The key to an enjoyable ride is feeling comfortable, we took a look at some of the best road bike saddles around to help you feel your best when riding.
Feeling comfortable when you are cycling is hugely important. Without that comfort, even the shortest journey can feel like miles. One of the most important elements involving comfort is the saddle.
If you’re unhappy with your current saddle setup, it can be hard to know where to start. We’ve rounded up what we believe to be some of the best road bike saddles around.
Best Men's Saddle
Fizik Arione R3 Road SaddleCheck Current Price
Best Women's Saddle
Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Women's Bicycle SaddleCheck Current Price
Best Wide Saddle
Selle SMP Pro Road Bike SaddleCheck Current Price
Below you’ll find out which ones made the cut, and how to find your perfect saddle. Because really, this is one of the things you need to take time to get just right. Here are our 10 top picks for the best road bike saddles.
- 1 The Best Road Bike Saddles
- 1.1 1. Fizik Arione R3 Road Saddle
- 1.2 2. Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Women’s Bicycle Saddle
- 1.3 3. Selle SMP Pro Road Bike Saddle
- 1.4 4. Ergon SR Sport Gel Women’s Saddle
- 1.5 5. ISM PN 3.1 Road Bike Saddle
- 1.6 6. Fizik Aliante Gamma Road Bicycle Saddle
- 1.7 7. Fizik Argo R3 Tempo Bike Saddle
- 1.8 8. Selle Royal Men’s Respiro Moderate Road Bike Saddle
- 1.9 9. Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Road Bike Saddle
- 1.10 10. Pioneeryao Professional Road Bike Saddle
The Best Road Bike Saddles
1. Fizik Arione R3 Road Saddle
The Fizik Arione R3’s traditional shape features a long, flat top and reasonably wide nose. The nylon shell features carbon-reinforced nylon material that offers best-in-class support. Fizik’s trademarked WingFlex technology provides huge amounts of flexibility and allows the rider to move around with ease.
Alloy Kium rails reduce weight and combine to create a saddle specialized in providing padding and stiffness in perfect harmony.
Features of the Fizik Arione R3 Road Saddle include:
- WingFlex technology for ease of movement
- Long 300mm saddle length
- Excellent padding around the sit bone
- Kium rails to reduce weight
The Arione is one of the longest road bike saddles available today, and easily one of the best. Best suited to riders who enjoy flexibility while having generous padding.
2. Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Women’s Bicycle Saddle
The Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow is one of the best women’s road bike saddles available to date. A large cutout increases blood flow and reduces numbness, while self-shaping padding comfortable supports sit bones.
Breathable full-grain leather covers the saddle adding comfort in abundance, and Vanox tube rails mean this weighs in at a reasonable 265-grams.
Features of the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Women’s Saddle include:
- Large cutout improves blood flow and reduces numbness
- Streamlined saddle for long-distance comfort
- Shock absorption system to reduce impacts
- Comfortable breathable leather cover
As far as women’s road bike raddles go, this one takes a lot to beat.
3. Selle SMP Pro Road Bike Saddle
Highly rated, and featuring the beak design with the dipped front portion, the Selle SMP Pro Saddle design comes in a variety of colors. The design allows for greater control of the bike for flat stretches as well as for descents and climbs.
The carbon fiber body is covered by foamed elastomer padding for greater comfort during a ride. You can choose from a leather finish or a synthetic finish if you want a more colorful saddle.
Features of the Selle SMP Pro Road Bike Saddle include:
- “Beak” nose acts as a support during long climbs
- Wider base for maximum comfort without unnecessary bulk
- Extremely comfortable padding around sit bones
- Durable tubular steel rails dampen vibrations
This option is slightly wider than other models in the Selle range, providing additional comfort to those with wider sit bones.
4. Ergon SR Sport Gel Women’s Saddle
If generous padding is something you look for, look no further than the Ergon SR Sport women’s road bike saddle.
Designed specifically to cater to women’s pelvic bone structure, the seat and its gel padding inserts offer maximum comfort on the sit bones. A broad nose that tops off a large cutout relieves pressure on soft tissues and allows for plenty of movement without being uncomfortable.
Features of the Ergon SR Sport Gel Women’s Saddle include:
- Generous padding for maximum comfort
- Great blood flow and soft tissue comfort
- Easy to move around on without discomfort
- Orthopedic comfort foam works brilliantly with gel inserts
We’d highly recommend this to any women riders who find minimal padding saddles uncomfortable.
5. ISM PN 3.1 Road Bike Saddle
ISM’s new saddle shape builds on the previous PN (Performance Narrow) 1.0 design but improves an awful lot.
Double-nosed saddles are popular with trialists because of the comfort provided to the sit bones when sat forwards. The downward sloping arms take a short while to get used to, but they are incredibly comfortable after a few rides.
Features of the ISM PN 3.1 Road Bike Saddle include:
- Unusual design that leads to incredible sit bone comfort
- Downward sloping double-nosed saddle suits forward-leaning riding position
- No numbness or blood flow issues due to the design
- Wide nose makes thigh control a breeze
All in all, an unusual but brilliant road saddle design that we hope catches on. Worth every penny.
6. Fizik Aliante Gamma Road Bicycle Saddle
Weighing just over half a pound (258 grams), this Fizik Aliante Gamma saddle comes with Kium rails for easy fitting. For those used to Fizik’s carbon rails, I can tell you there is no noticeable difference while riding.
The performance design features a curved section in the middle at the rear, so you won’t feel as if you are sitting on your tailbone all the time.
The smart black and white finish features tiny stitches to hold everything together, providing good looks along with supreme performance.
Features of the Fizik Aliante Gamma Road Saddle include:
- Carbon-reinforced nylon shell
- Kium rails that reduce weight
- Suits riders with rigid riding positions
- Very well priced
The saddle is intended for riders with a more rigid spine and little flexibility, hence the design. A fantastic mid-priced road saddle if you are looking to upgrade to something better than stock.
7. Fizik Argo R3 Tempo Bike Saddle
The Fizik Argo R3 features a short nose which can take some getting used to – but the payoff is worth it.
The Argo saddle supports the rider incredible well and promotes a planted position that offers greater stability. You’ll find that the cutout works wonders to relieve soft tissue pressure, while padded arms make sit bones comfortable throughout.
Features of the Fizik Argo R3 Tempo Bike Saddle include:
- Unusual short nose design looks great
- Supports a stable position comfortable
- Cutout relieves soft tissue pressure
- Sit bone comfort is superb
This model offers incredible value for money and one of the sleekest looking designs around. Highly recommended.
8. Selle Royal Men’s Respiro Moderate Road Bike Saddle
This is an affordable choice from Selle – a black saddle designed for both road bikes and MTB, intended for use by men. The dipped area along the middle of the saddle is unique to the Respiro collection of saddles, offering less pressure and more comfort and ventilation.
The design also features a cool cover that is designed to keep riders far cooler than if they used a regular black saddle.
Features of the Selle Royal Men’s Road Bike Saddle include:
- Gel support gives amazing comfort
- Ventilation channel allows for breathability
- Perfect for riders with wide-hips
- Incredibly affordable, great value!
The materials are also put together and sealed to ensure complete water resistance during use. You’ll also find the gel portions of the saddle to increase comfort even further. You can even add a saddlebag to the rear if you wish, thanks to the clip system included.
9. Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Road Bike Saddle
This is an affordable and popular saddle designed for men from the Planet Bike brand. Despite the lower price, it features many desired elements, such as the recess running through the center of the saddle. This combines with the foam padding used in the design to provide a comfortable ride on any road.
Features of the Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S Road Bike Saddle include:
- Very affordable
- Outstanding user reviews
- Foam padding for support
- Lycra cover reduces friction
The rails are made from steel and allow for an adjustable fitting to suit, while the whole saddle is finished with Lycra to ensure it lasts. The whole design is intended for anatomical relief, and it is a smart choice for the lower price point.
10. Pioneeryao Professional Road Bike Saddle
The cheapest saddle in our selection, this Pioneeryao professional saddle has been highly rated by tons of users, and our readers wanted it included in this roundup.
Available in black with the option of different-colored trims, the road saddle features the now-familiar cut-out portion in the middle for added airflow and comfortable use. There are also reflective stripes included in the design – ideal for cycling during the night or in low light.
Features of the Pioneeryao Professional Road Bike Saddle include:
- Best for those on a budget
- Reflective patches add visibility at night
- Ventilation is surprisingly good
- Padding is generous and well-positioned
You can also benefit from the fatty gel included in the saddle, making it moldable and easier to sit on for longer periods. Completing the design is the fixed mount that allows for easy attachment to your bike.
How Do I Choose A Road Bike Saddle?
How important is a good road bike saddle for you? It’s one of those things you don’t think about if you have the right one. Choose the wrong one, however, and every bump, every imperfection in the surface is going to come back to haunt you hours after you have dismounted and locked up your bike for the day.
Of all the things we could talk about in this section of our review, it all boils down to one thing; Comfort.
Yes, that’s in bold because it is that important. We’re all familiar with the phrase saddle sore, some have gone to extreme lengths to avoid it. No one wants to experience that, and we can hardly rely on smooth roads for our entire bike journey, no matter where we are going. That means it is worth spending some time figuring out what to look for if you want to buy the best road bike saddle for your needs.
Before we get to the issue of male and female saddles, so to speak, we should highlight the fact that while we all have identical skeletons, they are not all the same size.
Some have a wider pelvis than others. Factors like these are important because you want to sit on a saddle that is the right width for you. Sitting on something that is too wide or too narrow isn’t going to feel comfortable.
Sizing for a saddle can be done at home or at a bike shop, but for most people, it’s a case of trial and error.
Men’s vs Women’s Bike Saddles
Let’s face it, men and women are built differently down there. That means looking for a seat that has been built to suit your gender.
Great strides have been made in recent years to develop the most comfortable bike saddles for men and for women. So, make sure you’re looking at the right type for you.
The nose of a saddle (i.e. the front part) is often shorter on women’s models, and there are noticeable differences in padding placement. Check out our guide on the differences between men and women’s bike saddles, for more information on this.
There are road bike seats that have been designed to be unisex, too. These are still worth a look, but you should remember all the other points in this guide if you think this might be the right choice for you.
It is also worth remembering that some models are available in both male and female variants. So, if you find a design you like, see if it comes in the version you want.
What’s Your Riding Position?
Is speed important to you? If you regularly participate in organized road races, you’re probably going to want to find a lighter option that supports forward-leaning seating positions.
However, if you only take a short trip to and from work each day on your bike, weight isn’t going to be as important. You’re going to prefer comfort instead of weight, which means looking for additional padding.
Most saddles weigh a few ounces, but unless you are a keen competitive rider, weight is not going to matter that much to you on the daily commute. It’s more important to make a decision based on your flexibility and seating position. Those with less flexibility and stiffer spines will want generous padding towards the rear of the seat.
What Sort of Padding Suits You Best?
Most modern saddles have some padding, but the amount and type vary greatly between models. For example, cheaper padding is usually made of foam. This is comfortable enough, but it doesn’t have the same lifespan as gel saddles. These became popular as they mold to your anatomy and provide a more individualized fit. The gel is also designed to bounce back in between uses.
It is also worth noting that some saddles have a cut-out section in the middle, running along a significant portion of the length of the saddle. This is usually done to increase airflow and to make it more comfortable to sit on for longer periods. The absence of anything in the central portion of the saddle also means blood flow improves there. This helps reduce the ‘numb bum’ sensation. Ah yes, we’ve all experienced that.
What Shape Saddle Compliments Your Seating Position?
Yes, there are lots of variations in this area too. If you visited a bike shop and squatted down to view the saddles on the bikes at eye level, you would likely notice some are flatter than others. The best way to choose whether to go for a flat or curved saddle is to think about how you ride your bike.
Road bikes have dropped handlebars, allowing riders to hunker down and use the lower portion of the handlebars when the conditions suit. In this position, you would lean forward and therefore your seating position would change. Using the upper portion of the handlebars allows you to stay in an upright position in the saddle.
Most riders prefer one position over the other. If you tend to use the dropped handlebars, a curved saddle is likely the best one to get. This gives you the ability to sit comfortably in that position without sliding around. If you know you favor the upright position, you should opt for a flatter saddle. You can still change position on these, of course, but it will likely feel more comfortable when you do.
You are likely to see a host of materials used whenever you shop for a replacement road bike saddle. Some are made from waterproof microfibres, ensuring your saddle won’t feel damp if you are on a long and arduous ride during the summer months. Others are made from breathable leather, ensuring comfort throughout the ride. Others use fabrics to create a durable saddle.
Road bike saddles vary from cheap to expensive, as you might guess. However, there is often a correlation between quality and cost. It’s worth thinking about the amount of time you spend cycling and how important it is to feel comfortable during that time. If you get saddle sore, that soreness is not going to go away once you get off the bike… and it will feel worse once you get back on it again. If you can invest more in a quality road saddle, make sure you do so. The higher cost is usually repaid in a longer-lasting saddle too, so you do get your money’s worth.
There is a lot more involved in buying a road bicycle saddle than you may have thought. Materials, design, length, shape, width… all these elements have a role to play.
Clearly, it helps to know how you ride and what size saddle you are built for before you start shopping. Those two pieces of information are arguably more important than anything else. Budget is vital too, as we have seen there is quite some difference between the cheapest and most expensive saddle on the market. Considering the above factors should help you find your perfect saddle.