Searching for the best road bike saddles for long rides and sports touring? We have selected six of the best saddles that we could find in the market based on our research and testing. Among the top six saddles, we came up with the Prologo Scratch 2 Pas as our number one choice for long rides and touring.
Buying Guide: How to choose a road bike saddle for long rides
Choosing the right road bike saddle for long-distance touring fulfilling your demands can be a daunting task. There are many options available in the market, you will need both time and effort to find out what is the right saddle for you. So we have discussed a few things below that might help you.
Adjusting Your Saddle
First of all, it is always a good idea that you adjust the saddle properly before a long-distance outing. Try to properly adjust the clamp that is used to mount the saddle to the post. For that, you will need a standard tool that can be found in any bike tool kit. You just need to tilt the seat back and forward and then give a try.
Maybe a couple of tries you will find a suitable position that’s more comfortable for you. Easy right? Sometimes you will need specific tools for adjustment. You don’t have to worry, the specific mounting tool or wrench will be provided with the saddle. All you have to do is tilt and adjust your saddle properly.
For instance, if you have a flat saddle you can tilt the saddle a little bit forward and notice how you feel. For other types of saddles, you can find the right position which suits you the best by tilting and adjusting the saddle height. Perhaps this video will help:
Find a Good Neutral Position on a Road Bike
As long-distance touring usually consist of racing, touring or even track racing like Triathlon; the preferable position is the forward position which is by placing you back inclined with 45° angle where the saddle is usually higher than the handlebar or at an equal level. This position is also suitable for Mountain cycling, Cross-country or Endurance.
There are other positions for different types of cycling. But you have to choose which style and position to go with you best. Things you should consider when finding a neutral position on a road bike:
- The first rule that you should always follow is to keep your shoulders down and away from your ears.
- Bending your elbows allows your arms to act as suspension. This will help to absorb impact when you hit a hole or bump on the road.
- Free up your head by lowering your shoulders as your shoulder is away from your ears. This will lead to a position for easier turning of your head and looking around and eventually helps you to stay more alert.
- Try to keep a fairly straight line between your hips and your shoulders. This will help you to find a neutral position.
- If your knees are spreading wide while riding it will look funny as well as it will cause pain. Try to keep your knee position straight towards the pedal.
Try to Find Out the “Sweet Spot”
You have bought the right saddle for yourself but still confused about comfort. Well, that is probably happening cause you are unable to find the “sweet spot” on the saddle. Before you are setting the height of the saddle please set the fore/aft saddle position.
This position can be measured from a line that bisects the top and center of the seat post. The saddles that we have chosen are all ergonomic in design and they are very conscious about the right adjustment of your sit bones. So you do not have to worry much.
I hope you will easily find your perfect sit bone position and enjoy a super comfortable ride. In case you can’t find the “sweet spot” after thousands of tries you have lost your hope, then you can find help from an expert.
If the Saddle has a Cut-Out or Springs
It is not important whether the saddle has suspension springs or not. But it might be helpful if the saddle has a narrow cut-out or at least a center groove. For long-distance cycling such as road racing or touring the user is always concerned about the weight of the saddle. And if the saddle contains springs it will undoubtedly be heavier. But for this department, it is not acceptable at all.
If you really feel the lack of suspension springs especially on uneven roads or when you hit a bump, you can use a trick. The trick for solving this problem is to stand up on the pedals when you are cycling over bumps or over uneven roads to avoid shocks.
You can also try to stand up on the pedals after every 10 minutes of sitting down on the saddle. This will keep your private parts cool by providing much airflow if your saddle doesn’t have a center cut-out.
Other Facts When Buying a Road Bike Saddle
Since road bikes are used for many continuous miles, there are important characteristics that we should pay close attention. Here we can talk about the material of the saddle cover or is it enough padded or not.
For road touring you are not supposed to ride your cycle in an inelegant way. Rather you are giving priority to performance over comfort. So if the saddle is not enough padded or it is not cushy, that is not our concern here.
When we talk about the cover material, we can look for saddles made from synthetic leather or microfiber when you are not looking for an expensive one. The thing is, you should be concentrating on the torment of the cover which actually depends on the material.
However leather can be a great choice. But they cost a lot of money. Thankfully, we have saddles that are made from artificial leather or Cambium which can behave like a leather one.
Now come to talk about other stuff for a road bike saddle, we can discuss the rails. It is always better to go for Titanium rails as they are stronger and they contribute a lot on a continuous ride. At the same time, they are also very durable and they do not bend easily.
However, we can also choose from Stainless steel rails or rails that are made from the combination of Steel Composites.
If you poked around the saddle market, you will see cut-outs are common elements on most of the saddles. That’s because they feature both pelvic support and airflow. They take off the pressure from the perineum area and keep sensitive parts comfortable.
Sometimes road bike saddles may not contain cut-outs. But it is always better to have one or at least a middle groove will be preferable.
How do I choose a road bike saddle?
If you are keen on road-cycling, it is your key responsibility that you have to get yourself the correct saddle. We assume that you are a road racer or a triathlete, then here are some tips that may help you to find the perfect road bike saddle.
- For different people, there are plenty of different seats in the market. Now, what do I mean by different people is based on their shapes. The first and foremost thing is-” what is your gender?” You can be a male road racer or a female. For female racers, it is better to go for a wider seat and moderately padded with a center cut-out or groove.
- Measure how flexible you are first. From research, we have found that people who are less flexible should go for a more rounded saddle. A flat saddle will do great for those who are flexible. The very flexible cyclist will be benefited from slightly curved saddles.
- The comfort also depends largely on your riding position. For road biking a more sporting or even aerodynamic position is preferable. For this position, you are putting much pressure on the forward part of your pelvic area. So choose a saddle that can lighten the pressure on the crucial parts of your body.
- As usual, you should also measure your sit bones for choosing a saddle for road cycling.
Our Top Pick
It offers everything a cyclist needs for longer rides. Lightweight. Durable cover made from microfiber. Stronger rails. It has the perfect shape for providing ultimate comfort to all types of riders (Men & Women). Best value for your money. Best choice for rainy days.
For relatively long rides such as Touring, Racing or Triathlon type cycling you need a strong durable saddle at the same time you must check if the saddle is able to provide enough comfort while cycling. It is very important for casual as well as professional riders that they get the best suitable saddle for themselves for long-distance cycling.
How our selected road bike saddles for long rides compare
Here is a quick view of the comparison table of our top 6 choices:
6 best road bike saddles you can buy today for long rides
1. Prologo Scratch 2 saddle
Very comfortable unisex saddle. Fits well
(PAS = Perineal Area System, Carbon Fiber Base, Waterproof)
- Weight(gm): 215/217
- Dimensions (L x W): 278 x 134 mm
- Best for: Road, MTB, TT (Tourist Touring)
- Cut-out: No
- Color: Hard Black
Why is it our number one choice:
- The saddle is well-known for PAS(Perineal Area System) which eliminates pressure peaks and numbness in the pelvic area.
- It provides the opportunity to choose from Nack or Tirox as rails options.
- Riders’ best choice for Rainy Season.
- Ultra-durable microfiber cover padded with light foam.
- Features three different shapes- Round, Semi-round and Flat.
- The base of the saddle is injected with Carbon fiber.
- It can cause chafing in the inner thighs for longer riders.
- As there is no cut-out rider may suffer a lack of airflow during long rides.
2. Selle ITALIA Diva Gel Flow seat
Women’s specific road saddle
(Vanox Rails, Carbon Composite Shell)
- Weight(gm): 225 (Small)-285 (Large)
- Dimensions (L x W): 270 x 135 mm (Small), 270 x 152 mm (Large)
- Best for: Road, Off-road, Long Distance Touring
- Cut-out: Yes
- Color: Black, White
A great saddle for comfort and durability:
- A women-specific saddle produces only for the needs of the female audience.
- Tubular Vanox rails made from Titanium.
- Not neglecting the performance, ensures comfort with the help of a generous amount of gel padding.
- Attractive and breathable full-grain leather-based on women’s choice.
- Enjoy a comfortable bump-free ride as the saddle comes with elastomer suspension and an in-built shock-absorbing system.
- Shell is constructed from 10% Carbon composite.
- The bulbous shaped nose can cause chafing.
- Poor quality plastic under the seat.
- It can be excessively flexible and bulky for some riders.
- May be hard to find a comfortable spot on the saddle.
3. Fizik Arione Classic saddle
Provide snake style riding
(Kium Rails, Original Design, Italian)
- Weight(gm): 225
- Dimensions (L x W): 300 x 132 mm
- Best for: Road, Cyclocross, MTB
- Cut-out: No
- Color: Alcantara Black, White
A great saddle within budget:
- Presents the shape of first Arione saddle handmade in Italy.
- Slightly longer, thinner nose, wider wings, but maintaining the dimensions of the original Arione.
- Wing Flex technology – where your thighs meet the saddle and enable flexibility.
- Alloy Kium rails- combines a particular metal alloy and a larger cut-out in the shell for lightweight.
- Compatible with Integrated Clip System.
- Highlights Microtex cover.
- The Snake shape is built for very flexible riders with lower backs, so choose wisely.
- In the long climbs, a rider may struggle to find the sweet spot.
- Users may sometimes feel a lack of cut-out.
4. Brooks B17 Narrow saddle
Leather saddle for long-distance cycling
(Leather saddle, Handmade, For Men)
- Weight(gm): 530
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 279 x 151 x 70 mm
- Best for: Road, Touring, Racing
- Cut-out: Yes
- Color: Brown, Black, Honey
Best leather saddle for long rides:
- Handmade in England from the finest vegetable tan leather.
- Another successor of the time-honored B17 with a distinctive cut-out design.
- Cut-out helps to relieve perineal pressure.
Both sides along the lower edge are threaded together to maintain the saddle’s shape and provide comfort in long rides.
- Like all Brooks saddles, it also features the fore-and-aft tensioning mechanism.
- Rails are made of Steel with Chrome plating.
- It offers tubular steel rivets.
- The saddle is guaranteed for 2 years and a 10 year extended warranty will be provided for a registered customer at Brooks official website.
- Not waterproof.
- May face a problem with the break-in period at first.
- Proper maintenance is needed and needs to apply Proofide (Brooks Leather Conditioner) from time to time.
- Leather might be slippery and rider may slip off the saddle.
Related: Top Leather Bike Saddles Reviews
5. Fabric Line seat
Waterproof saddle made for long riding
(Titanium Rails, Men’s Saddle)
- Weight(gm): 239
- Dimensions (L x W x H): 282 x 142 x 49 mm
- Best for: Road, Touring, Racing, MTB
- Cut-out: No
- Color: Pure Black, Black & White
A modern saddle for road biking:
- Unlike its other versions, Line Race comes in two different widths: 142 mm (Wider) and 134 mm (Narrower).
- The medium amount of padding and the rounded rear section will provide immense comfort.
- Waterproof base made with Nylon.
- One of the great choices for natural riding (usually 45°) position where the bar is slightly lower than the seat’s height.
- Features Titanium rails.
- The Three-piece bonded cover is more comfortable than a traditional cover.
- The long and deep pressure relief channel supported by the convex shape creates a ridge with pressure points between sit bones.
- The long narrow nose does not interfere with thighs when pedaling.
- Although removes weight from perineum but doesn’t alleviate the issue completely.
- The nose will be trouble while heading towards downhill.
- The saddle’s wings may contact the inside of the thighs which might seem to push a little bit more than expected.
- Very thin and not so cushy.
6. ISM PN 3.0 saddle
Made for speed and comfort
(Unique Design, Alloy Rails, Unisex)
- Weight(gm): 294
- Dimensions (L x W): 255 x 120 mm
- Best for: Road, Triathlon, Time Trial
- Cut-out: Yes
- Color: Black, White, Black with a pink base, Black with a blue base
A newly shaped saddle for road biking:
- Taken the basic front 5 inches off the traditional saddle and removed it, so it can reduce chafing and excessive friction.
- Features soft arm system that supports Pubic Rami Bone, so there is no pressure on the soft tissue area and offers 100% blood flow.
- Enjoy the auto-racing air vent chassis for keeping you cool.
- A newly shaped saddle with tapered-edge mold design for incredible comfort.
- It offers superb thigh and hamstring clearance by allowing free movement around the seat.
- Promotes Stainless Steel Alloy rails.
- Padded with 30-series foam.
- The front is relatively narrow, as a result of some cycling category it doesn’t provide much aid.
- Padding is not dense and the cover is not very grippy.
- It might be troublesome for some users to find the best sitting position as the rider needs to be sat further back on.
Where your sit bones should be on a road bike saddle?
When sitting on a road bike saddle in the correct spot and tilting slightly forward to reach the handlebars the weight should be on the sit bones.
If you have stretched out to reach the handlebars or you don’t have the flexibility in the hip you will see that pressure is now placed along with the RAM I where the nerves and vessels can lead to dysfunction as it will create pressure on the arteries or more commonly pain and discomfort along the nerves.
If you sit forward and stretch out to reach the bars, you will feel that pressure is now placed along with the RAM I and can give you significant discomfort.
Our first step in determining the correct sit bone position is to find the width between the sit bones and also find the saddle where they are properly adjusted on top of the soft spot towards the rear of the saddle. This is known as finding the “Sweet Spot”.
Please follow these steps:
- Place a piece of tinfoil wearing thin shorts or underwear on lower ground.
- Sit down on the foil and bend forward as though you are in a cycling position raising your toes slightly.
- Hold the position for about 15 seconds or something.
- Get up and you will notice an impression of your sit bones on the tinfoil.
- Then choose the saddle accordingly based on your measurements.
Watch the following video from 2:32 to 3:18 according to instruction:
Is Gel Padding Necessary for Road Bike Saddle?
Well, the thing is, when you buy a comfortable gel saddle, that gel will eventually wear down and you will find this situation very uncomfortable. But as for Road Bike saddles, they are not much padded as they focus on performance over comfort. Leather can be the best solution for this.
But as they are very expensive, thankfully there are plenty of saddles made from artificial leather or cambium. Despite the fact that they will not provide 100% comfort as leather saddles, but they are the closest.