Best Bike Saddles

Updated November 2019
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BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
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Why trust BestReviews?
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We only make money if you purchase a product through our links, and we never accept free products from manufacturers. Read more  
BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers. We buy all products with our own funds, and we never accept free products from manufacturers.Read more 
How we decided

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

20 Models Considered
8 Hours Researched
1 Experts Interviewed
327 Consumers Consulted
Zero products received from manufacturers.

We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.

Buying guide for best bike saddles

Last Updated November 2019

The saddle is your primary point of contact on your bike and the most important component when it comes to comfort. Saddle designs vary based on the type of bike, and some may be designed specifically to accommodate male or female anatomy.

Casual cyclists should consider a seat with plenty of cushioning for a comfortable ride. If you have a road bike, you might opt for a model with a streamlined design that maximizes power transfer and stays comfortable over long distances. Mountain bikers use seats that allow for varied positions and have extra cushioning to absorb bumps and shocks. At the end of the day, every human body is different, and each one requires a saddle that feels most comfortable.

A bike saddle can be a significant investment, and it’s a part of your bike that you will get to know very well. To find the right bike saddle for your anatomy and riding style, and see some of our favorites, continue reading our buying guide.

There’s no such thing as the ideal bike saddle. Everyone is shaped differently and has a different riding style.

Key considerations

Comfort

Comfort matters above all else when shopping for a bike saddle, but this is a characteristic that  comprises several aspects. Appropriate cushioning supports your sit bones (ischial tuberosity) while allowing for the right amount of power transfer to the pedals. A hollow or gap in the center of the saddle prevents pressure on your perineum (the spot between your sit bones). While there are guidelines for choosing a saddle for the type of riding you plan to do, it’s more about what feels right to you.

Saddles for men and women

Many, but not all, bike saddles are designed to accommodate the anatomical differences between men and women.

Male: Bike saddles tailored to males often have a narrower tail (the part that supports your sit bones) and may have a hollow along the nose or an opening in the center of the seat to relieve pressure in the perineal area.

Female: Bike saddles designed for females have a wider tail to accommodate wider sit bones and often have an opening in the center to relieve pressure in the perineal area.

Durable comfort

This firm saddle has been around for over a century and is a favorite for touring. Though it takes some time to break in, the result is a durable saddle that will provide comfort for hours and last for years. Beginners may be put off by the rigid design and break-in period, but this is a tried and trusted saddle for a variety of riding styles.

Bike saddle types

Many bike saddles are crafted for a specific type of biking based on different cushioning and movement needs.

Comfort: These are saddles designed for commuters or casual riders who won’t be cycling for extended periods. They generally have more cushioning than other saddles.

Mountain: MTB, or mountain bike, saddles are narrower in design than comfort saddles and have less padding, though they have more padding in the tail area than road bike saddles.

Road: Though they’re designed for the longest rides, saddles for road bikes typically have a narrow, lightweight design and the least padding. Though these saddles are usually firm, even hard, many are comfortable on long rides.

EXPERT TIP

Comfort isn’t just about padding; it also has a lot to do with the shape and overall design of the saddle.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bike saddle features

Bike saddles vary in materials, which also affect your riding experience and overall comfort.

Materials

Cover: The cover of the bike saddle — the part that you come in contact with — is an important consideration. However, most manufacturers produce synthetic covers that are similar in their comfort and overall feel. Many touring bike saddles have a traditional leather cover. While leather can take some breaking in, it’s highly durable and can be the most comfortable option or long trips.

Cushioning: If there is any cushioning in the saddle, it’s usually made of foam or gel. Both are good options, but the foam is more likely to hold up over years of use due to its tendency to spring back after being compressed. Some touring and road bike saddles have no cushioning. While this may seem like a recipe for pain, these high-end saddles are often carefully molded for comfort over long rides. Beginners should consider a traditional cushioned saddle.

Hull: The hull is the main part of the saddle, the body that forms the overall shape. This part is usually made of plastic, but in high-end models it can be made of carbon fiber. Saddle shape is more important than its hull material, but this is still a factor to consider. Since this is the largest part of the saddle, it plays the biggest role in overall weight.

Rails: The saddle’s rails are the two bars that connect the saddle to the seat post. Most are made of chromoly steel, while more expensive and durable rails are made of titanium.

EXPERT TIP

Depending on how you usually ride, most of the pressure may fall on the nose or the tail of the saddle.


Staff  | BestReviews

Bike saddle prices

Inexpensive: Bike saddles that cost $10 to $25 are generally made of less-expensive materials like plastic with gel cushioning. While they can work well for commuting or casual cycling, they aren’t usually designed for long rides and will likely become uncomfortable over time.

Mid-range: Saddles that cost $25 to $50 may be designed for a range of riding styles. Materials vary in quality, though you’ll find some carbon fiber saddles at the higher end of this range.

Expensive: Bike saddles that cost $50 to $100 are usually made of durable, lightweight, high-quality materials that are comfortable for longer rides. Leather and carbon fiber saddles are common in this range.

EXPERT TIP

More padding doesn’t always equate to more comfort. Sometimes a harder saddle with a narrow design is more comfortable than a wide, well-cushioned seat.


Staff  | BestReviews

Tips

Finding the right bike saddle for you means considering not only the type of biking you plan to do but also your anatomy. You know your body best, and only you can tell whether a saddle is comfortable.

  • Test different saddles. See if your local bike shop has saddles you can try. This will give you an idea of what style suits you best and fits your anatomy.
  • Know your riding position. Your typical riding position should inform your decision when choosing a saddle. If you ride in a forward position, you will have different needs than someone who rides upright and rests their weight on their sit bones.
  • Know your sit bone width. Everyone is different, and just because you are male or female doesn’t mean you have sit bones of a particular width.

Affordable comfort

If you need a wider seat or are just looking for some extra padding, this is a good option for cycling on a variety of surfaces. Customers love this saddle for its soft cushioning and excellent suspension.

Other products we considered

Beyond our top picks, two carbon fiber seats stand out for those who are comfortable with minimal to no cushioning. The first is the Fizik Arione Road Bike Saddle, featuring the company’s signature K:ium rails, which are lighter than titanium rails of the same size. We love this saddle for its comfortable design, moderate cushioning, and narrow shape, all of which allow for a smooth, flexible ride. Another popular option is the RXL SL Bicycle Saddle, which features an all carbon fiber design. This means there’s no cushioning whatsoever, but the shape of this saddle make it an excellent choice for road or touring bikes.

Your bike saddle plays a large role in how long you can ride and the flexibility and reach of your legs.

FAQ

Q. Are carbon fiber saddles slippery?
A.
Yes, but that’s a feature, not a flaw. The slick surface allows you to move your legs freely and without chafing, but there is little chance you’ll slip off the saddle itself.

Q. Should I wear bike shorts if my saddle has cushioning?
A.
This is up to you, but in general bike shorts are a good investment for a long, comfortable ride. If you have well-padded shorts, you can opt for a saddle with less cushioning.

Q. Should I have a professional install my bike saddle?
A.
You can, but you probably have the skills (and tools) to do it yourself. The hardest part of installing a bike saddle is positioning it and angling it to fit your riding style. If you prefer riding upright, your saddle should be level or “nose up.” If you regularly ride in a forward position, the nose should be angled downward slightly. Experiment with different positions to find one that best suits you and your riding style.

The team that worked on this review
  • Bronwyn
    Bronwyn
    Editor
  • Kristin
    Kristin
    Writer
  • Melinda
    Melinda
    Web Producer
  • Peter
    Peter
    Writer

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