So you want to know what are the best touring saddles out there? You’ve come to the right place!
The best bike in the world is nothing if it’s uncomfortable to ride. Considering you’re going to be pedaling your bike for hours each day you’re bicycle touring, picking the right saddle is crucial. But, how do you know what is the best touring saddle?
That’s where we come in. One of our goals here at The Adventure Junkies is to make your life easier when it comes to choosing outdoor gear. Here in this article we’ll walk you through what to look for while shopping for a saddle and how to find the one that fits your needs best.
If you’re about to set out on your very first tour don’t forget to check out the bike touring packing list to make sure you don’t forget to pack the essentials. Okay, let’s get into the best saddles for touring.
THE ULTIMATE GUIDE TO THE BEST TOURING SADDLES IN 2016
TOURING SADDLES 101
4 THINGS TO CONSIDER TO FIND THE BEST SADDLE FOR TOURING
1. MATERIAL: PLASTIC VS LEATHER
If you’ve never been on a bicycle tour before, you’re might think you need to go out and find the cushiest gel saddle out there to keep your but from being sore. This saddle might be comfortable for the first few days but you will soon discover the gel has worn down and you are riding on solid plastic…ouch!
Do you want to know a tip that will save you from literally a big pain in the butt? The secret is in the leather. While it can fool you at first sight with it’s stiff and uninviting appearance, once you break it in, it will fit you like a glove.
Aside from the comfort factor, leather saddles are long lasting and are cooler than plastic seats on summer rides. The downsides to leather saddles are they are not waterproof and require special maintenance and care.
Plastic saddles with some type of padding are more suitable for racing (short and fast rides). I would only recommend this style of saddle for short tours (a few days).
2. SPRINGS OR NO SPRINGS
One feature you can find in touring saddles is springs. These saddles absorb vibrations making them especially useful if you plan to ride off road. Whether or not you will find a sprung saddle comfortable or not depends on your riding position. It is recommended for tourers who sit upright and have the handle bars at a height that is at the same or higher than the saddle height.
3. WOMEN’S SPECIFIC
Women’s specific saddles are shorter than the mens version and have a slightly different shape to match anatomy of a female. However, this doesn’t mean women can’t comfortable ride with a men’s saddle or vice versa, it depends on your riding style and personal preference.
4. CUT OR NO CUT
Another feature you can consider when shopping for a touring saddle is if you want to have a cut out or not. Saddles with cut outs are designed to protect the nerves and arteries of your perineum (the area between the sit bones). The cut out relieves pressure on this part of your body which makes them more comfortable for long rides. They also provide some airflow.
However, everyone’s anatomy and personal preferences are different some riders will find no big advantage in comfort when using a cut out saddle.
WHY DID WE ONLY REVIEW BROOKS SADDLES?
You probably have notice that we only reviewed three saddles and they all happen to be from the same manufacturer, Brooks England. Typically for gear review posts we do our best to critic several makes and models. However, in this case we dug deep to search for worthy contenders but had no luck in finding a saddle that could match the quality, comfort and value of a Brooks saddle.
Here’s a few models we considered for this article but did not put them on the list because of we were not confident with their quality and/or suitability for bicycle touring. They’re listed below so you can decide for yourself.
TOURING SADDLE REVIEWS
THE TOP 3 BEST BICYCLE TOURING SADDLES OF 2016
MATERIAL: Leather Seat With Steel Rails
BEST FOR: Long Distance Touring & Trekking
PROS: High Quality Craftsmanship, Long Lasting, Shapes To Your Body
CONS: Needs Extra Care
MATERIAL: Leather Seat, Steel Springs & Rails
BEST FOR: Heavy Touring & Off Road
PROS: Springs Absorb Vibrations & Very Comfortable
CONS: Heavy & Needs Extra Care
BROOKS CAMBIUM C17
MATERIALS: Vulcanized Natural Rubber & Organic Cotton
BEST FOR: Lightweight Touring
PROS: Maintenance Free, Waterproof & Light
CONS: Not As Comfortable As Leather