Best MTB Saddles

MTB Saddles - Reviews & Guides For 2020

Our Top MTB Saddles

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MTB saddles buying guide

Love traveling to different places on your bike? Are you tired of the pinching pain caused by long hours of sitting on an uncomfortable seat? Don't worry anymore. MTB saddles are here to rescue.

The saddles are adequate to support your weight and quite comfortable. You can easily sit on them for long hours and feel no severe body pains. You just need to select the right fit, and you are all set for your long hour pedaling expedition.

Let us understand the product in detail and the importance of its dire need.

What are MTB Saddles? Why should you opt for MTB Saddles?

Mountain Bike Saddles or MTB saddles are seats of the bikes you use to indulge in the adventure. But the saddle is so much more than a place for you to sit.

It is one of the three points of contact between your body and the bike, and arguable the most essential one since it carries most of your weight. The saddle is what places you on the paddles and gives you major control over the bike.

Choosing the inappropriate saddle can mess with your back and cause immense pain because the body posture is determined by how comfortable and posture-enhancing your saddle is.

Having convinced you about the importance of the right saddle, why would you want to opt for MTB saddles specifically? These saddles actually are different from normal bike saddles in quite crucial ways. They are typically flatter with a little flare at the rear tail. They are specifically designed with paneling that withstands the wear and tear that mountain biking entails.

Types of MTB Saddles

  1. Road Racing

Specifically designed for extremely high performance and speed, these saddles are thin and lightweight. They have a sturdy and yet comfortable carbon fiber shell. They have minimalist padding, but the padding is not the only thing that determines the comfort. The fit of these types of saddles allows long-distance comfort.

  1. MTB Trail

Intense and avid bike riders prefer that the saddles be flat and lightweight, quite similar to the road racers. The stiff shell may be accompanied with a little more padding than road racing saddles for a broader and more comfortable setting. Technical posture and technique may be enhanced with a shorter than usual nose.

In order to prevent chafing from high traction areas, the saddle comes with a protective plastic covering on the side and the back. For shedding off weight, titanium rails may be used, but more common are the Cro-mo rails.

  1. Dirt Jump

The stunts and the jumps that this type of biking entails are taken into consideration, so the saddles are made small and sturdy. They do not require much padding or protection from chafing. They are made shock-absorbent so that they can withstand the impact of the stunts.

Gender-Specific Saddles

The most basic distinction in the body makeup that affects seating is the posterior of men and women. This being taken into account, there are gender-specific MTB saddles so that the seats are designed for comfort and performance.

Women have wider hips and larger perch bones. So their seats are designed to be wider and shorter so that it can accommodate the broader sit-bone position. Men's seats, on the other hand, are designed to be longer and narrower.

Though these distinctions may sit well enough within these labels, people often purchase from the other gender because of the structure and support they require. Some women might prefer the longer and narrower men's saddles for racing, while some men may not mind the extra support and stability provided by the MTB saddles designed for women.

Why should you read a buying guide before selecting the MTB saddle?

Selecting the right saddle by testing different options is a herculean task. Mounting different types again and again and breaking them in can require a bit more effort and time investment.

To hasten this process, there are specific tools that measure the dimensions of your sit bones. Also, it is crucial to understand the different characteristics of the saddle to find the best fit.

The buying guide provides you all the information under one roof by which you can swiftly select the best product from the various options available in the market.

Let us now get in the depth of every characteristic of the product.

Things to Consider When Choosing the Appropriate MTB Saddles

Material

The material that makes up the saddles determine how tough, shock-absorbent, and waterproof they will be. You need to ensure that you choose that material that provides protection against chafing and friction, and that can accommodate padding for comfort without compromising performance.

Microfibre and leather are quite popular for MTB saddles' material as they are durable and waterproof. They are designed to be breathable so that too much friction can be prevented from building up.

The material of the rails plays an equally important role in determining quality and performance. They affect the weight and flexibility of the saddle and its overall strength too. The three main types are:

  1. Carbon

It is the most lightweight option, and this makes it the most expensive of all options as well. It is stiff and strong and enhances performance. It is usually found in high-end MTB saddles.

  1. Alloy

The combination of metals mostly used is Chromoly, which makes use of steel. It is sturdy, so the rails can be hollow. This sheds off weight. It is quite inexpensive and often a great choice for entry-level and further level riders alike.

  1. Titanium

It is lightweight and robust, which makes it a very popular choice, even in high-end bikes. It is known for its shock-resistant attributes.

Shape

The way that a saddle is shaped determines comfort, posture, technique. The choice may be based on personal preferences or reviews and ratings of specific shapes. Shapes differ on the basis of gender, type of riding, and material used.

The wisest way to make a choice about the shape of the saddle that will be most appropriate for you among the wide variety of differently shaped MTB saddles is determining how you put your weight on the seat when you sit, where do you place your weight and the shape of your posterior.

Padding

While performance is number one on the agenda, comfort is not far behind. And for comfort, especially for long-distance rides, you need comfortable padding. A myth, however, about padding and comfort that needs to be busted is that more padding does not mean more comfort.

Quite contrary to common belief, more padding can give way to increased friction build-up, which can cause boils and chafing. The main purpose of padding is to equalize the weight that you place on the saddle so that your position is placed on a wider surface.

You may be tempted to buy the most padded and lush saddle that the market has to offer but choose to refrain. The saying 'less is more' is quite apt because, with lesser padding, the less friction build-up will lessen the discomfort.

Covering

The outermost covering of the saddle may not play a huge role in comfort. Nevertheless, it is important to be considered in order to determine how durable the seat is. Many MTB saddles have comfortable shape and padding, but with negligent focus on the covering, the seat has a short life.

If the seat cover is waterproof if it can withstand wear and tear, and if it allows friction build-up are important questions that you should be asking if you want the perfect saddle to remain so for long.

Depending on the type of riding you do, the seat cover should be appropriate. Dirt biking does not need to consider friction build up as much as impact reduction. For racing or long-distance pedaling, leather seat coverings are the way to go. If you are looking for convenient maintenance, however, synthetic material covering is a perfect choice.

Length

An essential consideration of the size and shape of the MTB saddles would have to be the length. As discussed in the gender-specific saddle section, the length of the saddle often differs for men and women. And yet, you may ignore those labels if you find the appropriate fit.

Know the type of rider you are as it will help you determine the right choice. Longer saddles, usually for men, allow that you place more weight on the seat and shift it from time to time. You can move from the nose to the rear end, which can be comforting in long-distance pedaling.

Shorter saddles are usually broader too. They are apt for dirt biking as they remain out of their way because of the small nose. They also allow for better technique and posture. They often come with lush padding and are quite comfortable.

Width

The width of the saddle that would be appropriate for you will depend upon the measurements of your sitting bones. Preferences on how wide you wish for the saddle to often dictate this choice. Manufacturers make several width saddles for a model to accommodate these preferences and measurements.

Often, customizing saddle width with the use of gel pads that get an impression of your sitting bones' width is used. However, for comfort, one must not compromise performance. Too wide a saddle can be an obstruction in movement and increase the chances of rubbing and chafing. To narrow, and you would not have enough stable support.

Profile

The profile of MTB saddles is the shape and size from the cross-section view. The profile can vary from vertically flat to minimally curved to extremely rounded. You can choose the most apt by sitting on them while keeping in mind the aim of your biking.

Racers prefer that their seats be flat so that they are lightweight. Convex curves may be preferred by dirt bikers or even mountain bikers who explore trails.

Cutouts

Ideal MTB saddles are specifically designed with channels or cutouts to reduce the pressure on the seat even if the entire body weight is being handled by it.

A well-placed cut will help with pressure, but personal preferences may lead you away from them because of the sinking feeling in the middle of the seat. You can make your choice and opt for flatter and whole seats too.

Shock Absorption

MTB saddles are designed for rough terrains, and so they are often equipped with features to handle bumping and irregular surface biking. The shock absorption system of the bike will help reduce impact and make these rides as smooth and comfortable for you as possible.

Vibrations and impact from bumps can be more than inconvenient. They can lead to pain and injuries. You must ensure that you have a foolproof and effective shock absorption system in place to prevent this.

The padding, the shock-absorbing springs, and rails contribute to an efficiently functioning impact reduction system. Some manufacturers go the extra mile and include rubber balls for further shock absorption when you hit rocky terrain.

Weight

Especially when you are looking for high speed, the weight of MBT saddles and the accompanying rails play a major role. Lightweight is preferable, but extremely weightless saddles will negate the purpose of having one.

Ensure that the saddle you choose is light enough for efficiency but capable of handling your weight so that you have adequate control over the bike. The ideal range of weight for MTB saddles is between 1 – 2 pounds.

Comfort

When enjoying a long ride, exploring new mountain trails, you do not want to compromise on comfort. If the saddle is uncomfortable, it will lead to early tiring and exhaustion and even pain and chafing.

Comfort is an important factor and is determined by how wide and long your saddle of choice is if the shock-absorption system is effective enough and the padding is favorable for comfortable seating.

Durability

When you invest in anything, small or big, you want your money's worth. The cost-effectiveness of any purchase is determined by its quality, durability, and longevity.

Mountain biking is a rough sport, and you want the saddle you choose is able to withstand the harsh terrain and fight wear and tear for as long as possible. This is determined by high-quality seat covering, quality and material of padding, cut out design, etc. Ensure that you invest in the right product to reap good results for long.

Price

The markets swarm with all varieties of MTB saddles, which range from expensive to cheap.

You need not purchase the most expensive in order to end up with high quality and durable saddle that enhances performance and ensures comfort. All you need to do is set a range within your budget and do your research meticulously.

Ranging from $35 to an upper limit of $300 and maybe even more, saddles with extra features or those sufficing the bare minimum criteria to be called an MTB saddle exist. You can find the one perfect for you that is affordable and lasts a lifetime if you follow the guidelines that this guide has provided you with.

Additional Tips to Buy a High-Quality MTB Saddle

You want a bike saddle that strikes the perfect middle ground between stability, price, and overall performance. To ensure that you do not get stuck with a saddle that does not make your biking more smooth, comfortable, and high in performance, the following are a few tips:

  1. Look for High Quality

Designed with special, lightweight rails and made of a material that is easy to maintain, durable, and resistant to wear and tear, high-quality saddles are often a little on the high end of the price range but are suited for great biking experience.

  1. Know the Material

Do not simply opt for what is in trend. You must know your needs and preferences and understand what you want to prioritize when buying the perfect high-quality saddle. While the current market is flooded with gel and foam saddles, they work well for short cyclists better. If you are a long-distance rider, opt for leather. But if comfort is a priority, gel saddles are softer.

  1. Make an Investment

Especially if you like biking and riding often, do not hesitate much if you have to spend a little more than you expected. See it as an investment in a beloved hobby that will pay for itself in the long run.

  1. Avoid Plastic Seat Covering

Plastic covered saddles are not durable and harsh for the sitting posture. Due to high traction, the chances of rubbing and chafing increases.

Steps to Add More Comfort

Who does not enjoy comfort, especially when the activity you are engaging in is already quite tiring? The bumpy trails and the long riding cannot be fully subsided even with the best saddles.

But a little more comfort can be a savior.

Adjusting your riding style by following these simple tips can go a long way:

  1. A full-suspension bike is the most suitable for mountain biking. It will help with smoother riding.
  2. Stand on the pedals for more activity of the pelvic region and a break from the constant and tiresome sitting position.
  3. Standing a little when you encounter irregular surfaces or especially large bumps can prevent vibrations affecting your back and thus prevent adverse injuries.
  4. Padded cycling shorts can help with comfort and prevent chafing because they minimize friction. They also serve as extra cushions against rough terrain.
  5. Moisture-wicking biking shorts can prove to be useful.

Top 3 Things to Check Saddle Adjustment

The saddle that is to be placed onto your mountain bike must be adjusted properly for you to reap maximum comfort and high performance. The things that you need to ensure the perfect position of the saddle are:

  1. Saddle Height

The height of the saddle will determine stability and paddling speed and efficiency as well as power transfer. If the height is too high, your weight will not be properly distributed and cause you to shift on either side, compromising stability.

Depending on the type of biking you plan to engage in, the right saddle height can be determined by the maximum extension of your legs when you pedal.

You should not be able to have a perfectly straight leg in road biking. Rather, a slight bend in the knee will indicate perfect saddle height. Mountain trail biking will have a lower saddle height in case of rough and obstacle-prone rides.

  1. Saddle Fore/Aft Position

When the pedal is perfectly parallel with the floor, your knee should be in perfect alignment with your toes. If the knee is bending too much at this position, you need to adjust the saddle's fore/aft position.

This can be done by loosening the binder bolt at the top of the seat-post. This enables you to slide the seat back and forth.

  1. Saddle tilt

The saddle is best known to be exactly parallel to the ground for most cases. This positioning of the saddle can be adjusted by loosening the binder bolt.

FAQs

  1. Should I opt for a soft saddle or a hard one?

Not at all! It is a misconception that the softer the saddle, the more comfort it will impart. Just like a soft mattress causes discomfort in sleeping, so does a soft saddle. Thus, it is highly recommended to buy a saddle that offers you full support and are hard ones.

  1. Which is the better, narrow, or wide saddle?

Well, there is no better or worst for this. Which saddle width is better for you depends on the type of biker you are. If you are a frequent rider who loves to spend hours of biking, you should go for a narrow one. Whereas, for people who prefer biking occasionally like to have a comfortable experience and thus, want to have a wider saddle.

  1. Why should I invest in a saddle?

A saddle is one of the most crucial elements of a bike. It is the meeting spot for you and the bike. Thus, you need to take care of buying it more as it will be handling all your body weight while you control the bike. Buying a good quality saddle will make your riding experience more comfortable.

  1. Are mountain bikes saddles known as performance saddles?

Yes, mountain bikes saddles are performance saddles that are narrow and long. Also, They are hard with less padding, which provides the rider with proper grip and least chafing while you ride the bike.

Summing Up

Good MTB saddles will provide you utmost comfort and prevent several injuries. You just need to invest a little time to select the best product.

We have provided a detailed buying guide to ease you through the process. Please go through it and evaluate every aspect of the product so that you can select the best fit for yourself.

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