars with a lot of flare, but weighs with 150g already quite a lot. In return, however, there is decent damping and pressure distribution.

A low, stretched seating position, the saddle rise, relatively hard cockpits, high punctual pressure on the sensitive nerves of hand and wrist – this often leads to problems when graveling. Ergon handlebar straps reduce hand discomfort and nerve irritation. Their adapted thickness and a special material construction with AirCell Foam dampen vibrations noticeably and distribute the pressure on the hands better.

I still have to emphasize the slip resistance of the handlebar tape. Whether with or without gloves: it offers decent security and does not tend to get dirty and then become slippery. Very pleasant. The surface structure of the handlebar tape offers – depending on the direction in which wound – more or less grip. And that is also very good.

The BT Gravel in use

The price is 40 euros, which is ok for a high-quality handlebar tape. Only the weight bothers me a bit.

In addition to the already quite thick BT Gravel handlebar tape, Ergon offers the 2.5mm thick OrthoCell pads. In essence, this is once again extra damping layer, which is glued to the upper and lower handlebars. So that they stick properly, you should clean the handlebars beforehand with alcohol or turpentine. The handlebar tape is then wrapped over these pads.

The OrthoCell pads / @Ergonbike.com

The OrthoCell® high-end foam used surpasses all alternatives made of gel (…) with its (…) material properties. Compared to gel, OrthoCell® is more durable, has significantly better damping and pressure distribution properties, and is also lighter.

I usually use old handlebar tape for extra damping like this, but the pads have the advantage of distributing the damping more evenly and are better pre-shaped for the handlebar sections. Together with the 3.5mm handlebar tape is the handlebar then already but quite thick. I would combine the pads rather with thinner tapes, also because they can be used several times.

Thickness and profile BT Gravel

Another major advantage of OrthoCell® pads is the ideal distribution of pressure. When cycling, the hands support a large part of the upper body weight on the handlebars. There is constantly high pressure on a small area, and the nerve pathways of the hands can become irritated as a result. OrthoCell® pads reduce this risk by distributing the pressure over as wide an area as possible in any gripping position.

The price is 30 euros, which is quite a lot. On the other hand, they are not really heavy at 30g.

Good grip, good cushioning

 

So you see…

When it comes to ergonomics and a little more comfort on hill and dale and long distance, then it is worth a look at Ergon. Especially even if you just have problems with your saddle, the seating position or the hands. Also take a look at the saddle finder, which already gives you a first aid in the selection. A similar tool is also available for grips.

And if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

 

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