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The top 8 best budget mountain bike saddles

In this article I’m going to give you an overview of some of the best budget mountain bike saddles.

Cycling has become more expensive the last couple of years, and bike saddles are no exception to the general rule that prices have gone up. So it’s almost embarrassing to say that budget in my mind means a saddle costing less than a hundred dollars.

A hundred dollars doesn’t necessarily feel like a budget price, but high-quality saddles usually start above that number. So relatively speaking it’s at the lower price spectrum and a good requirement when creating a list of budget mountain bike saddles.

The good news is that all of the items on this list are quality items. And the way to keep the price low is to use materials that don’t really affect riding comfort or performance. So yes, carbon saddles with carbon rails do have a number of advantages, but they simply cost at least three times as much.

So if you’re looking for a list of the best budget mountain bike saddles that don’t break the bank, here it is.

Fabric Scoop Sport Gel Radius

Scoop Sport Gel Radius
Scoop Sport Gel Radius

Fabric makes fantastic affordable saddles and Fabric Scoop Sport Gel Radius is a great example.

The nylon shell has a pronounced swoop, which makes going on and off the saddle easy for dynamic riding. The shell is held by steel rails and measures 260 x 155 mm.

At 374 grams it’s anything but light, but for downhill purposes this doesn’t really matter anyway. And it’s the most budget-friendly offering on this list.

You really can’t fault this saddle, especially not for this price. So if you’re looking for a comfortable mountain bike saddle that definitely doesn’t break the bank, this is the one.

Expert Experience

Siobhan Kelly | Contributor – March 12, 2017

I rode it both with and without padded shorts and found the design suited me really well, because it passed the test of a good saddle – namely, I wasn’t aware of it. On rides of about 30 continuous miles it remained comfortable, and even the slightly dropped nose felt fine to perch on during short, steep climbs when I needed to get my weight forward.

Pros and Cons

Selle San Marco Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport (Narrow)

Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport (Narrow)
Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport (Narrow)

The Selle San Marco Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport is both a short and narrow saddle for aggressive road racing on a budget, at least where your saddle is concerned.

It has a carbon steel 7 mm standard rail underneath a glass fiber shell, weighing in at 265 and a foam upper. It has a very wide cut out, and in combination with the reduced length, this ensures your sitting bones do the heavy lifting and increases comfort.

This is a solid option for aggressive riders who don’t mind a race-oriented firm ride. For more leisure touring look elsewhere.

Expert Experience

Matt Page | Contributor – February 28, 2021

On longer rides of three hours or more, the comfort did diminish; the edges of the cutout channel are quite abrupt and seem to create a pressure point of their own. So early on, being seated was fine, with no power loss, but on longer rides I could feel that section. I think it’s because of how far back the channel extends – further than other similar saddles I’ve used.

Another factor could be the amount of flex in the saddle and where. The central area of the saddle moves easily – when pushing down you can almost get the shell to touch the rails – but at the rear there is almost no movement, the saddle feels extremely firm.

Pros and Cons

Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5

Gravita Alpaca X5
Gravita Alpaca X5

At 130 millimeters, the Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5 is a narrow performance mountain bike saddle.

With a flat shape and rounded corners, you’ll have loads of flexibility to move around as the trail dictates your handling.

Some riders prefer a saddle to do nothing else but not get in the way as part of the ride is spent out of the saddle. This saddle does that and still offers enough padding at a very light weight of just 210 grams.

An excellent and affordable option for your tactical trail riding.

Expert Experience

Gerow | Product reviewer – September 23, 2020

The Gravita Alpaca is flatter still than the Terra Alpaca. You might say it’s Netherlands-flat. The cover material looks and feels like the seats in a luxury car, and somehow it has handily endured a number of slides across the trail. The smooth skin is tougher than it looks for sure. Under that layer, the widest points are designed to flex on impact, making for a comfortably cush sensation on rough trails.

Pros and Cons

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women

SMC Sport Gel Women
SMC Sport Gel Women

As with the Core Prime models the Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women features a very distinctive feminine oriented cut out in a saddle with a large seating area.

It’s more affordable, has the same saddle ergonomic shape, but gel padding instead of the memory foam like substance of the Core Prime. Unlike the male version, this saddle has such a large open space you can deem it an appropriate center cut out.

It supports an upright position with enough cushioning to take out any irregularities in the road.

Expert Experience

Kristen Bonkoski | Site Owner – June 13, 2023

Thus far, I’ve used the Ergon SMC Sport Gel on countless lunchtime rides, a half dozen long days, and two bikepacking trips. The longer the ride, the more I like it!

I’ve had zero saddle sores, zero chafing, and *almost* no discomfort even at the end of Day 2 of bikepacking. While there’s absolutely no reason not to use this saddle for shorter mountain bike rides, it’s women who plan to ride long hours that I think will really appreciate it.

Pros and Cons

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men

SMC Sport Gel Men
SMC Sport Gel Men

The Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men is the male version obviously. Ergon has taken its research into male and female anatomy and applied it to this saddle as well.

This result in a more pronounced depression in the center of the saddle. Both saddles are on the less aggressive side of the riding spectrum.

Expert Experience

Miles Arbour | Outdoor adventure guide – May 4, 2020

So far, I’ve taken the SMC Sport Gel on several 40-mile rides and was quite comfortable. Although I haven’t taken it out on a big multi-day ride, I’m expecting good things based on my initial experiences. My position on the saddle is vastly different than that of the Cambium C17, yet equally comfortable. The total length of the medium/large version is 276mm (10.9”), which feels appropriate for any kind of trail riding I’ll get into. I recently tried a saddle with a much shorter nose, and missed the control that a longer saddle can offer while navigating tight corners and narrow features. The padding is plush, yet still firm enough for serious riding and won’t be too soft for riders who are used to sportier saddles. I distinctly noticed the exaggerated pressure relief channel, which helps avoid unnecessary pressure points.

Pros and Cons

WTB SL8 Cromoly Medium

SL8 Cromoly Medium
SL8 Cromoly Medium

The WTB SL8 Chromoly is a plush MTB saddle with a large swoop.

There are also titanium and carbon rails versions of this saddle but they significantly bump up the price whereas every other feature stays the same.

It’s a more allround mountain bike saddle that offers loads of comfort in a 142 millimeter shell width.

The chromoly version has memory foam padding that’s less stiff than the titanium and carbon versions. The shell has noticeable flex. So even though its wider than some of the more performance oriented entries, you’ll hardly notice it because the saddle moves with you.

Expert Experience

Paul Burwell | Contributor – February 7, 2023

Shape-wise the SL8 is pretty flat. There is a slight downturn to the nose and depression in the centre, but we did feel like we were sitting on this one rather than in it. Since the shoulders aren’t particularly deep, you do slide a round quite a bit when pedalling, and when pushing back on climbs there’s not a lot there to hold you.

It has a flex-tuned shell where the rails are offset on raised anchor points, and the area above the cutaway does flex, but the padding is very firm. Cross-country racers will probably appreciate that since they sit down a lot less, but if you like a plush perch this isn’t it.

Pros and Cons

Prologo Kappa Space

Kappa Space
Kappa Space

Coming in both white and black with red elements thrown in the Prologo Kappa Space is the most in your face options of all the saddles listed here. So if you’re in for that type of design this one will float your boat.

Besides the design aspects the Kappa Space has a more classic looking arrow design at 270×147 mm, sitting on cro-mo 7 mm standard rails.

The center cut out and dipped area is more narrow than several of its competitors, which is also in line with more classic designs.

A great fit on a bike saddle will always be something intimately personal. But if you feel more familiar with classically shaped arrowhead saddles, and you like its design, this great piece from Prologo is the best choice.

Pros and Cons

Fizik Tundra M5

Tundra M5
Tundra M5

The Fizik Tundra M5 is a true cross-country saddle, and an affordable option for people who’re looking for a high-quality seat.

The narrow performance saddle measures 287 x 126 mm, and has a carbon composite shell made from carbon-reinforced nylon with wing-flex technology. This means the saddle moves with your pedal stroke, making for a more natural feel.

It has an overall flat shape, which means it’s a solid option for mountain bikers with average flexibility in the hips and don’t necessarily want a locked-in feel when sitting.

It features a large central channel with padded halves for pressure relief. And has a slightly drooping nose to facilitate easier going into a standing position and back onto the saddle without shorts or bibs hooking. The padded shell extends all the way to the side, so no sharp edges causing irritation, chafing on the legs, or chewing up your shorts.

This one is the most affordable option, forgoing either a Kium or carbon rails for a more standard alloy. This keeps the price low. But the weight is still very respectable at 235 grams. For comparison, the carbon version is 70 grams lighter and costs 150 USD more.

Expert Experience

Russell Burton | Photographer and tester – April 21, 2009

The construction doesn’t disappoint with the titanium rails and a really immaculate finish, and in theory the design should work, with a wide, flat platform and long nose to provide a balance between power, support and ease of movement.

But, in practice, it didn’t work for me. The saddle constantly moves beneath you and even the suede-effect strip can’t stop the slippage. Overall it doesn’t make for very efficient riding. But if you spend more time out of the saddle than in it and you’re prepared to splash out on a top-notch build, this could be for you.

Pros and Cons

Specifications budget mountain bike saddles

Name
Rail
Price
Dimensions
Weight
Shell
Padding
Fabric Scoop Sport Gel Radius
steel
47 USD
260 x 155 mm
374 g
nylon
Selle San Marco Aspide Short Open-Fit Sport (Narrow)
carbon steel
59 euros
250 x 139 mm
265 g
glass fiber reiinforced
Pullfoam
Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5
s-alloy
99.99 USD
251 x 130 mm
216 g
nylon
Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women
CroMo
100 USD
295 g
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding
Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men
CroMo
100 USD
300 g
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding
WTB SL8 Cromoly Medium
cromoly
96 USD
265 x 142 mm
266 g
Flex-Tuned Shell
HLX Padding
Prologo Kappa Space
cro-mo Ø7 mm
78 euros
270 x 147 mm
249 g
nylon
Light foam
Fizik Tundra M5
s-alloy
99.99 USD
287 x 126 mm
235 g
carbon composite
PU foam

Sources

Siobhan Kelly, Fabric Scoop Gel Saddle, Road.cc, March 12, 2017
Matt Page, Selle San Marco Aspide Short Open-Fit Racing Saddle, Road.cc, February 28, 2021
Gerow, 4 MTB Saddles for Modern Mountain Bikes, Singletracks, September 23, 2020
Kristen Bonkoski, Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women’s Saddle Review, Femme Cyclist, June 13, 2023
Miles Arbour, Ergon SMC Sport Gel Saddle: First Ride Review, Bikepacking, May 4, 2020
Paul Burwell, WTB SL8 saddle review, MBR, February 7, 2023
Russell Burton, Fizik Tundra saddle review, Bikeradar, April 21, 2009
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

Founder Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His cycling career has seen him at the starting line of classics such as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege. Realizing his racing capacity would fall short of what was needed he obtained a MS from the University of Amsterdam in engineering. His love for cycling changed into riding in an amateur capacity with his local cycling club TFC Weesp as a roadie and supporting MTB Noordwest as a mountain biker. He repairs, restores, and builds bicycles and shares his knowledge on YouTube, Facebook and this website. 

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