Biking is one of the most popular modes of transportation worldwide. It doesn’t matter if you’re looking for a casual commute to work, or an adrenaline-pumping race down a rocky mountain. Bikes come in all different shapes and sizes, allowing them to suit any riding style.
With such a wide range of options available, it’s no surprised that there are so many differences between one type of bike and another. When you’re shopping for mountain bikes, you’re paying special attention to the suspension. With road bikes, the gearing is a major concern. But it doesn’t matter what type of bike you’re looking at. Every single one has a seat, and many people fail to consider the importance of picking the right bike seat.
The fact is, it’s very easy to change your seat. There are many models available that fit universally, and you’re not locked into the type that came with your bike. In fact, if you’re still riding on the stock seat, there is a pretty good chance that it’s sub par.
Why should you upgrade your bike seat? It doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice rider or an expert, having the right seat can be a game changer. You’ll find your riding experience to be much more comfortable, allowing you to enjoy the experience a lot more. The question is, what seat do you buy?
Bike seats generally fall under 3 main categories
|High Performance bike seats are designed for speed. They’re commonly found on mountain bikes and road bikes, and are designed for those who want to improve their physical performance.|
|Commuter seats are designed for regular riders. Comfort is the number one goal, and these seats offer the most noticeable improvements over stock.|
|Cruiser seats are similar to commuter seats, with special attention paid to long distance riders. These are the seats that you can sit on for hours, without the soreness typically associated with stock seats.|
Within each category there is even more diversity, which can seem overwhelming. The fact is, you don’t have to be an expect to choose a great bike seat. All you have to do is think about what you want to get out of our bike seat, and this guide will help you find the model that best suits your needs.
First, we’ll go through and show you our top picks for the best bike seats on the market. First, we’ll explore each model individually and show you want it has to offer. After, we’ll help you choose the one that best suits your needs.
Zacro Gel Bike Saddle
The Zacro Gel Bike Saddle is a great place to start for most bikers looking to improve their bike seat situation. This is a bike seat that is an all around crowd pleaser. It will meet – if not exceed – the vast majority of any cyclists’ needs.
For starters, the Zacro Bike Saddle has dual density foam padding. The benefits of this are that it acknowledges the need for different levels of support at various points on your seat. The dual density gives you softer cushioning in the more weighted areas and lighter cushioning in low-impact spots.
Complimenting this comfort system are the coil suspensions, with one located on each side of the seat. Most basic bike seats don’t come with any suspension at all, which leads to more harsh impacts against the seat while riding. The suspension adds some much needed forgiveness on rougher terrain or while riding over a curb. The coils are made of carbon steel so, making them capable of sustaining good suspension even after long term use.
The Zarco is also a universal design, so it will fit easily on most bikes. It’s easy to install on any standard seatpost, avoiding the frustration of purchasing a non-compatible seat. Overall, the Zarco is a high quality, ultra comfortable seat that reflects the ideal all-around bike seat.
The DAWAY C99 is a similar bike seat to the Zacro; it’s wider design for increased comfort, it comes with dual suspension springs and has a universal fit to most seat bars. But the DAWAY C99 does some with a few extra frills.
Rather than dual density foam, the DAWAY has high density memory foam throughout. This has a similar effect as dual density, although memory foam tends to be both more durable and slightly more comfortable than your average high density foam. The cover is also non-slip and water resistant, which is good for both the lifespan of your seat. Despite being water resistant, the material is also breathable which reduces odor and slipping while cycling. The non-slip texture of the seat cover limits the amount of unintentional hip movement while cycling, which in turn is good for your technique and the health of your hips.
The real advantage to the DAWAY C99 is the safety tail light. Most tail lights need to be purchased separately, and it can often be hard to find a spot on your bike where a tail light will be visible. This makes the added tail light on the DAWAY C99 somewhat ingenious, and makes us wonder why more bike seats don’t include this feature.The light has three different lighting modes depending on your preference, and is water resistant.
The Retrospec Saddle is a much different style than the Zacro and the DAWAY. While the previous two bike seats were designed more for commuting/universal biking, the Retrospec falls more in line with the road bike/fixed gear style of cycling. It has the classic road bike shape and feel, with a long front end and narrower back. It features a slimmer, more wind resistant design and is slightly less padded for the sake of reducing extra weight. Nonetheless, it remains a very comfortable bike seat with soft padding and breathable divots in the material.
The Retrospec Saddle is designed for Retrospec bikes, but fits most bike seatposts easily. It’s also easy to install, which makes it rather tempting to take advantage of the huge color range and accumulate more than one. The Retrospec Saddle really stands out for its wide color selection. This is a good quality road bike seat with some serious flare and personality. It comes in 8 outstanding different colours, including hot pink, lime green, creamsicle orange and plain old black. This is the perfect bike seat for urban cyclists, especially those who want to stand out from the group – or perhaps, those who want their whole group to stand out with a signature bike seat. The Retrospec is the ideal bike seat for fun-loving urban riders.
DASS New Schwinn Ergonomic Bike Seat
The DASS is a definite 180 turn from the flare of the Retrospec, but it redefines bike seats for cyclists who value comfort and cruising above all. The DASS hardly looks like a bike seat with its almost square-sih, bar-stool-esque design. You feel comfortable and relaxed just looking at it. The DASS is ergonomically designed for long distance cruising. There is no front piece, making thigh-seat contact impossible, and the seat itself is extra wide, allowing for more freedom of movement and re-positioning. This makes it a poor choice for road bikes or mountain bikes, as it will feel cumbersome and imposing for that kind of riding.
The DASS is heavy on the cushioning, in the best way. It’s made with high density foam and molded with contours that limit pressure points. It has a durable, water resistant cover that’s still soft to sit in. It virtually eliminates lower back/tailbone pressure that many cruiser cyclists experience on low quality bike seats. This is the kind of bike seat you picture on a cruiser bike with a front basket picnic on a mid-summer’s Sunday, ridden by a Parisian lady in a sundress. It is the epitome of the cruiser-style bike seat for low key riders who stop to smell the roses, and value comfort rather than time limits.
Sunlite Backrest Saddle
The Sunlite Backrest Saddle is essentially an amped-up version of the DAS (or amped “down,” depending on how you look at it. The Sunlite bike seat takes cruising to a whole new level with its backrest, ideal for the most laissez-faire cruisers. The seat has a wide back for optimum comfort and movement, and you should be able to mount it on any standard bike. It doesn’t have any suspension or coils, so this is another bike seat that road cyclists and downhill bikers will want to avoid. This bike seat can be used on almost any bike, as long as it’s rider isn’t trying to optimize any high intensity cycling activity.
The backrest itself is adjustable, so it accommodates various heights, body types, and preferences. Take it from us, this bike seat will actually make you look forward to those hills – by raising the backrest and leaning back as you cycle uphill, it starts to feel like this is the seat cruiser bikes were built for. It’s an especially good option for people with physical limitations who might not otherwise be able to take their bikes out. It’s also good for long distance bike trips, particularly if you’re carrying supplies. It’s not designed to get you anywhere fast, but it’s so comfortable it’ll make any journey possible on two wheels.
Origin8 Sport Uno-S Saddle
Origin8 is a great go-to brand if you’re overwhelmed by bike seat options, but want something you can trust will be an upgrade. While there a lot of solid choices from Origin8, one of our favorites is the Sport Uno-S Saddle. The Sport Uno-S is a premium style bike seat, but universal enough for any cyclist to enjoy. It has the same stylish lines as the classic road-style bike seat, but with extra cushioning on the back for a more comfort-driven ride. Typical road bike seat are narrower for performance optimization, but the Sport Uno-S is more an “in-betweener;” it follows the ergonomic design of the road bike seat, but provides a slightly wider, more comfortable fit.
The cushioning is made from a multi-relief gel chassis which is comparable in comfort to memory foam, but with the added advantage of increased odor-resistance. Some people prefer foam-based cushioning, but the leather-based covering better compliments the gel cushioning. The cover is embossed with contrast stitching, which is more of a style point than anything. The material is leather-like, and comes in black, white, and leather-brown. It is structured with steel saddle rails for increased stability and durability. It has an ergonomic design that balances aerodynamics and comfort.
Origin8 Pro Uno-S Saddle
As noted above, Origin8 has a good record of making quality bike seats. This made it hard to put just one on our list, so we have included the “stepped-up” version of the Sport Uno-S; the Pro Uno-S. As the name suggests, the Pro Uno-S is similar in concept to the sport, but designed with more avid cyclists in mind. This is a bike seat for cyclists who take their sport a bit more seriously than the average commuter, although it’s a friendly enough design to impress even novice cyclists. This is not the ideal bike seat for bikers on the cruiser-specific end of the spectrum due to its narrow design, but this is also what makes it a pro-style road bike or high-intensity bike seat.
The Pro Uno-S is built with chromoly steel rails, a high quality rail that is both lightweight and durable. The narrow shape of the seat allows you to bike hard without chafing on your thighs, which is an exceptionally important feature for avid riders. The Pro Uno-S is an affordable, all around bike seat for those who prefer road bike style seats. It has all the basics, but is well crafted and ergonomically shaped, giving riders enhanced performance and comfort.
Fabric Cell Elite Saddle
The Fabric Cell Elite Saddle is an example of where bike seats start to become more premium quality, which also means they are more specific to certain types of riding. The most top quality bike seats tend to be optimized for high intensity biking. This is typically either competitive road biking or mountain biking. Both these styles of biking value durable materials, lightweight seats, and aerodynamics over cushioning. The Fabric Elite Saddle is one of the highest quality bike seats in each of these categories.
The Fabric Elite Saddle is built with nylon, hex-air cells that are comfortable but extremely light weight. It is one of the least odor absorbent materials, meaning you can ride hard for extended periods of time without having to worry about horrendous smells. It is also made with TPU rubber, which is water resistant, flexible and durable. This seat is slightly more complicated to install than basic bike seats, so just make sure your bike is compatible or you have the right materials. It comes in three different colors: pink, black and blue, which adds a bit of character to your quality accessory. The rail bars are made chromoly steel, a lightweight metal that is flexible enough for minor shock resistance, but durable enough to endure high intensity cycles. The Fabric Cell Elite Saddle is the perfect starting point for avid cyclists who are ready for a top quality bike seat.
Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow Saddle
One major gap on the bike seat market has been bike seats built specifically for women. Most women require a slightly different shape of seat that isn’t always available in mens or unisex bike seats. Pro tip: if you’re an avid female cyclist, make yourself aware of the women’s specific bike seats out there. The differentiated thickness and center cut-out are specifically designed to fit women’s contours. This bike seat is a game changer for female cyclists who have thus-far used traditional style bike seats. It will be exponentially more comfortable, and as a result, boost your cycling performance and ability to bike for longer periods of time.
The women’s-specific design is not the only thing the Selle Italia Diva Gel has going for it. It’s made with high quality materials, including high density foam and breathable full grain leather. The breathable material increases airflow and is highly durable. It also has 7 millimeter Vanox tube rails giving it a lightweight strength. Better yet, it has a 10% carbon composite shell with built in elastomers that are excellent for shock absorption on rocky terrain. Overall, the Selle Italia Diva Gel is a premium quality bike seat from its build to its design. It is ideal for high intensity cycling, but as a women’s bike seat, any female cyclist will benefit greatly from this seat.
Fizik Arione R5
When it comes to premium bike seats, it’s hard to beat anything by Fizik. Fizik’s bike seats are common favorites of professional and high intensity mountain bikers and road cyclists do to their quality craftsmanship and sleek designs. The Fizik Arione R5 comes in black or white/red, but you won’t be investing in this seat for it’s colour scheme. It is ultra-lightweight and reinforced for top strength. It is built with Fizik’s signature K:ium rails, which are made with a metal alloy and designed to reduce fatigue and stress on the rails.
The seat also has a carbon reinforced nylon shell. The nylon is good for airflow and comfort, while the carbon reinforcement makes it one of the most durable bike seat materials available. The shape of the seat is really where it’s strengths shine. It is designed with wing flex technology, which consists of flexible inner edges where the thighs touch the saddle. This reduces chaffing and discomfort so you can focus on your riding. It also has a flexible spine which is beneficial for both shock absorption and comfort. It gives the seat less resistance as you switch from a standing to sitting position on your bike. It also contributes to the overall strength and longevity of the bike seat. This a high quality bike seat built to keep up with boost performance and keep up with top performers.
How to Choose the Best Bike Seat for Your Needs
If you spend a lot of time biking, chances are you have experienced the down sides of a bad bike seat. The discomfort of sitting on the seat leads you cycle upright more often, which then leads to quicker fatigue and overall lower performance. If you are a casual rider, this can be frustrating and take an unnecessary toll on your body. If you’re an avid cyclist or professional athlete, these minor drawbacks have a huge impact on your results. While a good bike seat is definitely a worthy investment, it’s understandable that you’d be concerned about picking the right one. If you ask yourself a few simple questions, you’ll be able to narrow down your choices.
Does This Seat Fit My Personal Needs?
What is your skill level? How often do you bike? Even your gender can have an impact on the type of bike seat will suit you best. For example, many women are unaware of the huge benefits of buying one of the many bike seats designed specifically for women. If you’re an amateur who only rides casually, selecting a seat for a serious athlete probably isn’t a great choice. But if you read our descriptions and say “that sounds like me,” then you’re on the right track.
Is This Seat Compatible With My Current Bike?
The next step is to check the seat’s compatibility with your bike. Not all bike seats are universally mountable. There is a huge selection of universally mountable bike seats, and for casual riders this will rarely be a problem. However, if you are an avid cyclist, it’s a good idea to double check the seat’s compatibility with your seat-post. Even if the seat is not compatible, you can quite easy get tools and materials that easily mount or convert bike seats to any seat post. It is also very common for brands to manufacture bike seats that are compatible specifically with bikes of the same brand. There are always workarounds, but sometimes it’s easier to buy a drop-in replacement for your current seat.
How is This Seat Different From My Current Seat?
The third step is one of the most important; make sure your seat is comfortable. There is no sense spending money replacing one bad bike seat with another uncomfortable one. If you find your current seat too thin, then you’ll want to shop for a wider model. Even when you’ve got a large budget, buying another seat that is similar to the one you’re having problems with isn’t likely to fix the problem.
Does This Seat Fit My Budget?
Step four is to set yourself a budget. Premium quality bike seats can be quite expensive, and if you aren’t an avid cyclist, it might not be necessary to spend that much money. That being said, it is important to understand that a good quality product will usually cost a bit more, so don’t completely sacrifice comfort and quality for the sake of saving a few dollars – those extra dollars can go a long way with a bike seat. Going the cheapest route initially is not always the best option financially. A poorly manufactured bike seat will not only be uncomfortable, it will also wear out quicker. As long as you keep these four things in mind, you’ll be well on your way to vastly improving your biking experience with the perfect bike seat.