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The top 12 best gel road bike saddles

In this article I’m going to feature some of the best gel road bike saddles. So if you’re looking at some added comfort to your road rides, you’re at the right place.

Roughly road bike saddles fall into three categories. The first group is non-padded saddles. I’ve never seen any other non-padded saddles than full carbon options.

The second group is the largest and consists of padded saddles. For road bike saddles, high-quality standard padded saddles never feature gel padding.

Then there’s a third group I consider extra padded road bike saddles. That group includes saddles that offer extra comfort in the form of gel padding.

Premium road bike saddles with just gel padding are few and far in between. That’s why I’m going to give you options from the entire last group, which means I’m going to give you the best saddles with extra padding, including those where the extra padding is made from gel.

If the goal is comfort, the means to achieve such a thing has been engineered beyond simply putting a couple of gel pads into your saddle. By offering an overview of saddles with a core focus on plushness I feel you’re in the best position to make the right choice for you.

So without further ado, here’s the list of the best gel road bike saddles.

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

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

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.

Expert Experience

Matthew Loveridge | Senior Writer – October 11, 2016

My experience on the road suggests that the design is very effective. Thanks to padding that’s a good compromise — it’s supportive but not unforgiving to your sit bones — you don’t sink into the saddle too much, and the channel in the middle does its job. If you’re a fan of cut-outs and aren’t too bothered about the few extra grams it carries compared to a more weight-focused saddle, the Novus SuperFlow is definitely worth a go.

Pros and Cons

Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow

Lady Gel Flow
Lady Gel Flow

The Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow is a saddle obviously meant for female riders. They are actually offered in two widths. The wide version measures 160 millimeters, which is great for a relaxed upright position. There’s also a much narrower version at 135 millimeters if you’re very familiar with road cycling and prefer a saddle with a more race-oriented shape.

Selle Italia ditched the leather cover for a more maintenance free microfiber one. It will also mean the saddle is more durable than a thin leather cover, and more waterproof as well, which were two cons of earlier editions of this saddle.

This is a true touring saddle for people who like their behinds to sit on well-padded seats and don’t like aggressive riding in the drops.

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 Novus Endurance TM Superflow

Novus Endurance TM Superflow
Novus Endurance TM Superflow

With endurance in its name it should be obvious what the Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow is for.

Its unique-looking design looks similar to those used by ISM, with the nose cut in half and slightly dipping.

This affordable long-distance offering features a lot of extra padding for a weight penalty, tipping the scales over 300 grams. But this is not a saddle for those looking to shave an extra 100 grams of their bike, and people who’ll actually be doing gran fondos will care less about such a thing.

What they will care about is comfort and this saddle excels in that area. You can actually take this saddle on roads that don’t necessarily resemble smooth tarmac, and the plush ride will allow you to enjoy it from start to finish.

Selle Italia offers a number of magnificent showpieces, and this saddle is not among them. It’s purely functional with a core focus on being able to eat mile after mile of road. So if that’s your thing there aren’t many options that offer a greater return on investment, if any.

Pros and Cons

Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women

SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women
SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women

Don’t get confused about the name of the Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women. It’s not specifically for E-bikes and not specifically for mountain bikes.

This is not a road bike saddle. Not its weight, not its design, not its padding hints in that direction. It is a great option for a robust touring / gravel / MTB saddle.

The strong CroMo steel rails support 2 variations with the widest measuring 160 millimeters at a standard length of 278 millimeters.

Their sales page features a lot of impressive medical copywriting. But it doesn’t take away that saddles can still be hit or miss. Why you might want to consider this saddle is that it really does feature several layers of unique feminine oriented padding in a design that also has a large center depression.

Those various levels of padding create flexibility in the saddle, firmness where necessary, and added comfort and damping properties as well.

The saddle has a very premium and solid look, which feels much more at home on a touring or mountain bike than on a road bike.

Pros and Cons

Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men

SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men
SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men

The Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men has the overall same dimensions but a much larger center depression. I don’t have to explain why.

It’s interesting to note that where Selle Italia opts for a wider version of a feminine saddle with the same characteristics otherwise, it feels like Ergon at least changed the overall upper shape of their saddles.

That kind of makes sense considering the fact that there are serious differences between a male and female. Apart from all of the other factors that make this saddle great for touring. Like the multi-layered padding and overall flexibility. All that padding doesn’t mean it’s a cushion. But it performs a bit like memory foam, where a couple rides in you feel more adjusted to the saddle.

Expert Experience

Paul Burwell | Contributor – October 19, 2020

Ergon has really upped the plushness – the SM E-Mountain Core Prime has got an armchair ride, but at the same time it feels supportive. It’s almost like memory foam in this respect. The problem I have with it, apart from the price, is that it’s a tall saddle. And since most e-bikes have issues with dropper post insertion (the motor gets in the way) this saddle isn’t going to help that. When I’m descending I can feel it underneath more than the one it replaced.

For all that though, I’m going to switch back to a lower-profile model for the riding I do, because for me the extra clearance makes all the difference.

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

Prologo Dimension NDR

Dimension NDR
Dimension NDR

The Prologo Dimension NDR is a sporty saddle with an offroad nature.

To establish this nature, Prologo simply added more padding to the shell, which is offered in a single size of 245 x 143 mm.

The 245 millimeters can be considered a short-nosed saddle. For those of you who don’t know what that is, short-nosed saddles favor riders who show a more forward seated position.

Since there’s less nose, the overall saddle can be moved forward a bit on the seatpost, while the rider still remains in the area where he or she feels most comfortable.

It’s probably one of the most aggressive saddles on this list for offroad touring or mountain biking.

Expert Experience

Paul Norman | Product Tester – May 7, 2020

The Dimension NDR is a comfortable saddle for longer rides. Fitted to an endurance road bike, it provided good support and enough padding to smooth out the road a bit, without my sitbones getting lost in the foam. The width also means that there’s enough surface area to spread the load, despite the central cut-out.

What didn’t work so well off road was the short format, which limits your ability to shift your weight as you ride. That’s fine for road riding, where the range of forward and aft motion you’re likely to want is limited, but makes steeper off-road descents more awkward than a longer design and leaves you hanging off the back of the saddle.

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

Specifications gel road bike saddles

Name
Rail
Price
Dimensions
Weight
Shell
Padding
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
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
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
Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
140 euros
S 135 x 262 mm – L 160 x 262 mm
S 300 g – L 310 g
extra padding / gel shock absorber
Selle Italia Man Gel Flow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
140 euros
151 x 275 mm
315 g
extra padding / gel shock absorber
Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow
manganese tube Ø7 mm
100 euros
S 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mm
S 306 g – L 310 g
nylon
extra padding / gel
Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women
CroMo
160 USD
S 278 x 147 mm – L 278 – 160 mm
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam
Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men
CroMo
160 USD
S 278 x 147 mm – L 278 – 160 mm
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam
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
Prologo Dimension NDR
nack carbon / tirox / T4.0
109/138/213 euros
245 x 143 mm
nack 170 g – Tirox 215 g – T4.0 229 g
extra padding
ISM PN 4.0
stainless steel alloy
250 USD
255 x 125 mm
259 g
30-Series Foam

Sources

Aaron Borrill, Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive saddle first ride review, Cycling News, March 20, 2020
Matthew Loveridge, Selle Italia Novus SuperFlow L review, Bikeradar, October 11, 2016
Paul Burwell, Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime saddle review, MBR, October 19, 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 Norman, Prologo Dimension NDR saddle review, Cyclist, May 7, 2020
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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