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The top 13 best road bike saddles for wide site bones

In this article I’m going to give you an overview of the best road bike saddles for wide sit bones.

Now, my guess is that you’ve done some research into what actually constitutes wide sit bones, but either way I’m gonna give you my definition of what I feel are wide sit bones before I head over to the list.

If you take a look at road bike saddle dimensions, they can roughly be cut up into three separate categories: narrow, regular, and wide. And you’ve got ultra-narrow and super wide as well, but those saddles are too specific to be used for allround road cycling purposes.

I consider anything below 140 millimeters to fall into the narrow category and anything up from 152 millimeters to fall into the wide category. The rest can be deemed regular sized.

Even with those numbers there’s obviously room for interpretation, let alone the actual shape and size of the road bike saddle itself. Saddles with the same widths can feel radically different for obvious reasons.

But with this working definition I can feel we can head over to the list of the best road bike saddles for wide sit bones. A table with saddle specifications is at the end of the article.

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

Brooks C17

C17
C17

The Brooks C17 is the Cambium version of the iconic B17 traditional leather saddle. But though the shape is relatively similar that’s about where the comparison ends.

It’s both longer, slimmer and cheaper than the B17, trimming 10 millimeters off the side and adding that to the length. You end up with a saddle measuring 283 x 164 mm.

But the entire structure is way different, with the C17 resembling the characteristics of a more traditional saddle, though Brooks does have their proprietary vulcanized leather for their entire Cambium lineup.

This rubber is very pliant but requires no breaking in period. The downside of that is that it won’t conform to your anatomy as a leather saddle would. So you have to be more picky about choosing the right shape.

But Cambium models are waterproof, extremely abrasion-resistant and durable, which make them the perfect companion for touring cyclists. Especially since the very maintenance-free characteristic is a big plus for touring cyclists and road racers in general.

If you’re looking for the best maintenance free saddle money can buy for a reasonable price, the Cambium C17 is the best option.

Expert Experience

Paul Robson | Editor – June 11, 2020

The rubber used to make the saddle flex exceptionally well, which helps to recreate the famous slung ‘hammock’-style flexibility of Brooks’s leather seats. This ensures excellent comfort and keeps you in contact with your saddle, rather than bouncing around on rougher surfaces.

There is a small weight penalty over a performance saddle due to the C17’s steel rails, and you might not want a Cambium on your full-on race bike – there is surely a trade-off in power for this much comfort – but for an endurance or touring bike, commuter or winter trainer this is a perfect saddle when it comes to performance and looks.

Pros and Cons

Brooks C17 Carved

C17 Carved
C17 Carved

The Brooks C17 Carved is the C17 with a center cut out for pressure relief.

Unlike leather models of Brooks lineup, the Cambium models don’t need rivets or laces to prevent the shell from deforming. It’s another trait that makes the Cambium models with a center cutout behave more like current saddles.

The C17 Carved is a bit less firm than the standard C17, simply because there is less material to hold the rider. Especially if you’re planning on riding rougher terrain this might suit your needs, since you have better natural damping from the saddle.

Pros and Cons

Brooks Swallow

Swallow
Swallow

The Brooks Swallow is longer and more narrow than the Brooks Swift and just a tad bit lighter sitting at grams.

Because of its elongated shape, the saddle has two flaps that are attached to each other underneath the leather upper. This keeps the saddle from sagging too much and moving outwards while sitting.

The saddle has an entire chromed steel frame including the rails. Its long nose and relative low height when compared to other Brooks saddles ensure it has a definite race feel to it.

As I said before, you buy such an eccentric-looking piece of saddle equipment for the experience. And as far as experience goes with an authentic leather saddle, the Brooks Swallow probably offers the best road bike experience of them all.

Expert Experience

John Stevenson | Contributor – September 4, 2007

There’s something marvelously eccentric about this saddle. Stretching a lump of thick leather across a metal frame is about the heaviest way to make a saddle. Making the frame out of titanium produces a lightweight version – for values of ‘lightweight’ that include ‘heavier than any other racing saddle on the market’.

You have to look after it, feeding it Proofide and popping its little raincoat on if you’re going to leave it out in the wet. Like Flann O’Brien’s bikes in the Third Policeman, it clearly would prefer to be inside by the fire – you can bet those bikes had leather saddles.

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 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 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

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

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.

Expert Experience

Warren Rossiter | Senior technical editor – September 10, 2018

These new ingredients combine to give you a saddle that has the classic Aliante feel but is softer on your sensitive parts. It does feel a little weird to begin with, because the spine of the saddle feels rigid, which in turn makes the flanks feel more flexible than ever.

I didn’t experience any discomfort while riding, either from the rock-solid centre or the softer feeling sides. The presence of the hole takes all the pressure off your most delicate area, while the kicked-up rear provides a bit of extra leverage when you are climbing by allowing you to shift your weight back and push against it when the gradient goes up.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Stu Kerton | Senior Product Reviewer – April 21, 2022

The swoopy shape works well, I found. The raised back gives you something to push against when you want to get the power out, and if like me you like to move back in the saddle when climbing, there is still plenty of padding there for it to be supportive and comfortable.

The padding is firm throughout – the nose section especially so, I found, which caused some discomfort when riding to start with – but after about 300 miles it seemed to soften and mould to my shape.

Pros and Cons

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.

Expert Experience

Guy Kesteven | Contributor – September 30, 2020

I found getting the correct saddle angle crucial for settling into the comfort sweet spot. On my first few rides with the saddle orientated in a level position, I tended to shift backwards too much onto the broad, flat rear which interfered with pedalling. Set it nose down though and you’re naturally tipped into the flexible hammock of the cut-out section, with the very firm front dropped out of harm’s way. The big central cut out had several fans among our test team and it’s certainly a well-vented saddle that can really soften road/off-road shock through the springy shell.

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

Specifications road bike saddles for wide site bones

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
Brooks C17
steel
120 euros
283 x 164 mm
464 g
vulcanised rubber
none
Brooks C17 Carved
steel
120 euros
283 x 164 mm
446 g
vulcanised rubber
none
Brooks Swallow
steel
190 euros
285 x 153 mm
490 g
none
none
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 SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women
CroMo
160 USD
S 278 x 147 mm – L 278 – 160 mm
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam
Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men
CroMo
100 USD
300 g
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding
Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women
CroMo
100 USD
295 g
nylon composite
Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding
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 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 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
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

Sources

Jez Ash, Brooks Cambium C13, Road.cc, April 15, 2016
Paul Robson, Brooks Cambium All Weather C17 saddle review, Bikeradar, June 11, 2020
John Stevenson, Brooks Swallow Classic review, Bikeradar, September 4, 2007
Paul Burwell, Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime saddle review, MBR, October 19, 2020
Miles Arbour, Ergon SMC Sport Gel Saddle: First Ride Review, Bikepacking, May 4, 2020
Kristen Bonkoski, Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women’s Saddle Review, Femme Cyclist, June 13, 2023
Warren Rossiter, Fizik Aliante R1 Open saddle review, Bikeradar, September 10, 2018
Stu Kerton, Fizik Aliante R3 Open R saddle, Road.cc, April 21, 2022
Guy Kesteven, Fizik Vento Argo R5 saddle review, Cycling News, September 30, 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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