MTB Saddle Selection

The wrong MTB Saddle is a pain in the, well, ok – that’s too easy right?

But, having a quality saddle will certainly improve your riding experience.  We have the best offerings from leaders like Ergon, WTB and SQLab. These models provide a wide range of riders the right product.

Sizing for Sit Bones

Saddles have evolved with flatter contact surfaces for riders sit bones. Instead of narrow designs where the sit bones contact at an angle modern saddles tend to have larger flat sections to sit “on” relatively flat. This helps better support your weight and is more comfortable.

There is an easy way to measure you sit bones at home. Simply find some cardboard, ideally light to mid-weight. Cut the cardboard about the size of a sheet of paper. Then place the cardboard on a hard chair. Sit down and pull yourself down onto the cardboard with the bottom of the seat, or a broom under it, or the bottom of the arms, etc.

You should end up with a pair of crush marks in the cardboard. Find the centers and measure the distance between them. This is your sit bone size.

Most MTB riders will go with a saddle sized at or slightly above their sit bone measurements.


With the revised shape manufactures have been able to add padding to the saddles increasing comfort. Now, you don’t want a pillow moving around under you for a lot of reasons. But the new saddles aren’t as rock hard as earlier models.

Extremely soft padding tends to quickly wear out causing different issues. Which brings up another point: Saddles are wear items! Depending on how hard and often you ride your saddle life will vary – but an aged saddle often causes lower back pain as your body compensates for the extra movements and lack of support.

Saddle Installation & Position

Generally a MTB saddle is installed parallel to the ground as the bike sits on its wheels. Women will tend to run the nose down a bit more for comfort.

Angling the saddle nose up quickly leads to numbness or pain.

As modern MTB geometry has steepened the seattubes you may find yourself running a saddle further rearward than previous bikes. Don’t run the saddle so far rearward as to lose the advantages of the steeper seattube when climbing though!

It’s a good idea to bring your multi-tool the first couple rides so you can make minor adjustments to the saddle.

Applying a bit of pressure to the saddle while you tighten your seatpost bolts is helpful. When you tighten the forward bolt apply slight pressure to the nose of the saddle. Apply pressure on the rear of the saddle for the other bolt. This will help take some of the load off the seatpost hardware while minimizing the likelihood of creaks after installation.

MTB Saddle Shape

MTB riders move around on the bike more than other cyclists.

Climbing steeps? Move forward on that saddle.

Dropping steeps? Gotta get behind it.

More and more saddles are taking into account another technique growing in popularity: “catching” the side of the saddle with your thigh during direction changes. Ergon even has models with padding specific for this.

This technique is a great way to keep a bike more behaved in the corners by adding a third point of contact. Between your grips, pedals and a quick catch of the saddle you can really lock a bike into position.

Purchasing the Right Saddle

We offer saddles from Ergon, SQLab and WTB in a variety of sizes as well as shapes.

Four factors will get you into the right saddle range.

Weight: and price. I’m combining those as one… Lighter, more exotic rails will weight less but cost more. Another factor to consider is whether a higher end saddle offers improvements in the saddle padding material.

Width: gotta support the sitbones without going so wide you can’t get behind it.

Profile Shape: typically a MTB saddle has a relatively flat profile. If you see a huge “whale tail” or an aggressive nose down the saddle isn’t going to have as much usable length.

Reliefs: how much relief cut out do you need? You don’t want a saddle that gives you pain or numbness.

The right fit, well, it probably isn’t like your favorite recliner… Do I miss sitting on after a ride? Not exactly… Remembering to move around while riding the bike really helps with saddle issues.

Some riders talk about “the pain cave” and just lock in right? Not me. I’m about the “non-pain meadow with a view and a cold drink” by standing up, moving forward and back, even sitting left or right biased greatly helps me on long rides to stay comfortable in the saddle.

Still have questions on which Ergon, SQLab or WTB saddle is right for you? Chat, email or call our team today and we will help you better understand the fit and technologies.

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