Mountain bike seat: all about the MTB saddle

mountain bike seat

A mountain bike seat is often very light and compact. If a mountain bike seat is not comfortable, this can quickly result in saddle pain. A good distribution of the pressure on the buttocks is very important. That is why an MTB saddle usually has an opening in the middle of the saddle. On this page you will discover everything about an MTB seat and I will go deeper into these types of characteristics.

Why a special MTB seat?

What many do not know is that there are special saddles for mountain bikes. The seats are very light, so that they have as little impact as possible on the total weight of your mountain bike. However, that is not the only reason to choose a special MTB seat: it can also prevent saddle pain.

mountain bike seat
A lightweight MTB saddle from Bontrager. ©

Mountain bike saddle sore prevention

The right mountain bike seat is very important: in other words, there must be a good fit. If this is not the case, saddle pain may occur. We naturally want to avoid this uncomfortable feeling if we want to go for a nice round of mountain biking.

To prevent saddle pain, it is very important to pay attention to the following factors of the saddle:

  • How far apart are the seat cushions?
  • How long is the saddle?
  • Saddle shape

In addition, you should ask yourself what kind of mountain biker you are: do you often sit on the saddle or do you often stand upright while mountain biking? In addition to the saddle itself, a correct mountain bike seat height is of course also very important.

Before you immediately buy a new one, it can also be smart to take a look at suitable mountain bike shorts. This is equipped with a soft inlay, so that you can sit more comfortably on the saddle.

Features of a mountain bike seat

What makes a mountain bike saddle different from other saddles? We have just indicated that an MTB saddle is much lighter than normal bicycle saddles. In addition, they are also much narrower and there are fewer large seat cushions than with a normal saddle.

Most MTB saddles also have a gap (hole) between the seat cushions. This is called a relief channel, and ensures that the space between your hips is relieved during mountain biking. View the relief channel in the image below:

mtb seat relief channel
A relief channel in the MTB saddle relieves the pressure between your hips. ©

Men vs women MTB seat

There is a big difference between men and women when it comes to bicycle saddles. For example, a men’s saddle is often a lot narrower, because the sit bones at the pelvis are positioned closer together than at the pelvis of women. In addition, the pelvis in women tilts more quickly, so that they are more likely to bend forward. A woman therefore benefits more from an MTB saddle with a narrow point, but a wider seat.

Mounting an MTB saddle

Mounting an MTB saddle is done the right way. Not only the height of the saddle is important: also the correct distance from the saddle to the mountain bike handlebar. For proper mounting of the MTB saddle:

  1. Mount the MTB saddle correctly on the mountain bike seat post
  2. Slide the seat post back into your mountain bike and tighten it at the correct height
  3. Check from above whether the mountain bike saddle is upright
  4. Check from the side that the saddle is not down or up
mounting mountain bike seat
Always check whether the MTB saddle is straight. ©

Mountain bike seat brands

When you are going to buy a new saddle for your mountain bike, you will come across many different brands. In many cases, these are brands that also offer other mountain bike accessories. Check out some interesting brands below:

  • WTB
  • Selle Italia
  • SQlab
  • Bontrager
  • Cube*

* Some brands are – as you may see – also bicycle brands.

Buying tips for a new seat

If you are going to buy a new saddle, there are a number of things you should ask yourself. We list them below, so that you don’t make a bad buy later.

  • Look carefully at the distance between the seat cushions*
  • Think about what kind of cyclist you are (marathon or freerider)
  • Pay close attention to the maximum width of the seat post
  • Go for a ‘nice’ combination with the colors of your MTB

Did you know that you can also have this measured by specialists? At many bicycle shops you can just walk in to have this measured.

Frequently asked questions about a MTB seat

Is an MTB saddle different from a road bike seat?

These saddles are often the same. In fact, there are saddles that can be used for both bicycles. There is a big difference with a normal bicycle saddle. This is often larger, softer and equipped with larger seat cushions.

Why does a mountain bike saddle often have a hole / recess in the middle?

The recess in the middle of the mountain bike saddle is there for a reason. It is a so-called relief channel and ensures that the pressure between your hips is relieved.

What is the best MTB saddle?

The answer to this question depends on many (personal factors). For example, the distance of the seat cushions is important to determine whether a saddle is a suitable choice for you. View the buying tips above to ensure that you buy the best MTB saddle.

When does my saddle need to be replaced?

After a fall, the saddle can break and the inside can come loose. This allows the seating comfort of the saddle to deteriorate quickly. The saddle must then be replaced. And don’t you use an mountain bike stand? Then there is a good chance that your saddle will have to be replaced sooner, since you often put the saddle against something to leave the bicycle.

My MTB seat is not comfortable, what can I do?

Before you immediately buy a new saddle, it can also be smart to look at good MTB pants: these have a soft inlay, so that saddle pain occurs less quickly.

Are there differences between men’s and women’s bicycle saddles?

They certainly are. Men’s pelvises are different from women’s. The sit bones are positioned closer together in men than in women. In addition, women often sit forward on a mountain bike. A woman benefits more from a narrow saddle with a greater distance between the seat cushions. In many cases a man will enjoy mountain biking on a narrower saddle.

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