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Are you looking for the best mountain bike saddle? We researched over 50 models and purchased 13 to test and compare side by side. The saddle is one of only three spots where your body makes intentional contact with your bike, arguably the most important from a comfort standpoint. Finding the right model can dramatically improve your experience on the bike. Our diverse selection was tested over the course of several months, thousands of trail miles, and hundreds of hours of pedaling. We scrutinized every aspect of each model's design, construction, comfort, and performance and analyzed how they compare to each other. Whether you're a casual rider or a hardcore racer, there's a mountain bike saddle to suit your needs and budget.
Note: There are some women's-specific saddles on the market, like the WTB Koda Titanium included in this review. However, most mountain bike saddles are considered to be a genderless product, and any of these saddles are suitable for any rider.
The Tioga Undercover Stratum TI is a newcomer to our mountain bike saddle test and quickly stood out above others in the field. Testers liked virtually everything about this saddle, starting with its high degree of comfort which is a result unique Spyderweb shell design. This well-designed shell allows for a bit more flex than many of the stiffer saddles in this review, and as a result, dampens vibrations better than most. To top off the added comfort, it has a thin layer of their Bio X-Pad cushioning, a synthetic cover, and a pressure relief cutout for additional comfort. On-trail performance is great, with a solid pedaling platform and a tapered tail shape that makes moving around the saddle on steep or technical terrain a snag-free endeavor. As a cherry on top, it's one of the lightest models we tested, weighing in at 202g.
While we enjoyed the Undercover Stratum for its impressive comfort, performance, and lightweight, some riders who prefer a super-stiff shell may find the flex of this saddle to be a little on the soft side. We personally loved it, but it may not be for everyone. It appears to be a very well-made and highly durable product, but it doesn't feature any tail reinforcement protection like many of the other saddles in this review. Beyond that, we feel this is an impressively comfortable, versatile, and lightweight option that's great for any type of riding.
The WTB Volt Chromoly has been a staple in WTB's saddle range for many years. It isn't the least expensive model we tested, but this reasonably priced competitor is an incredible value considering the level of comfort and performance it delivers. Not only is the Volt Chromoly a good value, but it's also very comfortable, with a classic design that has stood the test of time. A slightly cradled shape that rises gently toward the tail provides a comfortable and supportive platform, with medium density padding and shallow anatomical groove and "Comfort Zone" cutout in the shell to reduce pressure in the center. At 239g for the 135mm width we tested, the Volt Race is also lightweight considering the price. Testers found this saddle to offer exceptional versatility, with applications ranging from all disciplines of mountain biking to road riding.
The Volt is offered in three sizes, 135mm (tested), 142mm, and 150mm, to accommodate a range of sit bone widths. We were very impressed with the price to comfort and performance ratio the Volt Chromoly has to offer, and we think you'd be hard-pressed to find a better value in a mountain bike saddle.
The Spank Oozy 220 is a reasonably priced mountain bike saddle that impressed us most with its comfort. It comes in 144mm width, which worked well for our testers and should suit a wide range of sit bone widths. It has a shallow pressure relief channel that provides relief to the perineal area and a relatively flat side-to-side profile. It has a generally classic shape, though with an extra-wide nose that feels great when you get your weight forward on steeper climbs. The wings of the saddle have pressure zone contours that do a wonderful job of cradling the sit bones, and a little rise in the tail gives added support and helps to keep you in the sweet spot. The medium-density padding feels just right and stays comfortable on any length of ride. Additionally, the low-friction synthetic cover material combines with the snag-free shape to allow for unobstructed freedom of movement.
Our biggest concern with the Oozy 220 saddle is its weight. It's among the heavier models we've tested, tipping the scales at 280 grams — about 80 grams heavier than the lightest competitors. It's also only available in one width, and while we found it to be supremely comfortable, it might not be ideal for everyone. Beyond that, we found little not to like about this reasonably priced saddle.
SQlab takes a very scientific approach to the design of their saddles and the 611 Ergowave Active features the most thoughtful ergonomic design we've ever seen. It provides a high degree of comfort that starts with a proper fit, and SQlab will even send you a fit kit to measure your sit bones, so you get the correct width. To accommodate most riders, it comes in 4 sizes. The saddle has a unique stepped tip-to-tail profile with a high tail that positions the rider right in the sweet spot for proper weight distribution on the sit bones. It also has a generous channel in the center for relief on the perineal area and an extra-wide and flat nose that feels great when you need to get your weight forward on steep climbs. It has a stiff shell and minimal padding, plus it features their Active technology that allows for a small degree of side to side rocking of the tail that is intended to match the body's biomechanics when pedaling. It also seems highly durable with the Ti-Alloy rails molded into the bottom of the shell, and a kevlar reinforced tail to protect it during crashes.
The 611 Ergowave Active tips the scales at 252g with an included elastomer and 226g without, so it isn't especially lightweight compared to some of the models in this test. It's also one of the most expensive models we've tested, though this saddle may be worth its weight in gold if it can effectively solve saddle-related pain or discomfort for some riders. We were very impressed with the design, comfort, and performance of this saddle.
The WTB Koda Titanium was initially designed with the female rider in mind, but our testers found this comfortable saddle to be well-suited for male riders as well. This saddle impressed us most with its unbeatable comfort. WTB has employed their classic slightly cradled saddle shape on the Koda Team, a design that keeps the rider in the sweet spot and provides a little support as it rises gently towards the tail. An anatomical channel on the top of the saddle and a "Comfort Zone" cutout in the shell help to reduce pressure on the perineal area. This saddle has softer padding than our other top-performing saddles, which could reduce pedaling efficiency slightly, although we were too comfortable to notice. The Koda Titanium also impressed us with its weight, at 203g, it's one of the lightest saddles in our test selection.
If we had to find fault with the Koda, it's that it is only available in medium to wider widths, 142mm (tested) and 150mm. Riders with narrow sit bones or who prefer a narrower saddle will probably want to look elsewhere, as will riders who prefer a stiffer and less cushy platform. For everyone else, we think the Koda Titanium is the most comfortable saddle out there and worthy of a look regardless of your gender.
The Tioga Spyder Outland is an attention-grabbing and unique-looking mountain bike saddle. The design of this saddle is intended to reduce weight while also distributing the rider's weight over a flexible web of material that is suspended over a carbonite skeleton of sorts. The result of this innovative design is the lightest saddle in our test, weighing in at 202g with the included anti-slip pads, and a featherlight 178g when used without. While it looks like it might not be all that comfortable, the Spyder Outland's flexible web seat cover surprised our testers with a comfortable and suspended feel, different from most other saddles we tested. On the trail, this saddle performed well, with a narrow width and tapered tail that provided excellent freedom of movement.
The Spyder Outland is only offered in one width, and at 125mm it is the narrowest saddle we tested. This width won't work for everyone, but if you have narrow sit bones or prefer a narrower saddle, then this could be a good option for you. The Tioga Spyder Outland may scare some people off with its distinctive looks and unorthodox design, but this saddle delivers an impressively lightweight and surprisingly comfortable package assuming you need or want a narrower saddle.
Our bike saddle review is led by Jeremy Benson, our Senior Mountain Bike Review Editor. Benson has been mountain biking since the early '90s and has called the Lake Tahoe, CA, area home for the past 19 years. He is the author of Mountain Bike Tahoe, published by Mountaineers Books. Benson dabbles in all forms of cycling but focuses on endurance gravel and mountain bike races throughout the year. Whether he's putting test gear through its paces or training for his next event, Benson spends between 12-20 hours a week in the saddle throughout the season. This much time on the bike makes him acutely aware of saddle fit, shape, padding, and performance for all applications.
In addition to decades of cycling experience, Benson spent hours poring over the internet researching the best and most popular mountain bike saddles before selecting 13 to test and compare side-by-side. Beyond weighing each model and examining its shape and construction, the majority of our testing was done in the field while mountain biking. Each saddle was taken on all types of rides from backyard laps to all-day backcountry epics. Saddles were swapped frequently and often between laps for a more direct side-by-side comparison.
Analysis and Test Results
Over several months, our testers pedaled their hearts out while testing the various saddles in our test selection. The wealth of trails in the greater Lake Tahoe area, as well as some time spent in the desert southwest, provided a diverse assortment of trail types and conditions to put these saddles through their paces. Fickle mountain weather also provided an array of weather conditions, from spring rains and snow showers to hot sunny days and everything in between.
Our gear-obsessed testers thoroughly used and abused each saddle, putting more than one hundred miles on each one, often switching between them mid-ride or between laps for comparison. Every aspect of each saddle's performance was scrutinized to identify strengths and weaknesses, and each model was rated on five predetermined metrics, comfort, performance, versatility, durability, and weight. The scores from these ratings were combined to determine our overall winners and top-performing mountain bike saddles. Read on to find out how these saddles compared to each other, and to find the best one to suit your needs.
At OutdoorGearLab, it is our goal to find the best and highest performing products in any given test. We feel that it is a bonus when those products are also a good value. Hands down, the best value-to-performance ratios in our test were the WTB Volt Chromoly and Spank Oozy 220, with the Tioga Undercover Stratum, not far behind by falling just above the median price with the highest performance score.
Your hindquarters and underside will be making contact with your saddle for extended periods, so ensuring that the one you choose is comfortable is of the utmost importance. A variety of factors play into the comfort of a mountain bike saddle, including width, length, padding, shape, and anatomical cutout (or lack thereof). Comfort is subjective, of course, but we did our very best to determine which saddles are the most comfortable and why. One important factor in the overall comfort of any saddle is the fit, so be sure to get the appropriate width for your sit bones, seriously. Getting the appropriate width saddle makes all the difference in the world. If you're not sure what works best for you we recommend having your sit bones measured at a shop, you can also do this at home, and there are helpful tips online.
In the end, the most comfortable saddle in our test was the WTB Koda Titanium. The Koda was designed for women, but it turns out that it's excellent for anyone. Its short length, medium width, softer padding, slightly cradled shape, and anatomical depression made it a tester favorite, a saddle that everyone wanted to keep. Our next favorite saddle for comfort was the Tioga Undercover Stratum, which also had a medium width, an anatomical cutout, stiffer padding with a flex-ier shell, a tapered tail, and a rounder profile. The Undercover Stratum impressed our testers with its out-of-the-box comfort that was great for any type or length of ride.
The Specialized Phenom Comp remains one of our highest-rated models for comfort, with an excellent shape and a full anatomical cutout, though it has a somewhat less forgiving stiff shell. We were also very impressed by the SQlab 611 Ergowave Active, which achieves its comfort through its impressive ergonomics. Everything about the SQlab 611 is designed to enhance rider comfort.
During testing, we also discovered that a comfortable saddle doesn't have to be expensive. The WTB Volt was no slouch in the comfort department and costs less than half as much as most of its competition. The Volt Race's slightly cradled shape, medium width, and anatomical groove proved to be quite agreeable, especially for extended periods of seated pedaling. Likewise, the Spank Oozy 220 impressed us this its pressure relief channel, pressure zone contours, wide nose, and a slight rise in the tail.
Most saddles perform their duties in a relatively similar way, but in the performance metric, we rate them on a combination of factors including their shape, padding, and general level of comfort out on the trail. The more comfortable a saddle is, the better, but only as long as that comfort doesn't hinder your pedaling ability and your freedom to move about on the bike as needed when climbing and descending. Some saddle shapes are designed to allow the rider to move back and forth more freely and prevent snagging on baggy shorts, and believe it or not some perform better than others out on the trail.
Not surprisingly, the Tioga Undercover Stratum was one of our top performers in this metric. Not only was it impressively comfortable, but its shape and tapered tail made it easy to move around on the bike to get your body in front or behind it when cornering or descending steep sections of trail.
Another of our top saddles in the performance metric is the WTB Volt, a long-standing model in their saddle range. The Volt has a great classic shape that is quite comfortable when seated, with a medium length and width that allows for plenty of freedom of movement. One of the best things about WTB saddles is that they also age well, and seemingly only get more comfortable over time. The Volt is the kind of saddle that you mount on your bike and never think about again, and that's about as good as it gets.
We were also pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Fabric Scoop Race Shallow. It has a no-frills design with a stiff and uncompromising shell that allows for excellent power transfer. It also has a rounded tail that doesn't conflict with your shorts and is a versatile model that you could mount on any bike. The same goes for the Ergon SM Pro, while it isn't quite as stiff it has a great design that optimizes power transfer while climbing and seemingly disappears on the descents.
Mountain bike saddles are generally made for one purpose, and that is mountain biking. Some saddles proved themselves to be more versatile than others, however, and are much more than one-trick ponies. Certain models are better for enduro, shuttles, or downhilling, while others are great for absolutely everything. Testers wouldn't hesitate to mount a few of the saddles in our test selection on every bike in their fleet, the road bike, gravel bike, trail bike, shuttle rig. Those select few competitors scored much higher in this metric due to their overall comfort, and better all-around performance.
The Specialized Phenom Comp took top honors in this metric. There is seemingly no cycling application where this saddle wouldn't be a great fit. Our testers said they'd be happy to get several of these and put one on each of their bikes. From 10-mile after-work shreds in the backyard to 65-mile punishing gravel grinds, this saddle did it all and never left us wanting.
The Ergon SM Pro proved itself to be a versatile performer. Testers agreed that it was a well-rounded saddle that would be at home in virtually all riding situations. It was quite comfortable for long days in the saddle, with a nice shape that is well suited to all mountain biking disciplines.
The SDG Circuit Ti Alloy is also a fine mountain bike saddle, but it lost a little ground in this metric for several reasons. Its moderate width and tapered tail allow for great and natural freedom of movement, but the flatter profile tends to put a little more pressure in places than testers would have liked. We felt this saddle would be well suited to riders who don't spend much time seated while pedaling or grinding up climbs but possibly ride chairlifts, shuttle, or who happen to like a stiffer or less contoured seat.
The durability of mountain bike saddles varies slightly between models. In general, most models offer a similar level of durability assuming you never crash. Since crashes can and do happen, many manufacturers of mountain bike saddles have tried to negate the impacts of said crashes by incorporating abrasion-resistant materials in key places. The most common places for your bike saddle to impact the ground in the event of a crash are on the wings or the tail, and the highest-scoring saddles in our durability metric have abrasion-resistant materials sewn in to protect them from potential damage. Another element of durability is stitching, as exposed stitches are prone to wear over time, even from the friction of your shorts while pedaling.
One of our highest-rated saddles for durability is the Tioga Spyder Outland. This is a unique saddle constructed from a carbonite skeleton that's covered in a softer webbed material. This saddle has no seat cover to rip and seems less prone to damage in the event of a crash.
Both of the WTB saddles in our test selection, the Volt Chromoly and the Koda Titanium, have the same microfiber seat material with a protective layer of abrasion-resistant material stitched on the outer parts of the tail on both sides. This material has taken its share of hits, and one of our testers has a two season old Volt that has seen plenty of hard crashes and has held up impressively well.
The SDG Circuit Ti-Alloy also scored well for durability due to its microfiber top and kevlar reinforced sides that wrap from the tail of the saddle almost to the nose on both sides. The SQlab Ergowave Active has a similar kevlar reinforcement that wraps entirely around its tail.
The weight of a saddle is the least subjective of all the metrics we rated for mountain bike saddles. In cycling, everything is subject to weight scrutiny, and saddles are no exception; in general, lighter is considered better. A mountain bike is the sum of its parts, and saving a few grams anywhere you can help to keep that overall weight down. A saddle is an easy (and often less expensive) place to make some weight savings.
To measure this, we weighed each saddle on our trusty digital scale to determine the item's weight. Please bear in mind that these weights represent only the model tested. Most of the saddles we tested come in a range of constructions and corresponding price points that may affect their weight. For example, the Specialized Phenom Comp also comes in an Expert and Pro version, both of which weigh significantly less and cost significantly more.
In the end, three of our award-winning saddles, The Tioga Undercover Stratum, WTB Koda, and the Tioga Spyder Outland, basically tied for top honors in the Weight metric at 203g and 202g respectively. The Tioga Spyder Outland edges out the others, however, because it can be used bare bones without the addition of the Anti-Slip padding at a shockingly low weight of 178g.
From a comfort standpoint, a mountain bike saddle is one of the most important pieces of equipment on your bike and can dramatically improve your everyday riding experience. Getting one that fits you right, performs well, and meets your budget is significant. Our team of mountain bike testers put in lots of time on the trail riding with these saddles, and we hope our detailed reviews and comparative analysis will help you in your quest to find the best mountain bike saddle for you.
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GearLab is founded on the principle of honest, objective, reviews. Our experts test thousands of products each year using thoughtful test plans that bring out key performance differences between competing products. And, to assure complete independence, we buy all the products we test ourselves. No cherry-picked units sent by manufacturers. No sponsored content. No ads. Just real, honest, side-by-side testing and comparison.