Biking is zooming into one of the world’s most popular sports and recreational activities, with more and more people deciding to pick up a two-wheeled companion and traverse across dirt path and tarmac road, up mountain and through city, across gravel, mud and shale.
But as one of the most active sit-down pursuits, one crucial aspect of a bike that no rider can overlook is the seat!
With some cross-country riders spending hours and sometimes even days sitting and pedaling, having a comfortable bike seat is essential to avoid severe chafing and potential damage through repetition to those soft dangly parts.
Are you a gravel rider or a town cycler? Will you be doing long-haul cycling or short jaunts from A to B? Are you looking for optimal performance or simply comfort in the saddle? Will you need a short-nosed or a long-nosed saddle?
These questions might be familiar or completely alien to you, but you have to ask them if you are going to find the best saddle to suit your particular riding style.
Below we have compiled a list of the top 8 saddles that will not compromise your riding style or leave you saddle-sore. Tried and tested by the professionals, this should be a good starting block for the beginner rider or a refresher course for the more experienced biker.
Okay, grab your helmet, your tight cycling shorts, your cleated shoes and get ready on the starting line. On your marks, get set, go!
Top 8 Most Comfortable Bike Seat
OUR TOP PICK
The Sunlite Cloud-9 is rated as one of the world’s best bikes when it comes to comfort, using the latest innovations in seat technology, it does its utmost to absorb all the shocks a rough road can deliver.
Pain and numbness in the lower legs, thighs and lower back are often attributed to a poor seat, however, with its coil spring suspension, you can avoid these injuries than can occur usually with long-distance riding.
With a deep cut-out design in the middle, the seat provides essential airflow beneath the buttocks to keep you cooler during those long-haul summer rides.
This seat relieves the pressures on the sciatic and perineum nerves, allowing you to ride much longer without soreness!
- An extremely affordable seat, this is perfect for beginning riders looking to save a few dollars.
- With shock absorbers and state-of-the-art ventilation, this is a must-have for intermediate riders looking to cycle into the pro lanes!
- With a much larger surface area, this might be suitable for smaller gravel or hybrid bikes.
- Some users have complained that this seat is too heavy.
Next up we have a long and stylish saddle in the Planet Bike 5020’s for men. This seat provides a lot of surface area, able to support the burlier rider with ease!
Complete with a full center recess and soft side padding, this fashionable bike essential will give you a super smooth ride from the starting block to the finish line.
The wide back of the saddle will alleviate any pressure on the tailbone and allow you to ride for longer without numbness in the legs or thighs that come from prolonged obstruction to the nerves.
- Another extremely affordable option, this bike seat is the ideal first seat for newbies.
- Its broad base allows you to cycle for longer, with a lot of users boasting that you don’t even have to switch this one out mid-ride!
- For those heavier than 350lbs, this seat might not give you the extra comfort you are looking for.
- Some larger users have complained of saddle-soreness from this seat.
Now we’re moving on to the real wide boys, this seat is made by Bikeroo and has legitimate bragging rights as the widest, thickest seat on the market!
Highly acclaimed by users, this bike seat will really spread you across it like butter, not pinching or restricting those areas where movement is essential. This allows for greater adjustment, crucial for staying on the seat during those mile-long treks.
This is recommended for larger competitive cyclers, with dual-spring suspension, waterproof covering, this one is for your all-weathers tough mountain bikers looking for extra control without the extra pain!
- With Lycra and gel materials, this seat is ideal for exercise biking, providing you with the stability you need for continuous endurance.
- Sitting at around the $50 mark, this bike will be a steal for beginner, intermediate and advanced level riders.
- Some users have complained that the universal seat attachment wobbles once fitted.
Now we’ll introduce another wide-winged seat - the Surfas Super Cruiser saddle. Soft, sleek and durable, this is a saddle that will elevate your exercise biking to the next level!
With rear elastomer suspension, this is for riders who find their butt giving out way before their legs. The smoothed edge does not pinch beneath the thighs, which can prevent loss of blood flow to the legs and thighs.
This seat is neither petite nor lightweight, so it will be more suited to a sturdier frame, such as a mountain bike or perhaps a heftier gravel bike.
Because of the larger surface area, riders might find themselves sitting further forward than usual, their legs in a different position in relation to their pedals, which might result in a slightly different riding style.
- Provides good support in the posterior for the larger rider, this “big butt” seat will leave you feeling more comfortable for longer.
- With a ridge running down the center of the seat, this is a chair with optimal ventilation and soft tissue protection.
- The clamp might not be suitable for the frame - check the width of the fixture to see if it will fit the frame.
Sick of standing on your pedals to alleviate the soreness in your backside from a ridiculously long ride? Then, the Serfas Reactive Gel Saddle could be the cure you are looking for!
With a non-stick, non-slip spandex foam body and deep-ridged design, this seat ensures soft tissue protection and breathability.
With an adjustable tilt mechanism, you can adapt this saddle for a high or low angle, its 11inch length and 7.5inch width offer you maximum room to maneuver, giving you the control and quality you need, especially for those treacherous mountain and hill cycles.
This cushy seat contains shock absorbers, which may not be especially pleasing to the eye, but it can provide that soft ride that will appeal to older riders in particular.
- This lengthy seat is perfect for use on mountain or hybrid bikes.
- With a finger-deep ridge in the center, this seat offers ventilation for those riding cross-country in more humid environments.
- Its fairly hefty price tag might dissuade beginners.
- Some riders have complained that this seat is too hard across longer distances.
Now we move onto the more athletic seat designs, with cut-out shapes galore! Starting with the Outerdo Bike Saddle for mountain bikers.
This extremely fashionable, flamboyant seat is for the biker that certainly wants to be noticed on the race track! Its hollowed-out middle section allows for snug anatomical comfort when traversing those long distances.
This cut-out style also provides ventilation for the center of the posterior, allowing for a cooler ride.
With a lightweight, soft cushioned texture, this is a universal fitted seat - adaptable for road, mountain, kids, hybrid or stationary bikes. This seat will leave your unmentionables tingle-free across every terrain.
- Adaptable for all types of bike, this might make the perfect present for a friend who prefers all types of cycling!
- With its narrow 10inch length and 5inch width, this seat is designed for speed cycling and a gentler ride for your anatomy.
- This seat might leave you saddle-sore if you are riding for consecutive days.
Now for a more stylish look, the Brooks England is for the more elegant cycler, coming as it does in this vintage tan color.
This product has a 120-year history, giving the company plenty of time to perfect the design! This handmade leather seat is made to wear in, but once it is worn in, you have a fantastic custom-made saddle suited to your particular body shape.
With strong and tenacious rails, this saddle will do its best to minimize damp road vibrations. Its wide back and narrow nose offer easy, unencumbered pedaling over vast distances.
- The pores along the longer edges of the vegetable tanned body will give you a smooth and cool ride.
- With sofa levels of comfort, you won’t even need padded cycling shorts to break this one in.
- Coming in somewhere between $80 and $220, this might price out the newbie simply looking for a good starter seat.
Now for something a little different. The PL1.0 is a noseless saddle for your aggressive road rider that puts all the weight on your sitting bones and none on the soft tissue of your rump!
The result of this is zero restriction of blood flow to the legs and thighs, resulting in a ride that would feel no different to if you were just standing still!
With hefty support in the front and rear of the saddle, this is for riders who want to try a saddle with a different positioning to that of traditional bike designs. For the first time in years, experienced riders might not have to think about their butt whilst riding!
- The noseless design allows you to dig in and push those hips back for particularly tough rides.
- Plenty of support if you feel like carving up sharp corners.
- Because of the lack of nose, some riders can experience a pinching on the tendons on the inner thighs.
Most Comfortable Bike Seat Buying Guide
Whether it’s beginner saddles with narrower bodies and firm support or the “big-butt” seats for the larger rider or the noseless road-ripper that gives you that hip grip you need to propel you up gritty slopes, we hope our list has orientated you to our wide range of saddles.
But what else is here to know before purchasing the right seat for you?
Well, short-nosed performance saddles are becoming all the rage, with riders looking to optimize soft-tissue security whilst leaning forward on aero bars. Shortening the length of the saddle means that you can ride the drop portion of your bars for a longer period.
Newer saddles are wide at the front as well as short, permitting riders to shift themselves a lot further forward on their bikes without compromising power or stability.
Another increasing trend is a lot more performance-enhancing choices for female riders.
There is also good news for riders that never plan on racing: developments in competitive seats are resulting in more comfortable and lighter recreational seats that can withstand all weather conditions.
A road style saddle will be v-shaped, with a bigger seating surface and a protruding nose. Whereas a cross-country mountain bike saddle will also have a pronounced seat, but it is more t-shaped to allow the rider to shift forward to tackle tougher uphill tracks.
Gravity, enduro and trail saddles are also v-shaped, with a smoother, more rounded edge and a stubby nose to make it easier to shift around the saddle without ensnaring the rider’s shorts. Female saddles traditionally have a shorter nose.
The right level of padding is also critical for a smooth, comfortable ride. However, performance saddles have less padding to save weight, which is important to racers who want to gain that advantage on the course.
For a more recreational rider, the extra padding can give that much-needed cushioning to prevent the sitting bones from becoming bruised over a lengthy ride, however, more padding leads to decreased circulation. You will have to do some research to find the right level of padding for your riding style.
Frequently Asked Questions
I Get Pain On Short Ride, Do I Have The Right Seat?
If you are experiencing pain, you may not have your seat set up correctly. You always need to ensure that, before purchasing the right seat, you need the correct frame. Whether it’s a hybrid, road, mountain or gravel bike, measure where the seat clamps onto the bike bracket to ensure it fits correctly.
Saddle height is also very important. A misaligned seat is a common cause of knee pain in most cyclists. The correct seat height depends on several unique factors.
Stand without cycling shoes next to a wall, then mark off the distance between the top of your legs and the floor to get the correct inseam measurement. You can remove an inch off this to get the general idea of the correct distance between your saddle and the bike’s bottom bracket.
The Heel-On-Pedal Method
This is an even simpler way of measuring your seat height. Just sit on your bike, put your foot in the pedal and extend it straight down until it’s at its furthest point.
Your saddle should be completely flat or angled slightly downward at the front. If your nose is tilted up it can sometimes lead to lower back pain.
The difference between your saddle and the handlebars will also affect the positioning of your saddle. If you experience lower back pain when riding, don’t be quick to blame the seat, as you might want to adjust the level of the handlebars first!
How Do I Get The Correct Measurements For My Seat?
To accurately identify your saddle width, you need to measure your sitting bones, that is, the bones that make the closest contact to the surface you’re sitting on. Seat manufacturers usually make seats with a large amount of padding under the sit bones to ease pressure and prevent bruising.
This is a simple way of calculating the right saddle width for you:
- Place a piece of tinfoil on a carpeted stair and sit on it.
- Lean forward to simulate the position you’re in on your bike and raise your feet slightly.
- When you stand up you should see two deep impressions in the foil. Simply measure the distance between these to get your sit bones width. Clever, huh?
- Add 25–30mm to this measurement to get your ideal cycle seat width.