Bikepacking is an outdoor adventure activity that involves cycling for long distances while camping and carrying your gear on your bike. One of the essential components of a successful bikepacking journey is having the right saddle. Choosing the best bikepacking saddle can greatly enhance the comfort and pleasure of long-distance cycling. In this article, let’s explore some of the best bikepacking saddles available in the market today.
The Importance of Choosing the Right Bikepacking Saddle
As an avid bikepacking enthusiast, I know firsthand the importance of choosing the right saddle for your adventure. A poor saddle choice can ruin your trip, causing discomfort, pain, and even injury. But with so many options on the market, how do you choose the best bikepacking saddle for your needs?
Understanding the Basics of Bikepacking Saddles
Before we dive into the best bikepacking saddle options, it’s essential to understand the basics. There are two main types of bikepacking saddles:
Traditional Saddles: These are the most common type of saddle, designed with a narrow profile and a long, pointed nose. Traditional saddles are generally lighter and provide better power transfer.
Cutout Saddles: These saddles have a cutout in the center, designed to relieve pressure on the perineum. Cutout saddles are often wider than traditional saddles and can be more comfortable for long rides.
Factors to Consider When Choosing a Bikepacking Saddle
When choosing a bikepacking saddle, there are several factors to consider:
Riding Position: Your riding position will affect the type of saddle you need. If you ride in an aggressive, low position, a traditional saddle may be best. If you ride in a more upright position, a cutout saddle may be more comfortable.
Saddle Width: The width of your saddle is crucial to your comfort. A saddle that is too narrow can cause discomfort and pain, while a saddle that is too wide can cause chafing and rubbing.
Saddle Padding: The amount of padding you need depends on your personal preference. Some riders prefer a minimal amount of padding, while others prefer a more cushioned saddle.
Saddle Material: Saddle material can affect both comfort and durability. Leather saddles are often more durable but require more maintenance than synthetic materials.
Top Bikepacking Saddle Options
Now that you understand the basics of bikepacking saddles let’s dive into the top options on the market:
1. Brooks B17
The Brooks B17 is a classic leather saddle that has been a favorite among bikepackers for decades. The B17 is durable, comfortable, and requires minimal maintenance. It’s a great option for riders who prefer a traditional saddle.
2. Selle Anatomica X Series
The Selle Anatomica X Series is a cutout saddle designed to relieve pressure on the perineum. It’s wider than traditional saddles and provides excellent comfort for long rides. The X Series is also relatively lightweight, making it a great option for bikepacking adventures.
3. Ergon SM Pro
The Ergon SM Pro is a saddle designed specifically for mountain biking and bikepacking. It features a cutout design, a wider profile, and a comfortable amount of padding. The SM Pro is a great option for riders who want a saddle that can handle rough terrain.
4. WTB Pure
The WTB Pure is a traditional saddle designed for all-day comfort. It features a long, narrow profile and a comfortable amount of padding. The Pure is a great option for riders who prefer a traditional saddle but want a little more comfort.
5. Terry Fly
The Terry Fly is a cutout saddle designed for women. It features a wider profile and a comfortable amount of padding. The Fly is a great option for female riders who want a saddle that fits their anatomy.
FAQs for Best Bikepacking Saddle
What is a bikepacking saddle?
A bikepacking saddle is designed to be comfortable for long-distance rides with minimal gear. It is wider and more supportive than a traditional race saddle but still offers weight savings compared to a fully plush touring saddle. Bikepacking saddles often have a shorter nose for a more aggressive riding position and are designed to work with bikepacking bags.
What makes A good bikepacking saddle?
A good bikepacking saddle is comfortable for long rides on gravel and trails, offers enough support for a loaded bike, and has a shape that minimizes chafing and pressure points. It should also be durable enough to withstand the wear and tear associated with off-road riding and be made from materials that are water-resistant in case of wet weather.
How do I choose the right bikepacking saddle for me?
Choosing the right bikepacking saddle for you will depend on your individual riding position and preferences. You may want to consider trying out a few different options to determine what feels most comfortable for you. Factors to consider when choosing a saddle include the saddle’s width, shape, and material. A saddle that is too narrow can cause excessive pressure on your sit bones, while a saddle that is too wide can cause chafing.
What is the difference between a traditional, touring, and bikepacking saddle?
A traditional road saddle is designed for high-intensity riding in a forward-leaning position. A touring saddle is designed for long-distance rides with heavy gear and is typically wider and more plush than a traditional race saddle. A bikepacking saddle is designed to be both supportive and lightweight for long rides on mixed surfaces with minimal gear. It typically has a shorter nose for a more aggressive riding position.
What are Some popular bikepacking saddle brands?
Some popular bikepacking saddle brands include Brooks, WTB, Selle Anatomica, and Fabric. Each brand offers a range of saddles with different shapes, widths, and materials, so it’s important to do your research and try out a few different saddles to determine which one works best for you.