Saddle comfort is paramount to your enjoyment of the ride - and it's something we discuss a lot at Total Women's Cycling. However - when looking through commuter saddles, shoppers often have a few more items on their wish list.
If you're often leaving your bike locked up outside knowing that your seat is durable is probably high on that list. Being hard to steal, and ideally not too expensive are further bonus points.
With commuter requirements at front of mind, we've rounded up a few great options that are well worth a try.
Commuter Saddle or Road Bike Saddle?
It's worth noting that the majority of saddles on this list are created with the expectation that the rider is sitting in an upright position - riding a hybrid or Dutch style bike. In this stance, most brands believe it's important to offer a saddle that's wide enough for the average woman's sit bones - but they're less likely to be gender specific.
If you ride a road bike, or are more often leaning further forward - therefore putting pressure on your soft tissue area - you might be better off reading up on how to find the right road bike saddle for you, instead.
Selle Italia Net Saddle
When Selle Italia made the 'Net' saddle they had four objectives: they wanted a light, comfortable, durable saddle that was also made in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way.
So they created a saddle from a termoplastic honeycomb shell that would allow the Ischial bones (kind of like the sit bones) to move independently and adapt to various riding styles. They used a mesh layer over the padding, that provides breathability, whilst also being durable and waterproof. And they made sure that the saddle was created using a new robotized process that lowers the ecological impact of the production. Made in Italy, the saddle is 100 per cent recyclable.
Then - for a bit of fun - they ensured the net layer could have colours printed onto it. Currently, there are six quirky designs (we love the comic-al design, pictured) but they're hoping to allow customers to print their own designs in time.
Fabric Cell Saddle
There are many ways that saddle brands have tried to create comfort - but when Fabric created the 'Cell' they did something completely different.
The Cell is the world’s first airsprung saddle. It uses cushioning technology seen in high end running shoes to provide support and comfort. Effectively the top layer is full of air pockets, which depress as you prod and poke them, and even more so when you settle your body weight across them. What suits one rider might not be ideal for another, but most feedback suggests this is a pretty clever design that works.
On top of that - the durable, weatherproof TPU cover means you can wipe it down before a ride if it's been a wet day, and you can also choose between a host of bright colours to add a little personal zing to your ride.
RRP £50 - see them and read more here
Selle Royal Scientia - Relaxed Saddle
We had a chance to test this saddle out in the Tuscan hills with Selle Royal - and riding a Dutch style electric bike it was super comfortable.
The Scientia is available in an 'Sport', 'Moderate' or 'Relaxed' version. The 'Relaxed' saddle (pictured) is for those sitting in an upright position - perhaps on a hybrid or Dutch style bike.
After carrying out multiple tests, Selle Royal concluded that they didn't need a 'men's' or 'women's' saddle, but one available in different widths as most riders in this stance put most of their weight on their sit bones. All retailers have tools to measure customers sit bones, to ensure they pick up the right width.
Selle Royal added a relief channel and a slight downward tilt for extra comfort and used super plush materials to create a seat that's just nice to plant your bum onto.
Brooks of England Cambium C17 S Carved
Brooks are best known for their traditional leather saddles, that usually come with springs on the rear for the kind of additional suspension that many road bike brands are investing big bucks in trying to create for their frames. Converts to these leather saddles rave about them, but most admit they take a little while to wear in.
The Cambium saddles from Brooks are completely different. These saddles are made from vulcanized natural rubber, with an organic cotton canvas over the top. Where leather saddles provide comfort once worn in to fit your body like a glove, this material offers a huge amount of flexibility which absorbs the bumps and vibrations of busy city streets.
This saddle is designed to suit a road bike position, too. The C17 S is a women's version, and has a cutout to alleviate pressure, and a shorter nose designed to cater for the female body. The drawback? You'd be pretty upset if someone stole it.
See it here for £110
ISM Touring Saddle
Now for something completely different! We've already said that most of these commuting saddles are designed for people sitting in an upright position, who are less likely to suffer from soft tissue discomfort. However, if you're still finding pain or numbness around your 'lady parts' then ISM make some fabulous options. Bizarrely, they're actually unisex - but the idea is they remove all pressure from the genitals.
The racing versions are very popular, but the 'Touring' model was actually ISM's first. It's been adopted by several police departments, and proved ideal for officers spending 25 hours a week in the saddle.
The noseless design means pressure is removed - but unlike the race models, the wide base provides stability and extra rider comfort. The front is sloped to aid dismount and mounting and there's plenty of padding at the back.
Seaty Lock Comfort
Seatylock is clearly a little bit different to all the other saddles here. The saddle sits on your seatpost as you’d expect, but when removed can be unfolded to act as a lock. This solves two problems – you don’t have to worry about having your saddle stolen, and you don’t have to worry about carrying a hefty lock on your person or frame.
The one meter long foldable locking mechanism is made from high quality hardened steel, and drilling-protected rivets join the links. There are ‘trekking’ and ‘comfort’ versions – and both come in two saddle widths.
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