The strongest saddle rails?

hey Lee,

i am a bigger guy, 6′ and 250 lbs. i have a question about saddles. what is stronger, the chromoly rails, or the titanium rails? i am 15 years past caring about gram weight; i just want the strongest saddle. at the same time, i like a sleek racer saddle, so i don’t want some brick like jumping seat.

i tried the SDG single rail thing. it came on my SC Jackal. it wouldn’t hold for ANYTHING. i couldn’t even sit casually on it without it slipping.

i have liked the Specialized BG saddles for a while now, especially the Alias. now i am looking at the Toupe, the Phenom, or Alias again, but which rails are strongest, steel or ti?



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Hey Robyn,

I got some info from Chris Han at SDG USA. He says:

– If you subject them to sufficient stress, all saddle rails — steel, chromoly or titanium — will eventually bend. On very rare occasions, they’ll break.

– 8mm steel rails are the strongest.

– Chromoly and titanium are almost as strong as steel. They’re just lighter and more expensive.

(Some high-end saddles have hollow chromo rails. I’d guess that solid chromo rails are stronger than hollow ones.)

– Chris says SDG’s I-Beam system is both lighter and stronger than traditional rails, but it’s still possible to break it.

– For you, Chris recommends 8mm steel rails.

Most importantly: Keep your weight in your feet, and use the saddle for control rather than support.

Heavy feet! Light hands! Light butt!

— Lee

PS: Thanks Chris!

3 replies
  1. roel koel says:

    if you want the strongest setup known to man..look into the bmx market

    Macneil’s Pivotal saddle is available in several style from the sleek race-style Capital SL to the OG and Fat Capital

    pair this up with a DMR Pivotal seatpost (available in MTB diameter and lengths) and you’ll have a stupidly strong, rail-less system which is 1/2 the weight and 2x as strong, cheap too!!!

  2. clownshow says:

    Steel is stronger than chromoly? First of all chromoly is the name given to a steel alloy (so it is technically steel), and it is typically among the strongest of the steel alloys. It is also much stronger than most low or high carbon steels (plain old steel). There are multiple versions of chromoly steel alloys, and there are also multiple heat treatments you can subject them to all which produce varying degrees of yield strength (when will it bend) and toughness (how much will it bend before it breaks). Same with titanium. It’s just not as simple as steel vs. chromoly vs.titanium. You can have a chromoly rail that is stronger than Ti, and vice versa depending on the alloys and heat treatments used. Hollow rails are a more efficient use of the material as compared to solid rails, if the part is subjected bending load as saddle rails are. For the same outer diameter they’ll provide a much lighter rail with a very small hit in bending strength.
    If you find yourself breaking parts often, then consider your riding style, the only saddles I’ve ever bent were usually on my XC bike when I slipped a pedal off a jump or something, my fault, my mistake If your saddle is seeing loads like this you’re doing something wrong or it’s due to a crash.
    Usually it’s favorable to have a fuse like this in the system that will bend due to an overload and therefore limit the load transferred to other parts (like your more expensive frame, or the more dangerous to fail seatpost), otherwise the next component in the system can possibly fail. Think of it as a chain, there’s going to be weak link, just pick what you want it to be, the frame, seatpost, saddle, your balls?

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