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Best MTB saddles 2023: Give your backside the TLC it deserves

Don’t let an uncomfortable seat spoil your fun. We’ve found the best MTB saddles to cosset your behind in comfort

It’s not a question you’ll have been asked very often, but how much do you value your backside? The best MTB saddles provide a comfortable, reliable connection between bum and bike, improving both comfort and control. They’re not the most exciting of upgrades you can make to your off-road steed, but if you want to get the absolute most from your MTB, a perfectly fitted saddle can make the difference between all-day fun and a prematurely achy behind.

Along with your handlebar and pedals, your perch is one of only three contact points between you and your bike. With that in mind, it’s something well worth getting right. Even if you’re a die-hard gravity rider who spends most of the time descending with the seatpost dropped, you still need a good-quality, well-designed saddle to help control the bike through switchbacks and bermed corners.

In order to help you pick the right one for your bum, we’ve rounded up a few of the best available MTB saddle options available right now, along with a handy buying guide so that you know exactly what to look for.

Best MTB saddle: At a glance

How to choose the best MTB saddle for you

How do I know what size MTB saddle to buy?

Arguably the most important factor to consider when selecting the best MTB saddle is size. Saddles come in different widths to accommodate different body types. This is why it’s important to know your sit-bone measurement in order to establish the correct size of saddle for you.

The sit bones are the two boney protrusions at the bottom of the pelvis – sit on a hard plastic chair and these are the boney bits which you’ll feel your weight resting upon. The sit bones support your weight on the saddle while seated, but only if the saddle is the right fit. If it’s too wide or narrow, you can end up putting too much weight on the soft tissues around your nether regions, causing discomfort and numbness which, in the long term, can cause permanent damage. What’s more, a poorly chosen saddle can place unnecessary stress on the hips and knees when pedalling and ultimately lead to other injuries.

One quick and easy way to determine your sit-bone measurement, and therefore your correct saddle size, is to find a hard, flat surface and sit on a piece of corrugated cardboard for a couple of minutes, and measure the distance between the centre of the two resulting indentations.

There is one even easier option, however: if you already have a saddle you like, but it’s just looking a little worse for wear, then check to see what the current

Should I buy a MTB saddle with a cutout?

Some MTB saddles feature a channel that runs down the middle, sometimes referred to as a ‘cutout’. This is designed to reduce pressure on the soft tissue around the perineum, which can cause discomfort, pain and numbness if left unchecked. If you’re the sort of rider who spends long days on the bike or you’ve experienced issues with your existing saddle, this could be a good option for you.

On the whole, road cyclists will get a greater benefit from this type of saddle than mountain bikers as they spend more time in the saddle. However, if you’re using your MTB for bikepacking trips, XC riding, or anything involving long flat or hilly sections, a cutout saddle is well worth considering.

That said, it’s worth mentioning that many saddle-related pressure issues can be fixed by simply adjusting the saddle position – both saddle height and saddle angle play a huge part in overall comfort, so it’s well worth making small tweaks to position with your existing saddle before shelling out on a new saddle.

What’s the difference between road and MTB saddles?

In general, there isn’t much difference between road saddles and MTB saddles. In fact, many multi-disciplinary riders have a favourite saddle that they like to use across all of their bikes.

There are plenty of versatile saddles that can be used on any bike, but there are also road– and MTB–specific ones that have features that make them better suited to their respective sports. For example, an MTB-specific saddle might use a different type of foam to absorb vibrations from the trail or use specific fabrics to remain grippy when wet or muddy. That said, a lot is down to personal preference, and the most important thing is to pick what works for you.

READ NEXT: Best MTB pedals

The best MTB saddles you can buy in 2023

1. WTB Volt: The best all-round MTB saddle

Price: £37 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

Riders from all corners of the mountain-biking universe swear by this comfortable, versatile and relatively budget-friendly perch. The Volt is WTB’s most popular MTB saddle, and although it has undergone an aesthetic overhaul recently, the basic construction and framework remain the same.

And why shouldn’t they? After all, this is one of the best-selling saddles on the market for a reason. It’s great for everything from trail riding to XC, feels fantastic, and won’t empty your bank account.

It’s pretty robust, too, and while it might not be the lightest saddle on the market, it does offer a great all-round performance for trail riding.

Key stats – Weight: 315g (medium); Rail material: Steel; Sizes: 135mm, 142mm, 150mm

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

2. Fabric Scoop Elite Radius: The best value MTB saddle

Price: £29 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

Fabric’s Scoop has been one of the most popular saddles on the market for quite some time. Its design is elegantly unfussy and, at less than £40, it’s one of the most affordable options out there too.

The Scoop is the perfect example of a ‘fit and forget’ product. It’s unshowy, built to take a beating, and so comfortable you won’t even notice it. The cushioning does a great job of taking the sting out of rough ground, but not at the expense of power or stability.

In short, if you want an excellent saddle on a tight budget, this is about as good as it gets.

Key stats – Weight: 256g; Rail material: Steel; Padding: Medium, soft; Sizes: 142mm

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

3. SDG Radar: The best MTB saddle for comfort

Price: £80 | Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

Specifically designed for aggressive MTB use, this hard-wearing saddle from SDG offers a good blend of all-day comfort and all-out performance.

The microfibre cover is soft and easy on the rear end, and the Kevlar side panels mean you can lay your bike down in the car park or at the trailside without worrying about shredding the edges.

The sturdy ti-alloy construction adds to the overall feeling of robustness, which fills you with just that little bit more confidence in your kit when you’re tearing around the trails.

Key stats – Weight: 230g; Rail material: Ti-alloy; Padding: Medium; Sizes: 138mm

Buy now from Chain Reaction Cycles

4. Selle Italia X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow: The best cutout MTB saddle

Price: £85 | Buy now from Wiggle

Selle Italia is one of only a handful of brands who make nothing but saddles. That means it can focus all of its resources on designing the best products possible and refining them to the nth degree. The lightweight, cutout X-LR TM Air Cross Superflow is a perfect example.

It features the brand’s Aircross technology, which aids comfort while creating a waterproof barrier, and the manganese alloy rails strike the perfect balance of lightness and flexibility.

The X-LR also comes with reinforced edges to guard against scuffs, scrapes and impacts, and double-density padding, which has been intelligently mapped to provide increased cushioning at key pressure points.

Key specs – Weight: 215g (131mm); Rail material: Manganese; Padding: Medium, mapped; Sizes: S3 (131mm), L3 (145mm)

Buy now from Wiggle

5. S-Works Power: The best high-end saddle for XC speedsters

Price: £204 | Buy now from Sigma Sports

If the idea of shelling out in excess of £200 on a saddle makes you feel nauseous then skip to the next recommendation. This is by no means a wallet-friendly option, but for anyone looking for a premium saddle that’s as light as it is comfortable, this carbon beauty from Specialized is the best money can buy.

The Power features a super-stiff FACT carbon shell and rails, and has a carefully positioned, oversized cutout in the middle to relieve pressure on your delicate undercarriage.

We love the look of this saddle, too, and while the short-nose design is really geared towards roadies looking to get aero, MTBers might find that it helps to keep the saddle out of the way when it’s not needed.

Key stats – Weight: 159g (143mm); Rail material: Carbon; Padding: Lightweight, medium; Sizes: 142mm, 155mm

Buy now from Sigma Sports

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