In this article I’m going to focus on providing you a list with the best carbon road bike saddles.
The main benefits of carbon is its incredible strength to weight ratio, meaning you can buy extremely lightweight saddles and still have them be very strong.
Carbon also is more flexibly than traditional material of which saddle shells are made, such as nylon. It means carbon road bike saddles have the ability to adjust to the riders pedalling, flex when encountering minor irregularities in the road, and soak up road buzz. The same obviously goes for carbon railings.
Since it’s very expensive to manufacturer a carbon saddle, and it takes considerable engineering skills to do so, the best carbon saddles are offered by big brand names. And they will cost you an arm and a leg to obtain one.
Full carbon saddles are among the most expensive saddles money can buy. To somewhat lower those costs and make the benefits of carbon accessible to a larger audience, you can see a lot of premium models sporting just carbon rails. Or instead of a more ordinary nylon shell, saddle manufacturers offer carbon composite models.
Whatever you think of the price, carbon is still the go-to material for that widely coveted characteristic of low weight, high strength, and damping quality.
For this article I’m focusing on saddles with both full carbon shells and carbon composite models as well, to broaden the range to choose from. And as far as ride quality is concerning some of the best saddles can be found in the carbon composite category.
So without further ado, here is the overview of the best carbon road bike saddles.
Contenders best carbon road bike saddles
Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow
The Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow promises above-average levels of comfort in a minimal package of just 140 grams.
The slightly padded carbon shell sits atop carbon rails which act as a leaf spring, similar to some carbon seatposts. This provides just a bit of travel to take out road buzz. It actually works making this premium saddle with a rider weight of 100 kgs one you can actually use for all kinds of riding, not just to show off.
It’s an extremely pristine and clean no-show design, so it’s not the best saddle to impress visually, unless you like an understated design.
The padding doesn’t extend all the way to the edge of the seat, so be careful when parking your bike so you don’t scuff the carbon edges.
It has 282×142 mm dimensions, which means it’s pretty long and of average width.
The Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow has a suggested retail 375 USD, but in exchange you get a very lightweight, comfortable and innovative saddle that’ll work for the majority of riders.
Selle San Marco Shortfit Superleggera Wide
The Selle San Marco Shortfit Superleggera Wide is a full carbon saddle, which, as the name suggest, is pretty wide and short. It has dimensions of 250×144 mm and weighs in at 125 grams. A narrow version is also available.
Shortfit relates to its length of just 250 millimeters, roughly a couple of centimers shorter than average. This should make people favoring aerodynamic positions more comfortable.
The Italian brand has chosen to make a no-nonsense design for their flagship product, with a totally black microfeel cover stretching to the edge. It has a huge center cut out to alleviate pressure to delicate tissue.
Selle San Marco offers this design in a lot of materials but this carbon rail, carbon shell lightest version is obviously the most expensive at a retail price of almost 400 euros.
Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow
The Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow is a road bike saddle with a very long name and lots of padding.
That doesn’t mean it’s heavy with a weight sitting at 207 grams. And to achieve such a feat you get a stiff carbon injected nylon shell atop a Stealth Xsilite alloy rail, a mixture of silicon, carbon, and titanium. They claim the rails is basically bomb-proof and resistant to the elements.
The reason you might want to buy this saddle is because its classic-looking race-shape of 277 x 132 millimeters offers a plushness in a package that also features a center cut out, running basically all the way to back of the saddle. Not everybody likes to be riding a super firm race saddle, and Selle San Marco is targeting that market with this saddle.
So if you actually like a bit of extra padding for your rides, and don’t have an overly aggressive riding style, with long periods in the drops, this could very well be the saddle that ticks those boxes for you.
Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
The honor of bringing the first 3D-printed saddle to the market goes to the Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive. It’s a saddle with carbon rails and shell, with a 3D printed EPU 41 polymer padding that’s extremely comfortable.
Because it’s 3D printed it has an otherworldly spacious design which ensures the saddle tips the scales at just 168 grams for the small version, or 171 grams for the large one. That’s very impressive for a saddle with such padding volume.
The padding acts like memory foam and comforms to the riders anatomy. Since there are two halves it means that pressure is only applied to the sit bones and very specific to the respective rider.
It’s one of the most distinctive saddles money can buy, and besides the light greenish version, Fizik now also offers a black one.
It comes at two widths of 139 and 146 millimeters.
From an innovation standpoint the Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive is a fantastic product, that’s comfortable enough to use for long hours in the saddle. The only downside could be that the light open structure is more prone to damage and dirt lodging into the innards of the padding.
But if you like the original Antares and you really want the-latest-the-greatest for your bike, this is the saddle for you.
Fizik Vento Argo R5
As far as budget goes the Fizik Vento Argo R5 is the most premium option on this list with a suggested retail price of 99 euros. It can be had for cheaper on Amazon though.
It’s another very well made short-nosed saddle with a carbon-reinforced nylon shell with a large center cut out. This cut out transitions into a lower surface area both front and back, planting you firmly in place.
This version also has an alloy rail to keep costs down and a width of either 140 mm for the small or 150 mm for the larger version.
This saddle offers ample amounts of comfort for relaxed road riding, thanks to the plush padding and cut out.
Fizik Arione R1 Open
The Fizik Arione R1 Open is the cut out version of the regular R1.
A lot of manufacturers make cut out versions of all of their saddles and Fizik is no exceptions, basically doubling their entire lineup. The cut out is rather small but sits in an area is lower than the two padded halves and moves all the way down the length of the saddle.
The carbon version is actually a bit heavier than the non-cut out version at almost 200 grams.
There’s plenty of room to mount your carbon-specific seatpost on the braided carbon rails. The overall very long design is something you hate or love, because the added length in the back is mainly there for aesthetic purposes.
The carbon composite shell is a tad wider than the regular R1 at 132 millimeters, but still very narrow.
The standard R1 is already a very comfortable saddle, but if you like your performance racing perch with a cut out, the R1 Open is your obvious choice.
Fizik Aliante R3
The Fizik Aliante R3 is less budget friendly, but does offer a flexible carbon composite shell. Carbon is known for its great damping properties. And by making the shell partially from carbon you have a more lightweight, race-oriented offering, that will be the perfect saddle for bikepackers.
The traditional shape measures 279 x 154 millimeters, which I recommend for offroad purposes unless you know your sit bones sit really close together or you like to sit further back on the saddle.
Fizik uses TwinFlex technology, which basically means the saddle is more flexible at the inner curves. This adds a more natural riding feeling because the saddle moves just bit with your legs, instead of digging into them, which I know from experience is painful and very uncomfortable.
Because of the relative delicate nature of the carbon shell it has been reinforced with scuff protectors at the side. So less worries when you might accidentally take a fall.
This saddle is more expensive that many other entries on this list. What you get in return is a extremely high-quality carbon composite offering for cyclist who feel very at home on road bikes.
Fizik Aliante R1
The Fizik Aliante R1 is the exact same saddle as the R3. Except that it has carbon rails instead of the Kium alloy version. And you have to pay a premium for those carbon rails.
In a world where a lot of road bike saddles feature huge cut outs, this one doesn’t. It means it’s a bit stronger and can be used for gravel riding as well. The scuff pads on the side give the delicate shell some added protection in the case of a crash. Not that you would even want to scratch this saddle at all but it’s a nice touch.
It’s a traditionally sized saddle measuring 279 x 138 mm for the regular version and 279 x 154 mm for the wide version. This is just a tad bit wider than a lot of Selle Italia’s performance saddles.
The saddle favors what I’d call dynamic riding, with quick climbs and going in and out of the saddle. It’s the reason this is a favorite among mountain bikers and gravel riders as well, with the curved lip in the back aiding in climbing and keeping power.
Fizik offers Twin Flex technology which means the rounded inner shape of the shell flexes more and gets out of the way of your thighs and pedal stroke. A saddle shouldn’t get in the way in the first place and the rounded shape of this one never chafed or digged into the legs. The added flex is also a plus for other road surfaces than smooth tarmac.
Unlike the a Arione the Aliante has a pronounced curvature which means you’re more firmly planted and there’s a bit more support overall, which often leads to more comfort as well.
Fizik Arione R1
If you like your saddles long, the Fizik Arione R1 measuring at almost 1 foot seems to dwarve some of its shorter competitors, especially short-nosed versions.
The flat design of the very lightweight 163 grams version is extremely narrow at 126 millimeters. Fizik also offers a wider 140 millimeter version. With such a length and its arrowlike shape, the Arione saddles are easily recognizable.
The long nose doesn’t interfere with your riding if you’re the type of person who’s a little less flexible in the pelvic area and uses the upper body more to reach the drops. The narrowness of the saddle offers loads of thigh clearance and a well-padded and flexible carbon composite shell, which is compatible with Fizik’s saddle accessories as well.
All those features make it sound like the Fizik Arione R1 is a comfortable saddle and it is.
I believe the extended area at the back is more of a design feature than actually meant for sitting on while pedalling, but you know for sure there’s more than enough room to move and you’ll never run out of space when climbing.
Fizik Arione Classic
The Fizik Arione saddles are instantly recognizable and many riders swear they will never touch another one again because of its racing comfort. The Fizik Arione Classic is the most affordable of all the versions and probably your best entry point in terms of value as well.
It offers the same shape, the same Kium alloy rails, the same carbon reinforced nylon shell, and the same Microtex cover as more expensive options. Granted it’s the heaviest at 225 grams, but all things considered that’s not that heavy at all.
And what you get is a really comfortable race-proven saddle that’s been used by many in the peleton, and looks really distinctive with dimensions of 300 x 130 millimeter. That’s really long and really narrow.
The already narrow saddle offers Wingflex technology, which means the area closest to your inner thighs are more flexibile, allowing you a greater freedom of movement because it moves with you. It means the saddle doesn’t try to grab your attention by chaving.
The saddle can be considered flat and great for riding in the drops. Even with its length the nose doesn’t get in the way and the non-cut out saddle actually offers enough padding in this area to prevent numbness.
If you’ve ever wanted to ride this race-proven classic the Fizik Arione Classic is a fantastic entry point.
Selle Italia SLR C59
The lightest saddle in Selle Italia’s lineup, the Selle Italia SLR C59 is a remarkable piece of bike saddle technology.
To achieve such a low weight the saddle has a huge cut out and is really narrow at 128 millimeters. So if you’re used to wider saddles, this is definitely not one for you.
If you’ve ever ridden a non-padded saddle, you know that from a comfort standpoint it doesn’t matter, as long as you don’t use it on your gravel or mountain bike.
Such a light and narrow saddle for such a steep price means you’re either a professional hill-climber athlete or fancy extremities in bike tech.
I have seen it cheaper than its suggested retail price of 600 USD, but even with a lower price, expect to dig very deep into your wallet for this beauty.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow
I cant shake the fact that the name of this saddle could be some underground German house song. Its cool though, but not nearly as cool as this saddle.
Each half of the Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow is only connected at the nose. This causes them to flex more noticeably when riding ostensibly making the ride more comfortable.
Its the most beautiful saddle from this list and my first pick if I could have found it for a price my wallet deemed more amenable than its full retail price of 450. Road.cc called it sex on rails. I agree.
Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow
The Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow is a superbly crafted saddle with many outstanding details.
The 131 width one sits at 148 grams, while the 145 is slightly heavier at 153 grams. That’s extremely light for a saddle measuring 275 millimeters in length.
This very expensive saddle has carbon keramic rails underneath a carbon injected nylon shell with Mikrotek microfiber cover.
Selle Italia’s Superflow refers to their penchant for huge cut outs. And with that much material removed there’s very little for your body to use other than the sit bones. Your anatomy is a unique thing, but the slightly swooping shape of the SLR does allow for some adjusting on the saddle back and forth to find that position that feels best for you.
The ovalized carbon keramic rails and the carbon composite shell provides a fair amount of flex, and the padded upper adds to the overall comfort you’ll enjoy with this road saddle.
The saddle is more delicate than some of the others with the cover stretches all the way to the edge and zero scuff protectors. But that’s kind of a trade-off between design versus protection. And it does mean you will never feel any sharp edges because there arent’ any.
Overall this premium offering from Selle Italia has proven to be one of the most popular road bike saddles in their high end performance category. And I can clearly understand why.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow
The naming conventions of Selle Italia are very confusing indeed, untill you understand that they simply have a fancy way of putting saddle parts into the name. The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow is a good example.
SP-01 refers to a new innovation where the two halves of the sadlle are only held together at the nose. In this case we’re talking about a carbon composite shell dropping the weight to below the magic 200 gram mark at 160. That’s featherweight territory.
Kit Carbonio refers to the carbon rails, which further adds to the premium feel of the saddle. It adds an extra damping factor, but do keep in mind the oval rails need a compatible seatpost. The unique looking rails adds an additional shock absorption factor to the overall high comfort level obtained by the prolific use of carbon throughout the entire saddle
Superflow is Selle Italia’s way of describing their saddle cut outs, which are large and prominent. Even more so with the SP-01 outlandish shape.
And Boost is their way of telling you’re dealing with a short-nosed version of the saddle. With a single size of 130 x 250 mm it’s not only short but also narrow. The taper at the front does lead to a wider nose than on non-boost saddle, which makes a more forward position a comfortable possibility.
It’s the SP-01 saddle that provides the most performance and flexibility in use, with just the more outrageous full carbon Tekno trumping it. The saddle is both a gorgeous and astonishing feat of saddle engineering, that provides the absolute best the Italian company has to offer to the serious road cyclist.
Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow
At 202 grams the Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow is a featherweight short-nosed premium performance saddle.
SLR denotes Selle Italia’s forray into short-nosed perches and at 130 x 248 mm for the regular and 145 x 248 mm for the wide version, they are short indeed.
The swooping design is felt even more by the gel padded cover. It’s amazing that Selle Italia has managed to cram so much comfort and padding onto a saddle that weighs so little.
Like most of Selle Italia’s premium endurance saddles, this one features a titanium rails and durable Fibra-tek cover onto a carbon composite shell.
Saddles are exceptionally personal product offerings, and when buying such an expensive one as this one you want one that’s right for you.
This saddle is anything but cheap, but for that premium you get one of the lightest endurance saddles in the market for long comfortable hours in the saddle.
Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady TI316 Superflow
The Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady TI316 Superflow is a female-specific short-nosed premium endurance saddle.
It’s so similar to the Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow I really had to look at what makes this a woman’s road bike saddle.
It has the same overall shape with large cut out, titanium rails attached to a carbon composite shell, with gel padding, and a Fibra-Tek cover.
It has the same overall dimensions and it weights the same… No wait, it doesn’t because it’s even lighter. 3 grams for the regular and a single gram for the wide version to be exact.
I’ve overlayed the Lady onto the unisex version and the width actually seems to be a bit smaller, though the number that Selle Italia gives says it’s 130 mm in both cases.
Well it’s a great saddle, and it’s cheaper. What’s in a name.
Selle Italia SLR Superflow
The Selle Italia SLR Superflow is a classically shaped high performance road racing saddle.
With widths of 131 and 145 millimeters and an average length of 275 millimeters the carbon composite shell features the large cut out that Selle Italia saddles are known for.
Just like many other premium saddles from the brand, the shell is hold into place onto the seatpost with titanium rails.
The large cut out, its length, and shell material means there high levels of natural damping combined with a flexy shell that prevents chafing.
Even with this length it doesn’t mean the nose is truly supportive to be sitting on for extended periods of time. If you prefer such a position you’ll need to be looking into boost (short-nosed) version of the SLR.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow
The SP-01 saddles is a separate category of saddles which provides more flex due to independantly moving saddle halves.
The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow is somewhat affordable, ditching full carbon rails for a titanium version. This means the saddle ads a couple of extra grams of weight, but the round 7 millimeter rails is fully compatible with your standard seatpost. So that’s a great benefit for riders who don’t want to add to their costs by needing a carbon compatible seatpost.
Still this is not a cheap saddle because it features the same carbon injected nylon composite that Selle Italia uses for their lightweight performance saddles.
Its flat profile and sloping short noise is perfect for a forward position while sitting in the drops. That means this is an aggressive racing road bike saddle.
Be aware of the fact that the saddle is incompatbile with saddle bags because of the open halves.
This design provides an optimal road feel with less padding needed, but still providing ample amounts of damping because of the relatively high amount of flex. So this unique design from the Italian saddle giant is a great innovation that’s bound to attract a faithful following.
Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance
The Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance has endurance in the title, so what exactly is so different about this saddle to earn that moniker.
For starters, the two-pronged split-nosed design sitting on titanium rails is distinctive enough. It means the cut out of the saddle extends all the way to the front of the nose, reminiscent of those produces by time-trial favorite ISM.
Where you can actually sit the two shell halves not only offer extra padded support, but also a layer of gel padding to add to the overall damping qualities of the saddle. A durable Fibra-Tek perforated microfiber cover has the Selle Italia logo on it.
The overall build quality is downright amazing, and the long and narrow shape of the saddle measuring 138 x 282 mm for the regular size and 149 x 282 mm for the large one, means there’s plenty of room to find the correct position for your sit bones.
The reason why you have to pay twice the amount of money vs the TM version is the composition of the shell. Where this one uses carbon fiber, the other one is made from nylon. And that carbon shell sits on top a titanium rails instead of a manganese steel one. That means a more flexible perch and just some more damping effects as well, with the tiniest of weight gains as well.
Granted the split nose design might equally split onlookers into categories of those who hate and those who love it, but there’s no denying that this saddle will save your behind on longer rides.
Prologo Nago C3 CPC
The Prologo Nago C3 CPC is a saddle with a carbon rails and shell that offers CPC airing technology.
CPC is available for high end saddles from Prologo and is a super-grippy polymer that’s raised ever so slightly from the saddle, providing marginal gains in shock absorption and airflow. Buy hey, marginal gains are gains nonetheless.
The design, weighing 155 grams for the 275×139 mm version, looks like something that could be sitting on a Tron cycle and the photos don’t actually do the saddle justice.
The fact that the saddle has been used in the Tour de France says enough about its abillity to provide comfort during long riding sessions, so those marginal gains seems to be paying off in the eyes of professional riders.
Prologo Zero C3
The Prologo Zero C3 is a narrow racing saddle with minimal padding. Carbon rails and a carbon shell, means the weight stays at a very respectable 155 grams.
With dimensions sitting at 270x132mm it can be called a fairly narrow saddle, so be sure firm and narrow is the type of saddle you prefer.
The Prologo Zero C3 could also be seen in the Tour so any doubt about the comfort of minimal padded firm carbon saddles should dissipate.
ISM PN 3.0C
The ISM PN 3.0C is the full carbon version of the 3.0. The entire lineup of ISM has a distinctive two prong layout to relieve pressure.
This design actually makes you sit further onto the nose, which makes it the preferred brand for time trial cyclists. And this full carbon version of 129 grams is half the weight of the padded non-carbon version.
Let’s just say the design is distinctive and probably the reason I’ve never seen this saddle on an ordinary road bike. The PN stands for performance narrow, which means this saddle provide more clearance in the thigh area.
I would argue that the only bike this saddle should be on is a time-trial bike, because the entire design was made for sitting in an aero position. And finally ISM made this full carbon version for a weight gain of about 100 grams.
Specifications best carbon road bike saddles
|Name||Rail||Retail Price||Dimensions||Weight||Shell||Padding||Cover||Buy at Amazon||Buy at Ebay|
|Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow||carbon 7×9 mm||375 USD||282 x 142 mm||140 g||carbon||ultra-light PU foam||link||link|
|Selle San Marco Shortfit Superleggera Wide||carbon 7×9.8 mm||390 euros||250 x 144 mm||125 g||carbon||Pebax||link|
|Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow||Stealth Xsilite||159 euros||277 x 132 mm||207 g||carbon reinforced nylon||biofoam||microfeel||link||link|
|Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive||carbon 7×10 mm||399.99 USD||S 274 x 139 mm – L 27 4 x146 mm||S 168 g – L 171 g||carbon||EPU 41||link||link|
|Fizik Vento Argo R5||S-Alloy 7 mm||109.99 USD||S 265 x 140 mm – L 265 x 150 mm||S 225 g – L 232 g||carbon-reinforced nylon||type 1 foam||link||link|
|Fizik Arione R1 Open||carbon braided 7×10 mm||199.99 USD||S 300 x 132 mm – L 298 x 142 mm||S 199 g – L 205 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Aliante R3||kium 7×7 mm||174.99 USD||S 279 x 138 mm – L 279 x 154 mm||S 215 g – L 220 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Aliante R1||carbon braided 7×10 mm||249.99 USD||S 279 x 138 mm – L 279 x 154 mm||S 175 g – L 180 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Arione R1||carbon braided 7×10 mm||249.99 USD||S 300 x 126 mm – L 300 x 140 mm||S 163 g – L 181 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Arione Classic||kium 7×7 mm||129.99 USD||300 x 132 mm||225 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR C59||carbon 7×9 mm||600 euros||265 x 128 mm||61 g||carbon||none||link||link|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow||carbon 7×9 mm||560 euros||S 130 x 245 mm – L 145 x 245 mm||S 105 g – L 110 g||carbon||none||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow||carbon/keramic 7×9 mm||380 euros||S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm||S 148 g – L 153 g||carbon reinforced nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow||Carbon/Keramic 7×9 mm||360 euros||130 x 250 mm||160 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||320 euros||S 130 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm||S 202 g – L 207 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady TI316 Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||300 euros||130 x 248 mm||S 198 g – L 206 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||300 euros||S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm||S 185 g – L 190 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||280 euros||S 130 x 250 mm – L 146 x 250 mm||S 188 g – L 194 g||carbon reinforced nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||240 euros||S 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mm||S 288 g – L 293 g||carbon composite||gel padding||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Prologo Nago C3 CPC||nack carbon 7×9.3 mm||426 euros||275 x 139 mm||155 g||carbon||CPC airing||link|
|Prologo Zero C3||nack carbon 7×9.3 mm||392 euros||270 x 132 mm||155 g||carbon||high density foam||link|
|ISM PN 3.0C||carbon 7×9 mm||400 USD||255 x 120 mm||129 g||carbon||none|