Best Comfort Bike Seat
Giddy Up! Bike Seat
In testing, we found that the Giddy Up! Bike Seat is very comfortable, and it's befitting for both recreational riding and your daily urban commuting needs. The comfort comes from its thick layer of soft memory foam cushioning, a well-rounded shape that works well for various body types, and two rubber shock absorbers. We felt comfortable and relaxed on this seat throughout the testing process. The seat's profile strikes a balance between the wider, cruiser-style seats and the narrow performance models, making it suitable for various bikes and fit styles. The body has a practical, integrated tail light—conveniently powered by replaceable batteries—making riding in low-light or high-traffic situations an all-around safer experience. The light has three different modes that are controlled by a small switch under the back of the seat. While testing, we were pleased with the ability to turn on the light or adjust the setting easily while riding. This seat can either be mounted to a traditional double-rail clamp or directly to a compatible seat post using an included adapter. It comes with all the tools you need for installation — a small wrench and an Allen key.
Despite how many things we found to like about this model, its potential durability was a concern for us. The underside of the nose and tail feature a mostly plastic construction that could possibly split if you were to wreck or accidentally tip the bike over. Additionally, we have some concerns that the tail light's LED might not hold up forever; its fully plastic construction feels somewhat flimsy, especially around the replaceable battery casing. Despite those worries, we did not note any durability issues within the timeframe of the testing process. The only other problem we encountered with this seat was the slightly wide profile of the nose. However, we managed to mitigate this issue by adjusting the seat's angle. Despite these small concerns, we think this model makes a great option for anyone seeking a more comfortable commute or recreational bike ride.
Best for Road Cycling
The Fabric Scoop is a great seat for road cyclists or racers who plan to spend hours in the saddle in an aggressive position. This high-end, super-light seat features a low-profile design with thin, dense padding and carbon fiber saddle rails. Despite sporting considerably less padding than the cushy, comfort models we tested, the flexible shell and well-contoured shape kept us reasonably comfortable on long rides. Fabric offers the Scoop in three different shapes to suit different body types and bike fit preferences. We tested the Flat profile model that's intended for a forward-leaning, aggressive riding position, but the Shallow and Radius profiles suit more neutral and upright positions, respectively, allowing you to choose the model best suited for you.
With all of its performance and comfort benefits, the Scoop runs at a considerably higher price than most of the models we tested. When compared against similar high-end road cycling models, however, it's very competitively priced. Our only real complaint with this model is the lack of a central cutout or pressure relief channel found on most high-end saddles. Riders looking for a lot of anatomical relief from their saddle may want to look elsewhere. Regardless, we highly recommend this model to aggressive road cyclists and racers alike.
Best Bang for Your Buck All-Purpose Seat
WTB Speed Steel
With the Speed Steel, WTB manages to provide a well-rounded performance seat at a bargain price. This model offers supportive, comfortable padding, a shape and size that works for a wide range of body shapes and bike fit preferences, and a substantial anatomical pressure relief groove. WTB boasts that this is their best-selling seat, and after testing, we can understand why. This seat is at home on a wide range of bikes and disciplines from road touring to technical mountain biking and everything in between. The synthetic upper cover and rubberized plastic scuff guard that lines the lower rear edges are both highly durable and make this a great seat for everyday use.
The Speed Steel isn't incredibly light compared to the other performance saddles we tested, but when lined up against other seats in its price range, it's practically a featherweight. The most weight-conscious, performance-oriented riders out there may want to shell out the extra cash for a lighter saddle that provides better power transfer. Still, for those who prize comfort and support over pure performance and speed, this saddle will get the job done. We highly recommend this great value to anyone looking to replace the seat on their daily driver.
Best Bang for Your Buck Mountain Bike Saddle
WTB Volt Steel
The WTB Volt is a classic mountain bike saddle design that suits a wide range of body types. It's a hugely popular model that is often spec'd complete bikes from reputable manufacturers. WTB offers four different price points depending on which rail material you prefer, but the steel rail version that we tested is a great value for those looking for a workhorse for their mountain, gravel, or cyclocross bike. We appreciated the customization options of price and rail material, however. As one of WTB's medium-width saddles, the Volt is suitable for a range of riding positions but works best for a mild forward lean. In testing, we liked the raised tail section that held our sit bones in the sweet spot and provided something to push against when the time came to lay down the power. This seat is mounted with a traditional double rail clamp that allows you to adjust the tilt and slide forward and rearwards to suit your fit preference.
We were hard-pressed to find anything negative about the Volt Steel in testing. It's slightly heavy compared to other performance mountain biking seats, but at such an impressively low price, it's hard to complain about a few extra grams. Additionally, since the Volt's shape and fit are so versatile, it won't be quite as comfortable for some people as the more anatomically-specific models out there. Those seats typically cost more than three times as much as the Volt Steel, however. If you're looking for an inexpensive performance mountain seat that you're confident will keep you comfortable, look no further than the Volt Steel.
Best Oversized Bike Seat
Bikeroo Oversized Comfort Bike Seat
Bikeroo's Oversized Comfort Bike Seat is a great choice for recreational cycling on a cruiser or hybrid bike. This durable model was one of the most comfortable seats we tested for short to mid-length rides. The profile features a wide tail with thick, soft cushioning and a narrow nose that allows space for a comfortable pedaling motion. The wide, short body is well suited to bikes with an upright riding position, and the thick foam padding combines with the stainless steel shock-absorbing spring to soak up bumps and chatter. Bikeroo includes an adapter that allows this seat to be mounted either directly to the seat post if it is compatible or with a standard double rail clamp. Installation was quick, and within a few minutes, we had our preferred seat angle all set and ready to go. There are convenient accessories included, such as a standard rain cover and a small, basic tool kit for installation.
One drawback you might want to consider is that with its extra-wide body and stainless steel shock absorbers, this seat is the heaviest and least efficient model we tested. It tips the scales at a whopping 1211 grams (2.7 pounds), and the thick foam cushioning reduces the efficiency of your pedaling power supply. This isn't the model we would recommend to those riders who want to improve their bike's weight or riding efficiency, or more aggressive riders or racers. For shorter rides on a cruiser or hybrid bike where weight isn't a big concern, however, we think this model's comfort compensates for the extra weight. If you're looking to cruise in comfort and aren't in a race to the finish line, this seat is definitely worth a second look.
Best for Women Comfort Seat
Bikeroo Most Comfortable Bike Seat for Women
It turns out that the Bikeroo Most Comfortable Bike Seat for Women doesn't have a dramatically different shape than their non-gender-specific seat offerings. Still, Bikeroo claims that this seat was designed specifically with the female anatomy in mind. We found that female riders did indeed find it slightly more comfortable during testing than some of the other gender-neutral seats, so we are recommending it as-marketed. The seat has a wide tail intended to suit female sit bones and a narrow nose that allows for a free pedaling motion when riding in an upright position. Like Bikeroo's other offerings, the seat has dual shock absorbers in the rear to iron out road chatter and a generous layer of soft foam padding for comfort. Additionally, the seat comes with the convenience of Bikeroo's standard tool kit for installation and adjustment, as well as a cover to keep out the dust or rain.
You can probably already guess that we are a little unsure about the gender-specific design. Our female testers found the seat comfortable, but our male testers also liked it, which made us think that this is just a comfortable all-around seat. Despite their gender, none of our testers experienced any discomfort when using this seat as designed. However, we found that Bikeroo's claims aren't entirely accurate regarding the seat working great for the upright to forward bending riding positions. We feel that the seat remains comfortable in a forward-leaning position, but you rapidly lose pedaling efficiency as your position becomes more aggressive. Therefore, we would propose this seat mainly for upright to neutral body positions while riding.
Best Seat Cover
Zacro Gel Bike Seat Cover
If you're looking for a quick and simple way to improve your bike seat's comfort without having to buy a whole new seat, the Zacro Gel Bike Seat Cover is a good option. We installed this cover on various seat shapes and sizes and found that it definitely improved the feel of most. The gel padding is soft and well-placed if installed correctly, providing a comfortable buffer for overly hard or poorly-shaped seats. Installation is fast and easy using a drawstring at the cover's rear and two tie straps that wrap down around the seat's midsection. It isn't too bulky, but you will have to adjust your saddle height after installing to compensate for the added height.
Although this is a quick and easy comfort solution, it isn't without some issues. The fit is limited mainly to narrower, longer seats. We installed it on a seat as wide as 8 inches, but we found that the fit became less secure with larger seats. Seats around 7 inches wide are the sweet spot for a secure fit. Anything much larger or smaller results in the cover moving around on the seat while riding, necessitating occasional adjustment. The tie-down attachment system isn't ideal, and we spent a bit of time trying to figure out the most secure tying method for each seat. If you're looking for a quick fix for your bike's seat, this cover should do the trick, but if you want a more robust long-term solution, we would recommend replacing it with one of the others we tested.
Best for Mountain Biking Ergonomics
SQlab 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube
With their scientific approach to design, SQlab gave the 611 Ergowave Active one of the most comfortable, ergonomic seat profiles we've ever tested. This seat is available in four different widths to fit a wide range of body types, and SQlab will even send you a fit kit to measure your sit bones and ensure that you get the correct width. The seat's shape has a unique stepped profile that's low in the front and high in the rear. The elevated tail ensures that your sit bones stay right in the sweet spot while pedaling, with a generous relief groove in the seat's center. SQlabs' Active technology allows the seat's tail to rock side to side with your hips to match the body's natural biomechanics when pedaling. Even with minimal padding and a stiff shell that provides great power transfer, we found the 611 Ergowave Active to be super comfortable on long mountain bike rides.
With the included shock-absorbing elastomer installed, the 611 Ergowave tips the scales at 252-grams. It isn't heavy by any means, but when stacked up against other top-end performance seats, it isn't light, either. The weight combined with the hefty price tag means that this may not be a go-to model for gram-counting racers out there. However, for mountain bikers who may experience comfort issues, this ergonomic saddle may be the answer to their problems.
Why You Should Trust Us
Our primary tester for this project, Zach Wick, is a cycling fanatic with experience in product development and testing. He's been riding bikes both recreationally and competitively for the last eighteen years and has experience riding everything from beach cruisers to top-of-the-line mountain and road bikes. He has raced at an elite level in multiple disciplines and is a former state champion road cyclist. In addition to his riding experience, Zach has spent years working in product development in the cycling industry. He has gained extensive experience testing products in both the lab and the field. Zach applies his product testing knowledge to our test sessions to ensure that they're as rigorous as possible.
For our bike seat test, we packed a lot of riding into two weeks. To get a feel for each saddle's performance, comfort, and durability, we rode each of them in various conditions, both on-road and off. Our testing involved lots of back-to-back seat swapping to get a feel for how the models stacked up against one another. Despite the wide-ranging styles and purposes of the seats we tested, we tried each seat on multiple bikes, body positions, and terrain types.
Analysis and Test Results
We based our rankings and awards for these seats on their comfort, versatility, durability, and weight. Because the models we tested had such a wide range of intended purposes and disciplines, we had to adjust the weighting on our metrics slightly for each saddle style. For example, a model like the Bikeroo Oversized Comfort is targeted primarily at recreational cyclists who value comfort, so we didn't dock it too much when it tipped the scales at more than triple the weight of the high-end road cycling seats. When you're hunting for a new seat, it's important to consider its intended purpose. Here we'll go over the criteria we used to analyze these seats and explain which are most important for each cycling style.
One of the primary factors to consider when choosing a new bike seat is your intended use. Just as there are many different bikes and bicycle riding styles, there are seats made to match. Casual, recreational riders, for example, will have different needs and wants than a high-performance road cyclist. In general, we can break down bike seats into three basic categories: comfort/recreational, road cycling, and mountain biking.
These types of seats are focused more on rider comfort than performance. More often than not, comfort seats have generous amounts of padding and wider supportive platforms that work best with an upright seated pedaling position. Due to the larger size, padding, and construction of these seats, they typically weigh significantly more than seats made with performance in mind. Comfort seats are commonly found on beach cruisers, townies, and hybrid-style bikes.
Seats or saddles made for road cycling have more of an emphasis on performance, which is reflected in their streamlined designs, lighter weights, and features. Road bikers usually have a more aggressive, forward-leaning body position, with most of their weight resting on their sit bones. For this reason, saddles are much narrower and streamlined to allow for a natural and unencumbered pedal stroke. Road bike saddles typically have stiffer shells and thinner, denser padding. Many models are designed with ergonomic pressure relief cutouts or channels to reduce pressure on the rider's sensitive undersides. These seats are usually made from lightweight materials and often come in several widths to accommodate varying body shapes and sizes.
Seats made for performance mountain biking are quite similar to those used by road cyclists. In fact, some saddles are interchangeable between the two disciplines. That said, mountain bikers typically have a moderately aggressive seated body position with less forward lean than on a road bike, but far more than on a cruiser bike. For this reason, many mountain bike saddles have a slightly cradled shape that keeps the rider in the sweet spot and provides a little extra support. Mountain bike saddles also generally have streamlined designs intended to allow good power transfer and freedom of mobility while riding. Weight is a concern for many mountain bikers, and mountain bike seats are made from various lightweight materials and are often available in a range of constructions, price points, and widths.
Comfort should be first and foremost on the vast majority of cyclists' minds when deciding on a new seat. Saddle choice can make or break a ride and could mean the difference between getting out on your bike frequently and letting it sit in the garage for months at a time. Not everyone's body is the same, so not everyone will find the same seats comfortable. There are a few things you can look for, though, to ensure you have a comfortable ride.
First, padding plays a huge role in keeping you comfortable while pedaling. A heavily padded seat is almost always going to be more comfortable on short to mid-length rides. Recreational riders who don't plan on spending too much time in the saddle should always prioritize heavily-padded seats like the Giddy Up! or the Bikeroo Oversized Comfort Seat for comfort. All of that bulky padding can actually create discomfort if you're spending hours on end on your bike, however. Long-distance riders should try to find a comfortable seat with as little bulky padding as possible by focusing on shape and matching their seat to their body type and riding style.
Your seat's shape is hugely important for its comfort, and it's crucial to match the seat's shape to your riding position. A wider, shorter seat is generally more comfortable in an upright riding position, while a narrower, longer one is better for a forward-leaning, aggressive position. Saddles like the medium-width WTB Volt and Speed strike a good balance between length and width that allow for various comfortable body positions.
Possibly most important to find what's comfortable for you is to know your body. It's possible to measure your sit bones' width to find the best fit for you. We highly recommend this for anyone who plans to spend considerable time in the saddle. Many high-end seats like the Fabric Scoop and 611 Ergowave Active are available in multiple widths or shapes to suit different body types and riding positions.
Because comfort is so subjective and can vary from body type to body type, we took extra care to make sure we tested each model thoroughly to get a good picture. We had a variety of testers spend some time on each saddle and provide feedback. We also spent considerable time swapping back and forth between seats to tease out the subtle differences between similar models. In the end, we decided that the Fabric Scoop was our most comfortable performance road seat, the 611 Ergowave Active was our most ergonomic mountain seat, and the Bikeroo Most Comfortable Bike Seat for Women was the most comfortable recreational saddle—for both sexes.
While the seats we tested have a wide range of intended uses, there are some that can span a variety of disciplines. When looking for a new seat, it's important to consider what you want to do with it. If you don't plan to do much more than a cruise through the park a couple of times a week, then you don't need a seat designed for anything more than that, but if you plan to occasionally branch out and endeavor on some longer bike tours or off-road riding, you'll want a seat that can handle it all.
As we discussed in the comfort section above, heavily padded seats can become uncomfortable and cause chafing over the course of a long ride. Likewise, large recreational seats like the Bikeroo Oversized Comfort Bike Seat are often very heavy and can be incredibly cumbersome when riding uphill or over long distances. At the same time, you wouldn't want to take a high-performance seat like the Fabric Scoop that's minimally padded and designed for aggressive riding positions on a leisurely cruise through the park. For all of these reasons, it's important to choose a seat that can span multiple disciplines and bridge the gap if you plan on undertaking a wide range of rides.
We found the two most versatile seats in testing were the WTB's Volt and Speed. Both of these seats have medium-width bodies with reasonable padding and an ergonomic shape. Both are light enough to be viable performance cycling seats but well-cushioned enough to be comfortable on a commute or recreational ride. We wouldn't hesitate to put either of these saddles on almost any bike, and they make a great option for any bike that will be ridden frequently in a wide range of conditions. The least versatile options we tested are the Fabric Scoop and Bikeroo Oversized Comfort Bike Seat. These models are designed with a specific purpose in mind and aren't the best when taken out of their comfort zone.
No matter what you plan to use your seat for, it must be built to last. Despite the considerable time we spent testing these seats, our test session was only two weeks long. For this reason, our durability assessment is largely based on a close examination of each seat's construction and the materials with which it's made. Seats with a lot of exposed plastic or easily breakable parts—like the Giddy Up!'s integrated tail light—took a hit in the durability metric. We paid close attention to exposed seams, flimsily attached components, and thin cover materials.
The most durable seats we found in testing were those with high-quality materials and construction like the Fabric Scoop and 611 Ergowave Active. We also found the heavy-duty recreational seats with largely-metal construction like the Bikeroo Oversized Comfort confidence-inspiring. We had some minor concerns about the longevity of the Giddy Up! with its plastic-heavy construction and integrated tail light, but we think if you're able to take good care of the seat, it should last.
We had to adjust the importance of this metric considerably from the recreational to the performance models. It's relatively important for a performance seat to be lightweight. When you're spending hours on your bike or trying to be the first to the top of the hill, you want to cut weight anywhere you can. A heavy seat can both dramatically increase your bike's weight and raise its center of gravity, making it sluggish and difficult to maneuver. However, for recreational riding, your seat's weight will likely not be noticeable unless you're in hilly terrain.
We judged our performance models quite harshly in this metric. The WTB Volt and Speed are each a bit heavy at 311 and 369 grams, respectively, while the Fabric Scoop was the lightest by far at 195 grams. Though the difference seems small, it can be stark when you're riding up a steep climb.
The comfort models, on the other hand, were given some leniency for their heavier weights. The Bikeroo Oversized Comfort Seat, for example, tipped the scales at 1211 grams, or a whopping 2.7lbs. Because this seat is intended for things like mellow beach cruising, we didn't dock it too much, but we think that it's quite heavy even for a recreational seat. Comfort seats with more reasonable weights included the Giddy Up! at 799 grams and Bikeroo Most Comfortable Bike Seat for Women at 793 grams.
As you might be able to tell, there's plenty to consider when seeking out a new bike seat. From body shape to intended use, there's a lot of information and specs to sift through, but if you're able to find the right seat for you, it will pay dividends, allowing you to ride further and more comfortably in the long run. We did the leg work by putting in hours of riding and comparative testing in order to help you make a decision. We hope that this comprehensive review makes your next ride your best one yet.
— Zach Wick
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