The 6 Best Mountain Bike Saddles: And buyers guide

The 6 Best Mountain Bike Saddles: And buyers guide

Where you put your bum is very important, therefore I thought I would put together a guide to the best mountain bike saddles. I have also found the best ones on the market for you to put on your bike.

What type of Mountain Bike Saddle do I Need?

As with most mountain bike components, it depends on what type of riding you do.

Mountain bike saddles vary a lot, but in a nutshell, if you go on a lot of long enduro rides, you will want something with a crease down the middle. This is designed to give you a bit of relief. However, if you ride a lot of cross-country, you will want something with a shallow profile with less padding.

The parts of Mountain Bike Saddlesbest mountain bike saddles

Mountain bike saddles are made up of four components:

  • The Chassis – This part makes up the shape of the saddle, and this really impacts on how comfortable it is. They are usually made from plastic or carbon fibre, which also has an effect on comfort. This is because the different materials flex and absorb shock differently. These properties determine how much padding is needed.
  • The Padding – You would be forgiven for thinking that loads of padding will be more comfortable. But, more padding can be the cause of chafing. Buying soft squidgy saddles means that you have more contact points to be uncomfortable, therefore you should go more minimalist. The best mountain bike saddles use padding made from polyurethane and ethylene vinyl acetate. This is because these durable materials are great at absorbing shock, and can take a lot of weight.
  • The Covering – This is the part of the saddle that wears out the quickest, for obvious reasons. A synthetic covering will last longer than a leather one. So if you ride a lot, it will last longer.
  • The Rails – These attach your saddle to your seat post, and are usually made from carbon fibre, titanium or steel. These different materials make a big difference to the price. Steel rails are cheaper than titanium or carbon, but they are heavier and don’t have the same flex.

Shape and Size

best mountain bike saddles

When choosing the best mountain bike saddles, you need to consider a few things with regard to the shape and size of it. Here are a few things to look in to find the sweet spot.

  • Width – If you choose a saddle that is too narrow, you won’t have the necessary support and will put lots of pressure on your sit bones. If you choose one that is too wide, it may get in the way or rub.
  • Length – Long mountain bike saddles allow you to shift your weight forwards and backwards easier. Therefore, when you are climbing, you can sit further forward to keep the front wheel down. Short saddles are more for commuting or less technical riding, and they are usually well padded.
  • Cut outs – You will notice that some saddles have cut-outs. The idea behind this is to reduce the amount of pressure on those parts of your bum. Choosing a mountain bike saddle with a cut out, is really just down to personal preference.
  • Cross Section – This is looking at the side profile of the saddle. The best mountain bike saddles for racing are usually very flat with a cut out running from the middle to the front. However, they do range from flat, to convex and to rounded.

Mountain bike saddles for women are designed differently as, you may or may not know, their anatomy “down there” is a bit different to men’s. The cut out on a woman’s mountain bike saddle is usually wider and deeper and tend to have a bit more padding.

Fabric Scoop Radius UltimateErgon SMA3WTB Rocket Pro
best mountain bike saddlesBest mountain bike saddlesbest mountain bike saddles
£199.99 from Hargroves Cycles£58.99 from Chainreaction£49.99 from Chainreaction
Verdict: As the name suggests, this is the ultimate saddle.
If you can justify spending £199.99 on a bike saddle, go for it!
Verdict: A very durable saddle for the price.
It is designed for long rides, and to not get in the way
when you need to get over the back wheel.
Verdict: A great all-rounder,
that will suit most riders,
thanks to the choice of different width sizes.
Nukeproof Vector AM CompSelle Italia Lady Gel Flow
best mountain bike saddlesbest mountain bike saddles
£34.99 from Chainreaction£49.99 from Chainreaction
Verdict: A cheap saddle that
will be fine if you don't plan
on going too far.
Verdict: A great ladies' specific
mountain bike saddle, that can be used for road use too.

Choosing a saddle

Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer. I would love to say “buy this one” and it would be perfect for every rider’s bum. However, it isn’t that simple. What is perfect for me, could be arse hell for you.

Therefore, you need to think about what is bugging you about your current saddle. Is it too wide? Is it chafing? It is hindering my riding because…..etc The other thing is, is that you get what you pay for. If you, buy a good saddle to start with however, you won’t want to change it too soon. Therefore, this is much better value for money, and you won’t get annoyed with a cheap and nasty one on your rides.

Hopefully, this post will highlight why you are unhappy with what you have, and help you choose the best mountain bike saddle for you.

 

The Best Mountain Bike Saddles you should consider

Fabric Scoop Radius Ultimate

best mountain bike saddles

The fabric Scoop Radius Ultimate Mountain Bike Saddle is available from Hargroves Cycles for £199.99

The Fabric Scoop Radius Ultimate is pricey. However, there is a reason for it, this is one of the best mountain bike saddles you can buy. The design makes it the perfect balance between performance and comfort, while being minimalist. This minimalist approach means that there are no imperfections from excess material and staples. The cover is a grippy and waterproof microfibre material. Although it is grippy, it will not hinder your movement between being seated and standing, thanks to its shape.

The chassis is made from carbon fibre, which is lightweight and has a flex that means it doesn’t need as much paddling. This adds to its streamline design.

Features:

Rails: Carbon (7 x 9mm)

Chassis: Carbon

Cover: Waterproof microfibre

Profile: Radius

Weight: 180g

Width: 142mm

Length: 282mm

Mid rail to saddle topper 48mm

Verdict: As the name suggests, this is the ultimate saddle. If you can justify spending £199.99 on a bike saddle, go for it!

 

Ergon SMA3

best mountain bike saddles

The Ergon SMA3 saddle is available from Chainreaction for £58.99

This saddle is designed for all mountain use. This saddle has a low sloping rear, meaning you can change position on your bike easily. The padding material is Closed Aircell foam, designed to distribute pressure and provide support. The channel you can see in the picture above, is placed to relieve pressure from your perennium. The cover is made from a very durable microfibre material, that will withstand all that bum rubbing for a long time.

Features:

  • Chassis: Nylon GFRP
  • Rails: Steel
  • Cover: Microfibre
  • Padding: Orthopedic Comfort Foam
  • Weight: 260g (S), 265g (M)
  • Width:135mm
  • Length: 275mm

Verdict: A very durable saddle for the price. It is designed for long rides, and to not get in the way when you need to get over the back wheel.

 

WTB Rocket Pro

best mountain bike saddlesThe WTB Rocket Pro is available from Chainreaction for £49.99

The WTB is a very versatile saddle that is good for a multitude of disciplines. It is used on the road, and is the saddle of choice of Santa Cruz rider Steve Peat.

It comes in three width sizes, so you can choose the optimum one for you. The cover is a dense synthetic material, that is very durable and waterproof.

Features:

  • Sizing: Choice of three sizes
  • Rail: chromoly
  • Weight: 255g
  • Details: Synthetic Cover, Flex-Tuned shell, DNA Padding, Comfort Zone, ABR corners

Verdict: A great all-rounder, that will suit most riders, thanks to the choice of different width sizes.

Selle Italia MaxFlite Gel Flow

best mountain bike saddles

The Selle Italia MaxFlight Gel Flow is available from Chainreaction for £79.99

Although it is not the lightest saddle on this list, this one has potential to be one of the comfiest. This is because it has built in shock absorption. It has more padding than the other ones here, and what is called “specific soft tissue relief”, that reduces pressure on you delicate bits.

Features:

  • Weight: 290g
  • Rail: Vanox Tube
  • Size: 146 x 290mm (W x L)
  • Covering in breathable full-grain leather
  • Gel Flow: inserts in silicone gel with differentiated thickness around cutout
  • Differentiated-thickness padding – 10%: Shell made from 30% Carbon composite
  • Elastomer suspension or shock absorber system

Verdict: A durable saddle that will stand the test of time. It is a good one if you don’t mind something a little heavier in order to be comfortable.

Nukeproof Vector AM Comp

best mountain bike saddles

 

The Nukeprook Vector AM Comp is available from Chainreaction for £34.99

I am a big fan of Nukeproof products (as you will see from this post), and the Vector AM Comp saddle is at the cheaper end of the market. However, it isn’t great for long rides. As I said before, you get what you pay for.

  • Rails: CrMo
  • Size: 275mm X 142mm
  • Weight: 240g

Verdict: A cheap saddle that will be fine if you don’t plan on going too far.

 

Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow

best mountain bike saddlesThe Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow is available from Chainreaction for £49.99

This saddle is not a men’s saddle that has been adapted for women, it has been designed around female requirements from the start. The gel has different thickness throughout, to ensure it is anatomically correct for a ladies’ anatomy.

Features:

  • Cover: Leather
  • Gel Flow: Inserts in silicone gel with differentiated thickness around cutout
  • FC: Differentiated-thickness padding
  • N6: Shell made from Nylon N6
  • Elastomer: elastomer suspension or shock absorber system
  • Weight: 280g
  • Rail: Manganese Tube
  • Dimensions: W 160 x L 262

Verdict: A great ladies’ specific mountain bike saddle, that can be used for road use too.

Fabric Scoop Radius UltimateErgon SMA3WTB Rocket Pro
best mountain bike saddlesBest mountain bike saddlesbest mountain bike saddles
£199.99 from Hargroves Cycles£58.99 from Chainreaction£49.99 from Chainreaction
Verdict: As the name suggests, this is the ultimate saddle.
If you can justify spending £199.99 on a bike saddle, go for it!
Verdict: A very durable saddle for the price.
It is designed for long rides, and to not get in the way
when you need to get over the back wheel.
Verdict: A great all-rounder,
that will suit most riders,
thanks to the choice of different width sizes.
Nukeproof Vector AM CompSelle Italia Lady Gel Flow
best mountain bike saddlesbest mountain bike saddles
£34.99 from Chainreaction£49.99 from Chainreaction
Verdict: A cheap saddle that
will be fine if you don't plan
on going too far.
Verdict: A great ladies' specific
mountain bike saddle, that can be used for road use too.
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