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 own a road bike and want a new saddle, you need to know what to look for. We’ve rounded up what we believe to be some of the best road bike saddles around. 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.
The Best Road Bike Saddles
The latest technology and understanding have gone into each of the below bike saddles designed for road bikers. These fine saddles feature many of the most important elements to think about when you are searching for the perfect bicycle saddle.
Coolness, comfort, and superior performance are key features of all these saddles. Considering your own requirements is vital, of course, and we’ll cover those in our guide later in the article.
Here’s a list of the 5 best road bike saddles around.
Selle SMP Pro Road Bike Saddle
Highly rated and featuring the beak design with the dipped front portion, the Selle SMP Pro design comes in a variety of colours. The design allows for greater control of the bike for flat stretches as well as for descents and climbs.
The carbon fibre 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 colourful saddle. This option is slightly wider than other models in the Selle range, providing additional comfort.
Fizik Aliante Gamma K:ium Rails Road Bicycle Saddle
Weighing just over half a pound, this Fizik Aliante Gamma saddle comes with K:ium rails for easy fitting. 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. The saddle is intended for riders with a more rigid spine and little flexibility, hence the design. A good mid-priced saddle if you are looking to upgrade to something better.
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.
The materials are also put together and sealed to ensure complete water resistance during use. You’ll also appreciate the gel portions of the saddle to increase comfort even further. You can even add a saddle bag to the rear if you wish, thanks to the clip system included.
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 centre of the saddle. This combines with the foam padding used in the design to provide a comfortable ride on any road.
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.
Pioneeryao Professional Road Bike Saddle
The cheapest saddle in our selection, this Pioneeryao professional saddle has been highly rated by many buyers. Available in black with the option of different-coloured 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. You can also benefit from the fatty gel included in the saddle, making it mouldable and easier to sit on for longer periods. Completing the design is the fixed mount that allows for easy attachment to your bike.
Guide To Buying A Road Bike Saddle
How important is a good road bike saddle to 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 road 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.
Everything else should fall into place. Ahem. 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. This is 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.
Male or female?
Let’s face it, men and women are built differently down there. That means looking for a saddle 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 a woman’s saddle.
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 models. So, if you spot a design you like, see if it comes in the version you want.
How do you ride?
Is speed important to you? If you regularly participate in organised road races, you’re probably going to want to find a lighter saddle. 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.
What sort of padding do you want?
Most modern saddles have some padding, but the amount and type vary greatly between models. For example, cheaper padding is usually made from foam. This is comfortable enough, but it doesn’t have the same lifespan as gel saddles. These became popular as they mould to your anatomy and provide a more individualised 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 should the saddle be?
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 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 favour 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