Believe it or not, the most comfortable bike seats are not necessarily the largest or the softest ones. Instead, it's all about which best minimize pressure and distribute weight between your sit bones. To find the best pick for you, figure out which type of biking you'll predominantly be doing — indoor, road, mountain, commuting, etc. — and then consider the shape, size, and material of your ideal bicycle seat.
While a few best-selling options are suitable for all types of biking, you may want to narrow down your intended activity from the get-go. For example, a seat for flat-road cycling won't require as much shock absorption as a mountain bike seat will. A waterproof exterior and built-in safety lights are desirable features for a commuter bike — but virtually useless for a stationary exercise unit you use inside.
Now on to comfort: A study published in the International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics found that bike seat comfort is primarily about the distribution of weight on your "ischial tuberosity," or sit bones. Hip circumference was often a telling indicator of seat comfort, which is where size comes into play: The wider your hips, the wider your ideal seat. Keep in mind, however, that shape is also important, as a seat should ergonomically support and cushion your sit bones. When in doubt, consult the reviewer feedback to determine comfort level.
Finally, consider the material inside of the seat, which should be cushioning and supportive at the same time. Most top-selling, affordable options use some type of structured foam, while higher-end options are often made with gel or springs for improved support that tends to be more long-lasting.
1. The Overall Best Bike Seat
The Bikeroo bike seat is the top overall pick for several reasons: For one, it has nearly 3,000 reviews and an overall 4.6-star rating. For another, it's made with premium materials, like structured foam, dual-suspension springs, and a waterproof rain cover, which make it a great all-around pick for most types of biking. Finally, it's ergonomically designed for comfort and extremely easy to install — especially considering it comes with everything you need to mount it in just a few minutes.
- Interior material: Foam
- Dimensions: 10.2 by 7.8 by 2.36 inches
One reviewer wrote: "I wanted to start riding my bike again after [a] several year hiatus, but dreaded the pain in my netherregions when I would get off that hard seat. I have a TREK. I searched and found great reviews on the Bikeroo and took the leap. I couldn't be happier, the seat was easy to install, the ride was great, no more pain."
2. The Most Popular Bike Seat — & The Most Affordable
It has more than 6,000 reviews on Amazon and comes in four color options — and not a single shade is more than $21. But don't let the price tag fool you, the BLUEWIND bike seat is still designed for comfort thanks to its shock-absorbing bottom, ergonomic shape, and high-density memory foam interior. Reviewers report that it's not the most durable option, but for casual biking on a budget, it's "way more comfortable" than your average seat.
- Interior material: High-density memory foam
- Dimensions: 10.4 by 8.3 by 4.5 inches
One reviewer wrote: "Very good price. I have used the seat for a few weeks now and it seems to be pretty comfortable. I am not an avid rider so it only gets used very few days and not for more than an hour at a time. So far it is comfy and it was very easy to install."
3. The Best Oversize Bike Saddle
For wider hips, a saddle or oversize bike seat may feel more comfortable. This one from YLG has a wing-like shape that minimizes pain during long rides, but it's still curved to adequately support your sit bones. Plus, it uses springs, supportive gel, and memory foam to cushion your ride. Since it has a breathable yet waterproof exterior and a reflective sticker on the back, it's well-suited for outdoor use. It also comes in a version for indoor riding, one with built-in taillights, and an even wider, 14.2-inch version.
- Interior material: High-density memory foam and gel
- Dimensions: 13.38 by 10.63 by 7.67 inches
One reviewer wrote: "The seat cradles your butt instead of poking up into your sit-bones. [...[ I’ve been riding 17 miles about 3 times a week and now it’s pure joy with this seat."
4. The Best Bike Seat For Commuters
If you're riding your bike to and from work or school, a specialty bike seat could help improve your experience. The Wittkop bike saddle is specifically designed for city biking, all thanks to its five-zone concept: The seat area supports your sit bones, the escape area allows for cooling ventilation for year-round comfort, the no-pressure area cushions your groin, the no-friction area reduces thigh chafing, and the comfort area is ergonomically curved to prevent pain. This one also has an enhanced airflow system to keep you dry and a fully waterproof exterior so you're prepared for any type of weather. With more than 2,500 five-star reviews, it's a popular choice with buyers.
- Interior material: Memory foam
- Dimensions: 10 by 8.5 by 3.2 inches
One reviewer wrote: "This product delivers. Support is strategically engineered offering a cool and comfortable ride with excellent relief in comparison to other saddles I’ve used on my [mountain bike] for city commutes."
5. A Cult-Favorite Lightweight Bike Seat
For a low-profile option that serious bikers love, consider the Selle Italia Sport saddle which offers superior comfort and construction, not to mention a particularly streamlined shape. This one is made with a combination of silicone gel to absorb shock, extra padding to cushion your sit bones, and a steel-alloy frame for longevity for both on-road and off-road rides. Those who use it for longer, rougher rides say it's worth every penny. Plus, it weighs less than a pound.
- Interior material: Silicone gel and padding
- Dimensions: 12.5 by 7 by 1.25 inches
One reviewer wrote: "Bought two for my road bike and hybrid bike. No more saddle pain at all. Female cyclist normally ride 40 to 60k no more pain. [...] I always buy selle italia now."
Chen, Yi-Lang. (2018). Predicting external ischial tuberosity width for both sexes to determine their bicycle-seat sizes. International Journal of Industrial Ergonomics, https://www.researchgate.net/publication/322530496_Predicting_external_ischial_tuberosity_width_for_both_sexes_to_determine_their_bicycle-seat_sizes.