CX Saddles - How to Choose

I’m new to CX and in progress with the Summer Sweet Spot of the CX bundle. I’m looking to upgrade my saddle and integrate this into my training. 'Cross is so different from other cycling disciplines that I think saddle selection ought to reflect its unique techniques and demands. The saddle seems to be really important since we’re constantly off- and on and moving around while seated for traction, powering through sand and handling technical sections.

What are some thoughts on:

  1. Length and width - shorter or longer than road
  2. Flex - stiff or soft shell. Do rail materials make a difference?
  3. Shape - narrow, normal or wide
  4. Covering - low friction or smooth. Amount of padding?
  5. Surface - flat, scooped or a mix

I have an opinion here and it might seem a bit old school and curmudgeon-y, but here goes. You do not need a 'cross specific saddle*. Use the saddle that works for you on your road, gravel or MTB. For example - for several years I used a Fizik Arione on ALL my bikes, including MTB. Even with “tail” it had at the time it was still fine for cross. I most recently use the same Ergon saddle on all of my bikes. (*There are some saddle surfaces that turn in to Velcro with lycra when they get muddy. This makes it difficult to move in to proper position when remounting or even when you moving on and off the saddle I do not know specific brands, but know this can happen)

1 Like

I 2nd Coach Brandon’s notion - I’ve never used a CX saddle.

I use the same as my road bike.

1 Like

Thanks for the advice. This approach would open up a range of possibilities. I have an Arione and a couple of different Selle Italia Flite Flows I can try out to replace the stock saddle, which my bike’s previous owner mounted but is a bit soft for my tastes.

Good plan! I always loved that Arione.

I’d say there are two important things in a cross saddle

  1. it fits you, and you’re happy with it.
  2. it’s strong; the seat post rails are metal and well supported by the clamp.

One of the best things I did was find a saddle company/brand that works for me and stick it on all my bikes. I can see varying between road and mtb bike, but for a cross bike nah.

1 Like

Agreed @akaio32 - find one you like and stick with it. Note: I’ve used carbon rail saddles for years on my CX bikes. Yes, my race weight was around 145, but it’s also about remounting properly and not landing on the saddle like an anvil being dropped from a 2nd story window! We need to make a video for this @FRANK !

Yes! The remount is all about squaring your hips and sliding the right leg around more so than ‘jumping’.

I think my video skills are up to snuff if you are Coach @Brandon ;-). Like this:

Then gradually increase from a walk to a faster walk and then to a run. The art is the jump and committing to the ‘air’ it takes to get back on the bike.

Re-read this training tip, go thru the 11 picture sequence and especially the “Stop Stuttering” Paragraph :slight_smile:

Lighter riders can certainly get away with more. I don’t use carbon rails cause I am worried I’ll break them remounting. It’s more that if your bike takes a tumble, which is bound to happen eventually, metal is more like to bend than snap. But either is fine, it’s like a 20g difference. Run what ya brung.

Also I use the Power saddle, the carbon rail version has less padding for some reason. And I appreciate the little extra cushion in CX, especially those dusty early season tracks. :slight_smile:

@FRANK don’t compare us mortals to what MVDP runs. ;D