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The top 18 best carbon road bike saddles

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 flexible 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 rider’s pedaling, 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 manufacture 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 highly 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.

Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow

ALM Ultimate Shallow
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 price of 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 Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow

Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow
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 are 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 the 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, this could very well be the saddle that ticks those boxes for you.

Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive

Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
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 conforms to the rider’s 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

Vento Argo R5
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

Arione R1 Open
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 exception, basically doubling their entire lineup. The cut out is rather small but sits in an area 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

Aliante R3
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 off-road 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 a 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 than many other entries on this list. What you get in return is an extremely high-quality carbon composite offering for cyclists who feel very at home on road bikes.

Fizik Aliante R1

Aliante R1
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 dug into the legs. The added flex is also a plus for other road surfaces than smooth tarmac.

Unlike the 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

Arione R1
Arione R1

If you like your saddles long, the Fizik Arione R1 measuring at almost 1 foot seems to dwarf 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 pedaling, 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

Arione Classic
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 flexible, allowing you a greater freedom of movement because it moves with you. It means the saddle doesn’t try to grab your attention by chafing.

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

SLR C59
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

SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow
SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow

I can’t shake the fact that the name of this saddle could be some underground German house song. It’s 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.

It’s 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

SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow
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 ceramic 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 ceramic 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 aren’t 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

SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow
SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow

The naming conventions of Selle Italia are very confusing indeed, until 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 saddle 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 saddles, 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

SLR Boost Endurance Superflow
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 foray 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 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

SLR Boost Lady TI316 Superflow
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 weighs 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

SLR Superflow
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 held 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 the boost (short-nosed) version of the SLR.

Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow

SP-01 Boost Superflow
SP-01 Boost Superflow

The SP-01 saddles is a separate category of saddles which provides more flex due to independently 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 adds a couple of extra grams of weight, but the round 7 millimeter rails are 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 incompatible 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

Novus Superflow Endurance
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 produced 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 of 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.

Specifications carbon road bike saddles

Name
Rail
Price
Dimensions
Weight
Shell
Padding
Buy at Amazon
Fabric ALM Ultimate Shallow
carbon Ø7×9 mm
375 USD
282 x 142 mm
140 g
carbon
ultra-light PU foam
Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow
Stealth Xsilite
159 euros
277 x 132 mm
207 g
carbon reinforced nylon
biofoam
Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
carbon Ø7×10 mm
399.99 USD
S 274 x 139 mm – L 27 4 x146 mm
S 168 g – L 171 g
carbon
EPU 41
Fizik Vento Argo R5
S-Alloy Ø7 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
Fizik Arione R1 Open
carbon braided Ø7×10 mm
199.99 USD
S 300 x 132 mm – L 298 x 142 mm
S 199 g – L 205 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Fizik Aliante R3
kium Ø7×7 mm
174.99 USD
S 279 x 138 mm – L 279 x 154 mm
S 215 g – L 220 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Fizik Aliante R1
carbon braided Ø7×10 mm
249.99 USD
S 279 x 138 mm – L 279 x 154 mm
S 175 g – L 180 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Fizik Arione R1
carbon braided Ø7×10 mm
249.99 USD
S 300 x 126 mm – L 300 x 140 mm
S 163 g – L 181 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Fizik Arione Classic
kium Ø7×7 mm
129.99 USD
300 x 132 mm
225 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Selle Italia SLR C59
carbon Ø7×9 mm
600 euros
265 x 128 mm
61 g
carbon
none
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow
carbon Ø7×9 mm
560 euros
S 130 x 245 mm – L 145 x 245 mm
S 105 g – L 110 g
carbon
Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow
carbon/keramic Ø7×9 mm
380 euros
S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm
S 148 g – L 153 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow
Carbon/Keramic Ø7×9 mm
360 euros
130 x 250 mm
160 g
carbon composite
Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow
TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
320 euros
S 130 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm
S 202 g – L 207 g
carbon composite
Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady TI316 Superflow
TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
300 euros
130 x 248 mm
S 198 g – L 206 g
carbon composite
Selle Italia SLR Superflow
TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
300 euros
S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm
S 185 g – L 190 g
carbon composite
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow
TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
280 euros
S 130 x 250 mm – L 146 x 250 mm
S 188 g – L 194 g
carbon reinforced nylon
Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance
TI 316 Tube Ø7 mm
240 euros
S 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mm
S 288 g – L 293 g
carbon composite
gel padding
bio vanseijen

Johan van Seijen

FoundeR Restoration.bike

Johan van Seijen is the founder of restoration.bike. His passion for cycling in general, and restoring older bikes turned into a website to share his knowledge with a broader audience. Starting out on his father’s road bike and riding classics as the Amstel Gold Race and Liege Bastogne Liege he has shifted his attention to trail, XC, and gravel riding since. No matter how much he loves writing about everything related to cycling, nothing beats actually using his ever-expanding bicycle collection.

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