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Best Triathlon Saddles in 2021

 

Your tri saddle might seem like a small component, but it can make or break your training ride or race.

Road saddles might see you through many training miles, but they won’t necessarily be a good choice for a triathlon.

The best triathlon saddles are designed specifically for the mechanics of a triathlon. They allow you to ride hard while leaning forward on your aero bars, and still support you comfortably down below as you’re in a more forward position.

Our top choice is the Pro Bikegear PRO Stealth Saddle. It features a carbon-infused hull, has a good-sized recess for reducing pressure, and uses lightweight EVA padding for comfort.

Check out the full list and make your choice. Here’s to your next triathlon being more comfortable than the last!

Top 3 Best and Favorite

 

Pro Bikegear PRO Stealth Saddle

 

  • Large anatomic recess area
  • Lightweight EVA padding
  • Carbon-infused hull
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Fabric Line Elite Shallow Saddle

 

  • Polyurethane foam padding
  • Rounded edges for less chafing
  • Waterproof microfiber cover
Check Price

 

Selle Italia DIVA Gel Superflow Saddle

 

  • Wide central cut-out
  • Increased padding
  • Microfiber cover
Check Price

Best Overall

1. Pro Bikegear PRO Stealth Saddle

This sleek-looking saddle is ideal for riders who want to ride hard and aggressively. It’s designed to comfortably support your body in a forward position on the bike.

The Pro Bikegear PRO Stealth Saddle is lightweight and doesn’t weigh your bike down. But don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not tough and supportive. It features a carbon-reinforced polymer base with stainless steel rails, so it’s a hard piece of equipment.

It ticks all the boxes that a tri-specific saddle should. The snub-nosed design reduces pressure in an area that could be highly sensitive, and a large, deep recess down the center so there’s almost no pressure anywhere else, either.

Light EVA padding offers just enough support and cushion for your sensitive bones as you ride. A tough PVA cover ensures the durability of the saddle in all conditions, and reduces friction and chafing on your suit and skin.

The Stealth also gets a thumbs-up for being available in two sizes, 142mm (5.6 inches) and 152mm (6 inches). This is perfect for cyclists who want the choice for the sake of comfort.

PROS:

  • Large anatomic recess area
  • Lightweight EVA padding
  • Available in two widths
  • Carbon-infused hull

CONS:

  • Some may feel that there’s not enough padding
 

Top Value

2. Fabric Line Elite Shallow Saddle

This minimalist saddle may look like nothing much, but it’s perfectly designed to relieve pressure and help you achieve a more streamlined position during triathlons.

Padded with polyurethane foam covered in waterproof microfiber, the Line Elite is built for both comfort and durability. The standard version features cro-mo (chromoly) rails, but you can opt for titanium rails at a slightly higher price if you wish.

A pressure-relief channel runs down the middle back 60% of the saddle, effectively easing pressure and helping to prevent hotspots and saddle sores. It continues on right up to the front of the saddle, but at a shallower depth for dispersing pressure. The generously rounded edges won’t chafe, making this an all-around comfy seat.

Available in 134mm and 144mm, most cyclists should find a good fit. Cyclists who prefer a harder saddle may not like the padded feel of this one. But those who like some softness under their sit bones on long rides will appreciate it.

PROS:

  • Full-length pressure relief channel
  • Polyurethane foam padding
  • Rounded edges for less chafing
  • Waterproof microfiber cover

CONS:

  • Larger cyclists may find the 144mm a bit too small for their liking
 

Most Padded

3. ISM Seat PN 3.1 Saddle

Cyclists who perform better with a softer saddle will appreciate the ISM PN 3.1 saddle. The 40-series foam is thicker than that of its predecessor, the 3.0, offering increased comfort on both long and short rides.

Despite its plushness, the saddle’s design allows for excellent thigh and hamstring clearance. Rounded edges remove the worry of chafing so you can cycle hard for many miles without discomfort.

This noseless saddle also features an extreme pressure-relieving channel down the front middle. It creates an unusual look, but it goes a long way towards relieving pressure in sensitive areas.

To help you become even more streamlined, the saddle has air vents built into the chassis. At 120mm, the PN 3.1 may not be wide enough for everyone.

PROS:

  • Noseless saddle
  • Perineal-protecting channel
  • 40-Series foam padding
  • Air vent chassis

CONS:

  • May not be suitable for larger riders as it only comes in one size (120mm)
 

Best Noseless Saddle

4. fi’zi:k Transiro Mistica Kium Saddle

This truly noseless saddle has been engineered to improve both comfort and performance. The stubby-nosed design eliminates pressure and friction when leaning forward in an aero position, allowing you the freedom of movement to go low and hard.

To avoid mishaps like Tony Martin’s sandpaper injury, fi’zi:k has covered this saddle in an extra grippy but still quite safe material. It helps to keep you secure in your seat and limits excess movement.

It’s also easy to adjust the Transiro Mistica to the position of your liking, with an extra-long Kium alloy rail.

The full-length wide channel alleviates pressure by distributing weight more effectively. It’s available in both regular and large, so it’s just a matter of choosing the right size for you.

It comes with a carriage kit, so you can mount extra items such as water bottles. It’s a bonus that this saddle is super easy to install.

PROS:

  • Extra-long Kium alloy rail
  • Comfortable channel design
  • Stubby, friction-free nose
  • Easy to install

CONS:

  • Regular size may be too wide for smaller riders
 

Best For Ironman Races

5. Fabric Tri Elite Flat Saddle

The Tri Elite saddle is engineered for performance. It’s carefully crafted to be smaller than regular road saddles, and optimized for aggressive, forward-position riding.

Three-part construction makes it minimalistic but effective at what it does. Waterproof microfiber is bonded directly onto the base, allowing for a soft, more comfortable foam padding without sacrificing support.

Full-length padding means you’re supported where you need to be. But a generous center channel provides welcome relief from numbness and pressure points, allowing you to ride aggressively without pain or discomfort.

A handy feature you’ll find on this saddle is an integrated bottle mount. This is handy for extra hydration during Iron Man races, and you can remove it when not in use. Another feature unique to this particular saddle is an integrated nose rack hook which you can use to stow your bike safely.

PROS:

  • Integrated bottle mount
  • Full-length soft foam pad
  • Central pressure relief channel
  • Molded bike hook for easy storage

CONS:

  • May be a little too firm for those accustomed to a softer saddle
 

Widest Saddle

6. Prologo Dimension 143 Saddle

Not all riders will be comfortable with a narrow saddle. The Prologo Dimension 143 is generously sized, at 245 mm x 143 mm in width.

Its semi-round shape is ergonomically-pleasing, providing ample space for the hamstrings and quads to move naturally while supporting the glutes effectively in a forward-shifting position.

Made for comfort, the short nose and center pressure-relief channel let you ride for longer at a more aggressive pace without feeling pain or numbness. The nose of this saddle is a significant 35 mm shorter than the average, eliminating a key pressure point.

The Perineal Area System (PAS) refers to the ample center channel. It’s designed to prevent compression of sensitive soft tissues, increasing blood flow, and reducing numbness and pain that can impact your performance.

It’s also highly durable, featuring TiroX steel rails. These are extremely resistant to impact and torsion, lasting longer than others.

PROS:

  • Ergonomic, unisex design
  • Perineal Area System (PAS) system
  • Semi-round saddle shape
  • 245 mm x 143 mm

CONS:

  • Not all riders will find the shape comfortable
 

Best For Time Trials

7. Prologo T-Gale PAS Saddle

This flat, streamlined saddle is designed to be super effective for time trials and triathlons specifically. It’s been tested in the wind tunnel and fine-tuned to provide an excellent user experience.

The T-Gale PAS has an unusually short nose – 45 mm shorter than the average. This completely removes a common pressure point and increases comfort significantly.

The PAS (Perineal Area System) consists of a recessed strip down the center, designed to remove pressure from soft tissue that’s prone to pain and numbing on aggressive rides. Extra pressure-relief comes from the integrated Elastomer, which eases vibration and absorbs shock.

Connect Power Control (CPC) technology is another high-end feature that helps to streamline the rider as much as possible. Small rubberized pads on the seat surface keep the rider securely in place and eliminate unnecessary movement in the saddle.

Also part of the CPC system is a variety of hollow cones within the saddle material. These provide a combination of shock absorption and ventilation.

Choose between NACK carbon fiber rails or TiroX, depending on what works best for you.

PROS:

  • Anatomical design
  • Integrated Elastomer for shock relief
  • Connected Power Control grip system
  • PAS system for pressure relief

CONS:

  • Flat shape may not be suitable for riders with low flexibility in the lower back
 

Most Versatile

8. Selle SMP VT30C Saddle

The Selle SMP VT30C is great for riders who need a bit more space on the back end. At 155 mm wide, there’s plenty of room to sit comfortably while being well-supported.

The nose veers downwards to relieve any pressure in the area, and the ergonomic design extends to the back end. It’s streamlined and allows for plenty of room for the legs to move, while the tapered edges prevent chafing.

The Velvet Touch cover is comfortable and soft, with spongy polyurethane padding underneath. It leans more towards the firm side, rather than being very soft. It features a near-full-length pressure-release groove down the middle.

It’s excellent for triathlons and action riding where you’ll be on your aero bars quite a lot. But it works just as well for other types of riding too.

PROS:

  • Velvet Touch cover
  • Ergonomic design
  • Polyurethane padding
  • Stainless steel frame

CONS:

  • Riders who prefer soft padding may not be comfortable on this one
 

Best For Woman

9. Selle Italia DIVA Gel Superflow Saddle

Saddles designed for women, in particular, are notoriously more difficult to find than men’s. In recent years, more of an emphasis has been placed on designing appropriate saddles for the ladies, and this is one of the best.

Designed specifically to meet the needs of women riders, the Diva offers a combination of high comfort and durability.

Choose from two widths – 135 mm and 152 mm. They feature a through-cut wide channel in the very center, eliminating pressure and reducing numbness and aches on rides of any length.

For extreme comfort, a generous layer of gel atop the foam padding absorbs impact vibration. The padding is covered by a layer of microfiber which not only looks sleek but ensures durability.

PROS:

  • Designed specifically for women
  • Wide central cut-out
  • Increased padding
  • Microfiber cover

CONS:

  • May begin to feel hard on longer rides
 

Runner-Up Saddle For Woman

10. Ergon SR Sport Gel Women

If you prefer a flat profile saddle, the Ergon SR could be the right one for you. It’s German-made, so you know it’s built for efficiency.

The flat design and recessed center channel with tapered edges work together to relieve pressure points and hotspots, particularly in the perineal area. Despite the large recess, there’s more than enough space to support the rider when they’re leaning forward on the aero bars.

Built into that support are anatomically-placed gel pads. These offer more padding than usual, on top of the orthopedic foam. Covering it is a washable, durable microfiber cover.

PROS:

  • Anatomic gel pads for comfort
  • Women-specific relief channel
  • Flat, comfortable profile
  • Orthopedic comfort foam padding

CONS:

  • Longer nose than some others
 

FAQs

The best triathlon saddles aren’t the same as road saddles. Here’s what you need to know to make the right choice according to your needs.

What is a Triathlon Saddle?

A triathlon saddle is designed to hold the rider in a more forward pelvic position. It’s noticeably different from the position on a road saddle and is designed specifically for aerodynamics.

Why Do You Need a Tri-Specific Saddle?

Technically, you don’t need a tri-specific saddle. But it offers some advantages that a road saddle doesn’t, which can help improve your performance in a triathlon.

The forward-rotating position of the pelvis positions the rider in a more streamlined way. It’s the perfect position for riders to lean forward on their aero bars and push themselves. This allows you to ride hard while still staying comfortable.

You can certainly ride hard and do well with a road saddle. But there’s a higher chance of it being uncomfortable or even painful.

What’s the Difference Between a Triathlon Saddle and a Road Saddle?

Triathlon saddles are specifically designed to provide a combination of support, comfort, and practicality.

A road saddle is designed for riders to be sitting upright. Tri-specific saddles are designed to support you in all the right places while you’re leaning forward on your aero bars.

They’re slightly differently angled than road saddles and have a wider-than-usual flat section at the nose to make leaning forward on it more comfortable.

Many of them also feature a cut-out section in the middle/back to relieve pressure on the perineum and make your ride more comfy and less painful.

How Do I Choose a Triathlon Saddle?

The best triathlon saddles will have a flat, narrow profile that keeps you comfortable in a forward position.

Your weight is distributed differently than on a road saddle, so the nose of the saddle needs to be geared towards having some weight on it. Usually, this means it’s flat and sufficiently wide. Some saddles have extremely short noses, which may suit riders who find that they experience pain in that area.

As long as the nose suits you and there’s a decent recess to alleviate pressure, you can choose the triathlon saddle that appeals to you.

The Wired Runner