Best Mountain Bike Seats (2021)

If you have been a frequent mountain biker, you can relate to how painful mountain biking can really be, and we are not talking about the potential injuries on the trail or the random scratches here and there. We refer to the hip and back pain that comes with sitting on an uncomfortable saddle for hours on end.

While many people are fond of this crazy sport, the pain associated with even the best of rides most commonly holds them back. If you are wondering why mountain bike seats are so uneasy, you probably have not met the one meant for you.

Mountain bike seats work differently for everyone, depending on the kind of riding you do, your sit bones width, what type of seat works best for you, and so on. In this article, we will discuss the best mountain bike seats along with the key factors that you need to keep in mind before investing.

Best All-Rounder Mountain Bike Seat

Tioga Undercover Stratum TI

Weight: 202g
Dimensions: 285mm x 140mm
Rail Material: Titanium alloy
Seat Cover Material: Bio X-Pad ReActiv
Shell Material: SpyderWeb

Pros

  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
  • Unique suspended feel
  • Versatile design
  • Easy to move on the seat
  • Additional padding
  • Highly durable

Cons

  • No tail protection
  • The flex is softer

If you are looking for a seat that is a holistic combination of comfort, functionality, and performance, you should check out Tioga Undercover Stratum. This model has virtually everything you could want in a mountain bike seat.

The first thing you notice about this saddle is the superior comfort it offers. It owes its convenience to the unique Spyderweb shell design that allows more flex and provides better vibration dampening than many other saddles in the market. The foam pad takes care of conformity and damping duties. What adds to the comfort is a synthetic cover called Bio X-Pad cushioning. What does it do? It is denser, lighter, and with better rebounding characteristics. For additional comfort, Tioga uses a pressure relief cut-out.

Considering Tioga’s revised shape and additional padding, the seat is way different than its competitors. The revised form enables you to slide up on the nose without it feeling too penetrative. The tapered tail shape makes it easy to move on the seat, and the solid pedaling platform makes the performance noteworthy.

What’s more, all these fantastic features of Tioga Undercover Stratum TI are packed into a surprisingly lightweight model. The Undercover Stratum delivers a supple ride on any terrain, helped by its central oval-shaped cut-out, whether on the tops or deep in the drops.

What some users might not like is how soft the shell of the saddle is. If you prefer a hard, stiff body, this one is not for you. It also does not offer any tail protection, unlike many of its competitors.

Best Budget Mountain Bike Seat

WTB Volt Race

Weight: 239g
Dimensions: 265mm x 135mm
Rail Material: Cr-Mo
Seat Cover Material: Microfiber
Shell Material: Flex-Tuned

Pros

  • Affordable
  • Comfortable
  • Moderate weight
  • Lightweight
  • Wide applications from mountain biking to bike riding
  • Durable

Cons

  • It may not be the most impressive in design.

Wilderness Trail Bikes is one of the famous manufacturers of bicycle support equipment on the market today. Besides the sturdy tires, they are also known for their high-quality bicycle saddle. Volt Race is their best value-for-money option among the rest of its kind.

Volt Race is designed with versatility and efficiency to extend the most comfort any good saddle can offer. It offers superior levels of comfort and performance without burning a hole in your wallet. The shape is cut out in a slightly cradled way which rises gently toward the tail. This position enhances comfort and provides a supportive platform.

The shallow anatomical grove and padding of medium density add to the support. There is a “comfort zone” cut out in the middle of the seat that reduces pressure. Moreover, this model is lightweight especially considering the range of impressive features that it offers.

Volt Race also offers a broad spectrum of sit bone widths to accommodate people with variations in this aspect. The model ages like fine wine, and it only gets better with time. As the saddle widens near the tail, it does so with a very gradual arc that makes for a very comfortable and unrestricted pedal stroke.

You can ride on this seat for hours on end, and it will prevent you from getting fatigued or hurting your back. The bottom line is that this model is a perfect combination of performance, comfort, value, and inclusivity.

Best Lightweight Mountain Bike Seat

Tioga Spyder Outland

Weight: 239g
Dimensions: 265mm x 135mm
Rail Material: Cr-Mo
Seat Cover Material: Microfiber
Shell Material: Flex-Tuned

Pros

  • Extremely lightweight
  • The design is innovative
  • Unique suspended feel
  • Good comfort
  • Excellent freedom of movement

Cons

  • Not many options when it comes to width

The first thing that strikes me about the Tioga Spyder Outland is its beautiful design, eye-catching design. This saddle looks very distinct from all the other seats we have reviewed. If you wonder what purpose this unique design serves apart from aesthetic reasons, you can notice that the spaces in the saddles make it significantly lightweight.

The design is intended to lose as much unnecessary weight as possible. It is by far the lightest mountain bike seat on our list. Moreover, this innovative design also distributes the rider’s weight over a flexible web of material that is suspended over a carbonite skeleton of sorts. If you are using anti-slip pads, the weight rises to 202g; otherwise, the saddle is as light as a whopping 178g.

Even more incredible than its impressive weight and aesthetic look, Tioga Spyder Outland is its comfort level despite the unusual design. The flex offers a unique suspended feel and makes the seat easy to sit on for hours, owing to its flexible web seat cover.

When it came to freedom of movement, this model’s tapered tail and narrowed width offer ample opportunities to move around without causing any discomfort, as is typical of Tioga, the Spyder Outland offers only one width, which may not be for you, so if you like broader sit bones, this one is not for you.

The seat conforms to your shape and absorbs more shock than most other models. While its unorthodox looks might scare you away, don’t let the appearance make you miss out on everything else it has to offer.

Best Performance Mountain Bike Seat

Selle Italia X-LR TM Air Cross

Weight: 224g
Dimensions: 265mm x 145mm
Rail Material: Manganese
Seat Cover Material: Air Cross Tech cover
Shell Material: N/A

Pros

  • Reasonably priced
  • Padding is comfortable
  • Durable
  • Quality construction
  • High performing
  • Versatile design

Cons

  • Very rounded side to the side profile
  • The shape is polarizing

While Selle Italia has been facing an increasing number of competitors in the market, their mountain bike seats still remain as efficiently designed as ever while improving their functionality and performance in every aspect imaginable.

The truth is, when it comes to design, this seat may not be for everyone. Its unique design and strategic profile can be a blessing for some and a curse for others. What makes the model comfortable is a full-length anatomical cut-out for relieving pressure on your sensitive underside and generous padding of medium density that makes you feel right at home. The profile is rounded side to side which some users may find uncomfortable.

Unlike Tioga, Selle Italia offers inclusivity in widths which increases the chances of finding the perfect seat that matches your bone measurement. The aggressive look caters to aggressive riding, and it is easy to move around this saddle on descents.

The X-LR uses a synthetic Air Cross Tech seat cover which is waterproof and extremely slippery. The material has enough friction to keep you in your place on long rides, but that also means that you cannot slide freely when making minor adjustments during the ride.

When paddling, the power transfer feels uninhibited and unrestrained. The construction of the seat is solid and durable enough to last for a long time. It handles the usual wear and tear of daily riding very nicely. X-LR is designed for mountain biking and is suitable for the trail, XC, enduro, or even downhill riding applications.

Best Design Mountain Bike Seat

SQlab 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube

Weight: 252g
Dimensions: 280mm x 140mm
Rail Material: Titanium/S-Tube alloy
Seat Cover Material: Kevlar
Shell Material: N/A

Pros

  • Excellent ergonomics
  • It offers excellent levels of comfort
  • Uses high-end technology
  • A scientific approach in design
  • Reasonable weight
  • Good power transfer
  • Inclusive in widths

Cons

  • May feel stiff to some
  • Expensive

If you are looking for a user-friendly mountain bike seat, has the best functionality, and uses a scientific approach to design, then this one is the perfect pick for you. After thoroughly observing the ins and outs of this model, we can conclude that a lot of thought has been put into its construction which rightfully makes it the best-designed mountain bike seat.

SQlab provides ergonomically advanced seats that can take on mountain biking rigors and reduce the pain in the hip, back, and other body aches associated with uncomfortable saddles. What this model pays extra attention to is the fit of the saddle. They are inclusive in widths and precise about the fit of your seat according to your sitting bones.

The uniquely stepped design ensures that the rider is held in place when pedaling. It includes a generous channel that is dedicated to relieving pressure in the perianal area. What makes this model even more desirable is how it is perfectly in sync with your body. SQlab studied the body’s biomechanics in detail and then used advanced Active technology that allows the seat to rock from side to side in sync with each pedal stroke.

The construction is highly durable using the Titanium alloy material, which can withstand the wear and tear of mountain biking. A kevlar tail is included as protection from crashes which is much needed on a rigorous ride.

If you are looking to make mountain biking a painless experience for you or get a seat that matches the biomechanics of your body, this one is an excellent pick for you. While it will be neither cheap nor lightweight, it will undoubtedly take away the pain of mountain biking substantially.

Key Considerations Before Buying a Mountain Bike Seat

If you just read the review, you will need a set of factors to navigate through the guideline for mountain bike seats. Here are some of the elements you need to consider before you invest in your MTB seat, with brief explanations of why they are essential:

Design

What sets a comfortable mountain bike seat apart from an uncomfortable one is the shape of a saddle, its ergonomic design, and length. For an easy ride, everything mentioned here should be in a perfect ratio explicitly fitted for you.

What you need to consider are your overall hip-width and pelvic size. For example, if you have heavy quads and wide hips, a broad saddle will work best because it is better to distribute your weight evenly. On the other hand, a person with a slimmer physique should opt for a narrow saddle to prevent constriction and hence the discomfort.

Cover

The cover of the saddle is the first layer on the seat. The materials used in its construction are essential in order to judge how long they will last. Most companies use synthetic leather since it is hardwearing, offers better ventilation, and stands the test of time. Often, Kevlar sections are used at high-wear areas like the rear and corners of the seats. These sections function to provide increased abrasion resistance and better grip.

Padding

The second layer of the saddle is of EVA foam. In order to reduce stress on sensitive parts, a supplementary gel or elastomer pad is used, which also improves comfort during the ride. The purpose of the padding is to act as a shock absorber which dampens unnecessary motion and keeps the bike steady. What you really need is for your seat support to align with your body for maximum fit and comfort.

Often people mistake more padding with more comfort, which is a great myth. The weight of the rider determines how much pressure they exert on the surface of the seat. A seat with excessive padding will fail to support you once the padding material is subjected to the rider’s pressure over time. As a rule of thumb, less padding makes a better seating surface. It can also cut off circulation if you sit on it for long hours. In the end, it’s all about finding the right amount of padding for your riding style and comfort level.

Ergonomics

Saddle structures in sync with the biomechanics of the body are the best functional. In advanced seats, cut-outs and relief channels are created in the center to increase comfort over long rides and remove pressure points in sensitive areas to avoid causing numbness in those areas. Some companies also offer built-in flexible sections around the edges of the saddle to improve the freedom of movement.

Widths

Many brands offer seats in varying levels of widths so that more and more people can be included in the fitting range. The sit bones of individual riders determine the kind of width that would work for them. You can get yourself fitted for a saddle of your perfect width.

Durability

Crashes and potential accidents are a part of mountain biking, and while accidents cannot be predicted, you can take some precautions to lessen the blow. It is better to get a seat with more wear-resistant, durable and tougher material to last the wear and tear of the long rides. Leather seems to be the most high-quality material. You can break in a leather bike seat easily, and it lasts for decades. You can also opt for a waterproof and weatherproof saddle such as lycra if you live in a region with a wet climate.

Price Range

Another factor that determines the kind of mountain bike seat you buy is your budget. Many saddles can perform essential functions and provide adequate comfort without costing a fortune, such as WTB Volt Race or Spank Oozy 220. They are great value for money and do their job well minus the fancy features. On the other hand, if you have money to spare and want the best quality product, you can go for the more advanced ones, such as the SQlab 611 Ergowave Active S-Tube. This one will give you more extensive features and superior comfort at the cost of a heavy price.

Takeaway

Mountain biking can be long and hard, but they don’t have to be uncomfortable. If you are riding recreationally, you should be having all the fun without the consequence of a sore rear the entire day after a downhill trip.

After reading this review, you should have enough reassurance that mountain biking does not always have to lead to back pain, and all you need is a proper fitting. Everyone has a different body that has different comfort levels. In the end, what matters is how much you enjoy your mountain biking trips on your personalized MTB seat.

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