The best bike saddles for triathlon and time trialling tested, rated and reviewed
The perfect bike saddle is cycling’s holy grail and for triathletes and time trialists, finding the best saddle for an aero tuck position can be a literal ball ache. We’ve tested eight of the best saddles on the market to help you select the perfect perch.
Bontrager Hilo RXL
The Bontrager Hilo RXL’s central relief channel runs front to back and does a great job of keeping numbness and discomfort at bay even when getting low on the extensions.
At 44mm, the nose is quite narrow compared to the split-nose designs, but the softer padding at the front makes it a comfortable perch for the forward rotated, open hip angle that maximises time trialling efficiency.
Sliding back on the saddle doesn’t cause any chafing while the firmer cushioning and textured cover puts you into a secure and powerful climbing position.
The hollow titanium rails are long enough for most set-ups and the transition hooks on the back are a nice tri-specific touch. 276g is middle of the road for the models on test here.
Cobb Fifty Five JOF
The Cobb Fifty Five JOF is Cobb’s newest saddle and was instantly comfortable whether perched on the split nose – with soft tissue ‘just off front’ – or further back thanks to the wide, curved relief channel.
At 55mm wide, the nose is just narrower than the ISM, but the slightly more pronounced rounding at the end and the way the nose maintains its width rather than immediately flaring out, made it a little less cumbersome and freer from inside leg chafing while sat up – though there is a tiny bit.
Yes, its 327g weight makes it the heaviest here, but the padding is thick for tri short use and it’s a penalty worth putting up with, especially for long-course triathlon.
The long rails mean it’s easy to find a good tri set-up on road or TT bike, while Cobb’s direct mounting rear cage for water bottles and supplies (£44.99) is tidier than other aftermarket bolt-on-the-rails systems.
It might look like Fizik have just chopped the end off a saddle so it conforms to UCI rules, but don’t let that sharp-looking edge fool you – this is one comfy tri saddle.
The deep central channel leaves two padded ‘rails’ that make it easy and comfortable to roll forwards into an aero tuck with sensitive soft tissue off the front of the nose and free from pressure. We found that the firm padding also softens over time, making the Tritone sit even happier with tri shorts.
The rails aren’t as long as the Cobb or ISM models here, so it’s not possible to attain the same ultra-aggressive forward, but we still managed a perfect road-bike tri set-up.
Though the saddle begins to flare out quite near the front, there’s no rubbing on the hamstrings – even though the nose comes out the same as the Cobb at 55mm – meaning the Tritone is also comfier than the other radical tri saddles when climbing.
261g is a very respectable tri saddle weight and the clever direct-mount carriage kit, which accommodates two bottle cages, a CO2 canister, inflator and spare inner tube is a brilliant addition to an outstanding saddle.
ISM Adamo Attack
The choice of Ironman World Champion Mirinda Carfrae, the Attack is the latest saddle from ISM and is the narrowest model in their extensive split-nose range.
The Attack immediately put us in a comfortable and efficient off-the-nose position that was effortless to hold in an aero tuck without any undue pressure. The 56mm nose width and ample padding make it tri-short friendly over long courses while the long titanium alloy rails offer excellent set-up range.
The Attack has been designed to allow better movement along its length and while the longer cut-out and central channel makes it possible to adjust back and forth a little in the TT position, there’s some rubbing when sitting up to climb – though nothing to cause any real concern.
Its 322g weight is justified by the level of comfort, but the price is steep.
This tri saddle from Shimano’s component arm PRO has a narrower nose than the ISM and Cobb at 56mm, but with a full length central cut out, it does have a semi-split design.
This works well to reduce numbness in an aero tuck, and there’s no chafing, even when sliding back to climb. The padding is very firm, meaning its not one you can perch right on the end of for a really open hip angle and it’s more comfortable with cycle rather than tri shorts.
The long rails give it good set-up range and there’s plenty of length to move around and change position on the smooth matte finish. At 296g, it’s right in the middle of the weight range here.
Prologo Nago Evo Tri40 CPC
The Prologo is the lightest saddle here at 227g and despite the traditional shaping, it’s rather comfortable in a tuck.
You can’t roll the hips too far forward without perianal discomfort and it’s not suitable for a nose-only position, but if you don’t get on with more radical saddle types, this is a winner.
The black CPC sections are like tiny octopus suckers and while we’re not too convinced by the cooling and vibration dampening claims, they’re certainly grippy, helping you stay planted and powerful even with a tilted set-up.
The rails are a bit short to get a far-forward position on a road bike though.
Selle San Marco Era Dynamic Triathlon
This well-padded tri saddle from Selle San Marco is by far the cheapest here and would be a lovely choice for extra comfort on a road bike or those just getting into triathlon who have an upright position.
When getting aero though, the squishiness doesn’t seem to stop pressure building uncomfortably and we found ourselves longing for the relief other saddles on test.
The 291g weight won’t bother the scales too much and the textured cover gives good grip, but also allows easy shifting of positions. Like the Prologo, the rails are a bit short to give an over the bottom bracket tri position on a road bike.
Specialized Sitero Expert Gel
The Specialized Sitero has very firm padding that takes a while to get used to, but once there, it’s a comfy perch-on-the-end saddle for staying aero.
The nose’s slightly rounded profile and 40mm width make it ideal for opening up the hip for good aero efficiency. The pressure relief channel also works well to keep soft tissue happy, but the triangular design means quite a bit of rubbing if you sit up or slide back to climb.
The 254g weight makes it the lightest of the radical saddle designs here and we love the interchangeable transition hook or direct bottle mount, which saves more weight over bolt-on rear hydration systems.