Review: SDG Duster Saddle
July 26th, 2012
By Olly Forster
Saddles are more than just an amalgamation of plastic, rubber and metal, but an important contact point between you and your bike; namely for your bum! But a saddle is also a secondary point of directional contact as well. When things start pointing down and your saddle is out of the way, whether you know your doing it or not, your using the saddle for additional help pointing your bike where you want it using your thighs and hips. Slightly off subject there, but the point I’m making is a good saddle is one less thing to worry about while out riding. SDG have always made stunning saddles, but as soon as the Duster popped it’s head up last late last year, we just had to get one in for a closer look!
Words: Olly Forster | Photos: Olly Forster & Nathan Carvell
Why can’t stuff look as good as it performs? Some brands and indeed some consumers couldn’t care less what their bikes and parts look like, but I’m a firm believer in doing a job properly, and that means function and form being and one and the same. The Duster saddle is by far one of the nicest out there in the looks department, but how does it fair on the trails?
Available in some stunning colour-ways, the Duster’s black and red option was virtually made for our current long term DH bikes and it had to go on, but isn’t this an XC / Trail specific saddle? It is, but with a long week in the Alps that would involve riding some distances between lifts and trails, I wanted a saddle with comfort and maneuverability at its heart! With a length measuring in at 285mm and 140mm at it’s widest, the Duster lets you slip on and off with comparable ease making it ideal for what I had in mind.
Utilizing what SDG refer to as the “Peri-Canal” – basically a recessed channel in the centre of the saddle. They’ve designed it to both enable fore and aft movement without causing any undue pressure in the perineum region. Good to know they’re thinking about your junk and your riding together! The sweet looking graphics are embossed into a one piece microfiber cover and are very in keeping with the rest of the saddle’s high quality feel.
The I-Beam’s mono rail is integrated into what SDG call their “Flex Cavity beam” which essentially involves suspending the I-Beam rail for added comfort and shock absorption by having it taper off like a wishbone at the end. It’s pretty neat and did a good job of keeping my delicate behind reasonably pain free sat down on the long rides in DH kit between trail in the Alps. The attention to detail is pretty eye catching, even on the underside of the saddle.
The Duster’s Flat and squared off nose increases the ease of movement to the front of the saddle and prevents any snagging of overly baggy or ill-fitting shorts. The construction techniques and materials used help to keep the weight low without sacrificing strength for real world environments where saddles do get a beating and can fail. SDG quote the weight at 230g and they are bang on – it is! A broken saddle coupled with a bruised body and ego are a one way ticket to a shitty day…
The Duster also comes equipped with a Topeak “Quick Click” bag mount, should you want it and if you like a ‘fanny bag’ on your bike. This represents a good feature for the XC and CX warrior, although removing it was the first thing I did. The photo below also gives some clues as to the construction quality SDG have poured into this saddle.
After a few months pottering here there and everywhere on the Duster, it’s certainly done more than complete a good looking bike build. The Duster has certainly lived up to the expectations we had based on previous experiences with SDG saddles and one I hope continues. It’s light weight design favors long distance and aggressive riding, but don’t let it’s ‘trail’ pedigree put you off a capable gravity saddle. We all need somewhere comfy to rest our behinds at some point on a long day riding, especially if your not wearing some padded up spandex shorts under your riding kit.
Although my rear did start to burn after a few days traversing trails in the alps, this was in part down to me not packing any said spandex shorts, but in saying that, the Duster certainly proved better than a more specific DH saddle like the ‘I-Fly C’ or ‘Storm’, which without padded shorts on will slice you in two over long ‘unprotected’ rides. Getting on, off and moving around the Duster proved not to be an issue and any issues with maneuverability didn’t materialize.
With a price tag of around £80 for the I-Beam option, the Duster isn’t the cheapest out there, but together with the I-Beam post represent the only viable and weight conscious alternative to the traditional rail saddle. A railed version is also available in the same colours at a cheaper £70 with Ti/Alloy rails. All in all, the price reflects the quality and is pretty much on a par with other saddles of this quality.
So, to sum the Duster up, it’s one of the best looking saddles available this year, available in several sweet colours (we should’ve gone for the Cyan and Black in hindsight – FJ colours!) to suit all tastes. It’s also comfy, ready for abuse, manufactured to a high standard and built using quality and well chosen materials. It also oozes something rather special and has certainly made more than a few fellow riders come in for a closer look. Stylish, tough and typically SDG, the Duster is one saddle you need to check out!
Available in both railed and I-Beam variants and in colour-ways that include: Cyan Blue/Black, Red/Black, Bright Green/Black, Bright Green/White, Black/Black and White/Grey. Available from finer dealer around the world and exclusively distributed in the UK by the fine folks at Silverfish UK. For more on SDG, hit the logo below and check their range out!