Updated April 2017
As summer approaches and the roads and trails become rideable, we've updated this review. Now including charts and graphs to help you select your saddle, we've also included new product information. Despite some changes to the playing field, our Editors' Choice winner still came away with our top award.
Specialized Phenom Expert
Excellent comfort and overall performance
Lightweight yet sturdy
If we had to put the same saddle on every bike we own, we'd choose the Specialized Phenom Expert
. Its low weight and durability blew us away, and we were surprised by the high level of both comfort and
performance. The race-oriented saddle is as comfortable as you would expect a touring saddle designed for all-day rides to be. Specialized achieves this by combining optimal shell flex with minimal firm padding, resulting in a consistent feel mile after mile. The saddle's shape provides enough support for upright riders and is still able to accommodate an aggressive low position for optimal power output. Many mountain bike seats tend to be shorter, but the Phenom sits right in the sweet spot at 270mm, long enough to move around on but short enough to stay out of the way for technical descents. The Phenom is sufficiently versatile to cover both road and mountain biking, and with a price of $130, you can't go wrong. The Phenom also comes in a Pro and Comp model, so you can customize the seat to fit your needs.
Read full review: Specialized Phenom Expert
Best Bang for the Buck
WTB Speed Comp
Comfortable for most riders
Tough seat cover with rear scuff guard
Has some exposed stitches
WTB claims this is their best selling saddle, and we are not surprised. With an MSRP of $40, it is a great buy. The WTB Speed Comp
is standard equipment on many new bikes as OE equipment. It offers a classic shape, with a slight rise at the tail and an anatomical groove to relieve pressure on sensitive areas. Our testers found it to provide a high level of comfort, and its middle-of-the-road dimensions fit nearly everyone. It is versatile and at home on virtually any type of bike. The synthetic cover is durable, and a tough rubberized scuff guard at the rear of the saddle further enhances longevity. It may not win over the gram counters at 362g, but you will be hard-pressed to find a better saddle in this price range. Many saddles in this price range lack durability and quality, but the Speed V bucks that trend. If you are looking to replace a worn out saddle or replace your stock seat with something more comfortable, the Speed is an excellent, affordable option. It also comes in Pro, ProGel, and Team versions, so you can choose the model that suits your needs.
Read full review: WTB Speed Comp
Top Pick for Road Biking
Should last a long time
Narrowly missing out on the Editors' Choice Award, the Fabric Scoop
received our highest ranking for performance and was also the lightest saddle in our review, at 176g. Fitting a broad range of riders, it lacks the versatility of the Phenom, but it is an excellent choice for road racing and works for mountain biking and cyclocross. The Scoop does not have a full cutout, but it does have a shallow pressure relief channel at the tail of the saddle which gets the job done when down in the drops. The overall construction of the Scoop is flawless. Its attributes favor the rider whose greatest concerns are performance and light weight but is also competitive when it comes to comfort. If you are looking for a high-performance race saddle for your road bike, the Scoop should be at the top of your list.
Read full review: Fabric Scoop
Top Pick for Mountain Biking
Fizik Monte Manganese
Great price for its performance
The Fizik Monte Manganese
won our Top Pick for Mountain Biking because of its durability and competitive price, but as of March 2017, Fizik has discontinued this model, replacing it with the Monte S-Alloy
. The Monte Manganese is still available from many retailers though, so if it fits your needs, we can help you find it. Designed for enduro racing, it makes some concessions when it comes to weight, increasing durability instead. The replacement Monte S-Alloy maintains many of the same features, including the 250g weight, with a slightly higher price. These saddles are comfortable with excellent power transfer, and we identified the Manganese as a true mountain biking saddle that won't break the bank.
Read full review: Fizik Monte Manganese