8 Best Gravel Bike Saddles: Special Equipment When Go on off-Road Rides (Spring 2022)

We've found the best gravel bike saddles available on the market today and ranked them according to their pros, cons, and price tags.
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Last updatedLast updated: April 29, 2022
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The definition of “gravel bike” is still up for debate, but it generally refers to a bicycle designed specifically for the growing gravel racing/adventure biking scene.

If you’re planning on riding one of these back-country beasts anytime soon, you’ll want to make sure you have the right equipment under your saddle. We’ve rounded up a list of the 8 best gravel bike saddles to help get you started on your epic journey.

There will be a brief description of each product, who should buy it and why they should buy it. The products are from different price ranges and different concepts, but what is important for every shopper is that their money will be well spent.

Top 8 Gravel Bike Saddles Reviewed 2022

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Editor's Choice

Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle

Features
  • Width: 177mm
  • Rail: N/A
  • Weight: 400g
  • Rail Material: alloy

The first on our list for best gravel bike saddles is Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle. The Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle is perfect for endurance riders, as well as those who take their bikes on rocky trails. One of its key features is that it has a 177mm width which will help keep your weight balanced across your back. Not only that, but it sports 400g of weight which is pretty light compared to the rest on the list. Last but not least, this saddle has an alloy rail material, so you can rest assured that your seat won’t break through all of your adventures!

The Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle is the Editor’s Choice because it is of a higher quality compared to similar saddles like the DIVA. The saddle is not real leather, making it affordable. However, it is extremely comfortable. The saddle was originally designed for women, but manufacturers quickly found it also benefited men.

What makes it stand out?

  • If you are an endurance rider, this saddle offers a 177mm width which will help keep your weight balanced throughout the ride
  • Your legs will have enough room to support you and your bike throughout all your travels
  • It has an alloy rail material to ensure that your seat won't break, and it's durable for all types of trails

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • One drawback of the Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle is that it may take some time to get used to the wider surface area
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Features
  • Width: 138mm
  • Rail: N/A
  • Weight: 285g
  • Rail Material: alloy

The Selle SMP Drakon Saddle is the ideal gravel bike saddle for long rides. It has an alloy rail, which makes it lighter than most road bike saddles; its tip is pointed to decrease fatigue on your hands and arms. If you are looking to invest in a mountain bike saddle that will last you a very long time, then this is the choice you should go with. It can be used on roads or off-road trails for better comfort due to its wider surface.

The Selle SMP Drakon Saddle is designed to alleviate the compression in your spine so you can ride long distances comfortably. It is our Premium Pick because the slight dip in the middle of the seat is backed with scientific research to benefit the bicyclist. Unlike similar brands, SMP manufacturers researched pelvic shapes and compression issues.

What do we love it for?

  • It comes in at 285g total weight; this makes it ideal for long-distance rides when you need to conserve your energy
  • The Selle SMP Drakon Saddle has an alloy rail instead of plastic, which means that it is lighter than most road bike saddles
  • It is 138mm, which allows your legs to spread out more and make you more comfortable while riding for long periods of time

What were we disappointed with?

  • The drawback of the Selle SMP Drakon Saddle is that if you are trying to ride off-road on extremely bumpy trails, then you might feel discomfort because there is more suspension on this gravel bike saddle
  • If you are someone who rides exclusively on road bikes, then it's best to invest in a road bike saddle
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Best Value

Wittkop Bike Seat

Features
  • Width: 138mm/170mm
  • Rail: N/A
  • Shell: N/A
  • Weight: 590g
  • Rail Material: alloy

The Wittkop Bike Seat is a heavy-duty, affordable, and alloy rail saddle designed to give riders the best performance on long rides. With an impressive 138mm width that can support your weight and protect your back from chaffing and 590g weight, it has everything cyclists love in their saddles. The wider the seat, the more comfortable it feels during prolonged rides, while its weight reduces fatigue throughout your journey. In terms of durability, its alloy rails are also extremely resilient against wear and tear caused by friction from the mount.

The Wittkop Bike Seat is the best value for your money. The weight encourages reliable and durable performance. The Wittkop Bike Seat’s weight is double that of the Selle SMP Drakon Saddle, which is our Premium Pick. It weighs two and a half times more than the Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails.

Why is it special?

  • Its extended length and weight under 590g, it can provide a more comfortable ride without sacrificing durability
  • Its reliable performance and affordable price

What are the flaws?

  • Some consumers complain about the lack of cushion and short warranty period
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Best Colors Availability

ISM PS 1.1

Features
  • Width: 130mm
  • Rail: Chromoly
  • Shell: N/A
  • Weight: 322g
  • Rail Material: alloy

ISM PS 1.1 is a gravel bike saddle with high-grade features, available in multiple colors to suit your taste and preferences. Its 130mm width positions the sit bones closer together to decrease pressure on soft tissue and provides better weight distribution through the pelvis, creating more comfort and power for your ride. The Chromoly rail offers great durability makes an ideal choice for gravel riders who do not want to compromise the performance and looks. The 322g weight makes this saddle the best choice for long rides.

The ISM PS 1.1 comes in a wide range of colors. You can order green, blue, red, or white highlights to match the pattern of your bike. It has the widest variety of colors in comparison to other seats like the Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle, our Editor’s Choice. Other saddles only come in black. You would have to order a saddle cover to change the color or pattern. With the ISM PS 1.1, you can feel comfortable while you ride and enjoy the aesthetics.

What stands out?

  • This saddle is designed for top performance on gravel roads, featuring 130mm width that distributes pressure evenly across sit bones to relieve soft tissue stress
  • With Chromoly rail, this best-selling model is extremely lightweight and durable, making it ideal for daily use
  • It's available in multiple colors at a great price point

What cons did we manage to find?

  • Possible drawbacks include the harshness of materials and not being ideal for shorter cardio sessions
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Features
  • Width: 130mm/145mm
  • Rail: TI 316
  • Shell: 30% Carbon composite
  • Weight: 185g/195g
  • Rail Material: titanium

The Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails is a high-performance saddle perfectly suited for gravel biking or cyclocross riding. The saddle has a width of 130mm/145mm and a weight of 185g/195g, which makes it ideal for long rides on rough surfaces. Thanks to the 30% carbon composite shell, the saddle is very light, yet it has a level of durability that seems to last forever. The titanium rails are an especially nice touch as they are both lightweight and corrosion-free. Gravel bike saddles are designed to keep you comfortable, even on long rides. Designed for pro riders, this Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails is the best gravel bike saddle for you!

The Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails is superior in its design. It weighs less than other seats with rails like the Fizik Aliante Gamma Saddle with K:IUM Rails, the Best Shell-Customed Pick. The lightweight design encourages long rides. The Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails is the lightest weight and most durable saddle pick.

Why is it special?

  • At 130mm/145mm in width, this best gravel bike saddle can accommodate riders on any bike
  • The 30% carbon composite shell provides enough comfort for you to remain seated for dozens of miles

What are the flaws?

  • This best gravel bike saddle might be a little too bulky for some gravel riders who prefer a more lightweight design
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Features
  • Width: 141mm
  • Rail: K:ium alloy, 7×7mm
  • Shell: Nylon Carbon Reinforced with Twin Flex™ “sweet spot” at the center
  • Weight: 259g
  • Rail Material: alloy

The Fizik Aliante Gamma Saddle with K:IUM Rails is a comfortable saddle that is ideal for road biking. This saddle features carbon rails, which are lightweight and durable, while the nylon carbon-reinforced shell provides strength. On top of that, this saddle has a twin flex technology that creates an optimal center point when in use. Even better, this saddle has a 141mm width that ensures the most comfortable fit for every rider.

The Fizik Aliante Gamma Saddle with K:IUM Rails weighs more than the Selle Italia SLR SuperFlow Saddle with TI316 Rails, our choice for the Most Lightweight model. However, in comparison to other seats like the Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle, the Premium Pick, it is considered a lightweight seat. It has a superior custom shell. The manufacturers finish the rails with a special process to decrease the effects of fatigue.

What makes it stand out?

  • The Dark Matter carbon rails decrease the overall weight of the product to enhance your experience as well
  • The Twin Flex technology on this saddle helps you to notice an optimal center point when in use

Which disadvantages must you keep in mind?

  • This saddle isn't incredibly lightweight and may not be suitable for long rides (4+ hours)
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Features
  • Width: 147mm
  • Rail:0
  • Shell: Carbon fiber injection
  • Weight: 267g
  • Rail Material: alloy

If you are looking for an endurance road bike saddle for your gravel bike, then you should consider this saddle. It is the best saddle for a gravel bike with perfect balance! The lightweight carbon shell gives this saddle a solid base, while the high-density padding makes long rides less painful. You will have excellent control with the T2.0 Titanium rails since they are wider than standard titanium grade 5 rails. This steel alloy is also very strong for extra durability and long-lasting service life.

The Prologo Kappa Space Saddle (with T2.0 Rails) is designed for endurance and comfort. If you are riding on gravel with bumps, turns, and twists, the perfect seat will absorb and prevent compression of your spine. The Prologo Kappa Space technology has engineered the perfect seat to alleviate numbness and tingling, unlike similar saddles.

Why did it make our list?

  • The 147mm width reduce pressure to the pubic area effectively and make you feel comfortable
  • It is compatible with all bikes
  • This saddle includes a lifetime warranty

What is not ideal about it?

  • This saddle does not have gel padding, which some users may prefer
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8
Best for Long Rides

Nukeproof Horizon SL Saddle

Features
  • Width: 134mm
  • Rail: CrMo
  • Shell: N/A
  • Weight: 310g
  • Rail Material: alloy

The Nukeproof Horizon SL Saddle is a lightweight, minimalistic saddle that gives riders a comfortable and supportive experience. The saddle was designed to be used for both road riding and gravel biking, which is why its width is 134mm. Many people will use this saddle on long rides or even races because it effectively provides comfort throughout the ride. The saddle has a CrMo rail which contributes to its lightweight and allows it to be durable as well. It only weighs 310g, much less than others on the market.

Long bike rides often require you to bike on different surfaces. For example,  you may find gravel turns to dirt, and dirt leads down a beaten path. We chose the Nukeproof Horizon SL Saddle as the Best Long-Distance saddle because it provides comfort for both on and off-road riding. While saddles like the Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle, our Editor’s Choice, is great for long distances, they are only good for long distances on gravel. The Nukeproof Horizon SL Saddle is superior as it is comforting on and off the gravel.

What stands out?

  • It is made with a high-quality material that also protects the rider from any discomfort
  • It has a lightweight body, making it easy to transport, and it is effective for long rides
  • The design of the seat has a slight hump which helps to prevent numbness and aches throughout the ride and reduces pressure on the sit bones too

What cons did we manage to find?

  • It doesn't have a headrest, so you have to place your legs in a wider stance to provide them with more support

Things to Consider

A gravel bike saddle is an essential part of your equipment for all-terrain biking. One of the main differences between off-road and road biking is that you cannot use a regular bike saddle on an off-roader because it is not designed for those kinds of conditions. Therefore, whether you are just planning on going on a short tour, along with one or even the Transcontinental Race, there’s no way your butt can handle the distance without a good gravel bike saddle. There are a few things to look for in a perfect saddle when you have these needs. In case you are looking for the best pedals for your gravel bike, check out our guide with top picks.

How to Pick the Best Gravel Bike Saddle

You can find some great models and brands that will provide convenience and comfort while you ride your bike. The only thing you need is to look for the best gravel bike saddle available on the market. There are many options to choose from, but this shouldn’t be any trouble at all. Here is the list of the best electric gravel bikes for you to try something unusual and new.

Saddle Width

When you’re looking for a gravel bike saddle, it’s necessary to check out the distance between your sit bones. You need to find one that offers enough padding and provides maximum comfort while protecting sensitive areas from chafing and abrasions. On the other hand, you also need to make sure it has a good width so there is no discomfort when you’re in the saddle.

Rails and Shell

8 Best Gravel Bike Saddles: Special Equipment When Go on off-Road Rides (Spring 2022)

They’re constructed for vibration absorption to smooth motions when riding through rough terrain.

When you are purchasing a gravel bike saddle, it is important to look at the rails and shells. The best models come with titanium or carbon fiber made of strong materials that can even support your weight while riding on bumpy roads. This will ensure that your seat doesn’t wobble. Look for rugged rails, too, because they are more reliable than conventional designs.

Rail Material

Although you can’t really break a titanium or carbon fiber shank, it is still best to invest in gravel bike saddles that come with sturdy rails. This way, you are assured that they will last even when you take your bike on rough roads.

Of course, the saddle materials are important for their comfortability while riding. The best gravel bike saddles have a combination of durability and comfort.

Saddle Covering Material

8 Best Gravel Bike Saddles: Special Equipment When Go on off-Road Rides (Spring 2022)

This Selle Italia saddle has lighter padding for maximum comfort and cushioning.

The covering on the seat is also an important factor to consider because it will add to the comfort you’ll experience while riding your bike on rough terrain. The best models have a synthetic cover that prevents friction between your skin and the saddle, even if your shorts leave time to chafe. Look for one with a smooth, soft surface so it won’t irritate your skin even after long hours of riding.

Weight

Another important factor to consider when choosing a gravel bike saddle is its weight and portability. If you plan on taking long off-road tours, it’s best if your seat is lightweight and can be dismantled or folded up, so it doesn’t take too much space in your bag. This way, it won’t mess up the balance of your bike.

Durability

If you plan on going on road trips or completing a multi-day trek, you need to make sure that your seat is durable and reliable. This way, no matter how rough the roads are, it can take all the punishment without falling apart. The best gravel bike saddles have a combination of high-end plastics and composites that provide lightweight support and comfort without compromising durability. It’s also a good idea to look for those that can withstand UV rays as well as water or rain since these materials are generally waterproof.

Riding Position and Fit

8 Best Gravel Bike Saddles: Special Equipment When Go on off-Road Rides (Spring 2022)

As you sit upright your pelvis widens out and the necessary saddle width will change. Make sure you keep an eye on your position when measuring your sit bones.

Your riding position and fit should also be considered when looking for the best gravel bike saddle. When you’re on a road ride and touring, your hips move more than when you’re doing aggressive mountain biking. This means that you need to find a saddle that will provide comfort whether you are in a forward or seated position. You can get one that fits your riding style.

How to Care and Maintenance of Your Gravel Bike Saddle: Tips

After using your gravel bike saddle, it’s important to clean it up. Before doing so, however , make sure that all the dirt is removed.

  1. The best way to ensure that you’re cleaning it right is by checking your owner’s manual. Some saddle manufacturers recommend cleaning it using mild detergent and warm water, while others advise against this because this can damage the material or finish of the seat.
  2. Use a soft cloth to dry your gravel bike saddle properly so moisture won’t damage the seat. Do not use a towel because they tend to be too rough and may cause scratches on your seat’s surface.
  3. Make sure that you always clean your gravel bike saddle after riding in wet or humid conditions, as this can make it produce stains or mildew, which are difficult to remove even if you’re going to clean it.
  4. When you’re using your gravel bike saddle, always wipe away dirt or sweat on the saddle’s surface to prevent the formation of bacteria which can cause a foul smell. Also, make sure that you clean your seat thoroughly if you use it during off-road rides involving mud, dirt, and dust.
  5. Make sure that you clean your gravel bike saddle after each time you use it. If left uncleaned, dirt and grime may lead to the formation of rust on its metal parts or a corroded condition of the bolts and screws that hold it together.
  6. You can also purchase a kit specifically for cleaning your gravel bike saddle, so you don’t have to worry about damaging it during cleaning. These kits contain the proper tools and materials you can use to ensure that your seat is clean at all times.
  7. To prevent premature wear of your gravel bike saddle, make sure that you apply a leather conditioner every 6-12 months or after using it in dusty or muddy conditions. Leather conditioners will protect the material and keep it from drying up.
  8. To maintain your gravel bike saddle’s performance, you should frequently check if its bolts, screws, and other components are still tight and secure, as this can damage the structure of the seat if these parts come loose over time.
  9. You may also use a brush to remove dirt or dust from your gravel bike saddle’s metal parts, as this is more effective than paper towels.
  10. Make sure that you check for cracks in the plastic of your gravel bike saddle, especially after long periods of use. If you find any, it’s best to replace your seat with a new one to prevent further damage and deterioration while you’re riding.
  11. And finally, it’s best to replace your gravel bike saddle every 3 years or after it has accumulated more than 6,000 miles. This will maximize its performance and durability while providing you with the utmost comfort.

FAQ

It depends on the rider. Flat saddles are more popular because they are less uncomfortable for new riders who may need some time to get used to riding with a curved saddle. At the same time, professionals choose a curved one to get more control.

If you’re planning to go on long rides, it is best to get one that is specifically designed for gravel bikes. These saddles are sturdier and more durable than traditional ones, which means you’ll get the most out of them if you use them for your regular rides.

Our Verdict

The best gravel bike saddle should provide you with the most comfortable ride possible. Always bear in mind that it’s important to consider your personal preferences and riding style when choosing gravel bike saddles. After all, it’s an important piece that can affect your ride and improve or impair your experience. Also, when riding on rough terrains, it’s essential to have the best gravel handlebars for total balance and control. We hope that this guide gave you the knowledge you need to make the right choice.

The Editor’s Choice, Selle SMP TRK Large Saddle, is made from durable alloy steel and pretty lightweight. Without any doubt, this seat will last as long as possible.

Our Premium Pick, Selle SMP Drakon Saddle is definitely worth every penny. Because of its 138mm width and durable material, you will enjoy your trips, even through rough terrain.

Last but not least, the Best Value Choice is the Wittkop Bike Seat, which is made of heavy-duty and long-lasting material. For that price, it’s an ideal option for all riders.

References

1.
Safety & Security | Penn State Transportation Services
It’s important to stay safe and keep your bicycle securely locked to designated bike racks.
2.
Pedals at dawn: an early morning gravel bike ride in the New Forest | Cycling holidays | The Guardian
It’s tempting to hibernate at this time of year, but cycling the national park’s off-road trails is the perfect winter tonic.
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