Road bike saddles are made after considering some factors, like- aerodynamic shape, long rides, comfort, speed e.t.c. Now women need to do background research before buying a road bike saddle. This post tries to serve that purpose.
Choosing the right saddle is tough. A biker has a very personal connection with the saddle. Because sitting position has kind of everything to do with riding. Men and women don’t have the same body type. So, it’s natural that their saddle styles will also be different. Women generally have wider seat bones. Because of that their saddles are wider. And also, some unisex saddles are suitable for both men and women.
Factors to consider while buying saddles for women’s road bikes
Women are interested in road cycling because it’s recreational, healthy or just for utility purposes. Besides this, she may be a professional rider who is more interested in a long ride.
So, before buying a road bike saddle we have several factors to keep in mind. First, every human has a unique body figure as well as a unique preference for saddles. Secondly, when you are into road cycling that means you are generally on your bike for a longer period. We can’t undergo little discomfort while sitting somewhere for a small amount of time in our regular life let alone in cycling.
So, the first step to choosing a saddle is measuring your sit bone width. Check out this link for instruction.
The second step is to determine what kind of road cycling you are interested in. If it’s in recreational and regular transportation category then you may need something wider and well padded. If you are racer or up for a long ride then your saddle padding must be narrow. Touring saddles typically provide padding for your sit bones and a moderately long, narrow nose.
Choosing the saddle cover depends on the ride frequency and weather. If it’s rainy then leather saddles shouldn’t be used.
Rails should be selected after checking the weight. Generally, all companies build rails that can provide enough support to average human weight. If somebody wants extremely lightweight saddle then they should go for carbon fiber. Otherwise, alloy/steel rails are good enough.
Cut-out in saddles is also an important factor to look at. Cut out means more airflow and less pressure in the perineal area.
Bike saddle size guide
If right bike saddles are not chosen correctly then sit bone pains are imminent for women. Besides this, they also face other issues like saddle sores, numbness e.t.c. Bad positioning, narrow saddles, pressure on perineal area can cause these problems.
The question is why any discomfort will occur? The simple answer- you aren’t sitting in a saddle that fits with your sit bone width. What is sit bone? Ischial Tuberosities. It takes a load of your body weight while you sit.
Now there are soft tissues, the pubic arch, perineum area e.t.c between your sit bones. When you aren’t sitting at the right posture that means you are giving pressure on this tissue instead of the bones. Certainly, there will be discomfort and if this continues for a longer time, the sit bone pain will occur. Continuous pressure on the perineal area may cause genitalia numbness or pain.
So, when choosing a saddle it’s mandatory to have the proper measurement that goes along with your sit bone structure. Your saddle measurement will have to change based on your riding position. Check this article for more information.
The image below shows where on the sit bones the riders put most of the pressure while riding. With different riding positions, cyclists apply pressure on different area of the sit bones. So, define your riding style at first and then select your seat width according to the sit bone area you use with that riding style.
The following image explains the relationship between your sit bones length and saddle width for different sitting postures.
|Riding posture||Saddle width|
|Triathlon (parallel with the ground)||= Sit bones length + 0 cm|
|Aerodynamic riding posture (<=300)||= Sit bone length + 1 cm (0.5 cm on both sides)|
|Performance riding posture (450)||= Sit bone length + 2 cm (1 cm on both sides)|
|Angled relaxed riding posture (600)||= Sit bone length + 3 cm (1.5 cm on both sides)|
|Recreational or completely relaxed riding posture (900)||= Sit bone length + 4 cm (2 cm on both sides)|
Our Top Pick
After testing and reviewing several women’s specific bike saddles for road cycling, we have chosen Ergon SR Sport Gel Saddle – Women’s as the best women’s road bike saddle for this year. It is a performance grade saddle, built-in wider design, especially for women, and well balanced in all features.
If you’re searching for something that will help you ride miles after miles with comfort, this is the saddle you’re searching for. Center cut-out design will reduce the riding pressure on your soft and sensitive area. We are confident that if you choose this as your road cycling saddle, you will not regret the decision.
- Cover: Orthopedic microfiber foam with gel padding
- Rails & Shell: CroMo made rails. Nylon composite made shell
- Size & Weight: Small/Medium (265 grams) and Medium/Large (275 grams)
- Colors: Berry & Black
- Design: Central cut-out
- Best use for: Commuting, Cyclocross, and Road Cycling
Here is the quick view of the saddles that we think are the best for women’s road bike:
|Bike Saddle||Recommended for|
|Ergon SR Sport Gel Saddle||Road cycling, commuting, & cyclocross|
|Prologo Scratch 2 Space||Ergonomically designed|
|selle ITALIA Diva Gel Flow||Ultimate comfort in long rides. Lightweight. Durable|
|ISM PR 3.0||Unique design. Nose-less saddle. No pressure on soft tissues.|
|Fi’zi:k Luce Carbon Saddle||Lightweight. Durable|
How our selected women’s road bike saddles compare
L: 280 x 143
L: 152 x 270
L: 280 x 143
L: 152 x 270
5 best road bike saddles women can buy today
1. Ergon SR Sport Gel Saddle
Good for road cycling, commuting, & cyclocross
- Wide cutout for pressure relief
- Soft cushioning, comfortable
- Equal pressure distribution in all area
- Design isn’t suitable for everyone
- Relatively higher weighted saddle
- Not all time chafe-free riding
Ergon bike saddles are relatively cheap saddles. With a wide cutout, well-padding and a good build, these bike saddles have a good place in the competition.
2. Prologo Scratch 2 Space seat
- Strong support and build quality
- Sufficient padding for a comfortable ride
- Pseudo cutout gives this a unique design as well as relief from pressure.
- Not durable for heavyweight riders but featherweight
- A bit costly
Prologo Scratch 2 Space is an ergonomic saddle for long-time riders. It has a round shape and a good build quality. Designed to have less-pressure in the pelvic area. It’s well-padded and comfortable.
3. selle ITALIA Diva Gel Flow saddle
Ultimate comfort in long rides. Lightweight. Durable
- Performance grade saddle
- Carbon composite shell increases sturdiness
- Center cut-out minimizes perineal pressure
- Cover made out of leathers, increase comfort
- Silicone gel-padded
- Not the most durable saddle
- Leather-covered so, not waterproof
- Cut out may not suitable for everyone
The name is saying that this saddle is built especially for women. Suitable for both on and off-road. A champion in the comfort category. Leather-covered, sturdy structure, moderate cushioning and good air-flow in the middle because of center cut out. It’s well balanced.
4. ISM PR 3.0 saddle
Unique design. Nose-less saddle. No pressure on soft tissues.
- Build for maximum comfort
- Nose-less design helps to remove pressure from soft tissue
- Sturdy build and unique design
- Suited for all type bikes
- It’s bulky and heavy.
- Designed unisex, may not suitable for all women.
ISM PR 3.0 Saddle is a popular one and designed for all kinds of bike types. It’s a symbol of comfort. A bit expensive but with unique nose-less design and guaranteed comfort make it a must buy a saddle for women who love to have a comfortable long ride.
5. Fi’zi:k Luce Carbon Saddle
- Narrower Nose, chafe-free pedaling
- Pressure relief channel provides good air circulation
- Extremely lightweight and has good shock absorption
- A performance-grade saddle for a lengthy ride
- Two width options
- Expensive saddle
- Cushioning could be better.
Fi’zi:k Luce carbon saddle is definitely one of the best saddles in the market. It’s extremely lightweight and has a narrow nose. The width is fitted for long rides. The carbon fiber rails lessen the dampening. Overall, a comfortable saddle.
Why are women’s bike seats shorter
Women’s bike saddles are in general wider and shorter because of their body structure. Their sit bones are wider than man which is why wider saddle. While riding, women want to keep minimal pressure on their pelvic area. So the saddles are made shorter for them.
Know your saddle: bicycle saddle parts
Now a saddle is structured with 4 different components:
1. Hull: It is the body itself. Generally made out of composite lightweight materials. But the shape of the hull is more important. For women, it should be wider as there sit bones width is longer.
If you don’t want to change your position you should choose a short and wide saddle. Many high-performance saddles have a cutout in the center. It helps reduces pressure on your perineal area. Longer length means saddle with a long nose where you can move easily. Your riding angle, anatomy, sitting posture are the factors to the measurement of the shell. Shell measurement is important for choosing a saddle.
2. Cover: The clothed layer over the saddle. Made out of leather or synthetic material. Leather-covered saddles are generally less lightweight. Synthetic materials covered saddles are lightweight, waterproof.
Good covers reduce chafing. Leather saddles are classic, long-lasting but need maintenance. On the other hand, synthetic covers are waterproof and don’t need maintenance but not long-lasting like the leather saddles. Generally, people like to use weatherproof saddle cover.
3. Padding: Padding is two types. Gel padding and Foam padding. Too much padding means an increase in weight also increases comfort. Minimal padding means the saddle is narrower and lightweight. This type of padding provides maximum power transfer while pedaling.
Foam padding is soft but it also creates problems in a long ride by increasing pressure in the middle of sit bones. Gel padding adjusts quickly but it loses its springiness quickly too.
4. Rails: Rails are the support and the bridge between the bike and the saddle. It can be built from steel, alloy, titanium or carbon fiber. Steel is cheap but heavy.
Alloys are strong and less heavy than steel but costlier. Titanium rails are strong, lightweight and expensive. Carbon fiber material rails are best for making lightweight saddles. They are also strong and expensive.
There are a lot of saddles out there for women. Every saddle has its unique property. So, when a woman intends to choose a saddle for road cycling, she should bear in mind that a saddle’s fancy feature may not save her from saddle related issues if she doesn’t give proper importance to measurement.
And if you pick the right one for you then, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of a bike ride” – John F. Kennedy