The bike saddle is a critical component that keeps you comfortable while cycling. However, selecting a bike seat is not straightforward because everyone has a unique riding style and anatomy. Nevertheless, you should invest in the best road bike saddle for long rides and enjoy a smooth trip.
Finding the right bike saddle is critical since you’ll be stressing your lower body while cycling. However, you don’t have to spend a fortune because you’re looking for comfort instead of the spec sheet.
As a starting point, measure the width between your sit bones. This distance will help you estimate your new saddle’s general size. Depending on how wide your bike seat is made, you can expect varying comfort levels.
It would be best if you also thought about what you intend to accomplish with the saddle before making a final decision. You are better off considering broad and well-padded options for long-distance rides.
Furthermore, there are multiple saddle shapes with different design principles. You can get flat, semi-round, or rounded profiles. Additionally, the seat may be flattened or scooped with an optional cut-out.
Naturally, the best road bike saddles have a bit of padding. This cushioning doesn’t always translate to a comfortable ride, and it can aggravate the pressure points on your bottom. That’s why professional riders prefer low-profile saddles.
Nevertheless, even if you aren’t a pro rider, you must be comfortable on your bike. Here’s a round-up of the five best road bike saddles for long-distance cycling.
1. Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
In the last decade, saddle technology has improved at a breakneck speed. Different manufacturers are embracing more anatomically friendly designs with pressure relief channels. Nevertheless, their fundamental structure remains. You’ll find most bike seats with a solid hull attached to a padded mid-section and a leather or PU cover.
The Fizik Antares Evo saddle employs 3D printing to produce a novel seat. The company breaks away from conventional designs with an exposed lattice structure for the padding. The partnership with Carbon, famous for Adidas’s next-gen running shoes, delivers a futuristic yet functional accessory.
Although a little pricey, Fizik’s saddle is exceptionally lightweight. The structure sits on an Antares Versus Evo 00 carbon-fiber chassis. The saddle’s meshed design provides full support to your bottom. It is also pleasant to sit on, especially with multiple polymer layers.
Fizik’s saddle is undoubtedly an eye-catcher given its ultramodern 3D architecture. Moreover, the bike seat has a smooth transition between the relief channel and padding. Multiple webbing improves overall comfort during long rides.
- Unique construction model
- Comfortable for long rides
- Adequate bottom support
- Exceptional weight savings
- Carbon-fiber chassis
- Hard to keep clean
2. Supacaz Ti Ignite
Bicycle saddles were often bland accessories that kept you mounted on your bike. However, the award-winning Supacaz Ti Ignite saddle delivers vibrant aesthetics and excellent on-road performance.
The Supacaz is a short and flat saddle. The seat has a noticeable uplift towards the back with a cut-out running in the middle. This groove helps to relieve pressure on your bum and aids blood flow. The Ignite also has nifty wings that wrap around your bottom.
Naturally, flat saddles can get exhausting, especially during long rides. Nevertheless, Supacaz’s curves have a comfortable feel and allow you to adjust your riding position.
Titanium rails are a pleasant addition to the Ti Ignite. These metallic bits are also wrapped in matching colors and stand out from other plain road bike saddles.
Supacaz was started by Anthony Sinyard, who sought to transform boring cycling gear. There are a dozen color bands to choose from. You can get the Oil Slick seat with iridescent patterns on the upper. While there isn’t a plain black Supacaz saddle, the silver and black shade works for a conservative look.
- Sleek design
- Solid build quality
- Extra comfort
- Zero foam compression on long rides
- A dozen vibrant colors to choose
- A little weighty
3. Fabric Scoop Race
The Fabric Scoop Race is quite a looker and greatly impressed our testers. The simple design belies the high-quality materials used to construct this bike seat. The saddle has a smooth finish and looks beautiful on any bike.
Beauty, however, is only skin-deep. That’s why the Fabric road bike saddle has a functional architecture. The surface is non-slip to keep you planted while riding on multiple terrains. Cornering is also easy with maximum traction on the bike saddle.
You won’t find a titanium-railed bike seat at its price point. Besides a premium look and feel, the rails bolster the seat’s shock-absorbing capability.
Fabric offers a variety of saddle configurations for multiple riding styles. You can get a seat in race-trim or outdoor cycling and still enjoy Fabric’s classy finish.
The Fabric Scoop seat is easy to maintain, even if you love dirt trails. The undercarriage is simple, and you can quickly clean up bits of mud and dirt. Also, you can easily mount saddlebags onto the titanium rails.
- Durable design
- High-quality materials
- Maximum comfort
- Non-slip seat surface
- Titanium rails
- A little pricey
4. Fizik Vento R3 Saddle
Fizik’s Argo Vento R3 is a short 265mm saddle. This length is tailored to racing cyclists because you can easily lock your position at speed. Nevertheless, the R3 isn’t the smallest and tolerates more pelvic rotation.
This short saddle has a lowered nose and firm cushioning. The seat allows quick position shifts while pushing along a road course. Also, the bike seat doesn’t bounce despite the padding and provides maximum support.
You can buy the 140mm or 150mm wide Vento bike seats. Each seat has an in-house nylon chassis with carbon reinforcements working with carbon or metal rails. There is also a nose-to-tail groove to ease pressure on your bottom during a ride.
Saddles are partly designed to help you get the most out of your bicycle. Also, they must provide some comfort for longer rides. The Vento R3 balances physical relief and performance even on long trips. Furthermore, it is well-built with carbon-fiber components to last longer.
- Very comfortable design
- Suitable for long rides
- Easy to switch riding positions
- Innovative design
- 90-day guarantee not available for online purchases
5. Ergon SR Comp
The Ergon SR Comp is a short saddle that promotes a locked-in riding position. Even though the SR Comp is the entry-level version, you’ll be hard-pressed to identify any flaws.
The seat has an ingenious design with top-notch build quality. The upper is firm for maximum support and keeps the central channel edges intact. Additionally, the saddle bears orthopedic comfort foam.
There is a main central channel on the Ergon SR Comp. It is deeper towards the tail and uses OrthoCell inlays to stay rigid. This ridge relieves pressure on your perineum and encourages blood flow during a ride.
The Ergon is an excellent saddle for riders who like to move about with its almost flat profile. Additionally, there’s a slight tilt at the saddle’s tail end. This uplift supports your bottom when you need to get the power down.
The SR Comp has a broader nose than other road bike saddles. Therefore, you can use the seat on smooth courses and a variety of rough terrain. The ergonomic architecture employed means you can try out a variety of positions without going numb
- OrthoCell cushions for extra comfort
- Ergonomic design
- Robust architecture
- Perfect for multiple terrains
- Best value for money
- Not the lightest saddle
What to Look For When Buying a Saddle
The Shape of the Saddle
A wide variety of saddle shapes guarantee optimum performance while cycling. However, each bike seat is tailored for a specific form of riding. Therefore, before choosing a bike saddle, find out your bike needs.
Generally, any road bike saddle must deliver comfort and ride performance. Therefore, you shouldn’t pressure your bum’s soft tissue. On the other hand, the sit bones will take the full brunt of your weight.
Modern bike saddles incorporate radical designs to ease pressure on your soft tissues. Cut-outs are regular features on-road bike saddles as they improve blood flow. These grooves also eliminate the feeling of numbness after extended riding sessions.
Still, bike saddles with a central groove might not suit off-road riding. You tend to kick up a lot of dirt and mud on nature trails. Therefore, you should consider a full bike saddle.
Once you find a form that works for your type of riding, consider the extent of your sit bones. Fortunately, many manufacturers have an in-house system to measure your sit bones. Also, you can try out various saddles to see which one works best.
Typically, narrow saddles are best used for aggressive riding, especially if you’re racing. For longer rides, you’ll often maintain an upright posture. Wider saddles, therefore, offer more support. You can also consider bike seats with winged proportions for added comfort.
A longer saddle allows you to distribute your weight while cycling. Riders will often shift to riding on the saddle nose when pushing up an incline and later move backward.
On the other hand, shorter saddles keep you planted in a single posture. Short-nosed bike seats take time to get used to but provide adequate comfort. Also, these saddles are usually contoured to support your bottom.
As always, take your time to try out various proportions before settling on one saddle. You should always seek a trained specialist’s opinion if you’re experiencing pain while riding.
Ditch the cushiony seats when choosing the best road bike saddle for long rides. For beginners, less padding may seem to work against comfort. However, a firm cushioning maintains a consistent fit as you rack up the miles.
Most saddles have some padding to dampen road vibrations. Moreover, modern designs employ variable padding across the bike seat. Different density materials support various points on your bum and eliminate pressure buildup on your soft tissues.
Men and women have different anatomies. You’ll often find many road saddle brands making gender-specific seats to adapt to these differences.
Nevertheless, the optimum solution is to try out different saddles. Male-specific bike seats aren’t radically different from the unisex types. Some women are at home on a male-specific road bike saddle for long rides.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do saddles work?
A bike seat is designed to protect your premium. While riding, the perineal section and pubic bone arch rest on the saddle. This region hosts blood vessels and nerves. Therefore an improper saddle will cause numbness and general discomfort during long rides.
Using a correctly-sized bike seat allows you to relieve pressure on your perineum. As your sit bones take all the stress, you’ll experience improved blood flow to your muscle tissues.
2. Why do some saddles have a cut-out?
Bicycle saddles with central grooves or cut-outs look revolutionary. Besides their aesthetics, the central channel plays a vital role in providing maximum comfort when cycling.
The most apparent reason for including a cut-out is to cut the saddle’s weight. Also, the opening improves ventilation and prevents water from collecting on the seat during a shower.
With the cut-out, you won’t place the total weight of your body on the perineum. The open groove distributes your weight across the rest of the saddle to alleviate numbness. Remember, your perineum harbors blood vessels and nerve endings and must be protected.
3. What shape or size do I need?
Firstly, you have to know the distance between your sit bones. Naturally, the width varies from one person to the next. Also, women often have larger hips than men and may need wider bike seats.
Saddle makers generally create models with varying widths to suit different customers. Moreover, many manufacturers have unique and non-invasive fit systems for selecting a bike seat.
You can measure your sit bones using gel or a memory foam pad. Both materials retain an imprint of your bones that is then measured.
Additionally, your riding position determines the shape and size of your saddle. An aggressive style is tailored for achieving smoother aerodynamics. In this case, you might fare better with a flat saddle. A contoured seat will prop your bottom and suits those with an upright posture.
4. How much money should I spend?
The cost of a saddle mostly depends on the materials used. Bike seats with a carbon-fiber shell and rails are lightweight and robust. However, the material doesn’t come cheap. For beginners, getting the latest carbon-spec seat is not ideal. Therefore, you should consider polymer saddles with alloy rails.
Other saddle features improve comfort while riding. However, bike seats with cut-outs cost a pretty penny because of the additional labor needed.
5. How can I make my saddle more comfortable?
Saddle comfort is an essential factor to consider for long rides. You can improve your bike saddle by switching the saddle, proper positioning, and ditching saddle cushioning.
First, know how far your sit bones are to find the best seat. Additionally, you can try out a bunch of bike saddles at the shop for the best fit.
The seat adjustment could also affect your ride’s comfort even if you have a proper saddle. Fortunately, adjusting your bike seat is relatively easy. Moreover, consider moving the handlebars back and forth until you attain a comfortable fit.
Lastly, you can adjust your seating posture to make the saddle more comfortable. An upright posture plants your body weight squarely on the saddle. However, you can use the bike to carry some of the load.
Adjusting the handlebar height and length will vary your riding position. However, such adjustments aren’t a magic bullet. You’ll need to change your posture until you find what works best constantly.
6. Do you need a lot of padding on the saddle?
Have you ever wondered why pro-cyclists use thin saddles? When riding a bike, you don’t need a lot of padding. Therefore, a cushioned gel saddle cover will do more harm than good for your cycling experience. The cushioning compresses and increases pressure on your soft tissues as you ride.
The type of saddle you use determines how well your ride will be. The right bike seat must distribute your weight evenly on the surface. Your bike seat shouldn’t be too wide to cause chafing from the friction around your crotch.
Riding your bike will be frustrating if you are using the wrong equipment. The wrong bike saddle will cause your bum and lower back to ache. Also, you will experience friction that causes chafing after sitting on a broad saddle.