An uncomfortable bike saddle can turn cycling into a miserable experience – and can even lead to long term injuries if you find you’re sitting strangely to accommodate discomfort.
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The ‘perfect perch’ varies dramatically from one cyclist to the next– and is determined by a number of factors: anatomical differences, riding style, discipline and everything in between.
The huge variation in what riders need means that there’s a huge amount of choice on offer. It’s finding the one that actually suits you which is the problem.
We’ve got a detailed guide to choosing the right saddle for you here, it’s well worth a read before you make your purchase.
What causes saddle discomfort?
Discomfort in the saddle varies between riders. But it often arises from a rider settling themselves down on a saddle that is not the correct width.
We all have different-width ‘sit-bones’. The ischial tuberosities are the parts of your body designed to bear your seated weight. Most cases of saddle-related discomfort arise because the load is carried on the soft tissues between the sit bones rather than by the bones themselves.
Also bear in mind that the perceived width of your rear end has little to do with the actual bone structure. Good bike shops, and some brands, offer test ride programmes so you can try before you buy.
Watch: Electric bike buying guide
Our pick of the best bike saddles
With each product is a ‘Buy Now’ or ‘Best Deal’ link. If you click on this then we may receive a small amount of money from the retailer when you purchase the item. This doesn’t affect the amount you pay.
Specialized Romin Evo Pro Saddle
Read more: Specialized Romin Evo Pro Saddle review
Traditionally marketed as a man’s saddle meant that the Specialized Romin Evo Pro Saddle has only had chance to serve one side of the cycling population. As great believers in ‘saddle comfort is personal’, our Tech Ed gave it a spin and it was love at first sit, gaining a 10/10.
Supacaz Ti Ignite saddle
Read More: Supacaz Ti Ignite Saddle
The Ignite is Supacaz’s take on the modern short and stubby saddle. It’s not as truncated as other ‘short’ saddles and still has a fairly classic shape and proportions. Our tester found it one of the best in terms of all round comfort and loved the loud colour ways, appreciate that at £160, it doesn’t come cheap.
Fizik Antare R3 Saddle
Read more: Fizik Antares R3 saddle review
The lightweight Fizik Antares R3 saddle provides a great balance of comfort and freedom of movement. The use of more affordable construction materials mirrors the fit of high-end versions without the sky-high price tag. It’s another saddle that technically fall’s in to the male camp, but our female tester found it really comfortable, so don’t rule it out for either sexes, especially as there are two widths available.
Specialized Oura Expert Gel Women’s saddle
A performance saddle suited to riders who want to slide forwards during hard efforts and still find comfort when backing off. There are three width options to choose from and the cut out proved comfortable and width options were welcome – though the curvaceous profile won’t be for everyone, and it is a little weighty.
Fizik Tempo Argo R1 saddle
Read more: Fizik Tempo Argo R1 saddle
A short nosed saddle which might feel a bit strange of the stubby genre is new to you, but we found the design incredibly comfortable. Since you’re encouraged to sit in a static position, set up can take a little longer but it’s worth the perseverance!
Selle San Marco Mantra Superleggera Open saddle
A weight weenie’s dream at 114g, this saddle will suit a rider who wants a flat, narrow saddle which is comfortable even on longer rides.
Fizik Arione Saddle
Read more: Fizik Arione Saddle review
Fizik are famous for catogorising their saddles based upon flexibility and riding style. The Arione is suited to flexible riders and is quite a narrow perch. The length provides plenty of room for a rider to move around, but the width means it won’t suit everyone.
Fabric Scoop Flat Pro Saddle
Read more: Fabric Scoop bike saddle review
Fabric offers low weight saddles, thanks to their unique method of gluing the padding and cover to the base. Their perches come in several styles – the Flat models are ideal for those who sit in a more aggressive position whilst the Shallow versions suit more endurance orientated riders and the Radius is ideal for those in an upright position.
Pro Stealth saddle
Read more: Pro Stealth saddle
A stubby saddle, a lot like the Specialized Power, the Pro Stealth has a wide pressure relief channel that suits riders who like to sit in an aggressive position and stay there. It’s a unisex option that comes in two widths and will suit time trial riders as well as regular roadies.