We review six of the best bike saddles that should stop sore spots and help you step up your performance.
1. Prologo Zero 1.4
The new Zero is likely to become – literally – a firm favourite of long-distance riders who hate to slide around on the bike. While the relatively flat upper surface looks slippery, the gloss detailing on this good-looking saddle is deliberately grippy to hold you in place. That makes it a great place from which to grunt out seated power, but it can pull at your shorts if you do want to shift position, which irritated some testers. With minimal padding it’s definitely on the firm side – something you notice on rougher roads – confirming its competition rather than comfort focus.
2. SDG Circuit
SDG’s minimalist Circuit uses titanium rails to keep weight low. The flat profile makes it easy to move around on, but the dimpled texture stops it being too slippery when you’re grinding a big gear. Although a central cut-out relieves plumbing pressure, there’s not much padding across the flat rear, which makes it feel very firm and unforgiving if you prefer a more upright riding style. Roll forward into a tuck, though, and the saddle gets more comfortable the more you bend your elbows. Tilting it slightly more nose-up also helped some testers.
3. Specialized BG
Romin Evo Expert £80
Specialized has made excellent saddles for decades, and this is no exception. It’s very light and despite the massive cut-out and groove through the nose, there are no obvious pressure points on the edges. Grip strips along the cut-out edges stop you sliding around while muscling a big gear, and the dropped nose is tuck friendly. It’s broad enough at the rear to support wider loads without being too bulky for snake-hipped riders. Shell flex smooths out rough roads very well and it’s reasonably priced.
4. Ritchey Contrail
Ritchey has been using the same rounded section and gently curved profile on its saddles for decades. This gives it a well spread, unobtrusive support for most riders. The relatively broad rear means it handles wider haunches better than a lot of performance saddles too. An upswept tail gives something to push against on climbs while the slightly drooped nose works well in a tuck, and the Wing Flex bridge that supports the rear of the rails, noticeably reduces road shock rough patches. However it’s slightly heavy and quite tall so will require some seat post adjustment.
5. Charge Knife
The Knife is a slimmed down version of Charge’s classic Spoon saddle. There’s not a lot of padding and there are no obvious clever shapes or cut-outs, but the broad nose and relatively wide rear, gave lots of hot-spot-free support to most testers.
It stays pleasantly unnoticed whether you’re upright or leaning forward, even on the longest days. You don’t feel the contrast stitching when you’re riding and the textured surfaces stops you sliding about without being too gluey. It’s the cheapest on test but is still a strong performer being both lightweight and surprisingly comfortable.
6. Selle Italia SLR Superflow
The central cut-out on the Superflow is so large there’s almost more saddle missing than there is present. Add titanium rails and it makes for an extremely light, cool-running seat. There are no issues with hot spots or numbness, whether you’re sitting upright or rolled forward. The flexible shell also lets you glide over rough sections smoothly, making it a fantastic perch for a long day. Despite a noticeable hammock feel to the centre, the lack of surface area does mean that you’ll slide around a lot if you’re grinding a big gear. It’s also very expensive.
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