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Talking about comfort when riding, your bike saddle is arguably the most important component of your bike. If it’s doing what it supposed to do, then your biking experience is “awesome”! If not, “ouch!”.
For most people, the stock saddle that comes with the bike they bought is fine for their needs. However, if it is broken or if you want to drop some weight off your bike or simply just pimp it, then looking for a saddle that works best for your needs, style, and budget should be a priority.
We don’t want you to spend hour searching so we already made a list of the best bike saddles you should buy for 2018. Here you go:
Best Bike Saddles for [year]
Ergon SME3 Pro Saddle
The Ergon SME3 Pro Saddle is an endure biking saddle that’s designed to provide optimum support when climbing and cushion on downhill rides. Built from high-quality carbon fiber, the Ergon SME3 Pro Saddle is the go-to bike saddle for effective shock absorption.
This bike saddle features 3D pockets under the sit bone area. They springy, dense, and lined by a central channel to relieve pressure when riding for longer periods. All these amazing features are enclosed in a weather resistant shell that ensures optimum power transfer for every ride.
To reduce chafe, the outside edges of the Ergon SME3 Pro Saddle are coated with silicon. It also comes with an underside rubber cushion for comfortable bike lifting with the saddle on your shoulder.
Fabric Scoop Saddle
The Fabric Scoop Saddle is designed specifically for road and gravel riding. It is ultralight and ultradurable — thanks to its carbon fiber and nylon base. Shock absorption is handled by carbon rails.
The Fabric Scoop Saddle is your everyday ride bike saddle. Its three sizes can fit any pelvic shape for maximum comfort. Don’t be fooled, although the Fabric Scoop Saddle does not feature a pressure relief channel common in most bike saddles, the comfort, and flexibility it provides is among the top reasons why bikers praised it on cross-state tours and sprints.
Selle SMP Dynamic
The Selle SMP Dynamic bike saddle focuses on performance and comfort. This saddle is a favorite among bikers who like deeply diving nose and broad up-tilting back. The Selle SMP Dynamic saddle features a radical channel cutout for supporting the sit bone and for relieving pressure when riding.
The raised back of the saddle effectively reduces undercarriage pressure, giving the rider a smooth comfortable ride on rough trails. Shock absorption is facilitated by a firm elastomer padding which is housed inside a carbon and nylon shell with stainless rails.
Although not the lightest saddle on the market at 260 grams, the Selle SMP Dynamic is the best choice for riders with average-width pelvises who are looking for a perfect fit.
Terry Carbon Butterfly Saddle
The Terry Carbon Butterfly Saddle is designed with women riders in mind. Debuted in 1999, the Terry Carbon Butterfly Saddle is made to fit the shape of the female pelvis. Using the design popularized by Georgina Terry in 1999, the updated Terry Carbon Butterfly Saddle now features carbon rail support for durable and lightweight shock absorption.
The back portion is made from injection-molded foam to support the rider’s weight while soft tissue cushioning is facilitated by a cushy foam lining the ample cutout. Under the leather is a thin layer of gel for extra cushioning and comfort when riding for longer periods.
Brooks England Standard Saddle B17
Looking for a retro bike saddle that’ll surely turn heads? The Brooks England Standard Saddle B17 is the perfect bike accessory for you. This bike saddle is the most iconic saddle ever made. Brooks has been manufacturing this for over 100 years.
Riders who don’t know about the Brooks England Standard Saddle B17 may rivet from its all-leather appearance. But those who have tried this beauty loves not only the cool look but also the warmth it gives in the cold and cool it provides in the heat.
The Brooks England Standard Saddle B17 has a custom feel to it, giving riders a sense of pride. Shock absorption is handled by steel rails. Wide rear pairs and narrow front prevents chafing and provides additional support during long rides.
Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Saddle
Planet Bike has been making high-quality bike saddles for decades and the Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Saddle is just one of its many amazing products. This bike saddle features a foam padding with a flexible base for optimum comfort and support when riding. Pressure relief is facilitated by a full-length center recess.
The Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Saddle is enclosed by Lycra cover with anti-abrasion properties. Shock support is provided by steel rails.
Bikeroo Comfortable Bike Saddle
The Bikeroo Comfortable Bike Saddle is the best choice for longer rides. Specifically designed for men, this bike saddle is ergonomic in shape and features soft and sturdy foam padding for optimum comfort. There’s also a deep cut out in the center for pressure relief.
The outer cover of the bike saddle is made from high-quality artificial leather supported by a highly weather-resistant shell and stainless rails. The Bikeroo Comfortable Bike Saddle is very versatile. It fits most types of bikes and installs easily.
The Bikeroo Comfortable Bike Saddle is the favorite of over 10,000 bikers (and counting).
Rock Rider Extreme Comfort Bike Saddle
Advertised as the most comfortable bike seat, the Rock Rider Extreme Comfort Bike Saddle is a wide seat making it ideal for women. Simple to mount and effective to use, the Rock Rider Bike Seat is the best choice for casual or leisure biking. It fits most bicycle types and comes with a center channel for ventilation and pressure relief. Weatherproof, the cushion and shock absorption of this bike seat are facilitated by firm yet soft foams and gel layers.
Sunlite Cloud-9 Bike Saddle
The Sunlite Cloud-9 Bike Saddle is made and designed for cruisers with comfort in mind. This bike saddle features a dual-density gel form that is soft and perfect for long rides.
For more comfort, the Sunlite Cloud-9 Bike Saddle sports a coil spring suspension that absorbs vibrations and bumps. Thanks to its universal design, this cycling saddle can be installed easily on your favorite bikes.
How to Set the Right Saddle Height for Your Bike
If you are looking for a beginner-friendly way of setting your bike seat to the correct height, this is it. The below tips apply to road bikes, mountain bikes, and anything else.
When setting up your bike saddle, you need to take three important measurements. Namely, the saddle height, tilt, and fore/aft. There are many ways to do this. The methods below will only need a tape measure and a smartphone. Let’s get started.
Get your saddle height
The first step is to find the midpoint of your cycling saddle. You do this by taking the length using a tape measure and then determining the midpoint from there. Mark the midpoint with a marker or chalk.
Now, using your tape measure, measure a straight line from the center-top of the seat up to you middle of your bike’s bottom bracket. Don’t worry about the angle of the seat tube.
Depending on the crank you have, you can either measure from the drive side or non-drive side to get the best results.
Record your measurements.
Determine the fore/aft position of your saddle
Lay your bike against a wall with the wheel in or in a trainer. Whatever method you use, make sure that your bike is perpendicular (horizontally) to the wall and perpendicular (vertically) to the floor.
Record the distance from the wall to the bottom bracket. We will call this “A”.
Afterwards, measure the distance from the wall to the tip of the saddle. We will call this “B”.
Getting the difference between B and A (e.g. B-A), will give you the saddle setback.
Record your measurements.
Measure your saddle tilt
Not all bike saddles are created equal. So, the best way to measure this is to get the overall seat tilt of your bike saddle. Do this by placing a board on the seat and find the overall tilt using your smartphone’s inclinometer.
Make sure your bike is 100% level before taking this measurement.
Record your results.
Setting the Perfect Saddle Height for Your Bike
Now that you have the numbers for your saddle height, tilt, and fore/aft position, you are now ready to set the perfect saddle height for your bike.
There are many ways in setting the saddle height of your bike. You can either use the Holmes method, Lemond method, Heel method, etc. We will discuss how to do the Heel method below:
The Heel Method
The Heel method is an easy and quick way to set the best saddle height for your bike. You begin by placing your bike in a stationary trainer or in the doorway. Then, ride your bike. Make sure you are wearing the bike shoes that you want to use on your rides.
Place your heel on your bike’s pedal. Slowly pedal forward or backward. If your pedaling is not smooth (e.g. your hips are rocking from side to side or you are overreaching), your saddle height is too high. To fix this, incrementally move your saddle down by 1 cm until the side-to-side rocking stops.
If you think your pedal is too smooth, raise your bike saddle until you are overreaching. Slowly move the saddle down by a centimeter until you get the perfect height.
Top 5 Reasons Why You are Not Using Your Saddle Correctly
Sometimes, the stock saddle that comes with your bike is not enough. Below are some of the tell-tale signs that it’s time to change your bike saddle.
1. You experience saddle pains
If your saddle is not comfortable, then you must be suffering from saddle pains every time you ride. Saddle pain includes compressed nerves, inflamed skin, numb genitals, bruised buttocks, etc. It’s normal to feel saddle pain when you are new to biking. So, give yourself a couple of weeks before deciding whether or not your bike seat is working for you.
2. Pain in the arms and wrists
Many cycling saddles are installed nose down. Because of this tilt, most of your weight goes to your hands and arms — creating pain and tension. To fix this, install your saddle nose up so there’s a neutral weight balance. This does not only remove the pressure from your upper body but also allows you to control your bike more efficiently.
3. Knee or leg pains
If you are experiencing knee or leg pains when riding, then there must be something wrong with your saddle height — you are riding too low. The best saddle height allows for full leg extension which in turn leads to better pedaling efficiency and less pressure on your lower muscle groups.
4. Your sitting position is wrong
When you are sitting on a saddle, you need to make sure that the flatter section of your sit bone rests on the widest part of the saddle. This allows for better weight distribution and relieves you of any pressure points. Remember this: always roll your hips back!
5. Personalize your saddle fit
You are unique. Just like buying a pair of running shoes to fit your feet, you also need to buy the right bike saddle that conforms with your weight, height, and size of your butt. Try different types of bike seats until you find the one that perfectly works for you.
Different Types of Bike Seats
There are several types of cycling saddles. Let’s get to know each one briefly below:
- Racing saddles – these saddles are thin, hard, and light. They are designed to maximize freedom of movement and prevent chafing.
- Comfort saddles – these saddles come with wide and well-padded seats. Perfect for long-distance bike rides that don’t require too much pedaling.
- MTB saddles – these saddles are narrow with a medium padding. They are designed to take a beating. The rear is shaped in a certain so you can move back easily while the nose comes with a downward slope so you can easily move forward. MTB saddles take body shifting seriously.
- Cruiser saddles – these saddles are well supported on both sides and come with ample cushioning. Cruisers are designed to put the rider’s weight on the saddle.
Bike Saddle FAQs
How do I find the right fit?
Most bike saddles come in widths. The right saddle comfortably supports your sit bones — bony part of your pelvis where your leg and butt meet. One of the best ways to find the right saddle for you is to get fitted by a professional. There are also shops that offer test saddles for you to try.
At the end of the day, every rider is different. It all comes down to riding the saddle in your typical routine and seeing for yourself if it works for you or not.
How much padding should I get?
To strip down weight, most performance saddles have thin paddings as weight is more important to racers than comfort. If you are looking for the best comfort, look for saddles with thick foam layers. Some also have added gel.
Be careful because riding for long hours on a heavily padded bike saddle can cut off blood circulation in your legs. It all comes down to finding the right padding that suits your style and comfort preference.
Should I get a cutout saddle?
Although most riders prefer a cut-out, you don’t really need one. Cutouts or relief channel prevents pressure buildup on your soft tissues when riding. If you want to get one, remember that cutouts vary depending on the gender of the rider.
A man’s pelvis is V-shaped while a woman’s pelvis is U-shaped. The right cutout saddle can keep the pressure off even after long hours of riding.
What materials should I choose?
Bike saddles are made using various materials. They range from steel rails and plastic bases for entry models to carbon fiber on high-end ones. Here’s a general rule: the more money you spend, the lighter your saddle will be. So, if you are a racer concerned about stripping down some weight off your bike, then better start saving up.
Manufacturers can also add a flex at the base of the saddle. This feature allows the saddle to change shape to manage the shock more effectively. Saddle covers are often made using synthetic (example, Lorica) leather or real leather. Some even add layers of Kevlar to make the saddle more durable.
At the end of the day, choosing a saddle based on the material used comes down to what makes you comfortable and how far you are willing to go with your budget.
What’s the right saddle shape?
Finding the right bike saddle shape that fits your body and suits your riding routine is crucial. Narrower saddles are best for those who want to ride fast and rides on a stretched-out position. The slower you ride and more upright your riding position is, the wider your bike saddle should be.
Saddle shape generally falls into several categories: rounded, scooped, narrow, flat, and wide.
What makes a good bike saddle?
A good saddle supports the sit bones, not the bum. The area where the saddle meets your sit bones is crucial. And that’s one of the biggest reasons why most manufacturers offer their saddles in varying widths — trying to accommodate people’s anatomy as much as they can.
Choosing the right bike saddle for your bike is important. It provides you comfort when riding (especially for leisure or mountain biking) and speed (when racing). There are many bike saddles on the market today and we hope this list will help you choose the one that fits your biking habit and budget.