We've ridden the backside out of our shorts to draw up this list of the very best mountain bike saddles available for all types of trail riders.

When it comes to saddles, there is a whole lot of choice out there, which is a good thing because each individual rider will have their own preferences for shape, comfort, form and function. Finding the best mountian bike saddle can be a bit of a process, but ultimately we’re all looking for the same thing – a comfortable ride experience that lets us focus on the ride.

If men’s/unisex saddles aren’t working for you or you’re looking for a female-specific saddle, then head over to our best women’s mountain bike saddles buyer’s guide.

1. Specialized Bridge Comp with Mimic

Best all-rounder

Weight: 324g | Height: 53mm | Width: 143, 155, 168mm | Length: 262mm | Rating: 10/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Available in 3 widths
  • Pressure relief channel
  • Density-mapped padding
  • SWAT-compatible

Reasons to avoid:

  • Cover is glued not bonded
  • Heavier than some options

This is the top model in the Bridge saddle range from Specialized, and despite the high price tag it is absolutely the best of the bunch we’ve tested. Mimic refers to the use of different density foam throughout then saddle to increase comfort and support. Specialized originally introduced it specifically for women’s saddle, but it proved so popular that you can now find it on men’s/unisex options.

And Mimic really works. We found the Bridge Comp to be instantly comfortable, and it remained so even on longer rides. As we remarked in our review, “it’s like sitting in one of those really expensive office chairs; the amount of support and comfort is amazing”. There’s also a stress relieving channel, but being filled in means you don’t get hosed with mud and spray when the trail is wet. Our only complaint is that the cover is glued rather than bonded to the padding and base, which is not as durable.

Read the full review of the Specialized Bridge Comp with Mimic saddle

SDG Bel-Air 3.0 saddle

2. SDG Bel-Air 3.0 saddle

Best for firm support

Weight: 233g | Height: 45mm | Length: 260mm | Width: 142mm | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Light, firm, pressure relief channel

Reasons to avoid:

  • Less padding than Specialized Bridge Comp

We’ve always been fans of the SDG Bel-Air 3.0, and awarded it top marks in the past. The latest model gets a few new colours, but everything else remains unchanged. That includes the distinctive shape with kick-tail and shallow central channel to relieve pressure. Don’t expect deep, luxurious padding, and the SDG Bel-Air 3.0 feels much firmer than the Specialized Bridge Comp Mimic, but we can’t fault the shape and fit. Construction is excellent, and the support on offer is impressive.

If you want the plushest saddle, look elsewhere, but for support, overall shape, and styling, the Bel-Air is still the fresh prince of saddles.

Read our full review of the SGD Bel-Air 3.0

DMR Stage 2 MTB Rail saddle

DMR Stage 2 MTB Rail saddle

3. DMR Stage 2 MTB Rail 

Best value saddle

Weight: 282g | Height: N/A | Length: 270mm | Width: 147mm | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Bargain price
  • Stress relieving central channel and cutaway
  • Harder wearing side panels

Reasons to avoid:

  • Only a single width
  • Stapled cover potentially compromises the long term durability

This is effectively the same saddle as DMR’s Ben Deakin signature saddle, but without the ‘Oi Oi!’ slogan. It also gets a different synthetic leather cover material and a much more subtle look. Being stapled and glued means it’s not as sleek as some models, and might not be as durable, but we’ve not had any issues with our test sample so far.

In terms of padding, shape, and technology, the Stage 2 is unremarkable. But the shape is a good one, keeping you centred without sliding around, and offering enough flex to take the sting out of the trail. And the price is impressive given the build quality and comfort on offer.

Read the full review of the DMR Stage 2 MTB Rail saddle

SQ Labs 60X Infinergy Ergowave saddle

4. SQ Labs Infinergy Ergowave 60X

Best saddle for reducing numbness

Weight: 269g | Height: 40mm | Width: 130, 140, 150, 160mm | Length: 245mm | Rating: 8/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Very comfortable
  • Secure perch
  • Four width options
  • Pressure relief channel

Reasons to avoid:

  • High cost
  • Poor rail finish
  • Central channel can fill with mud

SQ Labs was founded by a motocross racer who suffered an injury and subsequent numbness when riding. He wanted to develop products that were more ergonomic and reduced numbness and discomfort. The brand now has a wide range of components and clothing as well as its own fit systems and measurement tools. This Ergowave saddle is innovative in several ways. The main one being the highly durable foam material, which SQ Labs says is so tough that it doesn’t need a cover – only grip strips to help traction. It’s also a unisex saddle, which is fairly unusual at this level.

There’s a distinctive shape that keeps you from sliding forward, and a flat nose and a deep central channel to reduce pressure. On the bike it looks huge, but feels normal when riding. We were impressed by the comfort, and the lack of pressure and numbness we experienced around soft tissue areas. There were a few cosmetic issues with the rails, and mud did accumulate in the channel, but overall the Infinergy Ergowave 60X is a quirky but effective option.

Read our full review of the SQ Labs Infinergy Ergowave 60X

Fabric Scoop Elite saddle

Fabric Scoop Elite saddle

5. Fabric Scoop Elite saddle

Best looking saddle and great value, too

Weight: 229g | Length: 278mm | Width: 142mm | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Comfy padding and flexible base
  • Fits a broad range of riders

Reasons to avoid:

  • Can be a bit slippery when wet

The Fabric Scoop Elite is a classic saddle, with a beautiful shape that resembles the old Selle Italia Flite. It’s a super clean design, with a three-part bonding process getting rid of unsightly staples and glue. And the pricing is really keen, with basic models starting at under £40, while exotic-railed numbers are available for upto £200.

There are different widths and profiles depending on body shape and use, so you can find a Scoop to suit everything from DH to XC. We prefer the curvier Radius, where its hammock-like profile keeps you centred and deeper padding helps comfort.

Read our full test review of the Fabric Scoop Elite saddle

wtb volt

WTB Volt Race

6. WTB Volt Race

Classic comfort

Weight: 316g | Length: 245mm | Widths: 135mm, 142mm, 150mm | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great for all-day riding
  • Plenty of width options

Reasons to avoid:

  • On the heavier side
  • Perforations fill with mud

The regular version of the WTB Volt has medium weight cro-mo steel rails, a hardwearing microfibre cover, comfy flex-tuned shell and regular padding with a gel insert. We say regular, as it’s actually pretty thick, and makes the Volt the most comfortable when grinding forward on a hard climb. When you kick back there’s a lot of cushioning there too, and we never had to work hard to hit the sweet spot, it just feels inherently comfortable.

Finish quality underneath is excellent. Everything is neat and tidy and all the glued edges are covered with a plastic bumper. The rail length is about 20mm but they do have gradients along to make repeat positioning easier. With its high tail and slightly shallow shoulders it definitely scores highly in the comfort stakes.

Read our full test review of WTB Volt Race

ergon saddle

Ergon SM Enduro Comp

7. Ergon SM Enduro Comp

Best mountain bike saddle for long rides

Weight: 232g | Length: 245mm | Widths: 135mm, 148mm | Rating: 9/10

Reasons to buy:

  • Great choice for long rides
  • Raised tail aids climbing stability

Reasons to avoid:

  • Finish is a bit rough underneath
  • Mud and spray gets through hole in channel

As you’d expect from a brand named Ergon, the SM Enduro Comp features a great shape that’s comfortable and supportive. And it still feels comfortable three or four hours into a long day in the saddle. There’s a deep central channel to relieve pressure, and a kicked-up tail, which you can push against when climbing. Unfortunately, there’s a hole here that gives you a wet bum through every puddle.

Ergon’s foam is supportive rather than plush, but there’s plenty of padding under the sit bones, and we got on well with the profile.

Read our full test review of the Ergon SM

mountain bike saddle tail

Reinforced corners keep the upper from damage and rips

How we tested the best mountain bike saddles

There are plenty of elements to consider; what material is the saddle constructed from, how heavy is it, does it have a central pressure-relief channel or cut-out, does it have a long or short nose, does it come in a range of width fittings…. and more besides. Thankfully we’ve tried and tested a whole load of perches to bring you our view on the very best, plus guidance on what to look for.

Our testing involved fitting each saddle to the same bike, using the same tyre pressures and suspension settings and short liners. Obviously, there are a myriad of features to take note of, but the overriding factor with regards saddle performance is comfort. It is somewhat subjective, and can also vary if you tweak the angle or position of the saddle but generally the most comfortable saddles have scored the highest.

Saddle manufacturers make a ton of saddles for all sorts of riders, so what you’re seeing here is just a small percentage of what’s available. Our focus is on trail riding, but we’ve tested gravity-focused seats because they have some interesting features and also the manufacturers say you can use them for trail riding, so we wanted to put that to the test.

What to look out for in best mountain bike saddles

Before the widespread adoption of the dropper post, the saddle was a relatively static component, but these days your saddle moves up and down numerous times every ride and, depending on whether you’re rolling along the flat, cruising up a gradual climb, or tackling a steep ascent your weight can be positioned over different parts of it. This means gauging comfort is a little bit harder, especially since we don’t all have the same width sit bones or, obviously, anatomy.

The saddle is also used to control the bike, especially when it’s dropped down and you’re descending. Introduce electric mountain bikes into the mix, which encourage you to sit down and pedal more of the time, and you have a component that subtly switches roles multiple times during a ride.

1. Cover

This is often a synthetic leather, which is hardwearing, breathable and long lasting. To add greater abrasion resistance and grip, Kevlar sections are often used at high-wear areas such as the corners and rear of the saddle.

2. Padding

Underneath the cover is a layer of EVA foam. It’s lightweight and has good shock absorption properties. On some saddles you also get a supplementary gel or elastomer pad under the forward areas. This reduces stress on delicate parts and improves overall comfort.

mountain bike saddle underside

Correct width can be more important than padding

3. Width

Most manufacturers now produce saddles in different widths to match a narrower range of sit bones. However, this is not the only thing that affects comfort – the overall shape, length and even the angle you’re sitting at, all play a part. Getting the correct width is a good starting point, but don’t be afraid to try a narrower or wider saddle (you may have to switch brands) if the one you have isn’t particularly comfortable.

And saddle width isn’t to do with the outward size of your bum; it’s to do with the sit bones with are the lower bony elements of the pelvis on which your weight rests when you sit – hence the name! It’s the distance between these that helps determine what size saddle is likely to be most comfortable for you, and most bike shops will have device for measuring them that’s a bit like sitting on a gel-covered board.

4. Height

Saddles have different heights between the rails and the seat, and low-profile saddles let you run longer dropper posts. Some low-profile saddles are also cut away at the tail to provide extra tyre clearance when the saddle is dropped – useful for long travel 29ers with slack seat angles.

mountain bike saddle wacky web

Saddles come in all kinds of wild designs

5. Base

This is made from an injection moulded plastic. To add comfort and alleviate pressure some manufacturers cut holes or channels into the base. Offsetting the rails on the base, or mounting them on small elastomer bumpers, also introduces greater flexibility and comfort.

mountain bike saddle rails

Rail material choice affects overall weight

6. Rails

The cheapest saddles have solid steel rails and they obviously weigh the most, but you can save weight with hollow steel, titanium or composite rails. Be aware that manufacturers do mix other elements into the steel and give it a flashy name, but essentially, it’s the same stuff. Regardless of material, most saddles have 7mm rails and will fit most seatposts on the market, it’s one of the few industry standards that hasn’t been mucked about with.