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BUYER'S GUIDE

16 of the best short saddles - compare the new generation of fast seats

New saddle designs for riders in a rush

There are ever more short saddles on the market designed for those who like to spend time in an aggressive ride position. Here are 16 of the best short saddles.

  • Short saddles work best for short, intense efforts like time trials

  • Pressure-relieving cut-outs, once reserved for women's saddles, help make it easier to stay in one position on a short saddle

  • The recent popularity of short-nosed saddles affords another bike fit option for riders who don't get on with standard saddles

  • Prices of short saddles start around £50 — they're definitely aimed at the 'serious' end of the cycling spectrum

16 of the best short saddles for 2021

Short saddles have been popular in time trials and triathlon for many years with riders trying to reduce the pressure on soft tissue when in an aero ride position – there was a time when pro riders (or their mechanics) would take out a saw and chop the nose off a sponsor's saddle in order to get it down to the length they wanted for a TT – and they’ve crossed over into more general road use recently.

But what constitutes 'short'? A Selle Italia Flite saddle that’s a fairly normal length measures 275mm from nose to tail, a Fabric Scoop Race Flat saddle is 282mm and a Fizik Arione Classic is a mighty 302mm long. Short saddles tend to be about 255mm or less because the front of the nose has been eliminated.

Some people also like short saddles because of their increased clearance for the quads and hamstrings – there’s less saddle to get in the way, essentially.

Of course, if there’s one thing we know about saddles it’s that what’s right for one person can be agony for another, so we’d always advise you to try before you buy.

Check out the best saddles to improve comfort

Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle — £259.90

2021 Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle

As you can guess from the price, the Novus Boost Evo is one of the flagships of Selle Italia's range. Every saddle maker has a showboating top-end model that uses the lightest and most expensive materials to achieve the lightest weight and highest levels of stiffness and comfort, and if the Boost Evo Kit Carbonio is too rich for you then there are other models in the range, all the way down to £74.90, which still have the same shape.

Tester Stu writes: "Rather than a flat saddle, I like one that has a bit of a curve in it – or 'waved', as Selle Italia calls it. I tend not to move around on a saddle that much, and spend much of my time seated even when climbing. The upwardly curved rear section of the Novus gives me something to push against, and the short nose (the saddle is just 245mm long) allows me to bend over onto the drops.

"I'm not a big fan of thick padding on saddles, so out of the box the Novus probably wouldn't be my first choice, but after riding it now for over 500 miles I've found that, although thicker than some, the padding is very firm and therefore supportive. Its lack of compression keeps you raised above the central channel to ward off any numbness."

Read our full review of the Selle Italia Novus Boost Evo Kit Carbonio Superflow saddle
Find a Selle Italia dealer

Giant Fleet SLR saddle — £129.99

2020 Giant Fleet SLR saddle 1.jpg

Giant's Fleet SLR saddle is great for getting low at the front of the bike while staying comfortable at the back. The large central cutout and stubby design are very well shaped, and the price is good too.

Shortened saddles are becoming a common sight on road race bikes, as they can really help with aggressive positions. The Fleet SLR features a central cutout, a wide, short nose, carbon rails and contouring to help you stay comfy when riding head down.

The shape of the Fleet SLR really works (at least for tester Liam – we all know it's very personal). The rear section is supportive, the cutout offers excellent pressure relief and the swooping drop from back to front is brilliant when hammering along. You feel well supported and free to push forward.

Read our review of the Giant Fleet SLR
Find a Giant dealer

Giant Fleet SL saddle — £69.99

2020 Giant Fleet SL saddle 1.jpg

Giant's Fleet SL saddle is a very good choice for occasional racers looking for more comfort when riding in an aero position. The saddle features firm padding but there's a little flex in the base along with a large central cutout, and I found it to be very comfortable, especially as the miles ticked up. The weight is good, but the price is a little higher than the competition.

Tester Liam writes: "I favour a rather long and low bike setup, so I find these types of saddles to be very comfortable; when shunted forward, they place more of the supportive rear part of the saddle under me. The Fleet SL does this really well and I've really liked my time spent on it.

"My testing has included as much variation in types of riding as possible, from flat-out efforts to lazy spins through the lanes. I've fitted this to my race bikes and also popped it on my cyclo-cross bike to test out a slightly more upright position. It was comfortable on both types, so I wouldn't pigeon-hole this saddle for race bikes only."

Read our review of the Giant Fleet SL
Find a Giant dealer

Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow saddle — £424.99

2020 Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow.jpg

The Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow is the ultimate statement saddle. Engineered in partnership with an F1 constructor, it is a carbon fibre chassis for your sit bones that's jaw-droppingly expensive, breathtakingly light, beautifully finished and actually surprisingly comfortable.

Selle Italia gives the SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow five stars for 'medio fondo', two for 'granfondo' and none for endurance or cycle touring, by its own admission suggesting it's not a saddle for huge mileage, and I'd go along with that. It's a racing saddle designed for short, sharp efforts and works best when you're going fast and pedalling hard for up to three hours.

Read our review of the Selle Italia SP-01 Boost Tekno Superflow
Find a Selle Italia dealer

Fabric Line-S Race Flat saddle — £54.99

2020 Fabric Line S Race Flat women's saddle.jpg

Fabric's Line-S Race Flat saddle will appeal to performance-focused riders looking for a stable, supportive design for fast riding – the Flat in the name means flat-out. Its stumpy length and wide, slightly-sloped rear encourage an efficient fixed position, while the full-length channel relieves pressure. Mostly, it works extremely well, but the angular channel sides can occasionally irritate and there's no real wiggle-room to ease pressure on long rides.

Read our review of the Fabric Line-S Race Flat saddle
Find a Fabric dealer

Fabric Line S Pro Flat saddle — £104.99

2020 Fabric Line S Pro Flat unisex saddle.jpg

Fabric's Line S Pro Flat saddle is a stubby saddle that performs brilliantly in aggressive aero positions. The short nose with generous padding makes it easy to tuck down in the drops for long periods of time. A nylon base and soft padding create a lot of give that help to isolate you from road buzz, though the soft feel won't be for everyone. This is one for TT, triathlon and slammed race bikes.

Read our review of the Fabric Line S Pro Flat saddle
Find a Fabric dealer

Bontrager Aeolus Comp Saddle — £49.99

2020 Bontrager Aeolus Comp Saddle.jpg

The Bontrager Aeolus Comp is a unisex shorty saddle with a large cutout that's designed to take the pressure off soft tissues in an aero position – which it does very well. It's comfortable for both long road rides and short, intense turbo sessions thanks to its well judged level of padding and flexible shell. As the entry-level Aeolus saddle in a range of three, the price is competitively low, but the weight is on the high side.

The shape looks simple but it's very effective. The sit bones are well supported on flat sections either side of the cutout, while the nose, which is wider than the noses of other shorty saddles such as the Selle Itala SLR Boost Superflow, lets you perch on it in a stem-chewing situation in more comfort than Selle Italia's SLR shape does, maximising available space. And the semicircle of padding at the tip, which closes off the cutout channel, cleverly stops you from sliding too far forward.

Read our review of the Bontrager Aeolus Comp Saddle
Find a Bontrager dealer

Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror Saddle — £390

2020 Specialized S-Works Power Saddle - top (1).jpg

Specialized's S-Works Power with Mirror saddle is a new 3D-printed design with a honeycomb structure that offers a superb level of comfort, although you do have to pay handsomely for it.

You only have to glance at the Mirror saddle – which gets its name because it "perfectly reflects your anatomy", according to Specialized – to see that it's very different from the norm. There's nothing particularly unusual about the carbon composite rails or about the carbon base with a cutaway centre, but rather than foam on top of that, you get a 3D-printed polymer lattice.

Read our review of the Specialized S-Works Power with Mirror Saddle
Find a Specialized dealer

Prologo Dimension 143 CPC Tirox saddle — £125.76

Prologo Dimension Tirox CPC 143.jpg

The Prologo Dimension 143 CPC Tirox is a saddle for people who know exactly where they want to sit and want to be kept there. It's short, fairly wide and surprisingly comfortable, delivering an excellent, unobtrusive ride feel without fuss or gimmicks.

At 245mm long, the Dimension 143 CPC Tirox is significantly shorter than your typical performance saddle, so it won't suit riders who like to slide backwards and forwards a lot; there's basically nowhere to slide to. That's standard for short saddles, though, and the good news is that the position that the Dimension provides is really very comfortable indeed.

Read our review of the Prologo Dimension 143 CPC Tirox saddle
Find a Prologo dealer

Fizik Vento Argo R1 saddle — £148

Fizik Vento Argo R1 saddle.jpg

Fizik's entry into the short-saddle stakes is light at 186g, with a pressure-relieving cut-out and minimal but comfy padding. As we've come to expect from Fizik, it's very nicely made.

The shape is similar to a Specialized Power saddle and as is standard with short saddles it pretty much plants you in one, non-negotiable sitting position. The nose is too short for you to wriggle backwards and forwards very much.

Fortunately, that comfortable foam cover combines with a slightly flexible shell to provide a surprisingly smooth ride; sharp-edged potholes don't batter your bum, which is a definite bonus.

Read our review of the Fizik Vento Argo R1 saddle
Find a Fizik dealer

Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Racing saddle — £144.99

Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Racing.jpg

Short saddles are quite the thing right now. They originated in triathlon where a more forward position can be advantageous, and they're becoming increasingly common on road bikes too. The Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Racing saddle is a good one. It's well made and comfortable, with a wide pressure-relieving channel and plenty of padding.

Who's it for? Well. According to Selle San Marco, you might want one if you're riding for under two hours, because 'the sustaining subcutaneous tissues don't have to adapt to prolonged pressure', and you might also want one for more than five- or six-hour rides because of 'the time that the subcutaneous areas are subject to pressure'. So does that mean that it's not ideal for a three- or four-hour ride?

Read our review of the Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Racing
Find a Selle San Marco dealer

ISM PN 3.1 saddle — £126 - £140

2018 ism pn 3.1 saddle

Like all of ISM’s designs, the new PN 3.1 has a nose that comprises two separate arms (weird image, but that’s what they’re called!), hence the distinctive look. The saddle is “designed to remove pressure from soft tissue, ensuring maximum blood flow, no genital numbness, and a healthier, more enjoyable ride”.

The PN 3.1 is 255mm long, 120mm wide across the rear section, and the rails are chromo steel.

Read more about the ISM PN 3.1 here
Find an ISM dealer here

Take a look at our guide to fitting and setting up your saddle.

Prologo Dimension Nack — £169

Prologo 2018 Dimension Nack Saddle.jpg

Prologo’s Dimension Nack has a nose that’s about 3-3.5cm shorter than on a traditionally shaped saddle, and a total length of 245mm.

When Stu Kerton reviewed this saddle for road.cc he said, “The short nose does make it feel like you are perching on the front of the saddle, but when really crouched in the drops and hammering along it feels great. It was definitely noticeable that the Prologo has less up front, which gives more freedom of movement.”

“It's not just performance riding where the Dimension works, though. Sit up a bit and relax and you'll find that the shape of the saddle and the padding offer a decent balance of comfort and support.”

The Dimension also comes in a steel-railed version which is a little heavier but £80 cheaper at £119.99.

Read our review of the Prologo Dimension Nack saddle
Find a Prologo dealer here

Selle Italia Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow — £94.99 - £199.99

Selle Italia Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow L3 2018.jpg

Selle Italia’s Novus Boost Kit Carbonio Superflow might have a long name but the saddle itself is short at 256mm. Our reviewer George Hill felt that this reduction in length allowed him to get lower than usual over the handlebar without it having any impact on comfort in more conventional riding positions.

The left and right sides of the nose are split and George found that this helped him adopt several different positions on the saddle without any issues.

The ‘Superflow’ part of the name indicates that this saddle has an oversized cutout which reduces pressure on the perineum. More comfort is provided by multi-density padding throughout.

This model has Selle Italia’s CarboKeramic rails but there are considerably cheaper versions. The Novus Boost Superflow Ti316 comes with titanium rails and costs £114.99, while the Novus Boost TM Superflow with manganese steel rails is £71.20.

Read our review here
Find a Selle Italia dealer here

Read more: 10 of the best high-performance saddles

Specialized Power Expert saddle — £105

specialized_power_expert_2018.jpg

Specialized offers a range of shorty Power saddles designed for both men and women, opening with the Expert (other colours are available). As well as a short nose, it comes with a wide cutaway centre to remove pressure from sensitive areas.

The Power Expert is 240mm long and comes in three different widths: 143mm, 155mm and 168mm.

The shell is made from reinforced carbon-fibre, the padding is medium-density foam and the rails are hollow titanium

The range goes all the way up to the £175 Power Arc Pro with a claimed weight of just 193g in a 143mm width.

Find out more about the Specialized Power Expert here

Find a Specialized dealer here

See what saddles top riders were using at the Tour de France

Selle San Marco Shortfit Racing Saddle — £95.99

Selle San Marco Shortfit Racing Saddle.jpg

Selle San Marco has taken its road-specific Racing, Dynamic, and Carbon FX saddles and cut them down in size, the resulting Shortfit Racing being 250mm long.

Moving to an aggressive ride position is noticeably easier than with a longer saddle and a cutout that runs the length of the Shortfit Racing really helps with relieving pressure on the perineum. The varying foam densities across the saddle offer just the right amount of support.

The upper is made from a durable 'Microfeel' material which is hardwearing and grippy enough to keep you in position, while the shell is a carbon-reinforced nylon material. This keeps the saddle stiff and allows for good power transfer without too much flex.

Read our review of the Selle San Marco Shortfit Racing saddle

Find a San Marco retailer here

Find out about 9 ways to make your bike more comfortable

Explore the complete archive of reviews of saddles on road.cc

About road.cc Buyer's Guides

The aim of road.cc buyer's guides is to give you the most, authoritative, objective and up-to-date buying advice. We continuously update and republish our guides, checking prices, availability and looking for the best deals.

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road.cc buyer's guides are maintained by the road.cc tech team. Email us with comments, corrections or queries.

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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14 comments

Avatar
hawkinspeter | 1 year ago
0 likes

I'm surprised the Prime Primavera Shorty didn't make the list: https://www.wiggle.co.uk/prime-primavera-shorty-carbon-saddle

At a claimed weight of 160g, it's lighter than a lot on the above list.

Avatar
kil0ran | 1 year ago
0 likes

My Aeolus is a game changer and a revelation. I'm not doing a TT or intense efforts, I'm not even riding in a stretched position, but it's sorted out numbness and general saddle pain completely.

Something to bear in mind is that the rails are usually shorter than a conventional saddle, meaning you might need to get a longer setback seatpost, so factor that into your purchasing decision. The usable clamp area on the Aeolus is limited meaning I needed to swap the 8mm setback post I had for a 20mm one.

Avatar
Zigster | 3 years ago
0 likes

My new Cervelo Caledonia has a Prologo Dimension saddle and it's really uncomfortable. From the description above, this isn't surprising and I'm somewhat baffled why it has been included on what is supposed to be a long-distance, comfortable cruiser of a bike rather than a race bike.

I'm looking for a new saddle - one that suits the character of the bike (and my backside) a bit better.

Avatar
IanEdward | 3 years ago
0 likes

Have been experimenting with a couple of different types of short nosed saddle including the Specialized Romin (a sort of half-and-half, shorter than normal but not 'snub nosed) Bontrager Aeolus and Selle Italia Flite Boost Superflow.

I can say after a few experiments, a 450km gravel long weekend and now a fast morning spin on the road bike, that the Bontrager Aeolus is fantastic, £45, all the benefits of the snub nose including an increasing familiarity with my drops as it's easier to get down low, and equally at home bashing over gravel and rocks as it is on the turbo or putting in an effort up long gradual climbs. Initially it felt a little bit too wide, but if you set it up the way you might set up an ISM (they have a really handy guide on their website) then you can overcome this by setting it up a little lower, and just getting used to the width! (get some chamois cream on standby).

The Romin is mostly good but seems to suffer a similar issue to the Specialized Power in that it chafes the back of the thighs a bit but is too narrow to shuffle forward to prevent this. Just a personal 'shape' thing I guess.

I wanted to love the Selle Italia Flite Boost as it has the best shape for thigh clearance, but just like the Flites I had tried before, it is just a bit too narrow and the padding just a bit too thin. It feels 'fast' as it doesn't get in the way of your legs, but I wouldn't want to spend too much time on it!

I would say if you're tempted, get an Aeolus, too cheap not to try and they have a 30 day comfort guarantee. 

Avatar
OR_biker | 4 years ago
1 like

I mostly ride road, but occasionally do TT's and triathlons, and found that the saddles I liked for one I tended to hate for the other. The last couple years I found myself drawn to TT saddles (tried ISM and Fabric models) more often, since the short nose felt better when in a more aggressive position.  But during long climbs in the saddle or just more relaxed rides they could be painful for me.

Was intrigued by the newer stub-nose saddles, but didn't want to drop $100+ to try one, and there aren't many stores near me with a "try before buy" program with saddles (the ones that do focus on commuting and touring, so don't even carry the ones I was looking at).  I try to avoid Amazon anymore, but I found a decent solution there - cheap Chinese copies of the Pro Stealth and Specialized Power saddles.  Got the Stealth clone, as they only had one width option for both and the Power clone was the narrow version.  Plus, a coworker of mine has an actual Stealth saddle and said it's the most comfortable saddle he's ever had. 

The clone is obviously cheaper, more flexible and more padding, but the dimensions are nearly identical.  Took me several rides to get it dialed in, but I'm nearly 500 miles in with it and I love it!  Wide enough at the back to support me when I'm more upright, but little-to-no soft-tissue pressure when pretending I'm aero.  I'm not optimitstic about durability, but for $20 I'll be happy to get a year out of it, and then I'll be looking for the actual Pro version with confidence that it'll work for me and be worth the cost.  Hoping they come out with the wider version of the Power clone so I can try that one out as well, but even if not I'm pretty dang happy with this one.

Avatar
Nick T | 4 years ago
1 like

I always thought the saddles were cut short so that they could be positioned further forward without breaking UCI rules, nothing to do with enhancing comfort in any particular position 

Avatar
I love my bike replied to Nick T | 3 years ago
0 likes

If I remember correctly it was Graeme Obree who started this when going for the UCI hour record in the mid 90's, by cutting off the front of a regular saddle. When that was quickly banned, he fitted a mini saddle & that too was banned, and the minimum saddle length rule was set at 240mm.

Avatar
technone | 4 years ago
0 likes

The ISM website itself says if you feel like their saddles are too wide, you're sitting too far back on it. You're supposed to sit on your rail bones, google where they are.

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Biggus-Dickkus | 5 years ago
0 likes

The most comfortable saddle I have found is the Selle SMP Drakon...

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clayfit | 5 years ago
0 likes

I have an ISM saddle on my tri bike.  Does what it says on the tin in terms of reducing pressure especially when in the aero position  BUT the nose is really wide and you will get the worst blisters and rash from the wide nose until you have callouses between your legs.  My LBS recommended making the nose narrower by using cable ties to pull the segments together. That helped.

Try before you buy.

Avatar
SK replied to clayfit | 5 years ago
0 likes
clayfit wrote:

I have an ISM saddle on my tri bike.  Does what it says on the tin in terms of reducing pressure especially when in the aero position  BUT the nose is really wide and you will get the worst blisters and rash from the wide nose until you have callouses between your legs.  My LBS recommended making the nose narrower by using cable ties to pull the segments together. That helped.

Try before you buy.

 

Agree, ISMs are really cool. But for me they (Adamo Road & Typhoon) work the other way round: the wider the split nose/arms, the better.

Avatar
jellybike replied to SK | 5 years ago
0 likes
SK wrote:
clayfit wrote:

I have an ISM saddle on my tri bike.  Does what it says on the tin in terms of reducing pressure especially when in the aero position  BUT the nose is really wide and you will get the worst blisters and rash from the wide nose until you have callouses between your legs.  My LBS recommended making the nose narrower by using cable ties to pull the segments together. That helped.

Try before you buy.

 

Agree, ISMs are really cool. But for me they (Adamo Road & Typhoon) work the other way round: the wider the split nose/arms, the better.

 

I've been using one for a while now (PN 3.0) and love it. If you feel the nose is too wide, then you are probably sitting on it wrong. The saddles are noseless, so you don't sit on your perinium like you would on a normal saddle. If it felt to wide you probably didn't have it far enough back and you were trying to sit on your perinium. you need to be much more forward on the saddle

They are a little uncomfy for the first few rides as you get used to the new area of pressure

There's a good set up video here

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGqyeTSFMvE

 

Avatar
ShinyBits | 5 years ago
1 like

Does noone make a short nose saddle for less than £100? Clearly less is more! 

Avatar
Kendalred replied to ShinyBits | 5 years ago
1 like
ShinyBits wrote:

Does noone make a short nose saddle for less than £100? Clearly less is more! 

Yes. £65 or £80 (£140 for carbon rails).

https://fabric.cc/products/saddles/tri-race-flat-134mm-saddle/

Apologies for being 8 months late!

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