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The top 16 best flat road bike saddles

In this article I’m going to give you an overview of the very best flat road bike saddles.

If you didn’t know already, there is not a single saddle that’ll suit everyone. But through trial and error you’ve probably found out that a flat-shaped saddle, with a certain width, suits your particular anatomy better than a curved one.

The general notion behind flat road bike saddles is that they allow a certain freedom of movement that’s best for people of average flexibility.

So what’s flexible you might ask? Good question. As a rule of thumb if you can touch your toes you’re very flexible. If you’re just out of reach your flexibility. And if you can show a couple of dictionaries between the tips of your fingers and the floor, well, you’re not flexible.

Another method is a difficulty to reach the handlebars. If that’s the case you don’t have sufficient flexibility for a flat road bike saddle, taking into account the overall bike setup is correct.

If you don’t feel those rules apply to you then a flat saddle is right up your alley. So without further ado, here’s my list for the best flat road bike saddles to spend your hard-earned cash on.

Brooks C13

C13
C13

The Brooks C13 is a relatively small road racing saddle in Brooks Cambium lineup.

The Cambium line was a brilliant move from Brooks, to significantly increase their product offering with something that was at the same time unique but adhering to more modern saddle standards.

The traditional Brooks break-in period doesn’t apply to Cambium saddles and the C13 offers an even more modern take, with carbon rails.

Brooks did an enormous amount of R&D that goes into their proprietary shell and it shows. This saddle is still pretty heavy with the smaller version just under 300 grams, but you get a high-quality saddle in return that promises to be one of the most comfortable in the market.

At 145 millimeters it has about an average width for a road bike saddle, and the aluminum rivets still give it that authentic-looking feel.

The only downside is the price, because with the carbon rails, it does mean this saddle is very pricey indeed.

Expert Experience

Jez Ash | Contributor – April 15, 2016

I really wanted to like the Cambium C13, and it’s seen a lot of use over the last three months. In the end, though, it just wasn’t as comfortable for me as other saddles. We’re all different, though, and saddles are an area where this is very much the case, so it’s quite possible that your bum would love it. I’ve given it a good mark as it’s a lovely thing, very well made and I’ve heard enough anecdotal evidence to establish that other people find it very comfortable. I’m just not one of them. I suspect that a wider version with the cutout could be a better match for my behind.

Pros and Cons

Fabric Scoop Elite Flat

Scoop Elite Flat
Scoop Elite Flat

The Fabric Scoop comes in many versions with the carbon version nearing the 300 dollar mark. This Fabric Scoop Elite Flat sits well under 100 dollars but has the exact extremely comfortable design.

Flat means this is a true road racing saddle with less padding and a thinner nose. At 244 grams the weight is about what you can expect for a road bike saddle in this price range.

The saddle has standard 7 mm cro-mo rails sitting underneath a nylon shell, and has a classic all-black design without a cut out in the base of 142 mm. At 244 mm in length it’s not a long saddle, which means less moving around and higher comfort.

It’s a no-frills design that does it all, comfort for long rides, durability, and nice aesthetics for a decent price.

Expert Experience

Jim Clarkson | Contributor – August 19, 2020

The Scoop is similar to the Fabric Line I tested a while back, but it lacks a channel – fine by me as, whilst comfy, such channels can just fill with mud and water off road. Even without one, the Scoop is comfortable from the very first ride, and stays that way over many miles.

It has enough space to move around when climbing technical trails, and the neutral, shallow shape is fine for sitting down and spinning out miles when you have to. Though lacking the obvious scuff guards and fabric patches of others, both the cover and the rails are tough enough to easily endure the usual abuse.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Aaron Borrill | Tech Editor – March 20, 2020

There’s no disputing the visual allure and holding power of Fizik’s latest saddle creation – just look at the honeycomb, colander-like padding. It’s very much unlike the traditional saddle aesthetic and while its polarising appearance might not appeal to all it will certainly find favour with early adopters, particularly those looking for something to differentiate themselves from the rabble.

And, is it any good? Well, so far I’m impressed. Cushioning and support are great and no pain and numbness have been reported. I’ve personally always been a fan of the Antares platform and the Adaptive model has taken things to another level thanks to the combination of low- and high-speed compression areas dialled into the saddle’s lattice structure.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Nick BruckBauer | Contributor – Oct 24, 2019

Stiff, lightweight, and ready to race, the Arione emphasizes power transfer. It scores high in the performance category, with minimal padding, and a long, flat profile that allows for multiple riding positions. The Microtex cover, Kium rails, and nylon carbon-reinforced shell make for a durable, long-lasting product. This is a saddle for the flexible rider who likes a low, stretched performance position. It is well suited to road, cyclocross, and mountain bike racing. Steer clear if comfort is your primary concern, or if you prefer a wider saddle.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Mat Brett | Technical editor – April 19, 2017

I get on really well with the degree of flex offered by the Arione’s shell and the amount of padding used, which is quite generous for a saddle of this kind. It’s soft, but not too soft, helping to cancel out vibration and take the edge off lumps and bumps in the road without being so squishy that it moves about as you pedal. The padding on the nose is much more generous than you get with many other performance-type saddles out there, so if you’re looking for a little more plushness in your seating, an Arione is worth checking out (as long as you’re a snake, like).

Pros and Cons

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.

Pros and Cons

ISM PN 4.0

PN 4.0
PN 4.0

If you’d want to go for one of ISM’s saddles, the ISM PN 4.0 is a great option to begin with.

Not because it’s inexpensive, none of their saddles are, but because the saddle allows for more freedom of movement and bigger contact points.

Riding any ISM saddle, after having ridden traditional saddle shapes, is a revelation in comfort. This one was built for gravel riding so it seems, where you could argue more dynamic riding is applicable.

The entire design of ISM revolves around being forced to sit on your sit bones. There’s no nose to speak of, and while pedaling you push your sit bones onto the two protruding parts of the saddle. You do need time to adjust to such an odd feeling, but you will understand its concept, even after a single ride. Everyone who’s ever ridden with a numb area down below will, and that’s probably all of us.

I’ll leave it up to you what you think of the design of course.

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

Selle Italia Flite Boost TM

Flite Boost TM
Flite Boost TM

The Selle Italia Flite Boost TM is the non-cut out version the one appended with Superflow.

Selle Italia has a penchant for huge cut outs, but this version adds a mere 10 grams to the weight, tipping the scales at about 240 grams.

That’s a respectable weight for a high-quality endurance saddle. I already covered the Superflow version but I have to reiterate that in terms of comfort and value-for-money, this is one of the best all-round saddles for long distance riding in the market today.

So unless you really have something against shorter saddles, because this is one of those, consider this one.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow

Flite Boost TM Superflow
Flite Boost TM Superflow

Selle has gone all-in with short-nosed saddles and the Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow is a great affordable option.

The Flite name has been around for an extremely long time, but this saddle looks nothing like the first iterations.

The narrow version of this saddle sits at 135 x 248 millimeters. The stubby nose means less sliding around, for those who appreciate that, putting your body more firmly in place and more easily in a forward position. The entire notion is a better power transfer to the pedals.

True to both its racing and endurance nature this is an almost entirely flat saddle with a huge cut out, something a lot of Selle Italia saddles are known for. And it offers a thicker padding to stay comfortable with long hours in the saddle.

The overall build quality of this saddle is superb, with a gorgeous perforated Soft-Tek microfiber upper and subtle brand covering.

Although not cheap per se, you get a lot of tech from one of the biggest brands in the saddle industry.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia Man Gel Flow

Man Gel Flow
Man Gel Flow

The Selle Italia Man Gel Flow is the male version which only comes in a single size of 151 x 275 millimeters.

The same applies for this saddle as for the female version. Don’t buy it for road cycling, but for upright leisurely touring and overall shorter rides.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Nick Burklow | Contributor – October 12, 2013

Riding this saddle has been a dream. From the first ride to the last, I have had zero complaints. Chafing and numbness are a thing of the past. For me, this saddle sits at the top of my preferences when it comes options for my road bike. It works with my anatomy extremely well. I am a bigger rider (6’2″ 215lbs), and a cutout has always been a must have. This super wide cutout has made a noticeable difference in comfort for me as compared to the other saddles I have been on. The flat top is supportive over long rides, and yields very little fatigue thanks to the flex of the wings. The ti rails help to add a bit of comfort as well.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia SLR TM Superflow

SLR TM Superflow
SLR TM Superflow

The Selle Italia SLR TM Superflow is pretty similar in specs to the Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow except it offers a more traditional design.

If you’re not into short-nosed saddles, the classic design of the SLR measures 131 x 275 millimeters. As with many other saddles from Selle Italia, it offers a large center cut out for pressure relief.

You get a nylon shell with extra padding for comfortable rides. A manganese rails for a bit of flex to take out road buzz, in a package weighing 205 grams.

It’s a classically shaped road bike saddle from this big brand name, which offers loads of comfort for everyday riding and endurance races.

Pros and Cons

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.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow

SP-01 Boost TM Superflow
SP-01 Boost TM Superflow

The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow is a relatively new design from Selle Italia, where the center cut out moves all the way through to the end of the saddle.

That means no more saddle bags, you won’t be able to attach them. But instead you get more flex in the rear because of the two halves that can move more independently from each other. The result is more road feel in a less bumpy ride while you ride in the drops.

Personally, I like the innovation but I can understand that such a design might not be for everybody. But you have to realize that you not only get independently moving halves, but also more flex in the saddle itself. And at the end of the day it does work to improve riding comfort.

It’s like riding a saddle with more padding, without actually having that extra padding. That means the weight of the narrow 130 millimeter saddle stays at 200 grams, while the 250 millimeter short and straight length locks you into a comfy racing position.

I’m all in for cycling tech or else I wouldn’t be writing this stuff, and I can only applaud Selle Italia for taking the next steps when it comes to road racing saddles. And with Their SP-01 they’ve hit the mark just right.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow

X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow
X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow

The Selle Italia X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow is a stunning piece of engineering from the Italian saddle giant.

What they’ve achieved is an ultra-light, ultra-comfortable saddle that’ll honed towards aggressive riding in less than ideal road circumstances.

The regular version is a very narrow 131 millimeters, with the large version measuring a more standard 145 millimeter width. The saddle features a combination of an oval carbon rails with ceramic coating supporting a carbon composite shell weighing just 130 grams.

That feat alone is worth mentioning, but even more astounding considering that comfort is achieved by adding two layers of padding with varying densities. This added damping factor is further enhanced by a shell to rails connection that adds an extra dimension of damping. And carbon itself has natural damping effects.

The gorgeous shape has a large cut out in the center sitting in a flat-shaped saddle with a slightly dropped nose. Furthermore the saddle has edge protectors so a single crash reduces the risk of irreparable damage to this premium perch.

As far as race-ready comfort this is my top pick.

Expert Experience

Sean Fishpool | Freelance tester – April 27, 2022

I’m not using ‘connectedness’ as a euphemism for lack of cushioning though. The padding is thin and in the right places, for me, it has a well-judged firmness too. Like good handlebar grips, It takes the edge off the terrain and reduces fatigue while retaining a feel for what you’re riding on. I’ve used both the X-LR saddles on a hardtail MTB with an alloy seatpost, a carbon cyclocross bike with 33mm mud tires and 38mm gravel tires, and a little flex built into the carbon seatpost, and they’ve been surprisingly companionable for multi-hour rides.

Pros and Cons

Specifications flat road bike saddles

Name
Rail
Price
Dimensions
Weight
Shell
Padding
Brooks C13
carbon braided Ø7×9 mm
200 euros
S 275 x 145 mm L 275 x 158 mm
S 295 g – L 310 g
vulcanized rubber
none
Fabric Scoop Elite Flat
cro-mo Ø7 mm
80 USD
282 x 142 mm
244 g
flexible nylon
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 Arione Classic
kium Ø7×7 mm
129.99 USD
300 x 132 mm
225 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 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
ISM PN 4.0
stainless steel alloy
250 USD
255 x 125 mm
259 g
30-Series Foam
Prologo Kappa Space
cro-mo Ø7 mm
78 euros
270 x 147 mm
249 g
nylon
Light foam
Selle Italia Flite Boost TM
manganese tube Ø7 mm
150 euros
S 135 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm
S 240 g – L 243 g
nylon
Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
150 euros
S 135 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm
S 230 g – L 233 g
nylon
Selle Italia Man Gel Flow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
140 euros
151 x 275 mm
315 g
extra padding / gel shock absorber
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 SLR TM Superflow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
160 euros
S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm
S 205 g – L 210 g
nylon
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 SP-01 Boost TM Superflow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
130 euros
S 130 x 250 mm – L 146 x 250 mm
S 200 g – L 205 g
Selle Italia X-LR Kit Carbonio Superflow
carbon/keramic Ø7×9 mm
300 euros
S 131 x 266 mm – L 145 x 266 mm
S 130 g – L 138 g
carbon composite
double density foam

Sources

Jez Ash, Brooks Cambium C13, Road.cc, April 15, 2016
Jim Clarkson, Fabric Scoop Elite Shallow saddle, Off.road.cc, August 19, 2020
Aaron Borrill, Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive saddle first ride review, Cycling News, March 20, 2020
Nick BruckBauer, Fizik Arione Review, Outdoorgearlab, Oct 24, 2019
Mat Brett, Fizik Arione R1 saddle, Road.cc, April 19, 2017
Nick Burklow, Long Term Review: Selle Italia’s SLR Superflow 145 Saddle, Bikerumor, October 12, 2013
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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