The pain-in-the-ass issue when cycling is much higher for an average cyclist than anything else. So let’s talk about what a saddle should be like on a mountain bike.
There are virtually no people who do not feel uncomfortable after a certain mileage, usually, this threshold is at 40-50 miles distance. More persistent cycle as far as 60 miles or more, therefore a bicycle saddle matter should be taken seriously.
A large volume of saddle padding material does not necessarily guarantee comfort. You should first choose the right size MTB, a saddle that fits your riding style and adjust the height and position of the latter in a proper way. Analyze your pain. Press the pelvic bones (yes, the bones) you sit on – if they hurt bluntly, which means you still have to break in.
If rubbing makes you uncomfortable, it’s a problem with the bike fit, shape, and apparel.
The sweat gets absorbed into your underwear which rubs against your skin. The correct solution would be to buy padded bike shorts with a special material in the crotch area. They are synthetiс, do not get wet much, sweat goes right through them and then evaporates. As a result, you can cycle for much longer, without rubbing your skin.
Most saddles can be mounted on different types of bicycles. If you have an MTB, the saddle, collar, and seat post must be sturdy to withstand climbing and descending loads. The seat itself should be hard and comfortable, not a “sofa” like on a cruiser. Some cyclists install a road bike saddle for easy riding, but in this way, they sacrifice a soft landing.
Choosing a saddle is more about taste – no one but you can tell which saddle you need. Don’t be afraid to go to a bike store and make sure you test the saddle before you buy it.
The Top 7 MTB Saddles review below is based on their overall quality, comfort level, and suitability for mountain biking. Check it out!
Review of the Best Mountain Bike Saddles
- Selle ITALIA Max SLR Gel Flow Vanox
(Best mountain bike saddle)
- Fabric Scoop Flat Elite Saddle
(Most comfortable mountain bike saddle)
- Selle SMP Extra Cycling Saddle
(Comfortable mountain bike saddle)
- Origin8 Pro Uno-S Saddle
(Men’s mountain bike saddle)
- Selle SMP TRK Gel Saddle Black
(Medium Mountain bike gel saddle)
- Fizik Aliante R3 K:Ium Rails
(Best mountain bike saddle for comfort)
- Brooks England B17 Bike Saddle
(Handmade Leather Bike Seat – Steel, Titanium, Copper)
The Max SLR gel saddle is one of Selle Italia’s superior comfort models. The main features of this saddle are the anatomical cutout in the center, variable thickness of the lining, and supporting zone. The Lorica cover provides high wear resistance and long service life. You have silica-gel inserts of various thicknesses around the cutout and self-forming padding which ensures a perfect fit.
The saddle is made with love, exceeding the expectations of many cyclists. It’s impressively comfortable and saves various blood canals and vessels from harmful pressure. A perfect fit for beginner cyclists – you will get used to the saddle literally the second trip. It’s elastic, but not rigid. An ideal combination of sports style and comfort which fits both men and women. White/black color options are available.
- Weight – 250 g (8.8 oz)
- Dimensions – 5.7″ х 10.8″ (145 x 275 mm)
- This seat is narrow enough
- Material – Vanox (Titanium), Lorica (leather), carbon, nylon rubber
Made in Italy
- Anti-slip saddle material
- Oustanding lightness
- Strategical anatomical cutout outlined with gel
- Memory padding saddle for a perfect fit (10% carbon composite).
- Flexible suspension thanks to elastomers
The Fabric SCOOP Radius Elite’s high-quality adjustable saddle is suitable for all cycling disciplines. The Flat profile has the flattest saddleback and the lowest padding level. The Fabric SCOOP is designed for aggressive riding and cyclists who prefer a sports style seat. The thinner front of the saddle will not interfere with your feet movement while pedaling.
The saddle has a strong and flexible base and high-quality materials that ensure good wear resistance. Soft foam padding contributes to better comfort during long rides. The dense waterproof cover is really easy to clean. Black, black/green, black/red, black/white color options, as well as various sizes (flat, radius, shallow), are available.
- Weight – 244 g (8.6 ounces)
- Dimensions – 5.6″ x 11.1″ (142 x 282 mm)
- Material – waterproof microfibre, flexible nylon, chrome molybdenum
- Lightweight saddle
- Quiet ride
The innovative Selle SMP Extra Gel saddle uses the same body design as the best Selle Italia saddles. It’s simply an ideal choice for beginner riders who put comfort first. With this saddle, you will definitely need no diapers – you can ride in silk shorts! The saddle may seem quite soft when you try it with your hands, but in fact, there is no excessive softness when riding. Selle SMP is designed with a completely free central channel cutout. The original “eagle beak” saddle nose offers a flat base when you need to pedal hard. The lifted rear part of the saddle provides an interesting aerodynamic design, which helps avoid any pressure on the coccyx when cycling on a rough road.
Selle Italia saddles are not cheap, but if that’s not an obstacle for you, they are definitely worthy of attention. If you appreciate the reliability and long service life, this saddle becomes quite affordable. Titanium rails help absorb vibrations, and you will never see any dents or folds on the leather cover which is stronger than most synthetic covers. Forget about groin pain and extend your riding time with this amazing bike seat from Selle Italia!
- Material – soft polyurethane, gel, carbon-reinforced nylon, steel
- Dimensions – 10.8″ x 5.5″ (275 x 140 mm)
- Weight – 430 g (15.2 ounces)
- Made in Italy
- Durable cover
- Unique design
- Better bike control
- Extra-wide central channel (for pressure relief)
- Ultimate comfort
- Ergonomic cutout design
- Compatible steel rails
- Stress and vibration resistance
- Perfect for touring and indoor training
- Breathable synthetic cover
Origin8 Pro Uno-S Saddle – Men’s mountain bike saddle
This classic style saddle will never let you down on a flat road, and you won’t feel any pain sitting on it. All thanks to its comfort level. The Pro Uno-S model has been tested in the laboratory to ensure proper circulation in the soft tissues which are frequently traumatized during extended pedaling. Thanks to the smooth, rounded back, you will not cling to the saddle with your bike shorts.
The reinforced cover provides the necessary level of flexibility, and the padding material is perfect for long journeys. This is a great model for long rides on flat terrain, and the size of the saddle will fit most cyclists. Three color options are available (black, brown, and white). Many customers choose this saddle for its amazing leather-like design.
- Material – gel foam, chromoly steel
- Dimensions – 10.7″ x 5″ (273 x 127mm)
- Weight – 270 g (9.5 ounces)
- Made in the USA
- Price/quality ratio
- Contrasting stitched top
- Classic shape and feel
- Unisex model
Selle SMP TRK Gel Saddle Black – Medium Mountain bike gel saddle
Take a look at this one. Doesn’t it look unique? Moreover, you probably have no idea how comfortable it is! The difference between a regular saddle and this one becomes obvious after the very first trip. There is no feeling of heaviness and pressure after long cycling, which is important for your health. An ideal choice for MTB, city, or touring bikes.
The convenient cover with independent self-modeling gel, which provides additional comfort, make this saddle an excellent choice for any type of terrain. When you buy Selle saddles, you buy high quality. Many saddle owners praise the manufacturer for prolonged comfort during long cycling trips, regardless of bad weather conditions or roads. Your sit-upon will definitely thank you for such a purchase more than twice. The saddle is moderately soft, seamless, wide enough, and convenient in terms of controllability.
- Material – SVT, gel padding, steel, soft polyuretane
- Dimensions – 11″ x 6.3″ (280 x 160 mm)
- Weight – 485 g (17.1 oz)
- Unique design
- Pressure relief
- High comfort and durability
- Moderately soft SVT cover
- Lightweight shock-absorbing steel rails
A favorite bike saddle among many MTB riders – all due to the high-quality design. Fizik is primarily known for its “Spine Concept” bike saddles. Depending on your riding style, you will need to choose a specific model. The Fizik Spine Concept classifies this saddle as a “Bull” type, which means it is designed for people with less flexibility.
The Aliante R3 has a corrosion-resistant, lightweight, and durable frame (proprietary material) and a carbon-fiber-reinforced nylon base. Such a design provides a platform with high efficiency and durability. The base is coated with Comfort Core foam and Microtex. The Aliante is suitable for cyclists who are able to distribute their body weight on a bike.
Titanium rails significantly reduce vibration. The slightly lifted saddle back increases comfort when going uphill. A specially developed alloy from Fizik provides a rigid but lightweight frame. The curved saddle shape helps to maintain a perfect saddle position during long cycling trips and intensive pedaling, and the central cutout helps relieve pressure from the sensitive areas. The Aliante has an elongated, comfortable profile that will not leave you disappointed. Black, white, and regular color options are available.
- Dimensions – 10.8″ x 5.6″ (275 x 143 mm)
- Material – fiberglass-reinforced nylon, titanium alloy
- Weight – 215 g
- Lightness and comfort
- Microtex cover
- Wear resistance
- Integrated Cockpit System (ICS)
Brooks England B17 Bike Saddle – Handmade Leather Bike Seat (Steel, Titanium, Copper)
And finally, surprisingly to some of you, the best saddle on the list! With many color and style options (narrow, imperial, standard, special, titanium) available, this amazing handmade saddle provides ultimate comfort and unmatchable durability. Brooks England has been making bike saddles for over 100 years! And yes, it can fit a regular MTB bike.
Many Brooks owners state that cycling on this saddle is like sitting in your comfortable leather armchair. We shall only support this analogy. There is no excessive softness (or no softness at all, at first), but it is so comfortable that you just forget you have already traveled 93 miles. Over time, leather slippery passes, your bum feels as if it’s firmly and steadily secured in invisible slots.
The impressions are diamonds! At long distances, you can worry about anything but your buttocks. The only maintenance needed is to apply a thin layer of Proofide (included) lubricant on the top and bottom of the saddle immediately after purchase. This thing is worth the money to the last cent! Perhaps, it’s even going to become the most reasonable purchase since the beginning of all your bike trips.
When talking about long cycling trips, there is simply no alternative to Brooks. And if you think the price is too high, it’s only until you start using this incredible piece of art.
- Material – vegetable tan leather top, steel rails, tubular steel rivets
- Dimensions – 10.8″(L) x 6.9″(W) x 2.6″(H) (275 x 175 x 65 mm)
- Weight – 520 g
- Made in England
- Best riding experience
- Steel rails
- Metal hardware
- Leather care kit included
The choice of a seat is a whole epic for a cyclist who skates actively and wants to feel comfort and confidence that, having rolled back the day, he will not suffer from the pain of rubbing.
Which saddle is ideal for long distances: a flat saddle pad, with high rigidity, a shape with adjustable wing width, presence/absence of perforation, leather as a bearing element. If you ask us, we will say that only Brooks is the perfect fit. But that’s just our opinion. You may like/address any of the seats above much better.
However, we would like to tell you a little more about Brooks. The unique ability to take on the shape of the owner’s buttocks impresses. This is due to small pelvic cavities which are pierced in the pressed leather. The initial sensation can be pretty deceptive (the chair may seem pretty tough), but after a while, you can feel as if sitting in your old comfortable leather chair.
Many cyclists would never trade their Brooks for a lightweight sports seat.
Screw the “unsporting” look and weight! People have been looking for their perfect match for years, relying on wrong indicators (e.g., appearance), and never found it. Thousands of miles on the saddle can prove that if you (at least once in a lifetime) have ever spent money on something useful, it’s this saddle.
We have received dozens of thanks from our readers for the tip on this fantastic saddle. However, some cyclists claim to have found an ideal option among other lightweight sports saddles. The choice is always yours. We just had to share our experience and tell you about the best option.
Perhaps, someone will be scared off by the price, someone – by the “tourist” look. And then someone will buy it and remember us.
A saddle is like shoes – it’s individual. So do not rush when choosing one. Test different options if possible, to understand what you need, and eventually select the one you will save for all your next bikes.
The main idea is to not dwell on one thing. Don’t believe others or even us! Analyze your feelings and information; think about what fits your style best. If you’re only at the beginning, then maybe you shouldn’t invest in expensive equipment just yet. Ride and adapt to your bike. Take your time!
A saddle is an individual, intimate, and essential element. We hope you choose the most comfortable and suitable one for yourself. Fair winds!
How do I choose a mountain bike saddle?
Finding a perfect saddle is like finding your partner in life – the process is long and involves many choices. Of course, a few lucky ones may find their seats on the first try, but sometimes, it takes years. Unfortunately, there is no single formula for choosing the right saddle, but we have a couple of tips on how to ease the process.
It is essential to not only touch the saddle with your hands, find out the material and learn its weight, but to ride it, with the saddle being adjusted to fit your cycling style in the future.
Consider the following essential aspects: your shape (gender), bike position, flexibility (check how far your hands can reach), sit bone width, riding style, and the height of the saddle.
Why are mountain bike seats so hard?
Mainly for your crotch health. Most of the high-quality MTB saddles are hard but still comfortable. Big soft saddles can cause chafing and put pressure on your soft tissues. The pelvic bones sink in the soft seating material, and, after a while, the soft tissues are squeezed, blood supply slows down, and numbness occurs.
Each cyclist is a personality (just like their buttocks). That is why there are different saddles in length, width, and rigidity level. Therefore, there are differences in sensitivity, style, cycling duration, etc., which you have to figure out in advance to understand what exactly you are looking for.
Saddle manufacturers often design a tool to measure the distance between the bones and find out what width of the seat fits your bottom. Such devices can also be found in clothing stores, although that’s a rare case. And remember that the distance between the bones has nothing to do with the size of your pants.
How high should a mountain bike seat be?
It depends on your height. The right height of a bike saddle is when your heel touches the lower pedal’s top (leg straight), with your crank at the bottom of its stroke. You know your saddle is too high when you have to tilt to the side while pedaling to achieve the position.
The saddle has to be wide enough and match your anatomy; the sides should not rub your feet. Otherwise, you will eventually want to change the seat. You should rest against the saddle with your seat bones. Otherwise, when you sweat, your soft spots will be squeezed and rubbed against.
Why are mountain bike seats so uncomfortable?
Because, most probably, you are using an improperly fitted bike saddle that doesn’t match your body shape.
Men should remember to get up off the seat every now and then so that the nerves and arteries can be saturated with oxygen and rest a little.
“Soft” does not mean “comfortable.” If the saddle makes you feel delighted (due to its softness) in the first 20 minutes, then, after about half an hour, you will experience all the inconvenience of such a saddle.