10 of the Best Mountain Bike Saddles Ridden & Rated

Feb 5, 2020
by Nikki Rohan  


About This Review

There is no more intimate—figuratively as well as literally—connection to your bike than the saddle. At the same time, the saddle is maybe the most overlooked component on bikes today. Everyone always brags about their new handlebars, how much travel their dropper has, their new tires or wheels, but no one really talks up their brand new saddle. But here’s the truth: a saddle, whether you’re a man, woman, newbie, or pro, can make or break the fun-o-meter of a ride quicker than just about anything else.

So if a saddle is so critical, how do you find the right one? First, look for a saddle that suits your preferred riding style: a DH/park rider needs something very different than an XC racer. Second, what’s your riding position? The more you bend forward, the more pressure you’ll put on your pelvic area. It doesn’t matter if you’re a man or a woman—soft tissue relief is a real thing. Third, how flexible are you? People without a lot of flexibility tend to shift around more; a rounded shape tends to suit them better. Super flexible riders tend to prefer a slightly curved saddle. Reasonably flexible riders (most cyclists) typically have a stable position on a bike, which translates to a flat saddle. Fourth, and most critical, is measuring your sit bones to dial in exactly how wide of a saddle is optimal for you. Once you have this info, finding a saddle that’s “customized” for your bum becomes a much easier task.


So what are your "sit bones"? The Ischial Tuberosity, commonly referred to as the "sit bones," are a pair of bones that mark the lateral boundary of the pelvic outlet and end up being where you rest most of your weight while sitting. The distance between the left and right sit bone is what is used for measuring and calculating the optimum saddle width. Some companies will send along a measuring kit, or you can venture down to your LBS and see if they can help you out. On average, women tend to have wider sit bones than men along with a different anatomical design, so there might be a good rationale behind gender-specific saddles designs.

For this review, Pierce and I spent the past 9 months rotating through 5 non-gender specific saddles, and 4 women-specific saddles. Pierce's sit bone measurement was 110mm, typically a S/M saddle, while mine was 144mm, a M/L saddle. Pierce tested saddles from Ergon, WTB, Bontrager, and Selle Italia, while I tested the saddles from Ergon, WTB, Specialized, Fi'zi:k, and SQlab. We managed to squeeze in a saddle from SDG Components in the last phase of the testing by tapping into the resources from one of my favorite gear testers, Jameson Florence, bringing our total to ten. The most important thing to understand is that saddle choice is a very personal matter and the best way to figure out which one will work best for you is to narrow down the width and shape, mount the thing with the assistance of a bike fitter or someone who can help you find your angle, and then test a few saddles.

One final note: every saddle listed here utilizes different rail materials. The primary difference between rail material for the same shape of saddle is weight. But all of them have a certain amount of compliance built into them, too—think of that as passive suspension. Saddles need compliance to offer a good ride characteristic. As the rail materials change, to keep that compliance consistent, cover and padding materials may be tweaked, which adds or removes weight depending on how stiff that rail material is. Bottom line? A heavier, steel railed saddle should offer the same ride characteristics as a ti-alloy or even a carbon railed saddle of the same shape, just at a greatly reduced price point. But that weight penalty can be 3-4 oz (85-110 grams). Not a lot, but worth noting.







WTB Deva Team
Tested by Nikki Rohan

• Weight: 193g (Titanium)
• Colors: Black
• Widths: Medium (145mm)
• Length: 260mm
• MSRP: Steel ($39.95), Cromoly ($79.95), Titanium ($129.95)
wtb.com


WTB is one of those companies that has pretty much been around since day one in terms of saddles. Mark Slate was one of their original designers and was old school to the core. Saddles he designed weren’t created from some crazy computer program but carved by hand from wood. He would then ride these prototypes and tweak the saddle shape based on how it felt. Talk about a serious hard-ass. Saddle design has since moved on, but there are a number of WTB saddles still in production that were shaped this way; notably the Pure, Speed, Silverado, and Rocket saddles.

The Deva is one of WTB's more popular saddles designs and offers a female-focused shape with generous DNA padding, a short nose, and a flatter profile. While it is technically a women-specific design, it is also super popular with men. The saddle comes in one size: 145mm wide x 260mm long; but is available with three different types of rails at three different price points, titanium (193g), cromoly (275g) or steel (305g). Like most of the women-specific saddles in this review, the Deva has a flat tip-to-tail profile, minimal rounding, and offers a fairly small but effective channel (no cut-out) in the middle to relieve genital pressure. The 145mm width is narrower than some women-specific saddles but not as narrow as my all-time favorite companion, the WTB Silverado, which Pierce reviews below.

This was one of the last saddles I put on my bike. I had been a loyal, although non-sponsored, WTB saddle lover the past five years, so I was excited to get my hands on something new to me. My first impression was that the saddle was ridiculously light. Yes, I had the "team" version that includes the titanium rails, and DNA padding (a superlight polyurethane material), but this is the lightest saddle of the review coming in at a meager 193g or 6.8 oz.

After my weight assessment ,and the pain and agony of swapping saddles on my bike (I wish there was an easier way), I ventured out for an epic adventure in the woods. Kind of frightening on an unknown saddle, but I had zero issues adjusting to the Deva. Sometimes with the wider saddles, it would take me a ride or three to adjust, but with the Deva I instantly felt comfortable. The saddle platform was wide enough to support my sit bones without any chaffing on the inner thighs; the padding kept them from feeling bruised or sore despite a couple of hours of saddle time, and I had zero issues with pressure points or stinging lady parts post-ride. The nose is a bit shorter than I typically like, but as with all the saddles in this review, I had no issues moving my weight forward on steep or technical climbs. I have read that the saddle companies think women need a shorter nosed saddle for easy on and off transitions, but I'm not sure I agree with this assessment as I personally like a longer nose. It's not my area of expertise, just a personal preference.

Bottom line, WTB has done an excellent job designing this saddle. While it doesn't offer the deep cut-out that some women (or men) might need, the shallow design should be ample to reduce pressure points for most riders, and the flat platform should be just wide enough to keep your bum happy. I also really appreciate that the Deva comes in at three price points for those of you who want to keep your costs down and aren't firmly in the weight weenie camp.

WTB Deva Team

Pros
+ Very lightweight
+ Excellent padding
Cons
- Only available in one width



WTB Silverado
Tested by Pierce Martin

• Weight: 204g (Titanium)
• Colors: Black
• Widths: Narrow (135mm) or Medium (tested, 142mm)
• Length: 280mm
• MSRP: Steel ($39.95), Cromoly ($79.95), Titanium ($129.95), or Carbon ($249.95)
wtb.com


With a longer and narrower shape compared to the Deva, the Silverado provides plenty of support for shifting your weight forward and backward. Designed to cover everything from road to enduro riding, the Silverado is middle of the spectrum saddle offering a balance of a flat sit bone platform with rounded edges for smooth pedaling. Again there is a very small center channel for those sensitive bits, with a cut out in the shell beneath the padding (visible when you flip the saddle over). Similar to the Deva, the Silverado is available in several different rail constructions including steel, cromoly, titanium plus the addition of a carbon rail version, which is not available in the Deva.

Until this review, my go-to saddle was the Volt from WTB, in size M. I've ridden that saddle for many years, but I found that for my narrow sit bones I much prefer the medium Silverado. Coming from the Volt, the Silverado delivered a much better experience during long days in the saddle. Returning home from grueling days of uphill grinding without a serious case of saddle-ass was a joy. Maybe it has to do with the more traditional shape of the Silverado, which doesn't have the upturned rear that the Volt does. Additionally, I would occasionally get saddle sores when riding the Volt, but those days appear to be long gone since switching to the Silverado.

Like Nikki, I found the DNA padding material to be very comfortable and it offered plenty of support without being too firm. One aspect I enjoyed was the ABR fabric lining on the sides and rear of the saddle. This is designed to protect those parts of the saddle from abrasion and impacts, and I was worried it would be too grippy and limit my ability to shift my weight around, but I was relieved to find that it wasn't grippy at all; I could easily shift my weight around on the saddle as the terrain and features changed. I've found that some saddles are quite grippy, depending on the material of your shorts/pants and how they interact with the sides of the saddle, and that can make for some awkward moments on the bike in technical terrain, but I didn't find that to be the case with the Silverado.

I plan on replacing all the saddles on my other bikes with the Silverado when I get a chance. Again saddle fit is extremely unique, but the Silverado just happens to work quite well for me.

WTB Silverado

Pros
+ Several weight vs. price options
+ Narrower and longer option
+ Outer material isn't too grippy
Cons
- Center channel is not very pronounced



Specialized Women's S-Works Power with MIMIC
Tested by Nikki Rohan

• Sizes: 143mm (tested), 155mm
• Weight: 223g
• Colors: Black
• MSRP: $300 USD
• Models: Power Pro ($240 USD), Power Expert ($160 USD), Power Comp ($130 USD)
specialized.com


While Specialized are renowned for their bikes, people don’t realize that they spend a lot of time and energy trying to create a better riding experience from the ground up. A lot of time that means clothing, but it also means components, everything from tires to handlebars to... saddles. Specialized raised eyebrows with the first saddle to tackle erectile dysfunction, but they didn’t quit with men’s saddles. Nowadays they are also reputed to make some of the best women’s saddles out there.

The Women's S-Works Power with MIMIC is an ultra-light, high-performance saddle designed for all-day comfort in any riding position. The Power with MIMIC comes in multiple models at different price points, from the Power Comp with Cr-Mo rails to the S-Works Power with carbon rails and a carbon shell. They all feature the MIMIC technology which is stated to be a design that "mimics" the body's response to different types of pressure - e.g. reducing pressure on sensitive areas while supporting soft tissue. The general design of the saddle is a short nose with noticeably softer foam to eliminate pressure and a flat rear platform with a firmer foam for sit bone support. Lastly, the cutout (like the Deva) is a variation on a complete cut-out and uses soft memory foam to deliver anatomical support yet at the same time prevent soft tissue (labial) swelling or numbness.

At first glance, I didn't know what to expect with this saddle. The unique design with the shorter nose (tip to tail the saddle measures a scant 241mm) and the wide rear platform is a large step away from the long and narrow WTB Silverado saddle that I had spent the previous five years on. But once I had the thing mounted and started pedaling, this saddle blew me away. On the very first (three hour) test ride I felt no pressure points, no chaffing along my inner thigh, and I didn't find myself moving my hips around looking for that sweet spot. The words that best describe the experience was that I pretty much felt like there wasn't even a saddle on the bike.

In general, I tend to ride in a fairly aggressive forward-leaning position. However, I also took this saddle to Utah for a tour on the White Rim Canyon trail for three long days pedaling in a fairly upright position. The saddle provided me with the perfect amount of support throughout all my test rides including being able to easily move my weight forward for technical climbs despite the short nose. Everything seemed to come together to provide the perfect amount of comfort and support I need for long days on the bike. Although the cut-out is not as pronounced as some of the other brands it allowed for ample relief of labial pressure. Translation? No post-ride soreness (if you know what I mean, you know what I mean).

While I personally didn't experience any difficulties with this saddle, I have spoken to some women who had a hard time moving their weight forward when climbing due to the shorter nose. But at the end of the day, this is the saddle I would recommend nine out of ten times to women who want to know what I think is the best bet for comfort and support. The design just works and the saddle comes in two sizes for those of you with wider sit bones. I can't speak to the other less expensive models as I only tested the S-Works Power, which comes with a pretty steep price tag, but I would imagine the other models offer a similar ride experience.

Specialized Women's S-Works Power with MIMIC

Pros
+ Comfortable in all riding positions
+ Lightweight
+ Cut-out for soft-tissue discomfort
Cons
- Expensive
- Short nose



Selle Italia X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow
Tested by Pierce Martin

• Weight: 224g (Manganese)
• Colors: Black
• Width: 131mm
• Length: 266mm
• MSRP: $119.99
selleitalia.com


Selle Italia is one of the few companies out there completely dedicated to the saddle and has a long, rich heritage of developing bicycle seats that stretches all the way back to 1897. Unique to the saddles tested, the Superflow X-LR has a huge cutout center channel that will really keep the tinkle-dangle happy with plenty of room and lots of airflow. This saddle has a modern and angular stealth fighter look to it and can serve double duty on your future hoverbike. In terms of shape, the Superflow X-LR has a lot of taper to towards the outer edges of the saddle and a very pronounced droop in the nose. Made in (you guessed it) Italy, the Superflow X-LR is constructed from a two-layer material with a soft inner cushion and a durable waterproof outer skin that should offer plenty of protection and durability over time.

The model I tested was the Manganese rail construction that weighs in at 215g for the narrower, small width, and 224g for the wider, large width. Price is fairly decent for the weight, although it still tops over $100. You can also get the saddle with either titanium or carbon rails if you are willing to pay for it. If the giant gaping hole in the middle of the saddle is too much for you, you can also get the "Fill" version of the saddle in the where (you guessed it again) the center gap has been filled in.

This saddle definitely has the most room for all you well-endowed commenters out there. I found this saddle offered a great deal of comfort and ventilation for my sensitive bits. I had zero pressure points or numbness, and I appreciated the little bit of airflow that helped to keep things cooler and dryer, especially on the hotter days that have become more common the past few years.

In terms of comfort in the sit bone area, I didn't get along quite as well with the Superflow X-LR as I did with other saddles. I found the large amount of downwards taper toward the sides of the saddle didn't offer the support I am used to, which led to some tenderness and soreness on longer rides. Additionally, I found the outer material to have more of a hard plasticky feel, and it didn't feel particularly very svelte or high end to me. Furthermore, the material was a bit too grippy for my taste compared to the other saddles I tested, which isn't my favorite - I like to be able to move around with ease.

All in all, the Superflow X-LR is a solid option to check out if you usually have issues with numbness or pinched nerves in the nether regions, although it may not offer the best support for your rump if you prefer a flatter sit platform.

Selle Italia Superflow X-LR

Pros
+ Lots of airflow
Cons
- Shorter Length
- Expensive



Fi'zi:k Luna X5
Tested by Nikki Rohan

• Weight: 261g
• Colors: Black
• Sizes: 145mm (tested), 155mm
• Length: 280mm
• MSRP: $99 USD
fizik.com


I clearly remember when the first Fi’zi:k saddles hit the market in the mid-'90s. They weren’t really that different from anyone else’s as far as shape goes. But they sourced unique materials and focused on sophisticated and beautiful saddles that were distinctly different. That position continues today, with Fi’zi:k’s commitment to “providing the ultimate in saddle design—combining comfort and lightweight with technology and innovation.”

The Luna X5 is Fi'zi:k's optimum MTB saddle designed to suit a women's body shape and movement while riding. The saddle features S-alloy rails, a carbon-reinforced nylon shell, an ergonomic cut-out shape to provide soft-tissue relief, and reinforced Microtex side panels. The saddle comes in two different widths, 145mm and 155mm and is one of the longer nosed saddles I tested. It has a rather flat and thin profile with minimal padding, but does offer flexible wing panels at the rear; they flex when pedaling to allow the saddle to better conform to your body when pedaling.

I tested this saddle for around fifty hours on my mountain bike and then I stuck it on my cross bike for cross season, because why not? The saddle suited my forward "aggressive" body position well. The rear platform looked like one of the wider ones of the group, but once it was on my bike, the 145mm felt just right in terms of width and sit bone support. On the comfort scale, the rear platform of the saddle wasn't the plushest—while it was firm and supportive, it was middle of the road when it came to overall comfort. I found that when I spent an extended amount of time in a more upright position, I would catch myself moving my bum around to take the pressure off my sit bones. As for the flexible wings, I didn't experience any inner thigh chaffing, so the shape worked for me, but I didn't particularly like the feel of the flex as I was pedaling, so I guess I lean towards preferring a stiff saddle. The cut-out channel did its job and provided nice pressure relief for my lady parts, too.

If you're in the market for a long and narrow saddle that offers a little more flex, a nice cut-out channel for pressure relief and good support for sliding your weight forward or back, this saddle is worth checking out. It's not the lightest saddle of the group, nor does Fi'zi:k give you options to lighten it up, but for the price, it is a solid choice in terms of quality and performance.

Fi'zi:k Luna X5

Pros
+ Flexible wings for pedaling motion
+ Cut-out for soft-tissue discomfort
Cons
- Heavy
- Could use a bit more padding



Bontrager Arvada Elite
Tested by Pierce Martin

• Weight: 224g (Austenite)
• Colors: Black
• Widths: 128mm, 138mm, 148mm
• Length: 270mm
• MSRP: $144.99
trekbikes.com


Bontrager a long history of making unique saddles, going back to the days when Keith Bontrager offered a wide, drop nose saddle that had more than a bit of a cult following. Nowadays they offer a large variety of saddles available covering minuscule featherweight torture devices for the road to bulky and cushy touring seats. The Arvada is designed for both comfort and performance and has a very traditional shape with an average length and is available in three widths. Instead of being a totally flat platform, it has a bit of a "whale tail" rear with some roundness approaching the sides of the saddle. Bontrager claims the Austenite rails (a high carbon steel alloy) are lighter and stronger than standard titanium at this price point, but I couldn't really tell a difference. There is a recessed center channel for promoting comfort and blood flow in the soft tissue areas. Additionally, there is a cutout down the center of the plastic bottom shell that is meant to increase compliance and allow the saddle to flex slightly under heavy pedaling.

I found the padding material to offer a good balance of support while remaining supple. The covering material is pretty grippy with lots of little traction dots, and doesn't feel particularly plush, rather it feels as if it's more on the plasticky end of the pleather spectrum. Again my preference is for less grip on saddles for ease of movement, and the Arvada was pretty good at keeping my bum locked in place. A positive for people who like that characteristic, but not my cup of tea. The underside doesn't have the most polished look wither, there are lots of wrinkles and folds in the covering material visible. But hey, who is looking at the bottom of their saddle? Plus those wrinkles will normally be covered in mud.

This saddle felt very similar to me to the Silverado from WTB. The platform is slightly more rounded and downturned towards the sides of the saddle and this resulted in somewhat less comfort for me on longer rides. The length felt right on the money, though, and I had plenty of support for attacking steep climbs. In total, I didn't notice any pain, numbness, or pressure points. The Arvada can work for both genders, as it's not designed to be either men's or lady's specific. To test that theory, we also had a woman put some time in on the Arvada, and she found it to be quite comfortable.

Bottom line? The Bontrager Arvada offers a great all-around option for a lightweight, performance saddle with a more traditional shape.

Bontrager Arvada Elite

Pros
+ Several width options
+ Channel cutout increases compliance
Cons
- Pricier than other options for weight



Ergon SM Sport Gel Women
Tested by Nikki Rohan

• Weight: S/M 285g M/L 295 g
• Colors: Berry, Stealth (tested)
• Sizes: 143mm (S/M), 155mm (M/L)
• Length: 261 mm
• MSRP: $89.95 USD
ergonbike.myshopify.com


Located in NW Germany in the city of Koblenz, Ergon’s HQ has ample testing grounds located nearby, as well as a roster of top-flight athletes that race on the EWS and World Cup circuits. But more than that, Ergon draws on a network of German professionals who specialize in product material, research, production, and testing. It helps that the designers are users, too, as their site concisely states it: “At Ergon, we are all cyclists and we think like cyclists. We are passionate, innovative, problem-solving tech enthusiasts, who are constantly curious. We live and breathe cycling.” Further, Ergon tests all materials for toxic materials and impurities, and all materials used by them adhere to the highest German food and child toy safety standards. Child toy, I like that.

The SM Sport Gel Women is a women-specific saddle from Ergon designed for long days on the mountain bike. It features a wide and very flat rear platform to support a larger contact area, large gel pads in the soft tissue area for relief, a center cut out to further reduce pressure in the genital area, and CroMo steel rails. I tested the SM Sport Gel Women saddle in the M/L size, which fits a sit-bone width of 120-160mm (the S/M fits 90-120mm). This was the first women's specific saddle I had ever used, so it took a bit of adjusting. To be honest, I am fairly certain I had never actually had a saddle wide enough to sit on my sit bones prior to this review nor had I ever experienced a cut-out. First time for everything, I guess.

Out of the box, I spent the first week on this saddle in Moab, riding everything from Portal and Captain Ahab to chasing my kids on Slick Rock. After the adjustment period where I realized I did, in fact, have sit bones, I found this saddle to be fairly comfortable, although a little wide for me. While I had zero pressure points, I did notice a little chaffing on the inside of my thigh due to the wider rear platform and the transition area from that platform to the bottom of the shell. Although I am sized to fit a M/L, I feel that had I sized down, that a narrower version of this saddle it would fit my body and riding position better.

From a performance perspective, whether I was climbing or descending, the overall shape and length of the saddle seemed to provide adequate support. The longer cut-out relieved pressure on my lady parts regardless of my body position, and the saddle had just enough padding that I didn't find myself moving around constantly trying to get comfortable. I have read that some women prefer more padding on the rear platform than this saddle offers, but that wasn't an issue for me. While this saddle has a shorter nose than some of the other brands tested, the nose is long enough that I could easily slide forward on technical climbs and adjust my weight as needed.

Overall, Ergon has done a great job of designing a sleek and simple women's specific saddle that comes in at a super affordable price tag. For any lady who is looking for a nice flat rear platform and excellent pressure relief, this saddle is a perfect opportunity to dip your toes in the water. However, getting a proper size and fit will be the key to your happiness.

Ergon SM Sport Gel Women

Pros
+ Wide rear platform & cut-out
+ Budget friendly
Cons
- On the heavy side



Ergon SM Pro Men
Tested by Pierce Martin

• Weight: 235g (TiNox)
• Colors: Stealth, Red, Blue
• Width: S/M (9-12cm) or M/L (12-16cm)
• Length: 27.2cm
• MSRP: $109.95
ergonbike.myshopify.com


While Nikki only got to test the "Sport" version of Ergon's saddle, I got to test the "Pro" version. Compared to the "Sport" model, the "Pro" model adds TiNox rails, OrthoCell® inlays, and Orthopedic AirCell Foam which supposedly has more reset force, is more durable, and is lighter than standard foam. Poor Nikki must have really suffered without all those features. On a side note, though, I'm not sure why Ergon doesn't make a pro version for the ladies.

For the men, the SM saddle has a gender-specific design that is targeted specifically to technical seated climbing, dropper posting, berm slapping mountain biking. No roadie compromises here. The shape is fairly traditional but it does have a pretty large rear platform with a slight incline. The sides are pretty rounded compared to other saddles. The anatomically optimized center relief channel is pretty deep and has a small hole at the end to promote airflow and keep things cool down there.

During my testing I found this saddle to be very comfortable and the S/M size worked perfectly for my narrower sit bones. I would still give a slight nod to the Silverado in terms of an overall shape that works well for my body type, but I still did a ton of riding on the Ergon without any discomfort or numbness. I definitely noticed that the padding and foam on this saddle had the most thought and design put into it. The AirCell foam and inlays had a very supportive feel to them without being overly hard. Additionally, they maintained the same feel and support over time without beginning to feel crushed or worn out like standard foam can. Furthermore, I could ride this saddle occasionally without a chamois liner, which I usually won't risk on other saddles.

The outside lining material is pretty slick without much grip, exactly how I like it for unlimited freedom of movement. One issue with the nice blue color that I tested is that the color did begin to wear off and fade over time, but that's a nitpick. But, if that's a thing for you, then you may want to just go with the black option.

In summary, this saddle is a great option with an ergonomically designed shape and higher quality foam and support compared to other saddles. It is also reasonably priced compared to other saddles of the same weight.

Ergon SM Pro Men

Pros
+ Ergonomic MTB specific shape
+ High end foam/padding
Cons
- Colors fade pretty quickly



SQlab 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube Saddle
Tested by Nikki Rohan

• Weight: 226g (14cm)
• Colors: Black
• Sizes: 12cm, 13cm, 14cm (tested), 15cm
• Length: 280 mm
• MSRP: $169.99 USD
sqlab-usa.com


A few years ago, my husband who is a retired photographer was forced to sit through four SQlab saddle presentations at a press launch. He came home full of what I thought was useless information at the time, but it did include my first introduction to an SQlab saddle. Like fingerprints, not everyone’s butt is the same. Consequently, making a single saddle that’s perfect for everyone is nearly impossible. But SQlabs cracked the code by utilizing sit bone width to determine a baseline starting point on saddle fit, and then by offering their saddles in a variety of widths. If you venture onto the SQlab website you will find they will send you a free sit bone measuring kit, and walk you through the process of choosing the best saddle for your size and riding style.

The 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube saddle I chose to test features one of the most "ergonomic" designs of the group with a wave-like shape and a raised rear platform. The saddle is not a women's specific design, but rather comes in sizes that suit a wide range of sit bones. The saddle has a 49mm nose width, too, which is slightly wider and slightly longer than the SQlab 612 range, to allow for added pressure relief in climbing positions. The 611 Ergowave also has increased padding and is available in a variety of rail materials (carbon, S/Ti Tube, CrMo). I tested the "14cm" saddle with the Ti/S-Tube Alloy rails, weighing in at 226g; in comparison, the carbon version of saddle weighs in at 196g. The saddle also includes SQlab's Active technology which utilizes three different elastomer dampers that can be swapped out to "tune" the feel of the saddle under load.

The saddle has a nice, wide rear platform and then steps down and slopes forward toward the longer nose. During my testing, it provided good support for my sit bones and the padding, although minimal, was adequate to keep things comfortable. The cut-out channel is not as deep as some of the competition, but it starts wide in the back and tapers off towards the middle of the nose. I felt like the channel provided adequate pressure relief for my forward/aggressive riding position. I loaned this saddle off to one of my riding buddies, and she absolutely loved this saddle - she even ventured to say she can pretty much not wear a chamois when riding the 611 due to the shape and support this saddle provides. I have as of yet to remove a chamois from my riding gear list, but I do have a lot of female friends who have gone that direction thanks to modern saddle technology.

I really like the fact that SQlabs has created a saddle that will work for either a penis or vagina, wait, am I allowed to say that? Hmmm....for Frank and Beans as well as Veejayjay, then. While a little on the pricey side, I would say this saddle was my favorite of the group and offers excellent comfort, support, and style.

SQlab 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube Saddle

Pros
+ Comfortable in all riding positions
+ Available in multiple widths
+ Channel for soft-tissue discomfort
+ Designed for men and women
Cons
- Expensive



SDG Components Radar MTN
Tested by Jameson Florence

• Weight: 230g
• Colors: Multiple color options
• Width: 138mm
• Length: 270mm
• MSRP: $99.99 USD
sdgcomponents.com


SDG Components is a bit of an enigma. Although you won't find much company information or history on their website, if you dig deep you will find that their name stands for "Speed Defies Gravity". In the pre-dropper era, they made their name with their innovative and lightweight "I-beam" seat post head and saddle combo. Today their focus seems to be a fairly diverse selection of saddles that come in a variety of shapes, and sizes, alongside grips, and a pretty nifty looking dropper post.

The Radar MTN is built for performance and all-day comfort on a mountain bike. It utilizes a flat forward design for aggressive riding positions, a peri canal groove to allow for pressure relief, a longer wider nose for additional forward support, and a rear "buzz" cutout for extra tire clearance for a 29er at full compression. The saddle comes in one size—270mmx138mm—but three different models with three different price points, Cro-Mo rails ($69.95), Steel rails ($49.95) and Ti-Alloy rails ($99.95). The saddle tested is the Ti-alloy model. For $100, it's not cheap, but in a world where similar saddles can run you in the hundreds, it's a good value.

The Radar supports well on the wings and nose without having any hard spots or notable pressure points, though the “peri canal groove" with the hidden cutout does the job better than anything else I’ve used to date. I have spent some ridiculous days in the saddle, so I'm no stranger to the numbness associated with a poor saddle design, but I've experienced this a limited number of times with the Radar. I think this has a lot to do with how well the saddle supports me around the channel yet still manages to offer relief for the sensitive bits. As a result, I find that I can sit and pedal for extended periods without needing to squirm around for a more comfortable position. The cover material is particularly nice, it allows you to slide around a bit without catching your shorts, yet at the same time grips well enough to keep you firmly in place without feeling binding. I do notice that on rare occasions that material can be a bit “squeaky” if moisture levels are just right, but we’re nitpicking here. But along those lines, I'm also a little disappointed in how well the rail paint holds up; it wore off rather quickly where the clamps grab. It’s mostly a cosmetic thing, but still…

There are two features somewhat unique to this saddle that I find beneficial. The first is that with the trend of longer and longer travel 29er’s sporting seemingly larger, more aggressively knobbed tires every year, SDG has designed this saddle with a significant cutout in the rear. When you find yourself on a bike that has just a few millimeters of clearance back there at bottom out, this gives the saddle some breathing room from the tire. Of course, your shorts may still develop a skid mark or three, but you won't hear that 'zzzzZZZT!" sound when your saddle tries to stop the wheel. This cutout definitely adds a more of a pronounced winged shape to the rear of the saddle, and when looking at that profile, one might be concerned about a wingtip catching their shorts during moments of extra rad maneuvering, but I can safely report the saddle has (as of yet) never tried to pull my shorts off.

Second, the longish, squared-off nose gives you a nice platform to press on when the climbing gets extra steep and techy and you absolutely have to slide forward a bit keep traction. You know those times when you have to jam the nose of the saddle where you really don’t want to in order to keep the front tire on dirt? The designers at SDG must not like the feeling of a pointy nose either so they made it as square and large as they could without being obtrusive. Having said that, it's still not a comfortable maneuver, but the Radar's nose at least takes the edge off taint abuse.

SDG has been refining their mountain seat shapes for decades now. I’ve spent a lot of time on quite a few of their models over the years (along with a few other saddles from WTB, etc; but I always find myself coming back to SDG) so I'm familiar with their designs. And while I’ve been comfortable with most of them, for me, the Radar MTN hits the nail on the head. I've had this saddle on my bike since May 2019, and during that time it’s seen well over 800 miles, an absurd amount of mud and some snow tossed in here and there, and a few crashes. Despite the miles and abuse, it’s holding up quite well, showing just a little wear at the seams between the main fabric and the Kevlar wings.

SDG Components Radar MTN

Pros
+ Ergonomic MTB specific shape
+ Rear cutout for 29'er tire clearance
+ Wide square edge nose
Cons
- Only available in one width









About the Tester:

Nikki Rohan stands 5'5" and weighs 135 lbs with a 28-inch waist, 37-inch hips, and 35-inch chest and wears a size small helmet, size large gloves, and EU-41 shoes. She resides in Hood River OR with her husband, Colin Meagher, her two kids, a dog, and a grumpy cat. Nikki has been mountain biking for close to 20 years, including a short stint competing in the pro women category in enduro races in the PNW, as well as events like Trans BC, Trans-Provence, Downieville Classic, Grinduro and the occasional CX race.

About the Tester:

Pierce Martin is 5'11" tall, has a 31-inch waist, and weighs 160lbs on a low beer week. Usually, he is right in the middle of the bell curve wearing medium for most cycling shorts, jerseys, gloves, and helmets. Pierce lives in Hood River, OR where he spends his working hours as a desk jockey in the cube farm.



242 Comments

  • 222 6
 My preferred saddle is the one that makes me uncomfortable about 30 minutes into my ride and then makes me numb by the end. That way I don’t think about it until it’s too late and by the time I’m done I can’t feel anything anyway. After the ride I forget it’s uncomfortable, show up at the trailhead the next day and the cycle continues 30 minutes into my next ride. It’s not a perfect system, butt it works for me
  • 51 4
 There are some parts in between your legs that you don't want numb and want to perform well the next day, but to each their own
  • 9 1
 Haha this was totally the stock saddle that came on my Giant, finally bought a new saddle and omg has it made a world of difference to comfort.
  • 10 13
 what the.....?!?!? DUDE! If my bits go numb, i know something is definitily wrong here. But... its your own body. Do what you want. But please do not complain if you run into problems "down there" one day.
  • 9 1
 @ctd07: Was it the Connect saddle? I had that on my Trance and I'd never felt anything less comfortable in my life. Could've sworn there were square edges on the thing!
  • 2 2
 @T4THH: haha yep I think that's the one
  • 18 0
 @ctd07: I believe just sitting on my seat post is more comfortable
  • 14 5
 You don't chamois? Padded specific Cycling shorts? I usually wear race bib under my MTB shorts, the dream!
  • 6 0
 @ctd07: I had a Defy road bike that had the most amazing seat I've ever used. But since that 2015 model, Giant's saddles have been spawned by Satan himself. I've had 3 Giant's since then (Trance, Fathom HT, Fathom emtb) and they've all had truly awful seats. Useful only for throwing at people.
  • 3 0
 @T4THH: can verify that they also put torture devices on the road bikes - my TCR was hellish when i got it!
  • 3 1
 @mashrv1: I actually like the Giant Connect saddle more than the last 5 saddles I've tried, I actually stole the old one off my wife's bike a while ago.
  • 3 4
 I never wear diaper padding, and the Bontrager Sport Saddle (the one that comes on Trek's lower end bikes) is the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden. No numbness, lots of great padding, a cutout for your boys, and its only $35 bucks.
  • 3 0
 @T4THH: So that's what chamois butter is for.
  • 2 0
 @theflyingz: in fairness.. I did have days, where we rode on for like 4-5h, where the frank and beans are like a wooden brick... no feeling at all.. luckily it s not a lasting sensation...
  • 4 0
 Dude. If your butt hurts, or is numb...
you’re sitting down too much.
  • 6 0
 @saladdodger: Your nerves and blood vessels are like garden hoses. You can ride on a hose a couple of time with your car and it will still be OK. But repeat it too often and see what's going on.
  • 2 0
 @BorisBC35: totally. The item on my Trance was evil. A brick would be comfier. Swapped for a Fabric Scoop.
  • 3 1
 @ctd07: Like the tires that come on trucks/SUV's - get rid of them before you drive/ride! They are evil junk. My brand new Giant saddle (off my Trance) was immediately replaced by a WTB Rocket and is my emergency spare in a closet - where it belongs haha.
  • 4 1
 After all this hate for Giant's stock saddles, I'm wondering what to do with mine as it will never be used again.
  • 3 0
 @brentkratz: wtf are you on about? I'm not getting rid of brand new Goodyear tires?
  • 1 0
 Only pb readers get lame attempts at sarcasm...
  • 2 0
 You my want to read SQ Labs tech info here under "Numbness of the genitals" sqlab-usa.com/pages/saddle-ergonomics-explained
Keep the bits working!
  • 2 0
 @T4THH: " I believe just sitting on my seat post is more comfortable"

I suppose that would work when you are riding in a kilt. Big Grin
  • 1 1
 I felt the same till one of my seats made my dick go numb for a couple hours. Then I started to care a bit more haha.
  • 1 1
 @theflyingz: Numbness=Stamina
  • 2 0
 @Boosting: OK - if you think those OEM Schwalbe/etc tires are as good as the ones you buy with exact specs you want from LBS - go ahead and enjoy those hard rubber Goodyear/China 'expensive' American tires they spec on your new truck that they are not trying to make money on.
  • 2 0
 @T4THH: ditched that saddle after 3 rides. Installed my torn saddle from my previous ride and never looked back. Also found the connect extremely slippery with absolutely no rear end to it. Impossible to control the bike either that thing installed.
  • 135 10
 I want a saddle that will cook my testicles and reduce my sperm count. Humans are earth cancer.
  • 27 88
flag DirtGuru2 (Feb 5, 2020 at 0:49) (Below Threshold)
 I'm generally with you on overpopulation, and think that one of the biggest problems we face today is reckless breeding.

But (why) do you think you and me should be over-compensating to make up for Africa's 4-5x population growth over the next 25 years?
  • 35 10
 @DirtGuru2: wokeness only reaches EU and the USA for some reason, don't you know?
God forbid if people ever address Africa, China or India in any given topic
  • 7 6
 @DirtGuru2: yer! Cuz eye faight dis waz America! SOZ STAN MARSH.
  • 4 1
 @DirtGuru2: meant to say Randy Marsh. Derp
  • 31 5
 two planets meet, one asks the other: whats wrong with you you look terrible?!
other planet: yes i also feel terrible, my athmosphere and oceans a really fckd up- i got homo sapiens.
first planet: no worries, this will also go away.
  • 5 17
flag ATV25 (Feb 5, 2020 at 5:27) (Below Threshold)
 @DirtGuru2: Agreed !
  • 10 14
flag scary1 (Feb 5, 2020 at 8:17) (Below Threshold)
 Quit sucking in air, then. Be the change you want to see... Unless youre just full of shit.
  • 13 11
 @DirtGuru2: Is ''Can't Somebody Else Do It'' your campaign slogan? Jesus christ, honestly you have singled yourself out as a particularly nasty cancerous human there.
  • 3 3
 @optimumnotmaximum: Funny because it's true!
  • 12 5
 @DirtGuru2: Also, over breeding is not just the problem. Our way of life is the problem.
Consume consume consume. We live in excess. We eat way too much meat. We use too much plastic. Etc. Dont worry about all them Africans, they have plenty of famine, oppression and disease before they even get chance to go to school.
  • 9 2
 Not a racist btw. Trying to be sarcastic.
  • 2 4
 @optimumnotmaximum: Leave it to you guys eh...jawohl mein führer.
  • 2 0
 Or just wrap your shite and be a responsible bit of earth cancer .... I got snipped and raised step kids, highly recommended.
  • 55 0
 "I pretty much felt like there wasn't even a saddle on the bike"
I wouldn't exactly list this as a pro, but YMMV......
  • 10 4
 Haha, it felt like there was only a seatpost.
  • 12 1
 Well, sitting directly on the seat post can be a little bit overwhelming at the start, especially if you leave on a two bolt clamping mechanism, but after a while it becomes kinda nice
  • 2 0
 The truth hurts doesn't it, Hapsburg. Oh sure, maybe not as much as jumping on a bicycle with the seat missing, but it hurts.
  • 46 1
 Check out the Fabric Scoop Radius. Hands down the most comfy saddle ive ever had
  • 19 0
 I was surprised to not see any of the fabric saddles on here. Isn't that pretty much all they make anyway?
  • 3 1
 @Trudeez: I think they also have a couple of grips too but mainly saddles.
  • 11 0
 +1 for Fabric! I did a 700km race/event/whatever this summer, and while basically everything hurt (ever had pubes ripped out due to repetitive friction?) there were 0 saddle sores at the end thanks to the Scoop Shallow.
  • 7 0
 Another vote for Fabric Scoop, although I prefer the shallow. I have them on both mountain and road bikes.
  • 11 0
 Fabric was one of their most popular saddle brands in the homepage survey a few days ago, and yet, not a single Fabric saddle on test.
  • 5 0
 Agreed. Fabric on all my bikes! They do however make a wide range of accessories also from tools to water bottles.
  • 4 0
 Have a Fabric Scoop Radius on one of my bikes, while another came with a Scoop Flat. Flat feels just like any other saddle I've had, while the Radius has changed my riding enjoyment substantially.
  • 1 0
 Agreed!! Fabric saddle with titanium rails for me. From 50 mile trail rides to 100 mile fixie rides to Key West. I have about 7000 miles on my track bike with the same saddle.
  • 5 6
 Gotta say that the Fabric saddles are among the most uncomfortable saddles I've ever ridden.
  • 2 0
 Same! I like the Scoop Shallow on my MTBs, and the Flat for road/CX. Great saddles
  • 3 1
 @Trudeez: We will make sure to add Fabric and Chromag in any future saddle reviews.
  • 1 0
 It’s a good saddle. Think it’s maybe the same as the Charge Spoon only more $$$?
  • 2 0
 Fabric Scoop Radius is the only saddle I haven't bent rails on with my hardtail.
  • 41 1
 Chromag Trailmaster for big rides hands down. That's like a lovely leather sofa plus nose cushioning. Lynx is a pretty good lighter option too. Pricey but best saddles I've used.
  • 5 1
 Yup! Trailmaster all the way. I can ride for hours, days on end without chamois (slow up, fast down).
  • 1 2
 And the Overture as well.
  • 1 1
 Agreed. No need for padded shorts on an LTD (once they break in).
  • 5 0
 Trailmaster sadly doesn't fit me, as I got a old LTD kicking around getting little use. Put a Lynx on my new bike and it is one of the best ones I've ever tried.
  • 1 0
 Hell yeah...I even put it on my road bike because it is so dam comfortable.
  • 2 0
 Trailmaster is great if you have a slack seat angle and often need your saddle nose in your taint.
  • 1 0
 Love the trail master. Unfortunately my new bike needs a little more room for tire clearance so I decided to go with the SDG Radar. I am hoping it works out.
  • 5 0
 Yeah, no Chromag in this review? I'm out.
  • 2 2
 Best saddle out there. Comfy and strong. I got tired of breaking WTBs, now have 3 Trailmasters, the oldest of which is 3 years old and on bike #3. They're heavier than anything else on this list though, so if you prefer saddle sores and sore sit bones to save 100g, by all means go with something else.
  • 1 0
 @gumbytex: you know you can change the angle of your seat right? A friend suggested I point the nose down slightly after he heard I bought a trailmaster. It was awesome advice. Just the tiniest adjustment and it was so much better.

That being said, nose in the taint is a climbing technique for some. Definitely more comfortable than my SDG fly for that usage.
  • 25 1
 Sqlab all the way. I have a Meta 29 with rc2 fork, xt brakes, xt drivetrain etc. and still Sqlab 611 is the best part of my bike, seriously.
  • 14 1
 Yes, loving my SQLab 611. Best seat I've ridden in my 30+ years of riding.

Will be transplanting the 611 to my upcoming dream bike build. Actually the only part that's making the cut.
  • 7 0
 Didn't see your post, but I said the same. 611 for life
  • 2 0
 I really wish the SQ lab 611 ergowave had a higher weight limit. It is amazing saddle that my fat ass bent the rails on in six weeks. I need to find something as amazing that can handle 260lbs of me.
  • 3 0
 @Unrealityshow: Which version did you get? There’s the 611 “active” models that are more fragile and the standard ones which should be more sturdy - maybe give it another chance then.
  • 2 0
 I second your sentiments. Very comfortable saddle. The first one I had developed a crack and after sending a pic to the company of said crack I had a new saddle promptly delivered free of charge. No fuss. Good company to work with. I had the 612
  • 4 0
 Another fan of the 611 Ergowave. Installed one on my Slash last summer after demoing one and it’s easily the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever had under me in 30 years of riding. My local lap involves a sustained 40 min climb and the saddle never ever leaves me tingly or numb.
  • 3 0
 @whiteboarder: I got the active. According to their website (something I should have checked before purchase) both have a weight limit that I’m well above.
  • 1 0
 @Unrealityshow: I am right at 265lbs and the 611 Active I had in the past cracked the shell at the front on a bike that I ran the rails all the way forward. I went back to my old fav WTB SST Team for a time. On my new Banshee Titan the steeper seatube allows me to slide the seat back to a more normal centered position and I don't need to get so far over the nose on climbs. So far so good on this SQLab 611 Active.
  • 1 0
 @h-beck83: Did you need proof of purchase / receipt info for this?? Same thing happened to mine, but loved the saddle up to that point.
  • 1 0
 @Unrealityshow: man, Im glad you said something. I was halfway through the process of picking out an SQlab saddle and just found out there is a weight limit and Im above it.
  • 3 0
 @DirtGuru2: +1 to that, same time looking for the right saddle. I now own 3 SQLabs, long rides no problem.
  • 2 0
 Yup, I have 4 SQLab saddles on all my bikes. Still get stoked on how comfy they are everytime I get on. I hate chamois too and this lets me get away going without one without an issue.
  • 1 0
 @h-beck83: Do you have or try 611 saddle? I'm in doubt about which saddle to choose for XC-racing and marathon (6-8 hours long) and I'm leaning toward to buy 612, but won't it be too hard paddind rather then 611?
  • 1 0
 @Vel0Fel10w: no I did not need proof of purchase.
  • 1 0
 @Barbaric29: I don't think it's always about how much padding you get. I think it's more about making sure you have the right width for your ass. I actually think I have the 611 instead of the 612. I misspoke in the post above so I can't comment on the 612.
  • 1 0
 @h-beck83: Thank you
  • 1 0
 @DirtGuru2: I did the exact same thing a year ago. Ticked off everything i wanted on a new bike, bought it, put it together (mailorder thing) and put my old SQ Lab on it.
  • 22 1
 Why is "shorter" or "short nose" listed as a con? It's usually the main selling point...
I much prefer short saddles as they aren't as likely to catch your pants or be in the way in general.
  • 3 2
 It's a selling point for roadies because they can move the saddle further forward with a shorter nose (silly UCI rule about how far forward the nose of your saddle can be). But sometimes on an MTB, I'm perched right on the very tip of the saddle.
  • 9 1
 @mnorris122: that's because your seat tube angle isn't steep enough...
  • 5 0
 @LaurensVR: the joys of an overforked hardtail!
  • 2 0
 @LaurensVR: That's because you want to move around on the saddle. Normal position on flats and normal ascents. On the tip when needed and on very steep sections. This is the reason I am not even thinking about trying a short saddle on mtb.
  • 1 0
 With a short nose, you're less likely to be speared in the ass by your saddle while crashing, and that's the closest thing to a sex life that some of us have.
  • 2 0
 As a bikefitter as my main job I could tell that shorter saddles are the s*it! Smile
Most of all customers decide to buy them after they test it, so why is this "cons" I dont get it...
With good position and nice gemoetry you dont need to go so much forward and on short saddles you can seat quite normally also on the steepest climbs and not on the small narrow front of the saddle!

It works for Sam Hill (Spec. Power Arc, before Power) for three seasons if Im not wrong, as it works for a lot of top XC racers in UCI XC WC. So, if it works for them, me, my customers, not to even go to road cyclers... ok, longer is better! Yeah right!
  • 1 0
 @mnorris122: i find stupid not to have a longer saddle to choose where to sit depending on the traction you need. My steep hills skills come together with my ass-penetrating will
  • 20 0
 Saddle test are more or less useless seeing that personal preferences vary hugely. Nevertheless after over 20 years of trying zillions of saddles - the SQlab is by FAR the most comfortable for me.
  • 2 0
 My sentiments as well, especially anyone who has worked in a shop or done fitting knows it's a crap shoot. You just never know what will work for someone else until they demo a variety and you can show them similar styles they prefer. Pressure mapping and sit bone measurements only go so far.

The only thing to really take from a review is likely the quality/weight/durability.
  • 2 0
 @Jamminator: Saddle reviews can be very useful, because you can see only so much in a picture, but the test has to bring out the characteristics of the saddle and compare it to another saddles to be useful. Subjective opinions are useful only when the person is comparing to another saddle/s.
  • 15 0
 SQlab changed my life 1 year ago.
After 10 years of cycling everyday (30km a day commuting + mtb or road the week-end), I was used to numbness. Technically my genitals felt like cotton after 1H riding.
I bought a couple of saddles all supposed to be the best for numbness --> didn't work.

I now have a 611 ergowave active and wouldn't change, ever. Weird to get used to but worth every penny
  • 18 0
 +1. for sqlab. i can't confirm or deny that ur genitals felt like cotton.
  • 7 0
 Yes I have been the same , tried loads of different saddles for MTB riding , some expensive ones that have all the features for a comfortable ride , some cheaper ones which were ok , but in the end have finally settled on the SQlab 611 , been on it for over a year , wouldn’t use anything else!
Takes a bit of getting used to but it is well worth it!
  • 1 0
 I would really like to love my SqLab (ergowave active) but I get a pressure point with a needle-like pain after a few kilometers, I tried to mesure my seatbones and all before ordering, got a 14cm, but the pain is here. It may be due to having a shorter leg (that's precisely why I wanted an active), I don't know.
The weird thing is that the saddle's notice seem to indicate that you're supposed to sit over the elevated rear part, not in the comfortable area.
Never got around at emailed sqlab for some more info, it's been in a box for several years.
  • 1 0
 @Will-narayan: I struggled a the beginning with, as you describe, needle-like pain around the adductors. I had to tilt the saddle a bit (up/down axis) to find the correct position. The good position is very precise.
Yes you can sit on the elevated part, the saddle must be put forward
  • 2 0
 SQlab Active did not work for me at all. I found the top of the saddle to be too square with the edges digging into my bumb / inner thigh with each pedal stroke.

I now have a Specialized Phenom and find it much more comfortable.
  • 2 0
 @Xorrox: I went from Phenom to 611 and couldn't be happier haha. Saddles are definitely a personal thing.

Something to note about the SQLAB saddles is that the seating position is a good bit further back than other saddles relative to how far forward the rail goes. In other words, if you have slack seat angle and are already slamming current seat forward, SQLab saddle will make seating position even further back which might make it a struggle for some.
  • 1 0
 I have an old back injury and the SQlabs is the only saddle I can handle for more than an hour without my foot going numb
  • 11 0
 Good intro to saddles and great to point out the importance of a good seat. It would be helpful for more manufacturers to make demos available. This is one product that buying online without trying can make for an uncomfortable ride.
  • 14 0
 Where's the charge spoon?? Best saddle hands down. Value and quality and a few cool colours as well!
  • 1 0
 Absolutely, I just keep buying them everytime I get a new bike. VFM they're literally mipossible to beat!
  • 2 0
 Made by Fabric/Same company
  • 1 0
 I have a Charge Spoon on 4 bikes and over 15k miles on em combined,it's an awesome saddle. It's also rides really nice. I remember comparing it back to back to an OE saddle on a 1st gen Foil, night and day difference on bump absorption.
  • 11 3
 I dont trust anyone named pierce to review anything...
  • 6 0
 Not even armor?
  • 3 0
 A rather odd thing to say
  • 4 0
 After 15 years of mountain biking, and owning 6 bikes with retail values ranging from $4.5-7k, I finally plunked down the $200 to have a comprehensive professional "bike fit" done on my current ride. After sitting on this cool pressure pad, and doing some measurements, it turns out the best saddle is the one that exactly supports your skeletal structure, in your specific riding position.

Best $200 I ever spent (plus the cost of a new stem and saddle).
  • 2 0
 Now buy a few of that saddle, because they're likely to stop making it in a few years...or they'll change the design slightly and it won't feel the same as the old.
  • 3 0
 I used an Ergon SM Comp Men's saddle for around a month. It was nice and comfy until the rails got badly bent downwards at the back. When I enquired about a warranty replacement I was told this was down to excessive weight on the saddle and it probably wouldn't be covered, I weigh 80kg.. I wouldn't buy another Ergon saddle...
  • 2 1
 How does such a thing happen, though? Was it a crash? Never tried an Ergon saddle, but i can't imagine any saddle rails just bending in normal use under a normal sized rider. Even the cheapest, most shoddily built bargain bin saddles on cheap citybikes last for decades.
  • 2 0
 @Ttimer: It's not actually that uncommon. I've seen quite a few, mostly off hardtail bikes.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: I recently bent my first one as well. Can't remember the rail material but it wasn't CF. Pretty sure I had the seat pushed a little too far back so a lot of rail wasn't supported on the back side and I used part of my butt and hamstring on an awkward landing one time. On a @Chromagbikes Trailmaster now and it's fantastic. Has really nice graphics on it that are lasting through sandy ass rubbing this winter as well!
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: I'm not sure how it happened?It might've been a heavy landing but I still don't think the rails should bend so easily for an average sized rider on a full suspension bike.
I've not had the rails bend on any other saddle I've used over the last 20 years.
  • 4 0
 @Ttimer: saddle rails bend pretty easily... go off a small drop and have a foot slip off the pedal, rails will bend often from this.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: I had a front wheel slide out this summer riding the dh bike where my inner thigh somehow slammed onto the seat and bent the drive side rail but didn’t hit the ground. Hurt like a mother f’er! I’m roughly 90kg, do not small but not huge either. Stock seat from Kona.
  • 1 0
 @Ttimer: i've straight up broken carbon rails on a selle italia mtn saddle before and i only weight 70kg
  • 3 0
 I love my Specialised Power saddle, and the short nose is a big plus in my book because it looks good on smaller frames and gives me more space to straddle the bike. The biggest downside is definitely the price, they're so expensive! When I first started using it though, I found that the wider saddle would bruise my inner thighs when descending on steep trails. For whatever reason, that issue has gone away.
  • 3 0
 Tried many saddles, also in the right width for my sit bones, but the SQ Lab is the first one I can sit on without my private parts going numb. What a revelation! Definitely a keeper.
  • 3 1
 This is definitely going to be subjective. A saddle that's comfy for me might not be comfy for someone else and for different disciplines there are different saddle requirements.

For selecting saddle width: Go to a lbs that has one of those squishy pads where they can measure the distance between your sit-bones and choose the saddle width based on that.
  • 1 0
 Agree with this, so much. How "good" a saddle might be is 100% dependent on if that saddle fits you. Short of worrying about weight, that is the only thing that matters.
  • 2 0
 I have been on the quest to find the right saddle for me for the last 2 years. I tried the fabric scoop, Ergon, SDG, WTB Silverado. Silverado was the best of the 4 but still not quite right. Then I remembered my basic specialized saddle that came on my 06 Stumpjumper that I loved so much. I decided to give specialized a second chance and bought a phenom with a short nose. It has been the best. It disappears beneath me. It’s such a challenge to find the right fit. I suggest you keep trying till you find the right one for you. It’s so nice once you find the one. Just buy the least expensive erosion when testing and sell the ones that don’t workout on the buy/sell.
  • 2 0
 Surprised to read so many comments about numb private parts. Wouldn't use such a saddle more than once.

Anyone having saddles on the radar for being the cause of lower back pain?
sacroiliac joint etc. is just a few inches above...
  • 2 0
 I have battled that myself.

WTB, Spoon, Chromag, Specialized, Titec - all good saddles I have tried but lots off issues for me with hip and lower back pain.

More narrow? Wider? Both, neither?

The issues are off and on but gradually bad enough that I stopped doing rides on consecutive days and started spacing out my rides around how much my back or hips were bothering me.

Finally I decided to drop the coin on SQlab a couple of months ago and it was some zen action - everything felt neutral and planted with no hip or back discomfort.

I'm able to do back to back rides, I'm riding more, and I went ahead and put another SQlab on my other bike.

The thing with saddles is when it is right it is right but man it is hard to work out what that might be.
  • 4 0
 Not a fan of WTB tires or other stuff, but their saddles are the best. Rocket, Volt, Silverado, Pure are all excellent. Currently trying a Koda; so far, so good
  • 2 0
 Last year I got an Ergon SMC4 Comp and when I did the BWR on it my buttox sure was comfy for those 13 hours I was on the bike. I also got a WTB Koda race on clearance from Jenson because people said that it's crazy comfy even though it was originally designed for women and they were right.
  • 2 0
 For anyone with bad nerve pain down there -- I have a condition called pudendal neuralgia that is also known as "cyclist's syndrome". I thought I'd be in pain forever, but have been able to manage my symptoms through lifestyle changes (diet, meditation, yoga, using a sit-stand desk, etc) and physiotherapy.
Now I use a Tioga Spyder on my mountain bike (padless - like a plastic web hammock) and a Spiderflex saddle on my commuter bike (noseless saddle with holes for your ischial tuberosities - no need to cycling shorts!!).
All this to say - if you suspect you have PN: don't power through the pain. Stop and reassess your life, then come gradually back to riding and try different saddles. I'm very intrigued by the Specialized saddle in this review in particular, but I'm also so comfortable with my Spyder saddle now that I doubt I'll ever go back to a traditional cushioned saddle now. The risk is too high for me since I don't want to live with permanent nerve damage and pain :S
  • 1 0
 I use a Moon saddle on all of my bikes. It’s noseless, and kind of like a toilet seat if you run it backwards (which I do). I swap saddles at the top of my ascent, descend with a regular saddle, and then repeat. The shape of the moon saddle works really well for tying to my handlebars with some old shoes laces. I’ve not had a problem with it coming loose. It takes about 4 minutes to swap, but I’ve actually started pedalling again so that’s worth it to me.
  • 1 0
 I wrecked my perennial nerve years ago. Nothing but Devo for me now. Luckily, the fancy-pants Deva has the same thin firm padding and shell that the Devo used to have. Once my current Devo dies, on to a Deva!!!
  • 3 0
 I want a saddle with a short skirt and a longgggggggggggggggggggggggggg........ That being said, all these are nope. Chromag Trailmaster FTW for all those big keisters out there
  • 1 0
 That's awesome, wish this was around when I was buying a saddle. Ended up getting a, "Raceface Aeffect"; mostly because it, "looked cool" on the website, but now I find my big butt swallows it, and it's pretty hard. Also, I was underwhelmed when I received the saddle, because it was smaller than I had hoped, and didn't look as cool as the website suggested. Overall I would say saddles are as important as they say here, and don't do what I did. Also, big thumbs up to WTB, they are a underrated company in my opinion, had WTB rims that were absolutely amazing for the price of the bike, and what I expected.
  • 1 0
 Chromag trailmaster is an excellent saddle, most of my bikes have the Pro Turnix saddle which I love. My favorite saddle of all time is my Loaded Napalm saddle. Saddle review is really hard. It is so personal and depends of many factors
  • 1 0
 None of these are expensive enough for my 10k mid level carbon steed, come on bike seat companies you can do better then that, do your part to force them to downspec the drivetrain to GX to keep it below 11k....downcountry version optimized for use with my dropper post could easily double the price of these.

I agree that saddle reviews are somewhat useless...I will be sad when my favorite saddle dies. I have a box of old ones ( mostly brand new) that have not found new homes after getting removed on arrival home from the bike shop. I wonder why they dont sell bikes without a seat like pedals....
  • 1 0
 You really should list a saddle" height (depth) and so should manufacturers. I needed one to get out of my way when down and had to email all the manufacturers for that number. The SQ Labs one was quite a bit less depth, and so I went with it and it looks like it lowered my seat by about 10mm from the Volt I had on before.
  • 3 0
 SQLab on my bike. Best investment to date IMO. No more sore ass. Did a quick lap after 4 weeks off No discomfort. Expensive yes , but so is biking!!!!
  • 1 0
 On that Selle, even if you are enormous NOBODY lets their junk hang down into a saddle cutout! Ok, well speaking for myself, there is NO WAY I'm letting my junk hang down into that cutout! Seems like a good way to... well, nevermind. Smile
  • 1 0
 I like Ergon's eMTB saddles. Yeah, I know, eMTB-specific saddles sound dumb, but it's actually awesome for big days on big (pedal) bikes with steep seat angles. The nose is more padded than their other saddles (and it's more padded generally) and it has a nice tail support.
  • 3 0
 I'm just in awe of the fact you maintained your sanity swapping saddles so often. That's my least favorite part on a bike to tinker with.
  • 2 0
 Pfft. Try fork and shock testing. Smile
  • 1 0
 The worst. The more times I swapped saddles the more times I wished for a more user friendly clamp system that doesn't make me want to chuck my $200 saddle across the room.
  • 1 0
 "Third, how flexible are you? People without a lot of flexibility tend to shift around more; a rounded shape tends to suit them better. Super flexible riders tend to prefer a slightly curved saddle. Reasonably flexible riders (most cyclists) typically have a stable position on a bike, which translates to a flat saddle."

So...

* not flexible = rounded shape
* super flexible = slightly curved saddle(different than rounded?)
* reasonably flexible = flat saddle

I think I know what you mean by "curved" (the upsweep of the tail?) vs rounded/flat (the side to side topography), but the way that sentence is structured is incredibly confusing. Mentions round (side to side) then curved (front to back) then square (side to side). Are super flexible riders not as stable as reasonably flexible riders?
  • 1 0
 I am curious about this as well. I have a Fizik Arione which they recommend for people with very flexible spines. It is flat. All the saddles I ride except for the winter Brooks B17 are flat. This is for road, MTB, and the adventure/gravel bikes.
  • 1 0
 bontrager arvada so a POS saddle, hard and not comfortable!!

on the other hand, the power mimic is super comfortable (as a guy) and i would recommend! the normal power saddle was too hard on the nose.. i tried both for MTB and didnt really like it because they are a bit harder than i want with no chamois but on the road bike its perfect

Ergon SM pro is also super comfortable, no need for a chamois on this one even on longer rides
  • 1 0
 Ok, I need some more education. By a round seat shape, what exactly do you mean by that and what kind of seat would be a good example. At least to look at to see what you mean. I am trying zwift this winter and after 1/2 hour i start to get sore and numb, even with a budget chamois. Anything over an hour becomes painful AF on my stock norco seat. Also, do i keep my seat level or dip it a bit if my boys get a bit numb?
  • 1 0
 Step 1: burn anything branded Norco on your bike except your frame.

Step 2: get a comprehensive bike fit session

Step 3: never think about it again
  • 1 0
 @Boosting: i don't want to do that because I am getting a new bike this year. I've been riding a 2013 norco fluid fs and it is not really enough bike for some trails i take. I do want to invest in getting fitted to the new bike though. I have a short inseam and long torso so fitting a bike properly is not easy.
  • 1 0
 its weird how saddle reviews do not show the length of the rails in relation to the saddle demensions. my new bike has a steeper SA...the fox transfer on my bike has no setback. my saddle position has to change and more specs are needed before making the rounds at LBS's.
  • 1 0
 I have tried an SDG BelAir 2, and it is the worst saddle I've ever tried. My gentleman's region gets numb within 30 minutes. Same goes for the OEM saddle my Cannondale came with. I then tried an SDG Duster and it was amazing, other than the fact I had to swap it out after I got a dropper (it had an I-Beam post).

I now got a cheap Northrock fatbike and it has some walmart special "Velo" saddle, and it's the comfiest saddle I've ever ridden LOL. It's going on my trail bike during the summer, even though it's ugly and heavy.
  • 1 0
 Selle Italia used to make an SLR XC flow saddle which was awesome. Ruined mine looping out on a wheelie clipped in.

I could only replace it with n SLR X-Cross which shapewise was good but lacked the grippy bits.

Then I got a WTB Silverado on a hardtail I bought and it’s been great too so I never bothered to swap it out!
  • 1 0
 Brooks cambium 100%. It sucked on all my other bikes, but i'm so upright on my mountain bike it works fine. It can get soaking wet and not give me swamp butt. It's also heavy and not as comfortable as other saddles, but the waterproof factor is unbeatable.
  • 1 0
 A boat might have been missed here entirely. My LBS of choice is the Sports Garage in Boulder. Hands down the best bike shop and mechanics I’ve ever had the pleasure to work with. I brought in a freshly assembled YT Capra AL 27.5 Ltd last fall for cockpit and tire change outs and they recommended a Ergon sport gel in a woman’s version. I’m 6’3” 220 rigged up and I was like WTF? Omar told me to have faith, saying that the many of the crew there rock this Ergon women’s version, as it’s a shorter saddle that you can maneuver around on effortlessly and ride comfortably all day. Dam if he wasn’t 100% right. I wouldn’t have come up with the idea on my own. What works best for your unique body type might just surprise you.
  • 2 0
 The SDG Radar is the best one I have ever ridden. And it looks like they might come up with a new version of the Bel-Air soon.
  • 2 2
 I would love more options for gravity saddles... of these here, at best WTB and SDG will not leave marks on my thighs from the bike moving under me. These thin saddles are ridiculous for anything else than XC marathon and road.
  • 5 2
 I think its time you start designing a line of Pinkbike bitch-proof products.
  • 5 1
 No Chromag Trailmaster? Nothing beats supple genuine leather.
  • 4 1
 Another vote for Fabric Scoop Radius. Shape is a personal preference but the build quality is great.
  • 4 0
 WTB Volt is one of the best trail saddles. Lightweight but comfy.
  • 1 0
 Interesting to hear your comments on the Volt. I've had both the narrow comp and pro versions and loved them. Never sore except in the early season Smile . I will say though, my rides are typically 2 hours or less.
  • 3 0
 The Chromag Lynx would be another good option to review. Or the Trailmaster.
  • 3 0
 Forget about sit bones. Let's talk about thigh gap. I need a saddle that will accommodate my zero thigh gap.
  • 1 0
 This article gave me a bit of PTSD from trying to find a saddle that actually fit a couple of years ago. I ended up on the Ergon SME-3 but it took trying about a dozen saddles and enduring some pain.
  • 1 0
 I have ridden many thousands of km on the WTB Silverado saddle and I find it very comfortable. I did a 400km ride in one day last year on my road bike and my ass felt fine (although my legs were pretty cooked!).
  • 1 1
 This article isn't helpful at all unless you're also showing the test riders' sit bone widths. Saddles are an extremely personal choice and what works for me might not necessarily work for you. Whenever a customer asks me what saddle I ride I basically ignore the question and tell them to go get their sit bones measured.
  • 3 1
 The article does include our sit bone widths. If you read the intro, we basically state its a personal choice but here are some options to consider.
  • 1 1
 @nkrohan: You should list the sit bone width in the rider stats section.
  • 3 0
 Ergon 4ever, I’ve tried many it was honestly the best, most comfortable saddle for me
  • 1 0
 We are Devo........errrrrrr not available anymore??

I guess it’ll be Deva with the ti rails and thin padding once I kill the current Devo I’m on. Short, flat and wide with thin, firm padding works best for me.
  • 1 0
 So about all that padding and cheap plastic base ...

I got a Brooks saddle, rubberized, with a cut out, works great and doesn’t wear out.

I think Flyte has a new seat that is similar.
  • 3 2
 Glad you spelled wringer correctly Pinkbike. It's a common mistake but I wouldn't like to imagine you putting all those saddles through your ringer.
  • 1 1
 Azonic Love Seat is the best , the wider nose allows you to be anywhere on it Can't beleive how bad all the saddles feel at bike demos . Someone just update it without the huge sides
  • 1 0
 Sdg for life,they are very comfortable,but the rails after a year of riding they start making noises on where they enter the saddle,that’s the only negative
  • 2 0
 @Pinkbike Yall should try an ISM PM2.0 saddle. Puts weight on sitting bones instead of plumbing.
  • 1 0
 Wondering if youd like to review the piece of equipment Ive been using for a saddle for the last ten years. Its a standard housing brick.
  • 1 0
 I have rode the Arvada for over a year and I honsestly hate it. Yes, this is just my opinion but I find it actually to be really uncomfortable and not worth the price.
  • 2 0
 +1 Chromag Lynx, WTB also .

I tried the SQlab 611 and found it uncomfortable??
  • 1 0
 Was it the correct width?
  • 1 0
 Trying a new saddle is like going to prison. You know your ass is going to get hurt, its a matter of how bad your going to get it and whether you will enjoy it after time
  • 1 0
 do not use the WTB silverado. See the small fabric section on the sides? it will ruin every single pair of your shorts/bibs whatever. It is like sandpaper
  • 2 3
 This is a ridiculous "test" As laid out in the beginning of the article, every rider is different. The author's/testers' picks are only good for someone with the same:

* sit bone width
* flexibility
* riding position
* riding style (does that really matter beyond "don't use a DJ/park/DH saddle for anything that needs significant seated pedaling" because those saddles are practically vestigial?)

The padding doesn't matter if the width or shape is wrong. The shell flex doesn't matter if the riding position or shape is wrong. The shape doesn't matter if the width or riding position is wrong.
  • 7 0
 While you are permitted to say whatever you want on here, I would like to disagree with your assessment. I have women who ask me all the time what saddles to try - where to start, what brands to test, etc... The article clearly lays out the steps you need to take before choosing a size/shape saddle, including measuring sit bone width, riding position, bike fit, etc... but it also offers ten different options/brands that may or may not work for you. Its a starting point.
  • 1 0
 @nkrohan: "ten different options/brands that may or may not work for you" is not a starting point, it's the same as walking into a store and looking at the wall of saddles. Any of them may or may not work for you.

A better test would have been to get a couple few riders and get saddles from a bunch of manufacturers that are claimed to match the riders' physiology, riding posistion, and riding style. That would give a better indicator of what saddles are actually good at doing what they claim to do.

Putting a bunch of different riders on the same saddle is useless, but putting a bunch of riders on a bunch of saddles that are supposed to match up with each rider actually says something: One rider gets Brand A's and Brand B's saddle for flexible riders that like to pedal squares, while another rider gets those same brands' saddles aimed for inflexible riders that spin fast circles, etc etc.
  • 1 0
 If you're sitting on your saddle you're not ripping hard enough brahs. Which saddle has the best grip for superman seat grabs? That's all I need to know.
  • 1 0
 Pink bike claims a $130 seat is expensive, but doesn't bat an eyelid reviewing an £8000 bike claiming it's value for money... got to love logic.
  • 2 0
 Another great review piece- stoked to see the comparison chart at the end!!!
  • 1 0
 I'm pretty sure Ischial Tuberosity is also the name of a Hasidic elementary school in Brooklyn. Cosmic coincidence? You be the judge.
  • 1 0
 No love for Selle SMP saddles at all here? I have 4 SMP Glider saddles (all my bikes: all-suspension trail 29er, XC hardtail 29er, gravel bike, road endurance bike).
  • 3 0
 Selle Italia Flite, the winner since the nineties!
  • 2 0
 You know, those big Ass saddles on beach cruisers with the 2 springs? Yeah those, those are comfortable!
  • 1 0
 I tried using the stock seat on my yt because it was color matched and looked good. Weeks later I gave up! Went back to wtb and life returned to normalSmile
  • 4 2
 Saddle? Will always be a seat to me, I ride a bike not a horse.
  • 4 1
 Sit on it, Potsie!
  • 2 0
 Damn, Fonzie -that's harsh.
  • 3 1
 Where dem Fabric saddles be at tho?
  • 2 0
 they are all made at velo
  • 4 3
 Brooks! Hands down the best saddles ever. You don't need fancy new stuff when old tech gets it right the first time!
  • 2 0
 Hello, DH racing season? Please begin soon.
  • 2 0
 sqlab is what I'll be on next. the Ergon sm3 pro is a great saddle.
  • 1 0
 I went from an OEM fitted Fizik to an SQLab. And carried it over to the new bike.
  • 2 1
 Long nosed saddles are a vestigial feature left over from bikes with poor geometry. Change my mind.
  • 2 0
 How does a company like Ergon still have the .myshopify.com URL....
  • 1 0
 This is only US.
Special offer your you guys Wink
  • 2 0
 Tioga DH XL. If you know, you know.
  • 1 0
 Chromag Overture is probably the most purchased seat in the last 5 years versus any other company.
  • 1 1
 what?! no Koobi au enduro! most comfortable saddle out there, its pressure relief channel actually works because it goes all the way through its nose
  • 1 0
 About time someone made a 29er specific saddle. Been horrible riding with this non 29 specific saddle all this time.
  • 2 1
 Who even needs a seat these days?
  • 3 1
 Fabric
  • 2 1
 There's a lot of arse in these results.
  • 2 1
 Has anyone got a suggestion for saddles to help with prostatitis?
  • 2 0
 Build a singlespeed. Not much chance to sit down..
  • 2 0
 @DHhack: or DJ/BMX
  • 2 0
 The singlespeed recommendation is a solid one. They are also seemingly good for lower back pain. They have a cult following and lots of believers. I'm one.
  • 1 0
 Selle SMP Avant or Selle SMP Lite 209, check out Steve Hogg blog.
  • 2 0
 IDK if I had that specifically but I was experiencing some pain down there and SQLab saddles cleared it up for me. no pressure there.
  • 1 0
 Contact Meld 3D to see if they can help. They do a full custom made seats tailor-made for someone's individual anatomy. www.meld3d.com

You also you may be able to just cut out the section directly below where inflammation occurs. Not sure if your condition is acute or chronic how much modification is required. Personally I'd start with a used mid 1990's Selle Italia Flite or Turbomatic. Both are very versatile, have a lot of foam (avoid any gel flows, carbon rail, holes, trenches etc) and could be shaped accordingly. You also may want to look at a full grain leather Brooks or a Berthound from Rene Herse Cycles and cut out a relief hole out or have a professional shoe repair guy stretch the leather in area of discomfort. I'd avoid any or all of these low profile seats listed in this review.
  • 1 0
 Franks and beans Franks and beans...
  • 2 0
 Chromag Trailmaster.
  • 1 0
 Don't know about Specialized, but I sure don't like MIMICS.
  • 2 1
 Saddle review and not one Fabric saddle is present, alright then.
  • 1 0
 Any tips for buying an SQ Lab saddle in the UK?
Ta
  • 1 0
 Selle San Marco Aspide, never change
  • 1 0
 Whoof I had one of those torture devices for a while too long. Not for me!
  • 1 0
 Nothing but WTB around here !
  • 1 1
 Specialized body geometry road saddles are the only mtb saddle you will ever need.
  • 1 0
 The WTB Silverado is the least comfortable saddle I've ever ridden.
  • 1 0
 No SDG, Chromag, Fabric or Deity? Did you guys even try?
  • 1 0
 Oh cmon, where's the pure v?
  • 1 1
 SDG enak, SEDENG harganye.
  • 2 1
 Cromag Trailmaster
  • 1 0
 SDG Circuit MTN carbon.
  • 1 0
 SLRs for days.
  • 2 1
 Fabric FTW!!
  • 1 2
 2 words: WTB Volt

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