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The top 6 best downhill mountain bike saddles

In this article I’m going to give you my top picks for the best downhill mountain bike saddles.

If there’s one thing you don’t want is your saddle getting in the way of you moving at breakneck speed down a tactical trail. That’s the reason why some performance-oriented downhill saddles prefer to have a flat and round shape, to offer maximum flexibility.

That being said, a lot of riders prefer the swooping shape of a saddle that locks you into place and provides more support that way. With a curved lip in the back to push your body against when you want to feel maximum control.

I’ve offered a number of very affordable options in this list. Most of the time, the thing that makes a saddle really expensive is using carbon. But carbon doesn’t really make much sense downhill. And the last thing you want is breaking your precious carbon seat in a crash.

As for the damping abilities of carbon, my guess is it’s so little you don’t want to make use of the damping ability of carbon anyway to get you over tricky trail sections.

But enough talk, let’s head over to my list of the best downhill mountain bike saddles.

Ergon SMD2 Comp

SMD2 Comp
SMD2 Comp

The Ergon SMD2 Comp is a lightweight MTB saddle.

It offers a flat and rounded shell for maximum riding flexibility and weighs a mere 215 grams for a very narrow 256 x 124 mm.

That’s very narrow indeed and is meant for not getting in the way of you riding and pedaling, though some riders may prefer a bit wider saddle.

It means this saddle falls into shorter MTB trips and downhill sections, and when used for that purpose it’s one of the best.

Expert Experience

Paul Aston | Tech editor – November 9, 2016

The SMD2 did everything promised by the marketing team, except being grippy when sitting down – the dimpled surface is too shallow to make any real difference except when everything is clean and dry, especially compared to something like an SDG Fly RL Storm which has real world lugs on its top. The ‘Wheel Gap’ isn’t much to shout about, either, though it may give you a couple of extra millimeters clearance, it’s not wide enough to let a full-size downhill tire in.

Aside from this, performance was spot on. It’s plenty comfortable to sit on in lift cues or chatting (DH comes in a close second to dirt jumping when it comes to this). It really is easier to slide between your legs than others, and there is a distinct lack of sharp edges. The saddle is waterproofed well and has hardly shown any noticeable signs of wear and tear after a plenty of rides in the worst conditions.

Pros and Cons

Ergon SM E-Mountain Pro Men

SM E-Mountain Pro Men
SM E-Mountain Pro Men

Ergon is one of the few saddle manufacturers that creates distinctive gender-specific saddles. The Ergon SM E-Mountain Pro Men is their go-to saddle for mountain biking.

Plus padding and loads of comfort in an ergonomic nylon composite shell. The arc in the back means you can push against it to stay in control of more demanding sections of your trail.

A long channel in the center takes care of necessary pressure relief to soft tissue and sits between orthopedic foam halves covered in durable microfiber.

All that plushness does push it over 300 grams at 335. The saddle comes in two widths; 143 and 152 millimeters depending on your personal preference or sit bone width.

Expert Experience

Jeremy Benson | Product reviewer – May 27, 2020

You can’t spell ergonomics without Ergon, and this german brand focuses on creating products that improve comfort and performance on the bike. The SM Pro is a moderately priced male-specific saddle that I found to be impressively comfortable, competitively lightweight, and relatively high performance. It has a flat profile with a deep pressure relief cutout that we found to effectively reduce pressure on our sensitive parts. The classic Y-shape and OrthoCell padding allowed for an unencumbered pedal stroke as well as freedom of movement on the descents. It is offered in two widths, and I feel it is a good value for the rider seeking a more ergonomic saddle option.

Pros and Cons

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

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

Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide (Open)

GND Dynamic Wide (Open)
GND Dynamic Wide (Open)

The Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide with the cut out version is slightly lighter at 210 grams, which is incredibly light all things considered.

It has the same overall features as the one without the cut out, and uses the same type of materials. That means you get a glass fiber reinforced shell on top of manganese steel rails, with plush padding in a semi-short length.

The version of 145 millimeters is more neutral than the narrow 135 millimeters, which allows for a bigger platform to support the rider. You might argue that that actually improves because the rider has to spend less energy staying into position.

The microfeel cover onto the star shaped design looks great and the finish is superb, which makes this saddle the perfect choice for adventurous riders on a budget.

Expert Experience

Paul Burwell | Contributor – February 12, 2023

The Ground Dymanic is a little wider and longer than the X-Bow Superflow, but it’s still a stubby saddle with a less than pleasing aesthetic. It feels supportive but it doesn’t have that armchair ride of the Specialized Bridge. Build quality is very good and it’s lightweight but I’d only rate the comfort as average.

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

Specifications downhill mountain bike saddles

Name
Rail
Price
Dimensions
Weight
Shell
Padding
Ergon SMD2 Comp
CroMo
100 USD
256 x 124 mm
215 g
nylon composite
Ergon SM E-Mountain Pro Men
CroMo
120 USD
S 274 x 143 mm – L 274 – 153 mm
335 g
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam
Fabric Scoop Sport Gel Radius
steel
47 USD
260 x 155 mm
374 g
nylon
Fizik Gravita Alpaca X5
s-alloy
99.99 USD
251 x 130 mm
216 g
nylon
Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide (Open)
manganese
79 euros
262 x 145 mm
210 g
glass fiber reiinforced
Biofoam
WTB SL8 Cromoly Medium
cromoly
96 USD
265 x 142 mm
266 g
Flex-Tuned Shell
HLX Padding

Sources

Paul Aston, Ergon SMD2 Saddle – Review, Pinkbike, November 9, 2016
Jeremy Benson, Ergon SM Pro Men Review, Outdoorgearlab, May 27, 2020
Siobhan Kelly, Fabric Scoop Gel Saddle, Road.cc, March 12, 2017
Gerow, 4 MTB Saddles for Modern Mountain Bikes, Singletracks, September 23, 2020
Paul Burwell, Selle San Marco Ground Dynamic saddle review, MBR, February 12, 2023
Paul Burwell, WTB SL8 saddle review, MBR, February 7, 2023
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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