The New SDG Bel-Air
The year was 1995. The Digital Versatile Disc (DVD) was invented, Ebay had just launched, Coolio’s “Gangsta’s Paradise” topped the Billboard Charts and Mötley Crüe rocker Tommy Lee married Baywatch star Pamela Anderson. In addition, SDG’s new Bel-Air saddle was taking the industry by storm as the premier MTB saddle of choice.
Chances are, if you’ve ridden a mountain bike in the past 25 years, you probably perched yourself on top of an SDG saddle. Even more likely, that saddle has been a Bel-Air model or one of its offspring. SDG Components started in a garage in Southern California back in 1993 with their Comp Ti saddle (the first premium Kevlar covered MTB saddle) and by 1995, they added the Bel-Air to the lineup – which utilized the same base as the Comp. It quickly gained popularity as the “go to” saddle of its era. Since then, SDG Components has sold in excess of one million Bel-Air saddles in various forms and iterations, including the Bel-Air SL – the first I-Beam version. While many popular trends and advanced products have come and gone since 1995, the timeless Bel-Air saddle has remained in the game.
Although the name and brand has grown since the days of bending titanium rails and stitching fabrics in a garage, the legacy continues for the Bel-Air with the introduction of the new Bel-Air V3 saddle. The new V3 sees some much needed enhancements that turns the old skool comfort favorite into a contemporary saddle for riders that never saw a metal flake SDG or remember lusting after wild animal prints and crushed velvets from decades ago.
SDG has tooled a significant amount of saddle models over the years. And surely, as saddle preferences and overall shapes vary, not all saddles are created equal. In fact, some saddles are designed to be firm and stiff for ultimate power transfers, extremely light or even minimalistic, allowing a rider to move freely on the saddle or even slide off the back end on steep descents. So admittedly, some SDG saddles weren’t overly comfortable, but they were built to serve a function and an intended use. Unlike some of the I-Beam race seats, the Bel-Air has always been a comfort-focused saddle. While the foam shape has slightly morphed over the years, the same base has remained.
For 2020, SDG’s Bel-Air V3 will continue in the tradition of the iconic shape, with a slight rear rise profile, on a proven 140mm platform. The saddle also takes advantage of new materials and manufacturing techniques to further enhance the performance, overall aesthetics and most importantly, bringing the time tested comfort tradition along for the ride.
What Has Changed Then?
Shorter and Slimmed Down Profile: Seeing as the Bel-Air and Bel-Air 2.0 continued to be popular sellers in the SDG line, they were a bit outdated and far too bulky. And so the overhaul started nearly 19 months ago. SDG aimed to incorporate the same overall top profile and optimal riding area for the widest range of riders and a wide range of disciplines. As seat tube angles have evolved, so have saddles and the Bel-Air V3 is designed with modern bikes in mind. The new saddle moves to a shorter, padded nose and a reduced overall length (260mm) to match current bike trends. The shoulders of the V3 are also trimmed up, providing a sleeker overall appearance, without compromising comfort.
“I’ve ridden SDG saddles and almost every Bel-Air model since the early 2000’s. The new V3 is hugely versatile. I now run it across the board, including my slalom bike, trail bike, long travel and ebike.” – Kyle Strait
Enhanced Comfort Features: The SDG Bel-Air V3 keeps a slight rear rise and lowered profile design. This helps rotate the pelvis forward and provide extra support, comfort and power from a seated position. The Hidden Undercut Relief has also been added. It is a strategically placed cutout throughout the bottom of the saddle, relieving perennial pressure in a way its predecessor did not.
With the enhanced base, SDG integrated their reverse Free Float Rail Inserts to allow for more forgiving wings. To maximize power transfer and improve longevity, SDG constructed the new Bel-Air V3 with a long glass fiber reinforced Nylon material, with a new Base Bridge, providing unparalleled strength and stiffness where needed.
Sitting above the cutout is the newest type of EVA Foam technology available – the original Bel-Air used a PU material. The Injection Molded EVA offers optimal density, saves precious grams and extends all day comfort. Unlike mass produced EVA foam, which is stamped off flat sheets and glued onto saddle bases, SDG’s new injection process allows for a lower profile saddle that still offers support and comfort while also increasing the saddle’s lifespan.
Modernized Construction & Aesthetics: To address the finished quality of the new Bel-Air V3, SDG uses Atmos Shaping which eliminates the need for bumpers, staples or glue and leaves a clean seamless transition into the base. With this vacuum sealing process, Kevlar and Cordura side panels were no longer necessary as SDG is now able to Sonic Weld protective edges. By heat-fusing materials together, the Bel-Air V3 has increased durability and reduced friction points that could irritate riders. On top of that, it’s definitely more visually appealing and the injected, colored bases can complement any new build.
Also new for the Bel-Air V3 are Lux-Alloy rails. These heat treated composite rails are nearly 15% stronger than standard Ti-Alloy (in push and fatigue testing) and the weight is only slightly heavier, but at a more affordable price.
The SDG Components Bel-Air V3 is set to continue the tradition with enhanced comfort and performance features, while offering more color offerings than a bag of Skittles. The SDG Bel-Air V3 extends premium craftsmanship across the full lineup and hits several price points thanks to several rail material options. Stay tuned for new limited art editions, collabs and other wild designs coming soon.
“I’m proud of the new Bel-Air V3. Understanding our roots, it was important for us to keep the heritage of the Bel-Air alive. My team and I worked tirelessly to further enhance and I strongly believe that the new Bel-Air V3 will continue to keep riders satisfied in the saddle for another decade.” – Tyler Anspach (SDG Owner)
Pricing and Models:
- Matte UD Finish Carbon Rail – $189.99/€189.99 (181g)
- Matte Black Lux-Alloy Rails – $89.99/€89.99 (236g)
- Fuel Model – Lux-Alloy Rails with iridescent dipped and coated treatment with custom painted base and printed graphics – $109.99/€109.99
- Black Steel Rails – $59.99/€59.99 (318g)
- 260mm x 140mm
- Black, Red, Turquoise, Orange, Neon Green, Purple, Tan, Fuel
Visit SDG for more details: www.sdgcomponents.com
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