Best Saddles for Bike Touring and Bikepacking 2024

Best Saddle for bike touring

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This is a gear review of the Best Saddles for Bike Touring and Bikepacking 2024.

When it comes to bikepacking bikes and bike touring bikes, having the right bicycle saddle or bike seat can make or break your cycling experience.

Finding the right touring bike saddle is personal and differs for each rider, therefore there is a vast amount of saddles to choose from.

I’ve done all the work for you, and in this article, you will discover the best cycling saddles that you can find in 2024.

How We Tested

All the Bike Saddles in this review have been extensively evaluated and researched by the expert author who has many years of experience in Bike Touring and Bikepacking. Some of the Saddles were purchased by the author for this review. They have been rigorously tested by the author for more than 30,000 miles of cycling through more than 20 countries around the world. The research, testing, and experience of the author have combined to come up with the best bike touring and bikepacking saddles for 2024. Read the Review Policy for further details.

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Best Bike Touring and Bikepacking Saddles 2024

The Best Bike Touring and Bikepacking Saddles for 2024 are:

Best Cycling Saddle 2024 – Overall

Brooks B17 Saddle

Brooks B17 Bicycle Saddle

> Retro look
> Comfortable after break in period
> Durable
> Can be uncomfortable until it is broken in

The Brooks B17 Saddle has been handmade in England using 100-year-old techniques. These bicycle touring saddles are made from the highest quality vegetable tanned leather.

This is a durable touring saddle made with black steel rails and rivets and a chrome frame, for added strength and durability alongside comfort. Many around the world cyclists have been using this saddle for years and clocking up tens of thousands of miles. It will last a very long time.

It is very easy to fit onto your bike and takes mere minutes to easily slot and clamp into place. The B17 is available in a range of different widths and colors, so you can buy one that suits you and your style.

I have used and tested 2 of these seats over the last 15 years. I can confirm that you have to break this seat in. When you first use this bike seat it will be uncomfortable. But with time the seat will become more comfortable with continued use. Thus you will end up keeping this saddle for an extremely long time.

Expert tip: I can confirm from my own experience that this seat will break in much quicker in warm weather as the leather will soften and shape itself to your body quicker.

Overall, this is not only the most popular touring bike saddle on the market but also one of the best touring bike saddles.

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Most Comfortable Bike Saddle 2024

Ergon SMC Sports Gel Saddle

Ergon SMC Sports Bike Gel Saddle

> 2 year warranty
> Lightweight
> Comfortable soft foam and gel inlays
> Can take a while to work out what angle the seat has to be tilted to be most comfortable

The Ergon SMC Sports Gel Saddle was designed to give comfort to mountain bikers and bikepacking riders. The SMC saddle distributes the rider’s weight onto their sit bones, which should then prevent any chances of discomfort.

This padded saddle is made using soft foam with gel inlays which increases comfort for long bike journeys.

The padding of this touring saddle is comfortable but still firm enough for those longer bike riding days. You will notice a hole in the saddle and at the moment we don’t see any benefit that it brings.

This saddle is all about removing any pressure points and giving you the most comfortable and enjoyable ride possible over any terrain.

There is an Ergon SMC Men’s version and An Ergon SMC Women’s version.

Overall, this is arguably the most comfortable bike saddle on the market right now.

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Best Saddle for Bike Touring

Selle Royal Float Moderate Bike Saddle

Selle Royal Moderate Bike Seat

> This saddle uses memory foam, which sculpts to your body
> Reasonably priced
> Can add rear lights or any accessory to the back of the seat
> This is a chunky and a heavy saddle

The Selle Royal Moderate Bike Seat is another one of the most comfortable touring bike seats on the market. It is made with memory foam that will mold to fit the shape of your body.

This saddle is well suited to bicycle touring and bikepacking on rough roads or dirt trails. It does a good job of absorbing shocks and bumps.

The nose of the saddle doesn’t look as slender as other models, but it doesn’t affect your pedalling. On the back of this saddle, you will find Selle Royal’s integrated clip system, here you can attach other accessories such as a rear light or seat packs.

Overall, this another one of the most comfortable bicycle saddles on the market and perfectly suited to cyclists wanting a super comfortable bike saddle.

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More Comfortable Bike Seats

Brooks Imperial B17 Saddle

Brooks B17 Imperial Carved Bike Seat

> Durable
> Comfortable after being broken in
> Tension of the saddle can be adjusted
> Expensive

The Brooks Imperial B17 is very similar to the Brooks B17 that we have mentioned above, yet there are some slight differences between these two models. The Brooks Imperial B17 uses the same 100 year old techniques to make the touring saddles.

It is made from top quality vegetable tanned leather, with tubular steel rails and frame. This makes this saddle incredibly strong. Like with other Brook saddles, you need to break this saddle in. However, it is a lot more comfortable than the B17 straight away.

This saddle features a lacing system, which prevents any deformation of your saddle over extended use. Yet this lacing system allows you to tailor this saddle to you, as you can adjust the tension to better suit your needs.

There are three versions of this saddle, which includes models for both men and women in: the Imperial; the Imperial S (short); and the Imperial Narrow.

Overall, this is another one of the best cycling saddles for bike touring.

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Best Women’s Bike Saddle 2024

Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow Bicycle Saddle

Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow Bicycle Saddle

> 24-month warranty
> Gel and silicon layers relieve pressure while you are sitting and give you a lot of support and comfort.
> Durable
> A bit heavy

The Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow Bicycle Saddle has been designed to fully comply with a woman’s shape. This saddle is made with a large hole in the middle of the saddle for ventilation. Inside the saddle is made with a gel layer which will provide you with the best comfort possible.

This is then combined with a thin layer of silicone gel. This gel absorbs any bumps or vibrations you may feel on the road while out cycling.

This saddle has a microfiber cover which helps extend the life of your saddle, making it a lot more durable. The rest of this saddle is made from high strength and flexible manganese and chromoly alloy rails.

The Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow saddle is easy to install on most bikes, and will provide you a lot of protection and comfort while on long bike rides.

Overall, this is one of the best bike saddles for women.

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Selle Italia Men s3 Gel Flow Bike Saddle

Selle Italia S3 Men Gel Flow Bike Saddle

> Gel and silicon layers relieve pressure while cycling
> Durable
> 24-month warranty
> A bit heavy

The Selle Italia S3 Men Gel Flow Bike Saddle is very similar to the female version, but it has been designed to fit a male rider’s body better. The saddle itself is still quite firm but also soft enough to support you while you are cycling. The cutout in the middle helps allow more comfort and ventilation.

This saddle has a gel layer combined with a silicone layer that gives great support and comfort while you are riding. Both of these layers absorb any shocks and vibrations you may feel while you are out cycling on uneven surfaces.

This is a durable saddle, with a microfiber cover and manganese and chromoly alloy rails. This is an easy saddle to install and will provide you with an enjoyable ride.

Overall, this is one of the best bike saddles for men and one of the most comfortable bike saddles for men.

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Selle Anatomica X1 Saddle

Selle Anatomica X1 Saddle

> Strong and durable
> High-quality leather that looks very appealing.
> You don’t have to break this leather saddle in, it will be comfortable from your first ride
> Chromoly rails can begin to bend if too much force is applied, which some customers found out.

The Selle Anatomica X1 Saddle is made in the USA and has been made with the utmost comfort in mind. You’ll immediately notice a slot in the saddle running through the middle. This slot will move with you as you ride, giving you more support on your pelvis as you ride.

Alongside this, the Selle Anatomica X1 staddle is made with the finest leather possible, which will give you a luxurious feel. With the dual reinforcing laminated leather layers, this leather is durable and will last on your saddle.

The leather molds to your body, for the perfect fit. However, unlike other leather saddles, this saddle takes a very long to be broken in and should be quite comfortable right out of the box. This leather seat is supported by long chromoly rails.

Overall, this is one of the most comfortable leather bike seats on the market.

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Gear Testing the best bike touring seats on the market

Bike Saddle Comparison Table

BrandSaddle MaterialRail MaterialWeightPadded
Brooks B17 SaddleLeatherSteel19 ozNo
Ergon SMC Sports Gel SaddleSyntheticSteel10.8 ozYes
Selle Royal Moderate Bike SaddleMicrofibreSteel15 ozYes
Brooks Imperial B17 SaddleLeatherSteel18 ozNo
Selle Italia Lady Gel Flow Bicycle SaddleMicrofibreManganese10.8 ozYes
Selle Italia S3 Mens Gel Flow Bike SaddleSyntheticAluminum12.8 ozYes
Selle Anatomica X1 SaddleLeatherSteel18.1 ozNo
Source: Manufacturer

Rail Materials

What your saddle is made out of is very important, as this is the thing that will be holding you up and helping you pedal. The rails of a saddle become the frame on which the sitting area fits onto.

Then your saddle is normally clamped onto the top of your seatpost. Most saddles will fit most types of bikes.

Cycling saddle rails can be made from steel, manganese, titanium and carbon. You will find that any saddle with carbon rails is going to be quite expensive yet really lightweight.

Let’s be honest, if you are going cycle touring you will not be using carbon or titanium rails, steel is the most common. Steel rails are also able to be repaired and welded in towns compared with other materials that will be unrepairable.

Chromoly rails are somewhat temperamental; they can sometimes bend, so you should try to stay away from Chromoly.

In the end, just get steel rails for your cycling seat.

Saddle Padding

Your touring saddle not only has to be strong, but it needs to be comfortable. Sometimes riders think that the more padding a saddle has the better and that just isn’t true.

Thick and soft padding might sound like a great idea, but over time this thick padding will compress and deform which will then create discomfort.

Hence, you want a type of padding that doesn’t deform and is only a thin layer. Otherwise, the padding will wear out over time and shift the pressure from your sit bones to the soft tissue, which is what you don’t want.

Really the shape of the saddle is a lot more important than the padding at times. Some riders are fine with no padding at all, but sometimes riders want a little bit of padding for a bit more comfort.

It is up to each rider and their individual riding style as to how much padding they have, but you want to avoid thick layers of soft padding.

Saddle Shape

The shape of your saddle is one of the most important parts of any saddle. This is why there are various shapes and sizes of saddles to choose from. Flat and narrow saddles are more suited for a lower riding position and aggressive riders similar to those you see in bike races.

While slightly wider and curved saddles are often more suited to riders who like to sit more upright while riding.

The shape that you choose, needs to work with your riding style and sit bone width. This is something that can be done with a little bit of research and discovering how you like cycling yourself.

An advantage of leather bike saddles is that they will mold to the shape of the rider’s backside and ensure that the bike seat is the exact shape of the rider’s sit bones.

Leather Bike Seats will be comfortable after the break in period

Saddle Cut Outs

Some of the saddles we have mentioned above, you’ll notice have cutouts. Now you don’t have to have a cutout, this just depends on comfort. Some riders don’t need a cutout as they have enough comfort from the right size saddle and padding that they have chosen.

However, if something is still feeling uncomfortable, then you might want a saddle with a cutout.

A cut-out is also known as a relief channel. This feature is for giving you more relief from any stress on soft tissue in your more delicate areas. If you are struggling for comfort then a cutout saddle might be for you.

However, you can have a cutout even if you don’t want one. It is completely up to you, but it is an option for even more comfortable if you are struggling.


One of the first upgrades many people make to their touring bike, fatbike, or bikepacking bike is a more comfortable and durable bike saddle.


In this article, I have given you the best cycling saddles that you can buy right now. All of these saddles will provide you with the utmost comfort possible so that you can enjoy your cycling experience.

It is really difficult to pick the best or most comfortable as all of the bike saddles in this review are there because they are awesome, comfortable, and best suited to long-distance cycle touring and Bikepacking.

Here are the best bike seats for 2024:

Another one of the Best Bike Touring Gear Reviews from BikeHikeSafari.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is A Wider Saddle More Comfortable?

For long rides or just more gentle rides a wider saddle can give you more comfort, especially if there is extra weight from any added gear. However, you don’t want a saddle that is too wide, otherwise it can put more pressure on soft tissue and chafing could become an issue. It is about finding the right balance.

How Long Should A Bike Saddle Last For?

This does depend on how often you ride your bike and how much use the saddle gets. However on average a saddle should last at least 2 years, but you’ll find that some saddles last 10 years or longer.

How Long Does It Take To Get Used To A New Bike Saddle?

Depending on the make of the saddle, it can take anywhere between a couple of days to a few weeks for you to get used to the new seat.

This is because your body has to get used to a new pressure from the seat, which should be distributing your weight properly on your sit bones. Normally leather saddles take a while to get used to as you have to break them in.

Best Saddles for Bike Touring and Bikepacking

BikeHikeSafari Gear Review Process

The author, Brad McCartney from BikeHikeSafari is a small independent adventurer and outdoor gear tester who owns and runs

BikeHikeSafari is not part of a large blog network and is proudly independent. All reviews on this site are independent and honest gear reviews of outdoor products by the author.

The author, Brad McCartney is a very experienced triple crown thru-hiker, adventurer, and bike tourer having spent 1000s of nights sleeping in a tent and sleeping bag (Read more). He was a manager of an outdoor retail store and is very experienced in what is important when using and testing gear for reviews like this.

BikeHikeSafari will never receive any money for reviews and they do not accept sponsored reviews on this website. All the comments about the gear reviews are from the author based on his years of experience. Hope this independent review was helpful to you.

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About the Author:
Brad is an Australian who has completed the hiking Triple Crown after he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail, Continental Divide Trail and Appalachian Trail. He has hiked on every continent (except Antarctica) and has cycled from Alaska to Ecuador. He is an expert on outdoor gear currently living in Chile.

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