Choosing the best women’s road bike saddle can make a huge difference to your ride, because contact points are an all-important element of on-bike comfort. Even the best women’s road bike, no matter how well sized, will have you cutting your ride short if the contact points aren’t set up properly.
Keeping your bum and nether regions happy can easily be achieved though, not only with a good pair of padded shorts, but also with the right saddle. Women’s specific saddles have come a long way, thankfully, and the options on the market are quite vast nowadays.
Choosing the best women’s road bike saddle isn’t always the easiest thing to do. As with many other bike components and kit accessories, saddles come in all shapes and sizes, and even when you narrow them down to women’s specific, the sheer amount of choice can feel overwhelming if you’re not sure what you’re looking for.
To save you time, we’ve rounded up our picks of the best women’s road bike saddles, to help narrow down your choice even further. However, if you feel like you need a bit more guidance on what to look for, then jump ahead to our advice on how to choose the right saddle for you.
Then, once you’ve mastered your saddle setup, be sure to check out the best women’s cycling shoes for another contact point that could make or break your ride.
Best women’s road bike saddles
Fizik redeveloped its women’s saddle line a few years ago, introducing the Luce Saddle to its range. The outer is made up of a three-section construction, with nylon, carbon and thermoplastic elastomers, while the inner features a narrow long cut-out, and flexible support for under the sit bones.
There is a generous curve to the rear, while the rear wings have a fair amount of flexibility, which is great for comfort when sitting more upright. The Luce R1 saddle is designed for longer rides, but like most saddles, it took a few rides to break it in. It’s a great option for someone who is looking for comfort in multiple positions on the bike.
The Bontrager Verse Pro is a truly lightweight and dynamic saddle, with four different sizing options. The rails offer a great range of saddle placement, while the full-length cut-out is designed to take pressure off the entire central area.
The Verse Pro is on the longer side of some of the saddles on offer, at 270 mm, and comes in three different levels, with the Pro being the most expensive and lightest weight. For a one-size-fits-all saddle that you can use for road, gravel, mountain biking and city riding, the Bontrager Verse is a good bet.
The Italian heritage brand Selle San Marco brings a truly aggressive race-fit offering with the Mantra Open-Fit saddle. For an aero position saddle at a mid-range price point, this saddle is a good option.
The Mantra Open-Fit is padded with advanced Biofoam and has a central cutout. It is flat towards the back, making this more comfortable when in a true race position, with a slightly wider nose for extra support when pitched forward. Manganese rails are used, perhaps to lower the price point. Selle San Marco claims this saddle is versatile enough for off-road riding if you are looking for a one-size-fits-all bikes option.
Suited for a narrower pelvis and those used to a racing position, the Selle SMP composit saddle is truly a unique offering on the market. The “wave” shape of the saddle is raised in the rear and the nose makes a significant downturn. The raising in the back is designed to take pressure off the coccyx. The Selle SMP Composit is a great option if you want to try something truly innovative and different on the market, but the narrow width means it isn’t for everyone.
This saddle from Selle Italia offers one of the larger cut-outs on the market – a great option for those women who find this sensitive area benefits from a larger open space. While the saddle features titanium rails and is on the wide side, the rear doesn’t offer any extra padding, so this tends to suit a more aggressive forward-leaning position. The small indent in the rear is designed as space for your lower lumbar, if this is a sensitive spot for you, this saddle is a great option. Check out the Selle Italia website to get your sizing correct as they use a special system.
Technically, ISM lists this saddle as a MTB saddle but with the rise of ultra-endurance road and gravel events, we opted to include this as it is the saddle most geared towards super long hours on the bike. The unique shape of the ISM saddles takes all pressure off the “nose” area. Most people that use these ISM saddles say they take a little bit of getting used to, but once you make the change, you never look back. It features chromoly rails and has a rounded sloped rear end. Note, the ISM saddle is unisex and slightly narrower than most women’s offerings, so if you have wider sit bones, this isn’t the best option.
When Specialized debuted its mimic saddles back in 2018 it made quite a splash. Its “innovative Mimic technology uses multilayered materials to maintain equilibrium and minimise swelling in soft tissue.” It is available on different saddles across the range, though we opted to test it on the Power Comp. The insert area is soft and squishy, almost memory foam-like. The front area where this technology is used is remarkably comfortable.
One thing to bear in mind, however, is that the corresponding S-works version (same shape, lighter and more expensive) is meant for aggressive racing positions. If you are looking to try the Mimic technology on a less aggressive saddle, try the Romin Evo Model instead. All Specialized saddles come in four levels: Comp, Pro, Expert and S-works, with the main difference being the weight and materials while retaining the same shape.
How to choose the right saddle for you
First things first, get your sit bones measured so you know which saddle width you need. You can roughly do this yourself with a piece of double-thick cardboard. Sit on it, and look for where the deepest indents are. Measure between those two points for a general reading. But it’s a better option to head to your local bike shop and be properly measured. Having a saddle too narrow for you will put pressure on your softer parts, an unpleasant experience for even the most seasoned of riders.
Pay attention to the length and the curve towards the back of the saddle. Some prefer a flat back whilst others prefer a sloped downward curve towards the edges. When looking at the saddle cut-out, you want something that covers your whole ‘anatomical area’ to make sure you aren’t adding pinpointed pressure to the edges. This can vary from person to person, so the best we can recommend is to try to give a saddle a test before you buy and see what works for you. Also make sure your seat post is correct for the rail size, as some will use custom oversized rails.
Generally, the more you spend, the lighter your saddle will be. Most brands make a variety of levels for each saddle, saving weight by replacing cheaper materials with carbon or titanium rails. In saying this, the weight differences can be minuscule, so it really depends on what you want to spend.
4. Matching with your shorts
There is no foolproof way to know which saddles will work with which shorts, as once again it is a really personal thing, but it’s important to note that some combinations will work better than others. If you are testing a new saddle and wear multiple brands of padded shorts, make sure you test them all with it to get the best match. Shorts have different foam densities in different places and pads are all different sizes, so you really want something that works in cohesion. Check out our guide to best women’s cycling shorts for more.
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