Test saddles

So, which saddle?

Have a look at the saddle details and consider your bike use and position, as well as sit bone width. Saddles are measured at the widest point so allow for your sit bone width plus around 20 mm; living on the edge can be exciting but sitting on it isn’t. Comfort is priceless of course, but there’s a rough guide to retail prices. You should do better shopping around, although we can also supply some models. 

Brands release special models from time to time (including the test saddles) so specifications can vary a little, but manufacturer details are given first with actual specs of the test saddle in brackets if they differ. Once you’ve decided, head over to the contact page to drop us a line about the saddle you’d like to try. 

Charge

Charge saddles are generally well priced and look good in a range of colours, weights, materials and paddling. Many of the widths would seem to suit a lot of women. Most are named after kitchenware, from the race model Knife to the plush Pan. This women’s model is 5 mm wider and 20 mm shorter than the popular men’s Spoon, so it becomes the Ladle.

It has a synthetic leather cover, dual-compound base and light (firm) padding, but curiously the pressure relief channel is only half length – the back half – like most Charge saddles. It’s not especially light at a claimed 288 g (313 g actual). Charge quotes a length of 280mm in its specs but that’s clearly for the Spoon; this one is even shorter than the 260 mm expected. Has anyone had issues with the stitching rubbing on clothing?

Width: 155 mm
Length: (247 mm)
Weight: 288 g (313 g)
Use: all purpose
Materials: synthetic leather cover
Gender: women
Rail: chromo steel
Relief: rear channel
Colours: black, tan, white

Charge Ladle top

Charge Ladle side

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Fizik

Fizik offers women three basic shapes – the padded Vesta with relief channel, performance Vitesse and road race model Arione Donna. There’s a few variants, mostly around the rails. However, as proof some women don’t need a female-specific saddle, Fizik’s website claims multiple world champion Marianne Vos rides the ultralight unisex Antares 00 saddle. But then, so apparently does Chris Froome – and he’s not likely to end up on a women’s podium unless it’s as podium boy.

Most Fizik saddles use its Wing Flex shell which “flexes downward in the critical area where the inner thighs contact the saddle allowing for more efficient, full-range movement while pedalling”. The idea is that the plastic fibres of the shell mould to your backside over time, while the shape allows you to find the best position around saddle length and thigh circumference. The Arione Donna and Vitesse both have Wing Flex, scuff guards and Fizik’s integrated clip system for its saddle bags. Kium is a proprietary steel alloy for the rails.

Fizik Arione Donna  (Kium rail)                                                  RRP around $160

The Arione Donna is the flattest of the three Fizik women’s saddle shapes, based on the popular men’s Arione. At 189 g it’s a light race saddle with central relief channel and graduated rail, but there’s both lighter (all-carbon Donna 00 at 169 g) and heavier (manganese rail at 279 g).

Width: 147mm (146 mm)
Length: 285 mm (283 mm)
Weight: 189 g Kium rail (228 g on test saddle)
Use: Road
Materials: Microtex cover, carbon-reinforced nylon shell
Gender: women
Rail: Kium/test
Relief: channel
Colours: black, white

Fizik Arione Donna test

Fizik Donna test side

Fizik Vitesse HP                                            RRP $ 199

Fizik says the Vitesse is a high performance saddle, using the same Wing Flex design as most of the men’s saddles, with scuff guards for accidents. The padding is firm but there’s no pressure relief channel or cut-out.

Width: 150 mm (147 mm)
Length: 270 mm (269 mm)
Weight: 249 g (267 g)
Use: road, cross country, triathlon
Materials: Microtex, nylon/carbon reinforced shell
Gender: women
Rail: graduated, Kium
Relief: No
Colours: black, white, pink

Vitesse side

Fizik Vitesse saddle

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fizik Gobi XM RRP $ 185

With Wing Flex comfort and more padding than the Tundra 2, the Gobi XM is designed for marathon saddle time. However it’s often noted as being close to some of Fizik’s road saddles, and thus a popular choice with some roadies and for general trail riding.

Width: 130 mm (128 mm)
Length: 290 mm
Weight: 229 g (254 g)
Use: all mountain, marathon
Materials: nylon/carbon reinforced shell, Microtex
Gender: men
Rail: Kium
Relief: none
Colours: black, black/red (plus others)

Gobi XM side

Gobi XM test top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fizik Tundra 2                               RRP $179

The Tundra 2 is an update of the original race-level Tundra cross country saddle. It’s firm, light, long and flat for easy position changes, and less padded than the Gobi XM.

Width: 125 mm (124 mm)
Length: 190 mm (287 mm)
Weight: 223 g (199 g)
Use: mtb
Materials: Microtex, reinforced nylon/carbon shell
Gender: men
Rail: Kium
Relief: none
Colours: lots

Tundra 2 test side

Tundra 2 test top

 

 

 

 

 

 
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Giant 

Carbon                                                                  RRP $tba

The lightly padded Giant Carbon (manufactured by Velo by the looks) came off a new Giant TCR bike.

Width: 128 mm
Length: 273 mm
Weight: 207 g
Use: Road, off-road
Materials: n/a
Gender: unisex
Rail: n/a
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black

Giant Carbon ex TCR side

Giant Carbon ex TCR top

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Prologo

Prologo offers three women-specific saddles and many more unisex models. The Prologo selection chart uses similar criteria to other brands but broadly categorises by saddle shape. Its ’round’ saddles are designed for long distance riding by spreading the pressure, while ‘semi-round’ are for medium-long distance and the ‘flat’ saddles are for short- medium rides. In terms of width, all models come in 134 mm width, semi-round are 141 mm and round are 143 mm.

Rails vary with the model. The Nack rail is carbon/Kevlar/aluminium while the TiroX rail is light steel. Recommended uses for the men’s models include downhill, road and triathlon but the women’s saddles are all designated road. Still, that doesn’t stop you using it for whatever you please, as women do actually ride off-road, downhill and cyclocross.

Prologo Kappa Evo Dea T2.0                                                 RRP $69-89

The Kappa Evo Dea is a semi-round women’s recreational saddle with padding to suit medium-long distance.

Width: 147 mm (143 mm)
Length: 265 mm (267 mm)
Weight: 248 g (260 g)
Use: Road
Materials: light foam padding, Nylon base, microfiber cover
Gender: women
Rail: T2.0, chromo
Relief: channel
Colours: black, white and black/white

Prologo Kappa Evo DeaPrologo Kappa Evo Dea

 

 

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Selle Italia

Selle Italia is another of the big Italian saddle specialists with a fit guide called IDmatch that uses a letter and number to guide saddle choice. The letter S or L means small or large sit bone separation. And the 1, 2 or 3 describes pelvic rotation – essentially whether your position is more upright (1), medium (2) or an aggressive race or time trial position like the pros (3). ‘Flow’ means it has a pressure relief cut-out. The light SLR Lady and SLK Lady, moderately padded Diva and cushy Lady (all ‘Gel Flow’) are all popular.

Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow                                             RRP $193

The SLR Lady Flow is the only women’s model in Selle Italia’s large SLR range, which means there’s lots of men’s models of similar shape if there’s no love for this one. The SLR Lady is a little wider in the rear and more padded than the men’s saddles but still a high-end, light weight race saddle (S3).

Width: 135 mm (136 mm)
Length: 275 mm (272 mm)
Weight: 200 g (184 g)
Use: Road race, off-road
Materials: Kevlar reinforcement, gel, inserts around cut-out, leather cover, 30% carbon shell
Gender: women (men’s available)
Rail: Vanox tube
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black, white (leather)

Selle Italia SLR Lady Flow Selle Italia SLR LadyFlow

 

 

Selle Italia Lady SLK Gel Flow                                      RRP $tba

The SLK Lady Gel Flow is another performance saddle with light padding, possibly hard to find now. Pressure relief extends almost the full length of the saddle, with gel padding to ease the transition.

Width: 146mm
Length: 260 mm
Weight: 239 g
Use: Road, off-road
Materials: shock absorber system, gel, leather
Gender: women (men’s model available)
Rail: Vanox
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black, white

Selle Italia SLK Lady SI SLK Lady

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow                                          Retail $110-150

The Diva sits between the Lady and SLR in terms of padding, weight and rider position. It’s considered a performance comfort saddle for wider sit bones and high pelvic rotation in a race-like position, so L3 on the Selle Italia scale.

Width: 152 mm (148)
Length: 270 mm (271)
Weight: 255 g (258 g)
Use: Road, off-road
Materials: extra padding, shock absorber, Lorica cover, gel inserts
Gender: women
Rail: Vanox tube
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black (leather), white

SI Diva gel flow SI Diva gel flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow                                         RRP $150

The Lady is well padded, comfortable and popular. Described L2 by Selle Italia, it’s suited to a moderate position and wider sit bones but there’s also a small version for narrower sit bones that scores S2  (270 g, 135x262mm). The Lady Gel Flow was on my touring bike for the trip home from Perth.

Width: 160 mm
Length: 262 mm
Weight: 280 g
Use: Road, off-road
Materials: extra padding, shock absorber, Lorica cover, gel
Gender: women (men’s model available)
Rail: Manganese tube
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black, white

Lady gel flow
Lady gel flow
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Selle Royal

Lookin Handmade                                                  RRP $85

The Selle Royal Handmade heads into ‘comfort’ saddle territory – wider and heavier than the performance saddles but not by much. The test saddle is the women’s-specific premium ‘Handmade’ model with mesh fabric insert under the sit bones and central gel insert. It’s designed for a moderate position on the bike, typical of a flat bar or hybrid. Padded but still firm rather than squishy, it has bumpers to limit damage from the cafe wall and an integrated clip system for Selle Royal’s lights and saddlebags.

Width: 181 mm
Length: 276 mm
Weight: 338 g
Use: Comfort, flat bar
Materials: Gel insert, rear bumpers; synthetic cover
Gender: Women
Rail: Manganese
Colour: Black

SR Lookin Handmade

SR Lookin Handmade

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Selle San Marco

Selle San Marco’s women’s saddles are called Glamour. The range includes the roadie Aspide (also in men’s), Spid, Ischia and some big squishy ‘comfort’ models. Interestingly, SSM claims the average sit bone width for women is 130 mm. Its saddle selection system is called DiMA, based on width and upper surface shape.

Selle San Marco Aspide Glamour (529L001)                                             RRP $160

The Aspide Glamour is one of the more popular women’s road/race saddles, thanks to its light padding, light weight and central channel for pressure relief. The new model has graphic flourishes so we know it’s for women, and a Xsilite rail, but sports the same padding and weight as the original (Titanox, graduated rail) which has been on my roadie for nearly six years.

Width: 156 mm ✓
Length: 274 mm ✓
Weight 193 g, (197 g, both original and flourish graphics)
Use: road
Materials: Biofoam padding, carbon-reinforced plastic shell, MicroFeel cover (anti skid, breathable)
Gender: women
Rail: Xsilite (new model, silicon with ti and carbon)
Shape: waved, wide, T
Relief: channel
Colour: black, white

Aspide glamour white

Aspide glamour black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selle San Marco Ischia Glamour                                                RRP $60

The Ischia is from San Marco’s comfort-oriented BioAktive range with moderate padding helping it work off-road. A well-priced versatile saddle.

Width: 155 mm ✓
Length: 275 mm (269 mm)
Weight: 308 g (307 g)
Use: Mtb, road
Materials: Microfeel, Biofoam, gel
Gender: women (men’s available)
Rail: Steel
Relief: no
Colour: black,white

Ischia Glamour black

Ishcia glamour black top

 

 

 

 

 

 

Selle San Marco Spid Glamour                                         RRP $86

A versatile, good value older model you can still find, and lighter than many stock saddles.

Width: 151 mm (159 mm)
Length: 270 mm ✓
Weight: 212 g (226 g)
Use: Road, mtb, commute
Materials: Biofoam padding, polypropylene shell, Microfeel cover
Gender: women
Rail: Titanox
Relief: rear channel
Colour: black, white

Spid Glamour black

Spid Glamour black

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Specialized

US firm Specialized is well known for the knickname of its sit-bone measuring device, the Ass-o-meter. It’s not as scary as it sounds though – you sit on the foam pad and the bike shop dude or dudette measures the impressions your sit bones leave on the foam. As you lean forward, your pelvis tilts so the distance between the sit bones narrows. Thus, the Ass-o-meter helps work out sit bone separation at a given rotation, which should be as close your position on the bike as possible. ‘Body Geometry’ is just Specialized’s sub-brand for gear.

Specialized Jett 130                                                        RRP $125

Like other Specialized saddles, the Jett comes in three widths (and a couple of variants, the Expert and the Comp). The test saddle is 130 mm wide. Both the Jett Expert and Jett Comp are endurance saddles with moderate padding for all-day road or trail comfort and performance; the main differences are materials and weight.

Specialized weights/widths
Jett Expert: size 130mm/239g, size 143mm/246g, size 155mm/250g
Jett Comp Gel: size 130mm/289g, size 143mm/294g, size 155mm/304g

Test saddle
Width: 128 mm
Length: 275 mm
Weight: 231 g
Use: Road, trail
Materials: Carbon-reinforced shell (both), EVA foam (Jett); PU foam and gel inserts (Comp Gel)
Gender: women
Rail: Chromo
Relief: cut-out

Specialized Jett 130

Specialized Jett 130

 

 

 

 

 

 

Specialized Ariel SL                                                     RRP $ tba

The Ariel also comes in three widths and a couple of models –  the Comp (cross country) and Expert (cross country, pro level). The ‘firm cushioning’ is designed for all-day comfort on mtb trails. The test saddle is an Ariel SL 130 mm breast cancer model with ti rails and is firmer than the Ariel.

Test saddle specs
Width: 137 mm
Length: 275 mm
Weight: 259 g
Use: mtb, trail
Materials: Carbon-reinforced shell and Micromatrix cover; PU foam (Comp) or EVA foam (Expert)
Gender: women
Rail: hollow ti (Comp: chromo)
Relief: cut-out
Colours: Black

Specialized Ariel SL

Specialized Ariel SL

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Any errors, please let me know. And if you’d like to comment on a particular saddle, please head to its blog page entry (via the saddle sorter or tags).

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