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The top 13 best road bike saddles for comfort

In this article I’m going to focus on the best road bike saddles for comfort.

To be able to do so I need to discuss a number of common saddle-related issues. A saddle cannot prevent numbness if the overall setup of your bike makes you sit and move on that saddle incorrectly. More likely than not the experience of saddle discomfort is related to the frame being too big, the seatpost set too high, the stem being too long, the saddle position to far forward, etc. etc.

Next up is the fact that you’re not supposed to sit on your genitals. Numbness is because of pressure being applied to the perineal area. The amount of pressure on that area is inversely correlated to how much weight is carried by the sit bones. The less you make use of your sit bones, the more you sit on your genitals, the more pressure is created, the more numb you feel, with all negative aspects associated to that.

It’s extremely difficult to make a correct match between a road cyclist’s physical aspect and a saddle, without some form of experimentation. E.g. actually using a certain saddle. And my list can’t give you actual riding experience, nor can it fix your bike setup. What I can and will do is give you an overview of saddles that at least reduce the risk of experiencing numbness and have a proven track record of being comfortable for the majority of road cyclists.

So with that out of the way, here are my top picks for the best road bike saddle for comfort.

Contenders best road bike saddles for comfort

Brooks C13 Carved

Brooks C13 Carved
Brooks C13 Carved

The Brooks C13 Carved is exactly the same as the standard C13, except it has a small cut out in the center of the saddle.

Unlike Selle Italia’s Superflow offerings this cut out is pretty small. But whereas leather Brooks saddles need additional rivets or laces to keep the shape of carved saddles, that isn’t the case with Cambium saddles, and might be the reason Brooks decided to not flay the saddle entirely.

This version with cut out means there’s less material to support the rider, which results in a saddle being more compliant. Whether or not you like that added plushness and the cut out is rider specific and hard to test without actually sitting on both. But if you’re familiar with saddles with cut outs, I’d definitely recommend this one.

Reasons To Buy

– extremely comfortable
– more flexible than non-cutout version

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men
Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men

The Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men is the male version obviously. Ergon has taken its research into male and female anatomoy 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.

Reasons To Buy

– one of the few ergonomic saddles
– gel padding
– supports upright position

Reasons To Avoid

– heavy

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women

Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women
Ergon 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 support an upright position with enough cushioning to take out any irregularities in the road.

Reasons To Buy

– one of the few ergonomic saddles
– gel padding
– supports upright position

Reasons To Avoid

– heavy

Fizik Arione R1 Open

Fizik Arione R1 Open
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.

Reasons To Buy

– made for racing
– unique design

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Prologo Kappa Space

Prologo Kappa Space
Prologo 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 classicly shaped arrowheaded saddles, and you like its design, this great piece from Prologo is the best choice.

Reasons To Buy

– affordable
– classic shape
– cut out design

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Prologo Scratch M5 Pas

Prologo Scratch M5 Pas
Prologo Scratch M5 Pas

The Prologo Scratch M5 Pas is a short-nosed lightweight road bike saddle.

The overall design features a large seating platform and dropped nose, which enables dynamic riding where you need to get frequently out of the saddle.

The saddle offers two options for the rails with the Tirox alloy versions hovering around 200 grams and a much lighter carbon version sitting at 134 grams. Oval carbon rails necessity a carbon specific seatpost, so make sure you have one, should you decide to opt for the carbon version.

The Scratch M5 is decently padded and looks futuristic with its five panel layout across a rounded 250mm length shell. This separate pannelling should help to add some extra flex to the saddle for added comfort.

Reasons To Buy

– short-nosed saddle
– futuristic design
– multiple rail options

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow

Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow
Selle Italia 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 of 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.

Reasons To Buy

– superb build quality
– short nose saddle
– relatively affordable

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow

Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow
Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow

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

It’s 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 doesn’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 magnificient 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.

Reasons To Buy

– for long distance riding
– extra padded

Reasons To Avoid

– relatively heavy
– design might not suit everyone

Selle Italia SLR TM Superflow

Selle Italia SLR TM Superflow
Selle Italia 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.

Reasons To Buy

– classic design
– extra padded
– loads of comfort

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow

Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow

The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflow is 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’ll 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 independant 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 independantly 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 making next steps when it comes to road racing saddles. And with Their SP-01 they’ve hit the mark just right.

Reasons To Buy

– innovative design
– comfort without extra padding

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing Narrow

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

Reasons To Buy

– lots of padding
– lightweight for an MTB saddle
– classic shape
– cutout

Reasons To Avoid

– none

Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide (Open)

Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide (Open)
Selle San Marco 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 considering.

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.

Reasons To Buy

– has cut out
– excellent and durable build quality
– budget-friendly

Reasons To Avoid

– too stiff for some

ISM PN 4.0

ISM PN 4.0
ISM 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 inexpenisive, 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 tradtional 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 pedalling 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.

Reasons To Buy

– proven track record for comfort
– more comfortable option in ISM’s lineup

Reasons To Avoid

– polarizing design

Specifications best road bike saddles for comfort

NameRailRetail PriceDimensionsWeightShellPaddingCoverBuy at AmazonBuy at Ebay
Brooks C13 Carvedcarbon braided 7×9 mm200 eurosS 275 x 145 mm L 275 x 158 mmS 280 g – L 295 gvulcanized rubbernonenylonlink
Ergon SMC Sport Gel MenCroMo100 USD300 gnylon compositeOrthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel paddingmicrofiberlinklink
Ergon SMC Sport Gel WomenCroMo100 USD295 gnylon compositeOrthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel paddingmicrofiberlinklink
Fizik Arione R1 Opencarbon braided 7×10 mm199.99 USDS 300 x 132 mm – L 298 x 142 mmS 199 g – L 205 gcarbon reinforced nylonmicrotexlinklink
Prologo Kappa Spacecro-mo 7 mm78 euros270 x 147 mm249 gnylonLight foamlinklink
Prologo Scratch M5 Pasnack carbon / tirox138/213 euros250 x 140 mmnack 134 g – Tirox 201 glinklink
Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflowmanganese tube 7 mm150 eurosS 135 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mmS 230 g – L 233 gnylonSoft-Teklinklink
Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflowmanganese tube 7 mm100 eurosS 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mmS 306 g – L 310 gnylonextra padding / gelFibra-Teklinklink
Selle Italia SLR TM Superflowmanganese tube 7 mm160 eurosS 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mmS 205 g – L 210 gnylonFibra-Teklinklink
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost TM Superflowmanganese tube 7 mm130 eurosS 130 x 250 mm – L 146 x 250 mmS 200 g – L 205 glinklink
Selle San Marco Aspide Supercomfort Racing NarrowStealth Xsilite159 euros277 x 132 mm207 gcarbon reinforced nylonbiofoammicrofeellinklink
Selle San Marco GND Dynamic Wide (Open)manganese79 euros262 x 145 mm210 gglass fiber reiinforcedBiofoamMicrofeellinklink
ISM PN 4.0stainless steel alloy250 USD255 x 125 mm259 g30-Series Foamlinklink