In this article I’m going to give you an overview of the best road bike saddles to prevent numbness.
Before I head over to the list there are two things I’d like to clear up beforehand. The first thing is that the majority of saddle issues result from an incorrect bike setup with respect to the rider. The saddle is too high, to far forward, too far backward, tilted too much. The bike is too big, the stem is too long, the handlebars too low, tilted too much, the cleats are positioned wrong.
The most common issue is riders needing too lean too far forward on a saddle that should sit at least 1 inch lower. Testing variations with your existing setup can easily create more comfort without you spending cash on a new saddle, which won’t fix your issue, becasue it has nothing to do with the saddle.
The second fallacy with respect to saddle numbness is that a lot of padding will fix it. I have well-padded saddles and a naked-carbon version. And the full carbon one is the most comfortable. That’s because a road bike saddle does not function as a sofa. A road bike saddle should provide maximum support to your sit bones, and bones feel very little. What sits between the sit bones is what does all the hurting if it get’s the wrong kind of pressure.
The a little info about the price difference you’ll be able to find in the list. The price difference is created by the material used, most noticeably carbon. Carbon is very expensive but has qualities other materials just don’t offer. Most notably the ability for road bike saddle manufactureres to create both strong and lightweight saddles.
Another often overlooked aspect of saddles with either carbom rails, carbon shells, or both, is that carbon soaks up a lot of energy that would otherwise be transferred into the body, causing all kinds of aches, pains, and muscle fatigue. So yes, it’s far more expensive than an ordinary saddle, but, when sized correctly, offers tremendous benefits.
With those things in mind I’ve created a list of road bike saddle for touring, endurance, and performance road racing. They have above average levels of padding, and normal padding. it’s up to you to decide what kind of riding you feel most comfortable with and choose a saddle accordingly. Maybe it’s leasurely touring, maybe it’s being in the drops for the majority of time with a forward seating positions.
Whatever it is, this list of the very best road bike saddles to prevent numbness will help you on your way of riding more comfortably. You can find a table with specifications at the end of this article.
Contenders best road bike saddles to prevent numbness
The Brooks B17 is the most iconic model in the entire lineup. It’s the first bicycle saddle I ever saw, because my father rode it for decades on his daily commuter.
What can you say about this saddle that hasn’t already be said before. It’s probably the best-selling sadle for touring cyclists for years.
The entire notion behind the classic lineup of leather Brooks saddles is that they don’t offer a shell, but rather a very thick piece of leather that sits on top of a steel railing.
The biggest issues with saddles is that they have to fit your specific anatomy. Or, more specifically, they have to ensure you sit on your sit bones, not other more tender parts.
By using a product such as leather for the shell, it means the saddle comforms to your physique. Over time that is. And that period is called the breaking in period. And it’s probably the core reason why the B17 is the go-to choice for many touring cyclists.
A Brooks saddle such as this one is not without downsides, besides the breaking in period. The B17 is very wide at 175mm. It’s also very heavy and relatively expensive. So the wide shape might not suit everyone.
Leather is a natural product, and is much more difficult to make fully water resistant. Because the leather stretches, without the proper care it can stretch to the extend where there is an extreme level of sag, especially when riding in wet conditions.
So it has pros and cons, but its track record has no equal.
Brooks B17 Carved
The Brooks B17 Carved is the version with a center cutout. To maintain the shape of the saddle the center is hold together with a leather lace.
The main benefit over the standard B17 is that the B17 Carved takes less time to break in. Having less less simply makes this saddle more supple and easy to adjust to your body.
After that, for those who appreciate saddles with cut outs, the Carved version obviously adds an extra level of comfort besides the general pros the B17 offer in this department.
Brooks B17 Narrow Carved
The Brooks B17 Narrow Carved is the exact same version as the B17 Narrow without the center cut out.
For a saddle with such a vintage build, a center cut out behaves a bit differently than on a saddle with a shell. To keep the shape of the saddle in place, there’s a lace that ties underneath the leather upper and keeps the sides from pulling away from each other.
As with all Brooks saddles, the B17 Narrow Carved has a breaking in period, where the thick leather upper adjusts to the rider. But after a considerate amount of miles both the breaking in and center cut out make for an exceptionally comfortable retro-styled saddle.
This saddle is definitely a special piece of bicycle equipment for the vintage connoisseur who doesn’t mind the time necessary to grow towards the ultimate riding experience. And as such the B17 Narrow Carved offers its goodness for those who’re willing to wait for it while riding.
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 millimeter it has about an average width for a road bike saddle, and the aluminium 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.
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.
The Brooks C15 is a tad bit longer than its C13 cousin measuring 283 x 140 mm.
It looks a lot like that saddle in that it uses the same material for the shell, rivets, and cover, but as for ride feel it’s quite different.
For starters the C15 sits on steel rails, which drastically reduces the price. Carbon rails are known for taking out a bit more road buzz and being more flexible, which makes the C15 feel a bit stiffer.
Obviously it’s beautifully finished but that longer shape and steel rails does mean you’re looking at a saddle weighing 450 grams. A weight I do not necessarily consider to be in line with a true racing machine. For the same amount of money you can have a saddle that weighs less than half.
With its race shape, with great clearance, high level of comfort, and weight, the C15 is kind of an odd saddle in the performance category. But the far majority of people prefer comfort any day over the extra 150 grams.
So that means you choose the C15 for its looks, and the overall ride quality of the vulcanized upper, which is fantastic.
Brooks C15 Carved
The Brooks C15 Carved is the same version as the regular C15, except it has a cut out.
As with the Brooks C13, whether or not you opt for the cut out version is up to. Just remember you get a bit more compliance out of the saddle because of the missing material.
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 addiing 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 vulcanised 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 comform 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 abbrasion-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 your looking for the best maintenance free saddle money can buy for a reasonable price, the Cambium C17 is the best option.
Brooks 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.
Ergon 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 that it.
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.
Ergon 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 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 feature 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.
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.
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.
This is an even more leasure focused saddle, which I would consider to be the perfect partner for commuter or short touring rides.
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.
Fabric Line Elite Shallow
The Fabric Line Elite Shallow is great value-for-money allround saddle that will suit the majority of riders.
Its nylon shell is supported by titanium rails and has a narrow width of 134 millimeters and a length of 270 milimeters. For the materials used and the padding it has a reasonable weight of 237 grams.
Shallow means the saddle supports a more upright position with a medium amount of padding versus the more race-oriented flat saddles. This means it’s suited for riders who like to ride on the hoods, but it’s safe to say that the saddle feels equilly comfortable in the drops.
The very clean design of the saddle features a non-padded center that runs the length of the saddle, with padding on either side.
The overall allure of this saddle resides in the combination of price, comfort, design and allround suitability. It’s the perfect choice for weekend warriors who favor short leisurely rides that won’t cros the 100 mile mark. Although saddles will also be always very personal choice, this saddle has been in Fabric’s lineup for years for good reason.
Fabric 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 a 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.
Fizik 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 offroad 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 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 that many other entries on this list. What you get in return is a extremely high-quality carbon composite offering for cyclist who feel very at home on road bikes.
Fizik 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 comforms to the riders 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.
Fizik Arione R1
If you like your saddles long, the Fizik Arione R1 measuring at almost 1 foot seems to dwarve 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 pedalling, but you know for sure there’s more than enough room to move and you’ll never run out of space when climbing.
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.
Fizik 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.
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.
Prologo 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.
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 road 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.
Prologo Nago C3 CPC
The Prologo Nago C3 CPC is a saddle with a carbon rails and shell that offers CPC airing technology.
CPC is available for high end saddles from Prologo and is a super-grippy polymer that’s raised ever so slightly from the saddle, providing marginal gains in shock absorption and airflow. Buy hey, marginal gains are gains nonetheless.
The design, weighing 155 grams for the 275×139 mm version, looks like something that could be sitting on a Tron cycle and the photos don’t actually do the saddle justice.
The fact that the saddle has been used in the Tour de France says enough about its abillity to provide comfort during long riding sessions, so those marginal gains seems to be paying off in the eyes of professional riders.
Prologo Nago Evo Pas
Prologo offers high build quality when it comes to road bike saddles, and the Prologo Nago Evo Pas is a gorgeous allround saddle for dynamic riding.
I can understand why the overall shape of the saddle made Prologo state the saddle can also be used for cross-country rides.
You have the option of two different type of material for the rails, with the carbon version dipping below 200 grams at 185 grams. With TiroX steel alloy it means the saddle will sit at 211, which is still pretty light for a non-carbon saddle.
Forgoing a center cut out this saddle instead has a no-padded area in the middle. And at 275 x 134 millimeters it has a narrow width and standard road racing length.
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.
Prologo Zero C3
The Prologo Zero C3 is a narrow racing saddle with minimal padding. Carbon rails and a carbon shell, means the weight stays at a very respectable 155 grams.
With dimensions sitting at 270x132mm it can be called a fairly narrow saddle, so be sure firm and narrow is the type of saddle you prefer.
The Prologo Zero C3 could also be seen in the Tour so any doubt about the comfort of minimal padded firm carbon saddles should dissipate.
Selle Italia 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 than in terms of comfort and value-for-money, this is one of the best allround 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.
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.
Selle Italia 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.
Selle Italia 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.
Selle Italia Model X Comfort+
At 415 grams and with loads of padding the Selle Italia Model X Comfort+ is meant for riders who like to enjoy the scenery more than getting as fast as possible from A to B.
The sweeping form favors a more upright position. It’s still a great looking saddle for gravel and endurance riding, and the finish of the taut microfiber cover is fantastic, as befitting of the Italian brand.
One of the best things of this saddle is obviously the price, which means that road enthusiasts can obtain a high quality product as a decent price.
This is the right saddle for weekend warriors, who enjoy leisurely rides in great comfort while catching up on the latest news with each other riding in the hoods.
Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Superflow
Selle Italia tops makes some of the most expensive bike saddles in the world, with a strong focus on both true road racing pieces.
The Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Superflow is another great example of the Italian brands solid engineering. And they do so in a well-designed package that does not cross 100 dollars.
In line with today’s penchant for short-nosed saddles, the Novus Boost measures only 248 mm in length and has a standard width of 145 mm. Superflow is the term designated for their models with cut outs.
It’s a great-looking piece of equipment with nuanced detailing in the form of a perforated black upper and logo. The center cut out sits in the middle of a dipped area. And underneath the shell you’ll find a 7 mm alloy rails to keep the price the way it is.
I may not be as budget-minded as in my college days, but if I was this is probably the saddle I’d pick.
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.
Selle Italia 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 produces 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 a 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.
Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow
At 202 grams the Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow is a featherweight short-nosed premium performance saddle.
SLR denotes Selle Italia’s forray into short-nosed perches and at 130 x 248 mm for the regular and 145 x 248 mm for the wide version, they are short indeed.
The swooping design is felt even more by the gel padded cover. It’s amazing that Selle Italia has managed to cram so much comfort and padding onto a saddle that weighs so little.
Like most of Selle Italia’s premium endurance saddles, this one features a titanium rails and durable Fibra-tek cover onto a carbon composite shell.
Saddles are exceptionally personal product offerings, and when buying such an expensive one as this one you want one that’s right for you.
This saddle is anything but cheap, but for that premium you get one of the lightest endurance saddles in the market for long comfortable hours in the saddle.
Selle Italia SLR Boost TM
If you don’t want to spend hundreds of dollars on an SLR saddle the more moderately priced Selle Italia SLR Boost TM is a great way to venture into short-nosed saddles from this Italian manufacturer.
Although it’s much more affordable it’s just slightly heavier at 220 grams, and I’m not convinced a person will notice a 20 grams difference anyone. This one has a manganese steel rails versus the titanium one. The 7 millimeter diameter rails ensure they’ll be compatible with standard seatposts.
The rails are attached to a nylon shell. That means it’s less forgiving and more firm than either a full carbon or carbon composite shell, which will cost you way more money. Of course it’s difficult to explain what more firm actually feels like for the individual, and some people actually prefer firm saddles.
Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow
The Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow is a superbly crafted saddle with many outstanding details.
The 131 width one sits at 148 grams, while the 145 is slightly heavier at 153 grams. That’s extremely light for a saddle measuring 275 millimeters in length.
This very expensive saddle has carbon keramic rails underneath a carbon injected nylon shell with Mikrotek microfiber cover.
Selle Italia’s Superflow refers to their penchant for huge cut outs. And with that much material removed there’s very little for your body to use other than the sit bones. Your anatomy is a unique thing, but the slightly swooping shape of the SLR does allow for some adjusting on the saddle back and forth to find that position that feels best for you.
The ovalized carbon keramic rails and the carbon composite shell provides a fair amount of flex, and the padded upper adds to the overall comfort you’ll enjoy with this road saddle.
The saddle is more delicate than some of the others with the cover stretches all the way to the edge and zero scuff protectors. But that’s kind of a trade-off between design versus protection. And it does mean you will never feel any sharp edges because there arent’ any.
Overall this premium offering from Selle Italia has proven to be one of the most popular road bike saddles in their high end performance category. And I can clearly understand why.
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.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow
The naming conventions of Selle Italia are very confusing indeed, untill you understand that they simply have a fancy way of putting saddle parts into the name. The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow is a good example.
SP-01 refers to a new innovation where the two halves of the sadlle are only held together at the nose. In this case we’re talking about a carbon composite shell dropping the weight to below the magic 200 gram mark at 160. That’s featherweight territory.
Kit Carbonio refers to the carbon rails, which further adds to the premium feel of the saddle. It adds an extra damping factor, but do keep in mind the oval rails need a compatible seatpost. The unique looking rails adds an additional shock absorption factor to the overall high comfort level obtained by the prolific use of carbon throughout the entire saddle
Superflow is Selle Italia’s way of describing their saddle cut outs, which are large and prominent. Even more so with the SP-01 outlandish shape.
And Boost is their way of telling you’re dealing with a short-nosed version of the saddle. With a single size of 130 x 250 mm it’s not only short but also narrow. The taper at the front does lead to a wider nose than on non-boost saddle, which makes a more forward position a comfortable possibility.
It’s the SP-01 saddle that provides the most performance and flexibility in use, with just the more outrageous full carbon Tekno trumping it. The saddle is both a gorgeous and astonishing feat of saddle engineering, that provides the absolute best the Italian company has to offer to the serious road cyclist.
Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow
The SP-01 saddles is a separate category of saddles which provides more flex due to independantly 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 ads a couple of extra grams of weight, but the round 7 millimeter rails is 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 incompatbile 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.
Specifications best road bike saddles to prevent numbness
|Name||Rail||Retail Price||Dimensions||Weight||Shell||Padding||Cover||Buy at Amazon||Buy at Ebay|
|Brooks B17||steel||140 euros||275 x 175 mm||520 g||none||none||vegetable tanned leather||link||link|
|Brooks B17 Carved||steel||140 euros||275 x 175 mm||520 g||none||none||vegetable tanned leather||link||link|
|Brooks B17 Narrow Carved||steel||150 euros||279 x 151 mm||510 g||none||none||vegetable tanned leather||link||link|
|Brooks C13||carbon braided 7×9 mm||200 euros||S 275 x 145 mm L 275 x 158 mm||S 295 g – L 310 g||vulcanized rubber||none||nylon||link||link|
|Brooks C13 Carved||carbon braided 7×9 mm||200 euros||S 275 x 145 mm L 275 x 158 mm||S 280 g – L 295 g||vulcanized rubber||none||nylon||link|
|Brooks C15||steel||120 euros||283 x 140 mm||450 g||vulcanized rubber||none||nylon||link||link|
|Brooks C15 Carved||steel||120 euros||283 x 140 mm||432 g||vulcanized rubber||none||nylon||link||link|
|Brooks C17||steel||120 euros||283 x 164 mm||464 g||vulcanised rubber||none||nylon||link||link|
|Brooks C17 Carved||steel||120 euros||283 x 164 mm||446 g||vulcanised rubber||none||nylon||link||link|
|Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Men||CroMo||160 USD||S 278 x 147 mm – L 278 – 160 mm||nylon composite||Orthopedic Comfort Foam||microfiber||link||link|
|Ergon SM E-Mountain Core Prime Women||CroMo||160 USD||S 278 x 147 mm – L 278 – 160 mm||nylon composite||Orthopedic Comfort Foam||microfiber||link||link|
|Ergon SMC Sport Gel Men||CroMo||100 USD||300 g||nylon composite||Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding||microfiber||link||link|
|Ergon SMC Sport Gel Women||CroMo||100 USD||295 g||nylon composite||Orthopedic Comfort Foam w. gel padding||microfiber||link||link|
|Fabric Line Elite Shallow||titanium 7×7 mm||105 USD||270 x 134 mm||237 g||nylon||microfiber||link||link|
|Fabric Scoop Elite Flat||cro-mo 7 mm||80 USD||282 x 142 mm||244 g||flexible nylon||microfiber||link||link|
|Fizik Aliante R3||kium 7×7 mm||174.99 USD||S 279 x 138 mm – L 279 x 154 mm||S 215 g – L 220 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive||carbon 7×10 mm||399.99 USD||S 274 x 139 mm – L 27 4 x146 mm||S 168 g – L 171 g||carbon||EPU 41||link||link|
|Fizik Arione R1||carbon braided 7×10 mm||249.99 USD||S 300 x 126 mm – L 300 x 140 mm||S 163 g – L 181 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Arione R1 Open||carbon braided 7×10 mm||199.99 USD||S 300 x 132 mm – L 298 x 142 mm||S 199 g – L 205 g||carbon reinforced nylon||microtex||link||link|
|Fizik Vento Argo R5||S-Alloy 7 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||link||link|
|ISM PN 4.0||stainless steel alloy||250 USD||255 x 125 mm||259 g||30-Series Foam||link||link|
|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||link||link|
|Prologo Kappa Space||cro-mo 7 mm||78 euros||270 x 147 mm||249 g||nylon||Light foam||link||link|
|Prologo Nago C3 CPC||nack carbon 7×9.3 mm||426 euros||275 x 139 mm||155 g||carbon||CPC airing||link|
|Prologo Nago Evo Pas||nack carbon / tirox||134 euros||275 x 134 mm||nack 185 g – thyrox 211 g||link||link|
|Prologo Scratch M5 Pas||nack carbon / tirox||138/213 euros||250 x 140 mm||nack 134 g – Tirox 201 g||link||link|
|Prologo Zero C3||nack carbon 7×9.3 mm||392 euros||270 x 132 mm||155 g||carbon||high density foam||link|
|Selle Italia Flite Boost TM||manganese tube 7 mm||150 euros||S 135 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm||S 240 g – L 243 g||nylon||Soft-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia Flite Boost TM Superflow||manganese tube 7 mm||150 euros||S 135 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm||S 230 g – L 233 g||nylon||Soft-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow||manganese tube 7 mm||140 euros||S 135 x 262 mm – L 160 x 262 mm||S 300 g – L 310 g||extra padding / gel shock absorber||link||link|
|Selle Italia Man Gel Flow||manganese tube 7 mm||140 euros||151 x 275 mm||315 g||extra padding / gel shock absorber||link||link|
|Selle Italia Model X Comfort+||FeC Alloy 7 mm||65 euros||145 x 245 mm||415 g||link||link|
|Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Superflow||FeC Alloy 7 mm||80 euros||248 x 145 mm||247 g||link|
|Selle Italia Novus Endurance TM Superflow||manganese tube 7 mm||100 euros||S 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mm||S 306 g – L 310 g||nylon||extra padding / gel||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia Novus Superflow Endurance||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||240 euros||S 138 x 282 mm – L 149 x 282 mm||S 288 g – L 293 g||carbon composite||gel padding||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Boost Endurance Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||320 euros||S 130 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm||S 202 g – L 207 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Boost TM||manganese tube 7 mm||170 euros||S 130 x 248 mm – L 145 x 248 mm||S 220 g – L 230 g||nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR Kit Carbonio Superflow||carbon/keramic 7×9 mm||380 euros||S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm||S 148 g – L 153 g||carbon reinforced nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SLR TM Superflow||manganese tube 7 mm||160 euros||S 131 x 275 mm – L 145 x 275 mm||S 205 g – L 210 g||nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow||Carbon/Keramic 7×9 mm||360 euros||130 x 250 mm||160 g||carbon composite||Fibra-Tek||link||link|
|Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Superflow||TI 316 Tube 7 mm||280 euros||S 130 x 250 mm – L 146 x 250 mm||S 188 g – L 194 g||carbon reinforced nylon||Fibra-Tek||link||link|