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The most essential factor when selecting the most comfortable bicycle to exercise with is the seat. A good road bike saddle makes extended periods of time riding it less painful and promotes better posture and ease of movement. This is especially true when you're narrowing your choices to road, racing or professional grade mountain bikes. The factors you need to consider when buying or choosing the best road bike saddles include are as followings:
How to Choose the Best Road Bike Saddles
There are different types of road bikes saddles on the market; you cannot use all the brands at the same time. You must make a choice of which type to use and those that you will not use. Before you make your choice, you have to consider a number of factors to select the best road bike tire. Here are some of the factors that will influence your choice:
Road Bike Saddle Width
There’s no delicate way to put this, so let’s just be frank: not all bottoms are made the same. People come in varying body types and sizes. The main anatomical feature one must be aware of when choosing a good road bike saddle is the width of your ischial tuberosities.
These are the bones that come into contact with any type of sitting surface when riding or sitting. A good road bike saddles cushions these bones adequately over smooth and rough terrain. Even better is a saddle that has extra padding along with being wide enough to accommodate your ideal seat with.
Type of Padding
Speaking of padding, a good road bike seat is reviewed favorably based on its ability to pass the “thumb test”. This is in reference to how soft the saddle is when you press your thumb into it. If you want a seat that’s best for riders constantly in the upright position, your thumb should press deep into it.
Those looking for the best road bike saddle need one that doesn’t need as much padding since you’ll be leaning forward more often than sitting upright. The longer you pedal over longer distances, the more you’ll need a seat that supports your weight rather than it absorbs it.
Most road bike saddle have a normal shape, cut out to fit under your groin and widening out to accommodate your sitting bones. But many saddle manufacturers has innovated bike saddle to have cutouts or cutaways that remove the part of the saddle that might apply pressure to sensitive areas and cause discomfort, numbness or pain the longer you ride.
Other might include a deep groove or other type of recess meant to maximize the amount of comfort you feel when you ride. The shape configuration that’s right for your body type and width might be different than one that comes with your road bike, thus necessitating the need to buy a saddle separately.
Finally, the type of riding you intend to do greatly affect the right type of bike saddle you’re looking for. Those looking for the ideal pro road bike seat need one that’s more comfortable for people leaning forward over extended periods of time rather than a soft one you settle into while cruising instead of racing.
It’ll be narrower than normal saddles, and will help facilitate a faster cycling cadence – this means one that makes it easier for you to pedal faster while being slightly elevated as you ride.
Other factors to consider
Other factors you might want to think about when choosing the best road bike saddles are: shock absorbing springs if you are on the larger or heavier side; one that easy to adjust so you won’t become saddle sore over time; and a saddle that is more comfortable leaning forward than backward for road versions.
Top Ten Road Bike Saddles Review
With these factors in mind, here the top ten best road bike saddles reviews and the special feature each one has discussed below-
Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Bicycle Saddle
This is a bike saddle optimized for road racing or pro-mountain biking. Not only does it have a large deep recess meant to increase the padding for forward sitting, this groove is shaped to accommodate your relief for you anatomy and promote ventilation as you bike.
Planet Bike Men’s A.R.S. Anatomic Relief Bicycle Saddle also has gel cushions which are situated right underneath your sit bones and protects any soft tissue in this area, further reduces occurrences of numbness and discomfort. This feature is supported by Super-soft padding with a flex base that works to extend the time period you can ride it comfortably.
- Gel cushions underneath sit bones
- 4 x 4 x 4 inch dimensions
- Anatomically accommodating deep recess
- Clamp style installation and adjustment
- 1 pound weight
- Water proof
Planet Bike 5020 Men’s ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle
Another entry from Planet Bike, Planet Bike 5020 Men’s ARS Standard Anatomic Relief Saddle differs from the standard Men’s ARS by making significant changes to the aforementioned anatomic relief recess. This version features a cutaway at the bottom of this deep groove, providing comfort and ventilation in the area where a male rider is most likely to lean forward.
This makes it slightly larger than Planet Bike standard ARS, but they also add a silver stripe in this area for extra style. It offers the same sit-bone protection and gel cushions and SuperSoft Padding optimized for road bikes. This model seems optimized for larger road bike riders who still want the same level of extended comfort.
- Anatomically accommodating deep recess with cutaway
- Gel cushions underneath sit bones
- 5 x 5 x 5 inch dimensions
- Clamp style installation and adjustment
- 1 pound weight
- Water proof
Retrospec Bicycles Urban/Fixed Gear Saddle
While still retaining a more traditional road saddle configuration without any cutaways, Retrospec Bicycles Urban/Fixed Gear Saddle has more basic offering from Retrospec is made for many other types of bikes such as single-speed, track bikes, fixed gear and mountain bikes – making it much more versatile and universal rather than merely optimized for road biking.
This, however, doesn’t mean Retrospec Bicycles Urban Saddle can’t provide a comparable level of comfort and pain reduction as their specialized cousins. Still made with ample cushioning situated underneath sit bones, this version is made with synthetic rubber that’s moderately durable, though you may want to practice care as it can split after long periods of use under the sun.
- Comes in 8 different colors
- 3.2 x 6.9 x 11.1 inch dimensions
- .75 pound weight
- durable synthetic rubber construction
Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Suspension Cruiser Saddle
Though Sunlite Cloud-9 Bicycle Suspension Cruiser Saddle is larger than others on this list and is more optimized for cruiser-style riding, the Sunlite Cloud-9 has significant sit bone padding – making it also perfect for rigorous road biking. This model utilizes dual-density gel padding in these areas that propel the rider slightly forward.
cloud 9 saddle also has added shock protection with its chrome coil suspension system. And unlike other saddles on this list, this unit has a universal installation design that allows it to be attached to any kind of bike. This is perfect for riders with extra body weight who still want the same amount of comfort smaller riders can get with most saddles.
- 10 1/2 inches long and 10 1/2 inches wide
- Universal post installation design
- 3.25 pound weight
- Dual density gel cushions underneath sit bones
- Can be used for cruisers and road bikes
ISM Adamo Road Saddle
ISM Adamo Road Saddle more optimized for road bikes, this unit from ISM features a special type of cutaway that distinguishes it from other road bike saddles. Rather than having just a deep recess in the groin area, this saddle has a split front drop nose that increases the amount of blood flow to the front of your riding surface area that sitting on the tip of your saddle normally does not allow.
This means you can assume a more aggressively aerodynamic riding position – ideal for road and race biking – all while still maintaining maximum comfort. This coupled with the extra padding in the wings underneath your sit bones add up to one of the more attractive designs on this list
- Split drop nose saddle tip
- 3 x 6 x 10.5 inch dimensions
- .75 pound weight
- Steel alloy construction with extra padding
Brooks B17 Standard Black Steel Saddle
Normally, an all metal saddle signifies a sturdier, yet less comfortable ride. The Brooks B17 Standard Black Steel Saddle compensates for it’s all steel constructions by adding air holes to promote adequate ventilation and comes with single rails – making it compatible with micro-adjust seat posts.
This means it’s specialized for precise tilting and positioning, thus making it possible to fit the seat to your needs whether it’s for racing or tour biking. Those worried about the steel construction will also be happy to learn Brooks saddles B17 comes with a tanned leather coating that increases comfort as you ride.
- Steel construction
- 14 x 9 x 4 inch dimensions
- 2.4 pound weight
- Comes in 12 different colors
- optimized for precise seat positioning
Selle SMP TRK Man Saddle
Selle SMP TRK Man road bike saddle has feature that cater to riding comfort that border on exaggeration. With a pronounced saddle curve that facilitates a forward lean, and almost-excessively heavy padding underneath your sit bones, this unit is made specifically for comfort over a long duration of time.
The drop nose’s grooved recess is not only deep, but also feature a small cutaway that helps with ventilation. Meant to properly distribute body weight throughout your pelvis and gluteal area, the Selle SMP helps promote increased blood flow and perineal pressure relief the longer you ride, which is a must for serious road bikers.
- Optimized drop nose and sit bone padding
- Elongated saddle curve
- 11 x 6.3 x 3.2 inches
- 13.9 onces
- Anatomically-accommodating optimized design
Serfas Performance RX Bicycle Saddle
Serfas Performance RX Bicycle Saddle a more traditional road bike saddle, though it still comes with a deep recess that extends from the drop nose to the read of the saddle. This accentuates the padding underneath the sit bones and helps with blood flow the longer you ride.
Its patented Infinite Comfort System and Dual Density Base technology along with hollow cromoly rails promote extra comfort in a lightweight design. With a narrow design that’s optimized for road biking and racing, the Serfas Performance RX is great for those who want maximum comfort but don’t want a unit too specialized than they need.
- .6 pound weight
- 3 x 7 x 14.25 inches
- Infinite Comfort System design for reduction of numbness and pain
- Hollow Cromoly rail for lighter design
- Dual Base technology for softer seat in sit bone areas
Hobson Pro Hub X2 Saddle
Hobson Pro Hub X2 Saddle is a much more bulky and hefty bike saddle, this unit is made to provide maximum comfort that’s also unfortunates a detriment to the innovation of its design. It’s more for extreme long distance comfort rather than being optimized for forward positioning as you ride.
This does, however, make hobson Pro Hub X2 bicycle seats excellent for off-road as well as pavement riding. The almost-excessive padding in the rear help provide ample cushioning, though there is not saddle curve or drop nose recessing in it’s design. It achieve its comfort with a split-seat design that distributes the weight over both halves of the saddle.
- Extra heavy padding
- Split-seat design that distributes weight evenly
- Basic seat design
- 8 x 15 x 15 inches
- 2 pound weight
CLOUD-9 Comfort Gel Men’s Saddle
Another entry on this list from Cloud-9, CLOUD-9 Comfort Gel Men’s Saddle doesn’t have any cutaways for drop nose recess in the forward area, but it’s still design more maximum road bike comfort. It has gel foam material all throughout the seat, a small indentation for anatomical relief, and spring suspension for shock absorption.
This saddle utilizes multi-layered thick padding to help achieve its capacity for long-distance comfort. In other words, it’s a more basic type of road bike saddle that is still capable of significant numbness and discomfort reduction over long distances.
- Gel Foam padding
- Small recess for anatomical relief
- 5.2 x 7.8 x 13.2 inches
- 2.05 pound weight
In the end, it all depends whether you want a basic design that stresses overall seat comfort or you prefer a road bike saddle that encourages a more forward racing position that facilitates blood flow and sit bone-cushioning. There plenty of saddles on this list that help you lean forward more while still giving you less long-distance pain as well as other that provide a more relaxed road bike type ride. It all depends what you’re looking for.
In any case, you should be able to find the right type for you in the offerings provided on this comprehensive list of the best road bike saddles reviews.