Which Do You Think is the Best Bike Seat for Touring?

As a cyclist, you already know that a comfortable saddle is imperative. Not only because you want to avoid ending up with sore buttocks, but because sitting uncomfortably can distract your attention from the road ahead. Even if a bike is not that complex of a vehicle, you are still considered a traffic participant and are just as important and responsible in case of a traffic incident as a car driver. As a conclusion, you need to take all the necessary measures to ensure that you are riding your bike comfortably, so you can focus on what’s going on in traffic instead of fiddling around with an uncomfortable seat.

Best Bike Seat for Touring Comparisons

Brand

Details

Our Rating

AIKATE Bike Saddle

  • Dimensions: 11 x 6.3 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Made with: PU leather and gel

Selle Royal Men's Respiro Moderate MTB/Road Bicycle Saddle

  • Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.2 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Made with: gel

Brooks Cambium C17 City/Touring Bicycle Saddle

  • Dimensions: 11.1 x 6.4 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Made with: nylon, rubber, cotton canvas

INBIKE Bicycle Seat

  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.9 x 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Made with: foam, artificial leather, dual springs

Brooks England B17 Standard Black Steel Saddle

  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 1.01 pounds
  • Made with: leather, steel rails

Choosing a Comfortable Bike Seat

Before wondering off looking to spend money on a new bike seat, you have to ask yourself if your current one really needs changing. If you feel uncomfortable while riding your bike, there are certain things you can check to make sure that there isn’t another solution except buying a new seat altogether. For instance, you may be riding uncomfortably if your bike seat is too high. If this is the case, the weight of your body will shift from side to side, causing both imbalance and discomfort. This movement often leads to irritations in the perineal area. Aside from incorrect height, your saddle may not be adjusted at the proper angle.

Adjusting the Seat

As you know, bike seats have a clamp that’s used to mount the saddle to the post. When you loosen the screw, which can be done with standard tools in any good bike tool kit, you can tilt the seat back and forth and maybe, you can find a position that’s more comfortable for you.

You will have to fiddle with this a bit to determine if tilting the seat can improve your riding experience. For instance, if your saddle is flat and causes discomfort, try tilting it forward a little bit and see how you feel.

Finding the Right Position

There is also a chance that you have the right saddle but are riding the bike in an incorrect position. If you’re often riding on uneven roads, your perineum will have a lot to suffer. To solve this problem, try standing up on the pedals after every 10 minutes of sitting down. You can also try to stand as you’re cycling over bumps, to avoid the shocks. A suspension bike is useful in these situations, but you can also opt for a suspension seat post.

Determine Your Style

Of course, choosing the best seat is a matter of how you ride. For recreational riding, there are special seats that are all about comfort. This comfort is translated into a seat that can provide a lot of cushioning. However, this cushioning is not ideal when you’re riding for many miles at a time, because long-distance riding requires changes in your riding position and you need a firm saddle to facilitate movement.

Performance saddles are more suitable for touring. Generally, this type of saddle has a long and narrow nose, because you need to have as less material between your legs as possible if you want to ride on the open road. Chaffing is a common problem for those who like to ride longer distances. When you ride for many miles at once, you will often find yourself in a tucked position, which means that pressure doesn’t fall that much on your sit bones as it does when you’re just using the bike for recreational purposes.

Last, but not least, comes the mountain bike seat. As you can imagine, mountain biking is about exploring bumpy roads, and there will be a lot of switching positions. You will sometimes ride in a bent-over position and other times, you will find yourself standing up on the pedals. A firmer saddle eases your movement.

Choosing the right bike saddle is important, as it can determine your speed, your performance and how sore you feel once you park the bike in the garage. That’s why, today, we’re going to talk about what makes a good touring bike seat (yes, examples included).

Touring Saddles

Since touring bikes are used for many continuous miles, it’s important to pay close attention to the characteristics that can make or break the deal. Here are the main things that you should look out for.

Materials

It all comes down to choosing between plastic and leather. If you’re new to this whole touring business, you’re probably not sure whether to choose a comfy and plushy bike saddle. Instinctively, you might want to take the plush option, so your buttocks can enjoy all the comfort in the world. Here’s the thing: when you buy a comfortable gel saddle, that gel will eventually wear down and you will find yourself sitting on the plastic skeleton of the seat. That doesn’t sound very comfortable, does it? The best solution is, indeed, leather. However, leather is a very expensive material. Thankfully, there are a lot of bike seats made from artificial leather which are the closest thing to real deal as you can get.

At first, leather will seem like a stiff (and very bad) choice. However, leather has this amazing quality of becoming more comfortable over time. All it needs to do is break in. Even more, leather has a longer lifespan compared to other fabrics and it’s also way cooler (in terms of both temperature and looks). However, leather is very high-maintenance, and since it’s not waterproof, it will require special care to last as long as possible. If you do opt for a plastic saddle, it recommended to use it on shorter rides.

Springs

Spring are quite a common feature of touring saddles. They are mostly included because of their responsiveness and because of the fact that they can absorb vibrations and make you feel more comfortable on uneven roads. However, springs are a matter of personal preference, but a major contribution in you liking or disliking them will be your riding position. Saddles with springs are mostly recommended for cyclists that ride on bikes with handlebars elevated at the same height as the bike seat itself.

Cuts

If you’ve poked around the bike saddle market just for a little bit, then you already know that cutouts are quite a common element. That’s because they provide both pelvic support and airflow for the rider. What a cutout does is to make sure that the nerves located in the perineum area are being protected and that the saddle doesn’t apply pressure on the most sensitive parts of your body. However, this is not a mandatory comfort feature, as some people won’t feel more comfortable just because their saddle has a middle cut.

Top 5 Best Bike Seats for Touring Reviews

AIKATE Bike Saddle

  • Dimensions: 11 x 6.3 inches
  • Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Made with: PU leather and gel

Made from a combination of gel and PU leather, the AIKATE bike saddle is a good choice for people who enjoy bike touring. The design of the saddle is meant to absorb shock and provide a comfortable ride no matter what lies on the road ahead. Even if the saddle has gel, it still manages to be firm enough to allow the rider to comfortably switch positions. The center cutout provides very good airflow which is especially praised by people who tend to sweat a lot. The seat should be compatible with just about any bike post of folding, road or mountain bikes.

Pros

  • Very comfortable gel cushioning.
  • Comes with a middle cut-out for good airflow.
  • Comes with a mooting clamp for seat posts.

Cons

  • Heavier compared to non-padded seats.

Selle Royal Men's Respiro Moderate MTB/Road Bicycle Saddle

  • Dimensions: 10.9 x 7.2 x 3 inches
  • Weight: 1.19 pounds
  • Made with: gel

We have got a lot to talk about when it comes to this Respiro saddle. It features a center cutout that makes it easy to keep cool even in the hottest situations. The ergonomic shape of the saddle should provide the touring biker with a lot of comfort on long roads. Thanks to the integrated Royal Vacuum technology, the top cover of the seat is cooler compared to normal saddles. It is also water resistant, although leaving your bike under pouring rain is definitely not recommended. Ideal for touring and commuting, this saddle provides great comfort for the cyclist/athlete that is looking to work those leg muscles. The saddle includes the RoyalGel padding that can reduce pressure up to 40%.

Pros

  • Suitable for people who like softer saddles.
  • Cover is water resistant.
  • Center cutout provides a good amount of airflow.

Cons

  • Padding may be too soft for some people.

Brooks Cambium C17 City/Touring Bicycle Saddle

  • Dimensions: 11.1 x 6.4 x 2.5 inches
  • Weight: 15.7 ounces
  • Made with: nylon, rubber, cotton canvas

There are a lot of materials that were combined in the construction of the Cambium saddle. First comes the nylon cover that promises to repel all water looking to damage the seat. Then, you have the combination between the organic cotton canvas and the vulcanized natural rubber that’s looking to add more resistance to the product. With all of these materials combined, the top of the saddle is very flexible, and you will slightly feel it move along with you as you’re riding, but not enough as to cause imbalance.

Since the Cambium is looking to create a suspension effect, it makes the saddle even more comfortable compared to bike seat with different constructions. The saddle is a bit wider than what you normally get from touring models, but that should add to the overall level of comfort. What’s even more interesting about this model is the inclusion of the fiberglass reinforced back plate what should allow the rider to benefit from the loops, easily allowing him to attach a saddle bag or other accessories. The true power of the Cambium saddle lies in its all-weather capability to withstand whatever conditions Mother Nature may throw your way.

Pros

  • Suitable for all kind of weather conditions.
  • Doesn’t require a break-in period.
  • The vulcanized rubber makes it very durable.
  • The flexibility of the saddle minimizes chafing.

Cons

  • Falls on the firm side.

INBIKE Bicycle Seat

  • Dimensions: 10.6 x 7.9 x 4.7 inches
  • Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Made with: foam, artificial leather, dual springs

Even if touring saddles are mostly about that long and thin nose that’s meant to minimize the amount of material that goes between your legs, the INBIKE saddle is deeply invested in proving that it could be extremely comfortable on long rides. So, we figured, why not give it a chance to prove its worth? This foam padded bike seat is shorter compared to what you’d expect to see from a touring saddle, but if it can manage to prove itself comfortable, it might just be a good choice.

The surface of the saddle features artificial leather, which is the next bet thing after natural leather. It promises to be wear-resistant and anti-scratch, while maintaining a smooth surface. Inside the saddle lies a combination of dual springs that are covered by rubber rings, and a high-density foam that ensures the comfort of the cyclist. All these put together should be able to absorb shock. There is also a middle groove that’s looking to provide some airflow.  There are several colors and models to choose from, some of them having more features than the basic model. You could, for instance, opt for one of the versions that has an included taillight and better waterproof capabilities. The manufacturer has also thrown in a wrench, to make it easier for you to mount the saddle on your bike’s post.

Pros

  • Very good cushioning.
  • Center groove provides good airflow.
  • Extremely affordable.
  • Upgrades includes waterproof capabilities and an integrated taillight.

Cons

  • Mounting bracket is not very sturdy.

Brooks England B17 Standard Black Steel Saddle

  • Dimensions: 14 x 9 x 4 inches
  • Weight: 1.01 pounds
  • Made with: leather, steel rails

Why is there another Brooks saddle in this review round up? Because experts believe that Brooks makes the best bike seats for trekking and touring. And the B17 is not exception. Considered to be their flagship model, the B17 is available for both men and women, but you have to make sure that you buy the B17 S for the ladies. The saddle is supported by a set of steel rails, made from copper plated steel that promises stability and durability. However, since we’re talking about leather, it will require proper maintenance if you want to enjoy it for many years to come.

The vegetable tanned leather is very elegant looking, but somehow provides a sense of ruggedness. The seat is comfortable, but it does have quite a long break-in period. Remember how we said that this is a characteristic of leather? If you manage to overcome this period without throwing the seat out the window, you will sense how it manages to elegantly blend with your body’s shape. The nose feels a little bit too short to comfortably assume a performance position and that’s why it’s preferred by touring riders and commuters. If you are not interested that much in speed and performance but want a comfortable bike seat that allows you to ride relaxed and enjoy the view, this is your best option. Keep in mind that this saddle is expensive, so unless you plan to use for touring and allow the leather to settle in, there’s really no point in buying it. It’s not a saddle for the impatient cyclist.

Pros

  • Very durable.
  • Made with actual leather.
  • Excellent for touring.
  • Comfortable for relaxed rides.
  • Available in a lot of colors

Cons

  • Quite a long break-in period.
  • Very expensive.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to bike seats, the best one for you may not be the best one for another cyclist. SO be sure to read carefully and decide which model would suit you best. However, with bike seats for touring, the Brooks England B17 Standard bike saddle is a great choice. Due to its design and construction, this saddle does exactly what it’s supposed to do: provide comfort for people who like to take on long and enjoyable rides. It’s not a saddle for recreational riding and it’s not suitable for performance or mountain biking.

Since the saddle is made of actual leather, you already guessed that it needs a break-in period. Every product made out of fine leather does. So, don’t be annoyed if you find the seat to be uncomfortable at first. In time, the saddle will naturally get used to your body’s shape and become your trustworthy riding companion. Due to the high-quality materials used in its construction, the B17 is a solid product. It will, however, require proper care, as leather is quite a pretentious material. Oh, did we somehow forget to talk about the beauty of the design? This vintage look seems almost timeless and the craftsmanship speaks for the quality of the product. Once you get used to your B17 (and it gets used to you), you won’t want to ever change it for another saddle.

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