It's important to continue your quest for the perfect saddle because you can have any of the best gravel bikes and wear the best cycling shorts available, but pair them with an ill-fitting saddle and your ride will be reduced to probable discomfort, possible pain, and potentially worst of all, walking. Even within the gravel cycling umbrella, there is a huge range of different types of riding.
If you like to take on the most technical trails a drop-bar bike can handle that warrants a different type of saddle again. Whatever your needs there are some general ideas to consider, which we run through at the , but first, we've gathered our pick of the best gravel bike saddles to help you find something that will work for you.
(Image credit: Fiji) A long, thin, and flat saddle that allows for plenty of leg movement The smooth back makes it easy to slide on and off the saddle and get your weight over the rear on descents.
Rails: Carbon | Shell: Vulcanized Natural Rubber | Widths available: 145 mm, 158 mm | Weight: 295g | Price: $220.00 The SR Pro Carbon uses a design targeted for men who ride in an aggressive position.
Argon claims this better reflects male pelvis tilt but it also maintains the integrity of the saddle. With only a small spot for water to drain the saddle is stronger and mud and dirt don't have a way to get through from below.
Fabric saddles offer three profiles for different types of riders and riding. It has a rounded rear section and medium padding that should work well for a setup similar to most endurance focussed gravel bikes.
There is a slight wave but it's not aggressive and strikes a nice balance between locking the rider in and allowing movement. The real strength in the Fabric Race Shallow saddle is the design of the base.
The Verse line of saddles from Outrage targets men and women and all surfaces and it works. An extensive dealer network helped Outrage hone what was working for people.
Weight is rarely the best lens through which to view components and that's especially true of gravel saddles. The Sell Italy X-LR Kit Carbonic Super flow is so light it makes offerings from other brands seem unreasonable.
Back in 2015 Specialized released the Power saddle and launched a revolution in the industry. The idea was that a wider, shorter, saddle solves pain and numbness in a deep, aggressive, and relatively static riding position.
Given that the nose of a saddle not only helps with bike control but also gives different seating positions the idea is controversial. The Mimic variation of the Power saddle lineup drops the cutout for a depression paired with a much softer padding at the front.
That means the same stiff padding and the same Y shaped cutout that lets the shell flex with your hips. Many experienced cyclists have been through a lot of saddles and have built a kind of religion around what works for them.
Kevin Schmidt, the owner of Pedal PT, and an expert in bike fit has three primary considerations for saddle fitment. For example, if your saddle is too high it can cause you to rock slightly as you reach for the bottom of the pedal stroke.
If you want a more locked-in feeling then a waved profile, as viewed from the side, will help keep you in a single position. Move forward onto the central peak and you've effectively raised your saddle height.
Many gravel bikes use a more relaxed endurance position that makes the rider more upright. Seasoned mountain bikers have experience shifting to the rear of a saddle, or the nose, as terrain requires it.
On a road bike a steep gradient will often have the rider up and out of the saddle which also gives a break from a sitting position, but it's not always possible on loose terrain. When you need to keep your weight over the rear wheel to hold traction on a steep hill you can't stand to climb.
Its understated looks are matched by a simple design whose smooth profile is likely to get along with the majority of bottoms while also fitting the aesthetics of most bikes. Specialized’s innovative streak has led it to become one of the saddle market’s key players, largely thanks to its Body Geometry program.
Latest to come to the line is the stubby Power range, of which the Expert, with its hollow titanium rails, is the cheapest. Shorter and broader than previous offerings, the design is said to concentrate on getting the best possible contact points for the sit bones for long-ride comfort.
Its SR Comp saddle doesn’t look too wild, but there’s a lot of thought poured into it. However, its clever shape and mix of orthopedic comfort foam with Northwell pads soon won us over.
Decently long, it’s a good saddle for those that like to move about a bit, something aided by it largely flat profile. These same characteristics also make it good for mixed-terrain use, and it’ll be as at home on a gravel or cyclocross bike, as it is on conventional a racer.
Compared to flatter and more austere saddles, the generous padding means instant comfort from the off. The scooped back flares forward, creating the feeling of securely sitting in the saddle rather than perching on it, while there’s still enough length on the nose for those who like to shuffle about while crunching through those winter miles.
To run the risk of being accused of favoritism, I’ve yet to find a duff saddle made by Fiji. Supremely light, but offering a great deal of support, this is a throne built for speedy riders, specifically those with greater flexibility and narrower pelvises.
With edges that cut in from the back, even riders with sprinter-sized thighs shouldn’t find their legs impeded. Medium, its flattish profile has just the hint of a radius, meaning it’s classic in both looks and design.
Moderately stiff and with minimal padding, you’ll need to be a confirmed race head to get the most out of it, and we’d recommend getting measured using Sell Italy’s ID-match system before buying. Although historically bottoms have remained similar in shape and size, in recent years saddles have been getting shorter.
Leaving it suited to intense efforts where you’ll be hanging on the drops for prolonged periods, despite its aggressive design there’s still comfort to be had from it. In fact, it’s relatively well upholstered, with PROLOG employing an additional 3 mm of padding to this NDR version when compared to the standard Dimension.
Arguably the most radical-looking saddle here, ISM has refined its split nose design over many years and come up with a huge range of subtly different options. Its broader tail section, measuring 135 mm, works splendidly for those who roll the hips backwards when climbing.
The B17’s leather upper is suspended across its black steel rails, and secured in place with rivets (it’s the one in the nose that you are riding on when pushing hard). Mostly beloved of touring cyclists and craft ale drinkers, it's the ability of a leather saddle to custom mold over time that's made it such a sustained seller.