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Best women's bike saddles 2022

Emma Cole
17 May 2022

How to choose the right women’s saddle and the best saddles on the market, reviewed by women

Women’s saddles for road bikes and gravel bikes have been a notoriously tricky issue in the past, with a lack of female-specific saddles on the market as well as debate over the need to have a gender-specific saddle in the first place. 

The best women’s saddle will be comfortable for long rides, offering support and pressure-relief where it’s needed, and facilitating easy pedalling.

This guide sets out what to consider when looking for a new saddle and a selection of the best options currently available.

In a rush? While we’d strongly recommend reading the detailled advice below and weighing up which option might work best for you, two of our favourite women's saddles for road and gravel are the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow (Buy now from Wiggle for £37.99for women who prefer a cut-out and the Specialized S-Works Power with Mimic (Buy now from Sigma Sport for £207) for riders who who don’t.

Do I need a women’s-specific saddle?

Image credit: Mark Van Hecke via Getty

‘Women and men are fundamentally different, the main difference being that women give birth which means women often have other requirements for saddles,’ explains Phil Burt, former British Cycling and Team Sky physio, and leading figure on all matters of bike fit.

Burt’s research and work in this area forced a UCI rule change on saddle tilt and led to a 100% reduction in female saddle-related injuries within the Team GB cycling squad in the run up to the Rio 2016 Olympics.

‘Until very recently, saddles weren’t designed for women. Women had to find solutions themselves,’ says Burt.

‘For instance, saddles which have a gap were designed for men to help with numbness issues. Some women will find these saddles comfortable whilst others will not, because women have about nine different presentations of genitalia, whereas men only really have one, which makes their needs much more complex.

‘When a saddle says that it takes away pressure, this is not the case because pressure needs to go somewhere.’

Pressure points: Where do I need support?

According to Burt, women place more pressure on the front of a saddle which means the saddle needs to support this.

‘Because women have wider hips, generally women have weaker external hip rotators, that’s the glutes, so quite often you see a lot of women rotate forward on the pelvis, and they put a lot of pressure in front, and you can’t change it.

‘It doesn’t mean women are weak, it’s just biomechanically the way they are, but it means they need saddles which support this front pressure.’

Riding style and saddle choice

Image credit: Tim de Waele via Getty 

Riding style and where a rider sits also impacts saddle choice.

‘Whilst a lot of people don’t sit on their sit bones, a lot of women do so this needs to be taken into consideration as well,’ explains Burt.

‘For example when someone says they feel like they are pushing back on their saddle, nine times out of ten they will feel better on a wider saddle as they are searching for that support.’

Clearly, it isn’t a one size fits all situation so Burt advises riders to measure their sit bones in order to find the right width saddle for them.

An easy way of doing this is to sit on a piece of corrugated cardboard, sit on it for a few minutes, and measure from the mid point of each of the marks made on the cardboard. This is your sit bone width. 

It’s not all about the saddle 

Image credit: Bas Czerwinski via Getty 

Whilst looking at the saddle, Burt adds that sometimes pain can be caused by other factors.

‘The chamois is important too. Wearing bib shorts that are too big can also impact comfort, so it is important to wear the right size and have a supportive chamois which stays in the right place when riding.’

With all that in mind, however, the most important element to sorting out saddle pain is to change one thing at a time.

‘Start with changing one thing, and then try others, don’t change everything at once,’ says Burt.

‘If you try to change lots of things, like saddle positioning, tilt, saddle, and wear a new pair of bib shorts, you won’t know what is actually working.’



No one saddle fits all 

Image credit: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno via Getty

Ultimately, each rider will have different saddle requirements and there is no saddle which fits all but the key things to consider are:

  • Sit bone width
  • Pressure areas
  • Riding style
  • Bib shorts and chamois fit
  • Tilt degree

Our guide takes you through the best saddles on the market listed in alphabetical order and all have been tried and tested by the Cyclist team.

Why should you trust our advice? 

We've been testing and reviewing cycling gear since 2012 and absolutely love riding our bikes. Our women’s saddle testing is overseen by Emma Cole, a seasoned long distance cyclist who’s sat on many different saddles, over various distances and has experienced the major highs and lows of riding on the right and wrong saddle. 

As a woman, she is well versed in the trials and tribulations experienced by female cyclists trying to find the ideal saddle and has, like most, suffered from the dreaded saddle sores. Emma is keen to get women riding on the right saddle so they too can absolutely love riding their bikes. 

We’ve tested every saddle recommended in this guide, and the initial selection was informed by feedback from the wider women’s cycling community.


Best saddles for women

  • Ergon SR Pro women
  • Fizik Tempo Argo R5
  • Fizik Luce R5 (S-Alloy)
  • ISM PN 1.1
  • Liv Alacra SLR
  • Specialized Power Comp with Mimic
  • Specialized S-Works Power with Mimic
  • Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Superflow
  • Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

Products appearing in Cyclist buyer's guides are independently selected by our editorial team. Cyclist may earn an affiliate commission if you make a purchase through a retailer link. Read our reviews policy. 


Ergon SR Pro women

With a shell made from nylon composite and with TiNox rails, the Ergon SR Pro is a short-nosed, cut-out saddle.

According to Ergon, the SR Pro has a wider nose than most saddles which allows for a large relief zone without interfering edges, whilst the short nose allows for good freedom of movement on the bike.

The cut-out design provides a relief channel for pressure which the brand says reduces numbness and discomfort whilst the Orthopaedic AirCell Foam with OrthoCell Pads padding offers a high level of comfort.

Of note is that the sizes are not as specific as other brands. The Ergon SR Pro is available in S/M (90mm-120mm) and M/L (120mm to 160mm).

The S/M weighs a claimed 200g and the M/L a claimed 210g, putting it in the mid-range for weight out of the saddles in this guide, and at £85, the Ergon is towards the lower end of the price range, making this a great price for its weight.

The Ergon SR Pro is also available in a carbon model for £179.99.

Fizik Tempo Argo R5

The Fizik Tempo Argo R5 is a short-nosed saddle with a cut-out designed for long-distance rides.

The Tempo Argo R5 is the cheapest in Fizik’s endurance range and is also very versatile, meaning it can be used on both road and gravel.

With a carbon-reinforced nylon shell and S-Alloy rails, the Tempo Argo R5 is ideal for those in need of a stable and secure position thanks to its short nose.

The Tempo Argo R5 has a relatively flat profile which means it might not suit everyone, but it does have a spongey foam which adds cushioning.

The Tempo Argo R5 is one of the cheapest in this guide but also one of the heaviest.

The Fizik Tempo Argo R5 is available in two widths, 150mm and 160mm, weighing a claimed 241g and 247g respectively.

Fizik Luce R5 (S-Alloy)

Specifically for road bikes, the Fizik Luce R5 S-Alloy is similar to the Tempo Argo R5 in that it also has a carbon-reinforced nylon shell and S-Alloy rails, however it has an ‘IschialFlex’ cover.

Essentially this refers to the flexible ‘winged’ support under the sit bones (ischium) and are designed to flex with rider movement.

The Luce R5 S-Alloy has a narrow nose, compared to the Argo R5’s short nose, which is ideal for riders who may experience thigh rubbing.

Like the Fizik Tempo Argo R5, the Luce R5 S-Alloy is one of the cheapest in this guide, but also one of the heaviest.

The Fizik Luce S-Alloy is available in two widths, 145mm and 155mm, weighing a claimed 250g and 255g respectively.

It is also available with carbon rails.

ISM PN 1.1

The ISM PN 1.1 is a unisex split nose saddle with a unique design. The brand says this design allows the nose to flex slightly when pedalling and helps decrease pressure from soft tissue in sensitive areas.

The PN 1.1 has a narrow shape which is suited to those looking for good thigh clearance and a wide range of movement on the saddle, which often suits female riders.

It has a 40-series foam and gel padding which our tester found gives ample cushioning.

The main principle behind the PN 1.1 is the saddle supports body weight on the sit bones thus relieving pressure on the soft tissue that a standard saddle might press on.

Of note is that the PN 1.1. takes getting used to because of how the saddle supports the sit bones differently compared to standard saddle shapes.

The setup for the ISM PN 1.1 saddle is also very different, as the saddle arms are placed much further back than the nose of a traditional saddle, and the saddle will be slightly lower than a traditional seat due to the thickness of the PN 1.1.

Weighing a claimed 382g, the heaviest by far in the guide, the ISM PN 1.1 is available in black or white and in width 110mm.

Liv Alacra SLR

The Alacra SLR has a wide and short nose and a cut out middle, so is ideal for those who suit a cut out design.

Weighing a claimed 180g, the Alacra is particularly light, notably due to the ultra-light carbon composite shell.

Liv says that the high-elastic, free flowing particles which make up the padding reduce pelvic pressure by 20 percent as pressure is redistributed across a broader area.

It adds that the curved design matches the female anatomy and provides a good level of support however some riders may prefer more cushioning.

A downside is the Alacra only comes in one size of 155mm.

  • Read our full review here
  • RRP: £129.99

Specialized Power Comp with Mimic

The Specialized Power Comp with Mimic is a mid-range performance saddle which benefits from the brand’s Mimic technology.

Mimic technology uses multi-layered materials to minimize swelling in soft tissue and the filled in cut out redistributes pressure throughout the saddle to the wings.

Weighing a claimed 223g in the smallest size, the Power Comp with Mimic has ‘Level 2’ padding, which is a medium density foam for additional cushioning.

The Power Comp with Mimic has hollow Cr-Mo steel rails and Specialized says this saddle is ideal for any cycling discipline.

This saddle has most of the features of the S-Works Power (below) but weighing 50g more comes in at a much keener price point.

The Specialized Power Comp with Mimic is available in 143mm, 155mm and 168mm widths.

Specialized S-Works Power with Mimic

Modelled on the original Specialized Power saddle, the S-Works Power with Mimic is a much lighter version of the Power Comp above.

It is the lightest saddle in our guide, a size 143mm weighs a claimed 170g and size 155mm a claimed 173g, and the most expensive at £207.

The S-Works Power with Mimic features stiff, FACT carbon shell and rails which help it be particularly lightweight.

It has a short, soft nose which the brand says prevents excess pressure when riding in an aggressive position.

As with the Power Comp above, the S-Works Power with Mimic has a filled in cut out which works at distributing pressure and our tester found this saddle particularly good for those who like to move around in the saddle.

The Mimic technology uses a multi-foam structure which the brand says is designed to work with the body to relieve pressure for a comfortable ride.

Specialized says this saddle is not discipline specific which is good if you are looking for a versatile saddle you can use across the various cycling disciplines.

The S-Works power with Mimic is available in 143mm, 155mm and 168mm widths.

  • Read our full review here

Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Superflow

Featuring the largest cut out in our guide, the Selle Italia SLR Boost Lady Superflow is a lightweight saddle designed for riding mid-range distances.

Selle Italia says the Superflow cut out reduces pressure on the rider’s perineal and sensitive areas.

The SLR Boost Lady Superflow has as flat profile and a smooth synthetic Fibra-Tek cover allows for movement whilst riding so is ideal for those who like to move about.

The saddle has gel padding for cushioning but some riders may want more.

The SLR Boost Lady Superflow is lightweight, weighing a claimed 202g in size S, and 207g in size L, making it one of the lightest in the guide. It is also one of the more expensive at £174.99.

The saddle has 7mm-diameter Ti-316 (titanium) rails and is available in widths 130mm (S3) and 145mm (L3).

Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow

Featuring the same cut out as the SLR Boost Lady Superflow, the Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow is a more purse-friendly and padded option.

It features a full-grain leather cover and extra gel padding with a shell made from 10% carbon composite.

It is a popular choice amongst female riders, in fact editorial assistant Emma Cole completed a 700km ride on the Diva Gel without so much as a hint of saddle soreness.

  

Weighing a claimed 285g, this saddle is towards the heavier end of the saddles in this guide, alongside the two Fizik options, but at around £37.99 also one of the cheapest.

The Selle Italia Diva Gel Flow is available in black and white and in widths of 135mm (S3) and 152mm (L3).

Looking for more women’s specific advice? Check out our guide to women’s bib shorts and the best women’s sports bras for cycling.