Part one of this series covered the basics of fit, then the importance of understanding how sit bone width actually affects comfort while riding. Now we can jump right into selecting a saddle. Here are a few suggestions.
Specialized offers a bewildering array of saddles for men and women, categorized as road, MTB, multisport, or recreational. I’ve personally used a couple of them with good results, and Rebecca Rusch, four time Leadville and three time 24 hour solo mountain bike World Champion has had even better results. (Yes, 24 hours on a mountain bike. That’s an endorsement right there) You’ll find different sizes listed for most of them, to ensure you get the best fit, which is part of their Body Geometry program. They make it very easy to find the right saddle for your butt and budget. Prices vary from around $35, to over $100. Keep in mind that paying more does not buy you more comfort, it usually just gets you less weight.
Serfas is another company that takes fit very seriously. Their RX Saddles have an anatomical groove down the middle which increases blood flow to the tender bits while reducing pressure. It’s highly praised, and the top seller at some bike shops. Other Serfas options include E-Gel saddles, Dual Density, Reactive Gel, Tailbones Comfort, plus they offer performance saddles. If comfort is an issue, I’m sure they have the cure.
Although they offer saddles for men too, Terry is known for women’s-specific bikes and cycling accessories. They have a fairly comprehensive line of saddles, with the Butterfly and Liberator top choices for distance riding.
WTB (Wilderness Trail Bikes) offers a line of recreational saddles that are priced right ( starting at $40-50) and perform well. Special attention has been paid to ergonomics, and various styles and widths are offered. We used them on our tandem years ago, and even the fussy stoker was able to get comfortable. They’re also the saddle of choice for several professional cyclists.
RideOut Technologies is a relative newcomer to the industry. Rather than using different widths, their Carbon Comfort saddle fits the majority of riders thanks to its patented “crossbow supports”, which allows the saddle to flex and absorb road irregularities transmitted through the frame. Combined with multi-density foam that has been proven not to compress the tissue between your sit bones, this design has been winning over cyclists of all ages and ability. Pricing starts at $85 plus shipping, and they offer a 30-day comfort guarantee.
If you are looking for extra performance with your comfort, Cobb Cycling saddles cater to the road and MTB racer with a line of saddles designed by the same guy that used a wind tunnel to help American Greg LeMond succeed at a sport dominated by Europeans. John Cobb has extensive experience with fit, position, and aerodynamics. His saddles are designed to provide comfort in multiple positions, giving racers a competitive edge. One often overlooked feature not found in other saddles is a cutout designed to maximize airflow, keeping you cool and dry. If they work well for several hours of hard riding, imagine how they’ll do on your commute. Be prepared to fork over $150+ though.
For the cyclist that puts comfort above everything else, and is willing to pay top dollar for a handmade leather saddle, look no further than Brooks. Available in various widths and colors, with steel or titanium rails, Brooks was the saddle of choice for an 18,000 mile trip that made the Guinness Book of World Records. That should tell you how comfortable they are, once properly broken in. (Note that Fred Rompelberg used one on his bicycle for a record 166.944 MPH run behind a dragster at the Bonneville Salt Flats as well) Pricey, and they require a bit of patience and maintenance, but most owners swear by them.
There are plenty of other brands available, and we suggest you find a local bike shop that is willing to work with you to get the most comfort out of your saddle, or buy online from a company with a guarantee/exchange policy.