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If you’re going to cycle to work each day, you at least deserve to be comfortable. Various parts of your bike affect comfort, including its very shape and geometry, but one of the most immediate concerns is always the saddle.
Saddle choice is always a personal thing, influenced by each rider’s physical attributes. And you won’t always notice an uncomfortable saddle straight away; sometimes you have to do a few miles before any discomfort occurs.
In this article, we’ll help you decide on the best commuter bike saddle for you.
- Brooks Cambium C17 Carved All-Weather Saddle (Best Overall)
- Charge Spoon (Best Value Saddle)
- Bikeroo Padded Bicycle Saddle (Most Comfortable)
- Terry Liberator X Gel (Best For Women)
- Selle San Marco Regal EVO Saddle (Best For Long Commutes)
11 Best Bike Seats For Commuting
Because saddle comfort is rarely universal, consumer reviews about them are often polarized. Below are some of the very best commuter saddles.
Please read the advice afterwards to help narrow your choice.
1. Brooks Cambium C17 Carved All-Weather Saddle (best overall)
- Weight: 446 grams
Brooks is a company revered by many British cyclists for its high-quality products. In particular, it is renowned for making comfortable saddles. The durable Cambium C17 Carved All-Weather Saddle is a case in point.
Featuring a carved hole for perineum pressure relief, this Italian-made Brooks saddle is nothing if not comfortable. It’s made from naturally flexible rubber that moves with you rather than working against you.
Because of its construction, the Cambium C17 has shock-absorbing qualities, so you can put it on a mountain bike and take it off-road if you wish. It’s intended primarily for road riding, though, where it takes the sting out of poor surfaces.
A bonus for commuters is the waterproof nylon top, so you needn’t worry about covering the saddle when you lock your bike up in rain.
The C17 is 162mm wide, making it a good choice for people with wide sit bones (many women, some men). In the same unisex range are the C13 at 132mm wide, C15 at 140mm and the C19 at 185mm.
Owing to its flexibility, you may find you can ride a narrower saddle than might otherwise be comfortable among the Cambium range.
2. Charge Spoon (best value saddle)
- Weight: 269g
While it’s not the lightest saddle in this review, the Charge Spoon has long had a reputation for offering high-quality manufacturing and comfort at an attractive price. Like all saddles, this hinges on it being the right size and shape for you.
This saddle comes in a 140mm width, which will suit males with average-width sit bones but not so much widely spaced ones. The law of averages says it’ll suit more men than women.
Among the features of the Charge Spoon are a central pressure-relief channel, a supportive and anatomical shape, cro-mo (steel) rails, and a synthetic leather covering that is vegan-friendly.
3. Bikeroo Padded Bicycle Saddle (most comfortable)
- Weight: 544g
Sold as a saddle for men (though some women use it), the Bikeroo Padded Bicycle Saddle has thousands of happy users. Indeed, it was tested and refined by a large pool of over 12,000 cyclists.
This is a saddle designed for leisure rides and commuting, fitness and MTB. You can put it on a road bike, too.
The Bikeroo Padded Bike Saddle features a pressure relief channel, stainless steel rails, and a waterproof artificial leather cover. It has a wide rear measurement of 7” (178mm), so it’s plenty wide enough for the vast majority of men and many women.
Generous padding on a saddle is something that might feel great for a few miles in regular clothing (i.e., not padded cycling shorts). Hence this seat gets the nod as the most comfy commuter saddle.
4. Terry Liberator X Gel (best for women)
- Weight: 411g
A saddle optimized for women is the Terry Liberator X Gel, and there are 100,000 of these in circulation according to the manufacturer. The center cutaway relieves pressure on soft tissues in the perineum area and improves ventilation.
This Terry saddle uses multidensity foam and a wide contoured rear for maximum sit bone support. Strategically positioned thin gel inserts add to the comfort. You can ride long distances on this saddle without any hint of soreness or pain.
Other features of the Terry Liberator X Gel include sturdy steel rails, a nylon shell and a perforated Duratek synthetic cover. The 163mm width is ideal for many women, and the nose of the saddle is narrow enough to avoid chafing.
The men’s equivalent of this saddle is the Liberator Y Gel, so you could have his ‘n’ hers seats.
5. Selle San Marco Regal EVO Saddle (best for long commutes)
- Weight: 230g
Several saddles among this review might suffice for long rides, but none have the heritage of the Selle San Marco Regal EVO Saddle. The same design has been ridden by famous racers Tom Boonen, Mario Cipollini and Greg Lemond.
This saddle comes in woven and leather finishes (woven in the link above).
The 152mm width of the Selle San Marco Regal EVO is a good choice for riders with average or slightly wide sit bones. It may prove a little too narrow for riders with widely spaced sit bones (e.g., 140mm).
Among the features of the saddle is durable BioFoam padding that follows pelvis movements and repels water. This lightweight padding together with a carbon-fiber reinforced shell and Stealth Xsilite rails helps keep the weight down.
A fairly firm saddle, the Regal EVO is not the type of saddle that feels like a sofa the moment you hop on it. It’s all about offering good support, provided it’s the right size and shape for you to begin with.
This is a great pick if you’re after a classic looking seat.
6. PRO Stealth Saddle (best for road bike commuters)
- Weight: 205g (142mm model)
There are many contenders for best road-bike commuting saddle. The PRO Stealth Saddle is designed for speed, developed in cooperation with Team Giant-Alpecin. It’s for the commuter who is not averse to exertion on the way to and from work.
The Stealth features a sizeable cut-out to reduce perineum pressure, and it’s designed for an aggressive riding position. If you’re into beating Strava PBs on commutes, this is the saddle for you. It’s more TT than touring.
This is a unisex saddle that comes in 142mm and 152mm sizes, the latter being more agreeable to most women and some gents.
Features of the Pro Stealth saddle include lightweight EVA padding which is good for short to mid-distance rides; a snub-nosed profile for forward seating positions; stainless steel rails; and a carbon-fiber reinforced, polymer in-molded base.
An interesting feature of this saddle is its threaded mount on the rear underside. This is compatible with various PRO accessories like a camera mount, rear fender, or bottle carrier. Any one of these add-ons might be of interest to the commuter.
This a speed-oriented choice for road-bike commuting, but with a practical side, too.
7. Specialized Phenom Comp (best for mountain bikes)
- Weight: 254g (143mm), 260g (155mm)
Mountain bike saddles aren’t the same as road bike saddles. They tend to be flatter, wider, and padded in a way that counters bumpier surfaces. The Specialized Phenom Comp is designed for MTBs, though you can use it on road bikes, too.
This saddle has an anti-snag design at the rear that answers the need to move around more on an MTB saddle.
In terms of available widths, 143mm and 155mm options account for medium and wider sit-bone widths. Built-in Adaptive Edge technology helps to bridge any minor size discrepancies by conforming to your body shape.
Like many Specialized saddles, there are several versions of the Phenom saddle, so you can fine-tune your choice somewhat. The Phenom Comp offers an excellent all-round MTB and road performance.
8. Fizik Antares R1 Open Saddle (best open saddle)
CHECK PRICE AT COMPETITIVE CYCLIST
- Weight: 185g/190g (regular/large)
Open saddles are designed with the aim of alleviating pressure in blood vessels, nerves and soft tissue in the perineum area. They can also be beneficial for men with prostate issues. And the Fizik Antares R1 Open Saddle is among the best of them.
A microtext cover makes the surface of this Fizik seat durable and breathable. The Antares R1 Open Saddle comes in 140 and 152mm sizes, which could be described as medium and medium-wide male widths. The larger size will suit many women.
The Antares R1 features a carbon-reinforced shell to keep the weight down and flex slightly, so the saddle follows your movements to a degree. Braided carbon rails help take the edge off road vibrations.
9. Bontrager Commuter Fluid Saddle (best for innovation)
- Weight: 467g
If you’re up for trying something original in a commuter saddle, the Bontrager Commuter Fluid Saddle delivers. It incorporates patented fluid technology that moves with you to relieve pressure by over 20% versus a gel saddle.
This Bontrager saddle is constructed with a dual-density shell using an air foam construction that is comfy yet supportive. There’s also a cutout channel to relieve pressure on soft tissues and create a little ventilation.
Another headlining feature of this saddle is its use of “inForm BioDynamics”, which uses extensive data and biomechanical expertise to optimize the touch points between cyclist and bicycle. You get a high-quality product for your money.
10. YLG Oversized Comfort Bike Seat With Taillight (best with lights)
- Weight: 1384 gm
Bike saddles that look comfortable don’t always turn out to be so, and vice versa. The YLG Oversized Comfort Bike Seat is one that many users find comfy for casual bike rides and commutes.
This saddle is made with 3.2” thick slow-rebound memory foam and covered with waterproof PVC faux leather. The anatomic shape is apparent, and its 350 mm width far exceeds even the widest sit bones.
Features of the YLG Oversized Comfort Bike Seat include a center channel for breathability, rear shock absorbers, a reflective sticker, and in this case a rear LED light with flashing, static and off modes.
The types of bikes you’d probably put this saddle on are cruisers and hybrids.
11. IPSXP Sport Saddle (best budget)
- Weight: 347g
Though it’s described as a “sport” saddle and marketed with a degree of hyperbole, the IPSXP Sport Saddle offers very good value for money. It’s made with a polyurethane foam, which is comfortable without yielding too much.
This saddle is 150mm wide. A central cut-out relieves perineum pressure and allows for ventilation.
You’d probably install this on an MTB or a commuting road bike, and perhaps on a hybrid, despite the sporty look.
Be aware if purchasing that you may not get the English-language version with “Sport Saddle” inscribed on it. Some people care about that, others don’t.
How To Choose A Bike Saddle For A Commute
Choosing a comfortable saddle can be a painful process in itself for some people, but you can improve your chances armed with the right advice.
How To Size A Bike Saddle
The critical measurements of a bike saddle are width and length, in that order. A typical saddle length is 275mm or longer. Shorter saddles of 255mm or less are generally designed for a low aerodynamic position on a road bike.
Saddle width is crucial to comfort since it must be wider than your sit bones.
Read more: Does cycling cause hemorrhoids?
Sit Bone Width
The width between your sit bones (ischial tuberosity) is critical when finding the right saddle, because the sit bones support your weight. The more leisurely and upright you ride, the more this is the case, but it’s an important factor for any cyclist.
A saddle that is too narrow will cause saddle soreness within an hour or so of riding, because it wedges between the sit bones rather than properly supporting them.
Women have wider sit bones than men, on average, by about 10mm. A typical male sit-bone width is 120mm and female 130mm, but there is lots of crossover.
You can find your own sit-bone width using methods prescribed on YouTube. Alternatively, a bike fitter and some shops will help you find this measurement.
Be aware that contoured saddles may effectively be narrower than their physical width suggests as far as sit-bone support goes.
You need the saddle to be at least 15-20mm wider than your sit bones, assuming it is flat. This is why a typical ~140mm men’s saddle is too narrow for many women.
Video: Measure Sit Bone Width For Saddle Selection
Saddle Shape – Flat vs Curved
As mentioned above, a contoured saddle reduces the usable width of the saddle as far as sit-bone support goes. This width is measured at the two points from which the saddle drops by a further 1cm or more.
In addition to detracting from sit-bone support, a saddle with a pronounced curve is more likely to exert pressure under the pubic arch (between the sit bones) and into the soft tissues that lie therein.
If you like a curved saddle because it anchors you to the bike, you can counter any central pressure with a pressure-relief channel or cut-out (discussed further down).
Padding Based On Riding Style
If you ride at a leisurely pace, probably upright, you don’t support any of your weight through your legs or the force you are putting through the pedals. In that scenario, you’re likely to want a little more padding than a fast cyclist.
On the other hand, if you’re an athletic commuter who likes to fly to work on a road bike, you can get away with less padding. Many saddles designed for road cyclists have modest amounts of padding—none in some cases.
Padding Based On Your Clothes
Another influence on padding is the clothes that you wear on your commute. If you ride to work in regular clothes with no padding, you might want to compensate for that in the saddle. The length of your commute may influence this.
In any type of cycling, the perceived comfort of a saddle can drastically alter over distance. On the average commute, this is less of an issue.
Video: Cycling Seat Comfort
Cut-outs and Pressure Relief Channels
Many saddles whether men’s, women’s or unisex, have recessed channels or cut-outs running down the middle of them.
For men, this is often thought to be helpful in either preventing prostate problems or in alleviating them, perhaps post-operation. It prevents the saddle from pushing up into the soft tissues under the pubic bone.
Do you need this? It depends on various factors, including the shape of the saddle and the peculiarities of your own body. Your flexibility is also a factor. If you rotate your pelvis when in a forward riding position, you’re more of a cut-out candidate.
There is little to no scientific evidence that a cut-out prevents prostate problems, but anecdotal evidence suggests it helps with existing ones.
Women use cut-outs in saddles to alleviate discomfort in the same tender area. The cut-outs tend to be larger (source: bicycle saddle science), but many women find they need no cut-out at all. Same with men.
A potential benefit of cut-outs is the ventilation they create. Conversely, if it’s raining, the underside of a saddle gets blasted with water unless there’s a fender to stop it.
Video: Saddle Cutouts – What You Need To Know
Frequently Asked Questions
What’s the proper commuter bike saddle size?
The main size you need to pay attention to is the width, which should ideally be a minimum 20mm wider than your sit bones. You can measure your sit-bone width quite easily at home.
How can I make my bike saddle more comfortable?
One way is to install a gel seat cover, though you should note that padding can be less comfortable over any significant distance because it tends to put more pressure on soft tissues. Wearing bike-specific clothing also helps.
How long can a bike saddle last?
A bike saddle can last for many thousands of miles – 12,400 miles and counting according to Fizik (up to 20,000 km or more). If it still feels okay, it probably is okay.
Read more: Tips to lock your bike saddle
Saddle Up! In Conclusion
We hope you’ve found this article useful. Reflecting on our saddle reviews, the Brooks Cambium C17 takes top spot for its unique flexible, waterproof design and availability in a useful selection of widths.
The Charge Spoon has been around for over ten years and is a well-established favorite among MTB riders and roadies alike. It’s a high-quality saddle you can try out on your commuting bike for minimal outlay.
For a saddle that is comfortable without necessarily needing bike-specific clothes on your commute, the Bikeroo Padded Bicycle Saddle offers a solution.
With thousands of content female users, the Terry Liberator X Gel deserves a shout for its comfort. This is underpinned by good sit-bone support and a pressure-relief channel that is useful to many women.
We hope, with the help of this article, you’ll find the perfect saddle for your bike, your riding style and your commute.