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The Best Triathlon Saddles of 2022

A seat can be your best friend or your worst enemy. With help from an expert bike fitter, we look at the best options for triathlon saddles in 2022.

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Whether you’ve been spending more time on the trainer than usual or you’re starting to ramp up your bike training, having a good seat makes a huge difference. No one can tell you which will be the best triathlon saddle for you, but we’ve tapped Jonathan Blyer, bike fitter and owner of ACME Bicycle Co., managing editor Emma-Kate Lidbury, and executive editor Chris Foster to pick some of the most interesting saddles this year and break them down with an expert eye. Of course it’s still up to you to test saddles and find the right fit for your body, position, and style of riding, but our guide will give you an educated head start.

What Makes a Good Triathlon Saddle?

What makes a good triathlon saddle? We base the ratings for our best triathlon saddles in 2022 off the following criteria and specs: density, width at the nose, width at the sitpoint, width at the widest point, “sweet spot” wiggle room, cutout, and texture. Also take a look at our expert guide to help you find the perfect saddle.

Criteria Description
Overall Rating While this rating doesn’t necessarily add up to a total average of other ratings, we look at a combination of shape, feel, and balance. Of course every body is different, but a higher rating here means it has the features and balance that could work well for tri.
Density This rating indicates the firmness of the saddle, with 1/5 being a very, very soft saddle, and 5/5 being incredibly firm, almost hard.
Width At Nose This measurement indicates the width (in mm) of the saddle at the nose. If you have issues with chafing in your thighs, you may want to try a saddle with a narrower value here. If you ride the front of the saddle often and require support (and have no issues with chafing), you may want to try something wider.
Width At Sitpoint This measurement—gathered 100mm from the nose for tri and 125mm from the nose for road—approximates where the majority of riders actually sit. While the optimal value for this varies from person to person, this measurement will help you dial in your fit off of an existing saddle you own.
Width At Widest Point This measurement tells you how many millimeters wide the saddle is at its widest. This value can also help once you have a baseline from an existing saddle. A wider saddle will typically give more support, but it’s important that it’s not so wide that it goes outside the optimal seating position for your body’s shape and/or creates chafing.
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room On a scale of 1–5, with 1/5 indicating very few places to sit and 5/5 indicating many. If you like to move around on your saddle as you ride, look for a higher value here.
Cutout This value tells you how much cutout is effectively used on the saddle. 1/5 means very minimal cutout and 5/5 indicates a very effective/maximal cutout.
Texture This value helps provide guidance on how rough or smooth the saddle is. A value of 1/5 indicates a very smooth saddle—potentially better for someone who has chafing issues—and a value of 5/5 shows an almost sticky saddle—better for someone who has issues sliding around in a wet race kit or maybe uses an angled seat position as a part of their fit.

Editor’s Note: While the gear below was loaned out by the brands represented, all choices were selected independently by the tester without any promotional consideration or brand input. Also, unlike other “best triathlon bike review” websites, our testers physically evaluate the products themselves—no glancing at spec sheets and rewording marketing terms! Read more here on how we proudly test our gear.

RELATED: Ask A Gear Guru: Do I Need A New Saddle?

Best Triathlon Saddles of 2022

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Speed And Comfort Type T

$220, 284g, speedandcomfort.com

Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o
Density o o o
Width At Nose 40mm
Width At Sitpoint 57mm
Width At Widest Point 155mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o o o
Cutout o o
Texture o o o o

This saddle was designed with female riders in mind, specifically those who prefer to sit more upright. As a result, it’s likely not the best choice for the competitive triathlete. It has a very narrow nose (and it is narrower at the rear of the nose than it is at the front), which took us some time to get used to. Initially, this led to quite a lot of fidgeting in the saddle. The manufacturer said this design is intended to give “those upper thighs a lot of extra room,” but in reality it really just led to a lot of extra wiggle time. This saddle also feels very wide at the rear (much wider than its measurements would suggest), so it might be a better option for those who like to ride further back in their saddle and/or push back in the saddle.

– Emma-Kate Lidbury

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ISM PN4.1

$240, 316g, ismseat.com

Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o o o
Density o o o o
Width At Nose 55mm
Width At Sitpoint 80mm
Width At Widest Point 120mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o o
Cutout o o o o o
Texture o o o o

The latest saddle from tri-favorite ISM is a more-padded version of their popular PN (meaning “performance narrow”) 4.0 series. While ISM pitches this as more of a road/gravel saddle, this is an excellent choice for triathletes who have issues with thigh rubbing–due to wide split-nose saddles–and those who do not need (or want) to move around much while they ride.

In contrast to the longer, nearly straight PN2.1, the PN4.1 also has a seamless, grippier cover that further helps with any issues of chafing or rubbing. The cutout is also more inwardly curved than the popular PN2.1, with a wider cutout (that also means slightly less real estate on the split nose itself). On first ride, this lack of space can feel a little “sharper” to the rider’s undersides, but because of the increased padding, once the rider’s weight settles into the cushioning, it actually spreads out, wears in, and becomes more comfortable.

One last note: Sadly, the PN4.1 does not have the transition rack “lip” that you’ll find on many of ISM’s saddles, so you’ll have to hang your bike on the saddle nose (or your handlebars) and not on the rear of the seat.

– Chris Foster

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Shimano Pro Stealth Performance Saddle

$180, 204g, pro-bikegear.com

Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o o
Density o o o o
Width At Nose 50mm
Width At Sitpoint 63.5mm
Width At Widest Point 152mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o o o o
Cutout o o o o o
Texture o o o

This saddle is unashamedly performance-oriented with firm support and maximal cutouts. Our tester really enjoyed the slightly-downturned wings that help increase comfort and “wiggle room” in what is otherwise a lightweight, racer-type saddle. Riders who like sitting further forward on their saddles will likely get on well with the Stealth Performance—its short nose and slightly wider measurements at the sitpoint provide plenty of options (comfortable ones) for those who like to ride in the tri bars or use this saddle on a road or gravel bike. If you’re someone who prefers more support/comfort then this might not be your ticket to ride: It is definitely less textured than most and features some fairly aggressive cutouts.

– Emma-Kate Lidbury

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Fi’zi:k Argo Adaptive R1

Starting at $260, 199g (150mm), fizik.com

Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o
Density o o o
Width At Nose 35mm
Width At Sitpoint 55mm
Width At Widest Point 155mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o
Cutout o o
Texture o o o o o

Though not technically a tri saddle, Fi’zi:k’s Argo Adaptive R1 line is a fascinating new style of saddle with 3D-printed cushioning/saddle cover. Rather than using foam or gel and a synthetic cover wrap, the Adaptive line uses 3D printing to create small hexagons of different densities and shapes to map very specific zones of cushioning on the saddle (all the while providing an incredible amount of grip).

The seat itself is a great choice for a road or gravel bike or for a triathlete with either a very upright aero position or a aerobar-plus-road-bike setup. This is not the seat for someone who wants to move around at all on their saddle. The cutout area uses a very low-density section of 3D printed cushioning, while the sides and nose are far more dense. In fact, the center and rear center of the saddle are so soft that you nearly sink into the seat and almost onto the shell beneath. The good news is that you never quite get there, unless you’re exceptionally heavy, using thin shorts, and riding for a very long time, but it’ll be interesting to see how this tech stands the test of time and miles.

Pro tip: Be wary of buying the super light carbon-railed version unless you’re certain your seat post head will accommodate an oval seat rail shape. Most tri bike seat posts do not work well with this rail design, so buyer be warned and potentially think about the circular alloy-railed version.

– Chris Foster

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Selle Italia Watt Gel Superflow

$200, 235g, us.selleitalia.com

Our gear editors round up the best triathlon saddles of 2021, including the Selle Italia Watt Gel Superflow.
Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o
Density o o o o o
Width At Nose 51mm
Width At Sitpoint (100mm back for tri, 80mm back for road) 60mm
Width At Widest Point 132mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o o o
Cutout o o o
Texture o o o o

Iconic Italian saddle brand Selle Italia has released its first legitimate triathlon saddle with the Watt. The Watt has a similar shape to other popular tri saddles with a slightly narrower nose than most, generous levels of padding, and a slip-resistant surface. The narrow overall width comes with a cost—a narrow pressure relief groove which will not provide enough pressure relief for some but if you have been bothered by the overall width and firmness of other popular tri saddles, then the Watt may be just for you.

We liked the familiar dimensions of the saddle and the high-quality construction, but we found the short saddle rail to be slightly limiting when it comes to fits and the saddle can be difficult to find in person.

– Jonathan Blyer

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Bontrager Hilo Pro

$230, 236g, trekbikes.com

Our gear editors round up the best triathlon saddles of 2021, including the Bontrager Hilo Pro.
Best Triathlon Saddles Category Rating
Overall Rating o o o o
Density o o o
Width At Nose 56mm
Width At Sitpoint (100mm back for tri, 80mm back for road) 71mm
Width At Widest Point 128mm
“Sweet Spot” Wiggle Room o o o o
Cutout o o o o o
Texture o o o o

The Bontrager Hilo pro has been around for a few years, and it remains underappreciated and unchanged for 2021. The saddle shares similar geometry to the Speed and Comfort Type 5 above, with a few tweaks for the better. All saddles deform when a rider sits on them, and the softer they are, the more they deform—while the Hilo Pro is on the softer side, it holds its shape well and the pressure relief channel does not seem to narrow appreciably under load.

We really liked the finish quality on this saddle, and the dual-density foam does a great job of providing both cushioning and support. In fact, the Hilo Comp provides the same level of comfort for $110 less. The Hilo Pro also comes with mounting features for compatible products like hydration and storage. Much like the Selle Italia above, the short saddle rails are limiting for fitting, and it’s unfortunate that this saddle can only be found at Trek/Bontrager retailers.

– Jonathan Blyer