Ever wonder what all of the different materials, shapes, sizes and features really do on a saddle? Or why some seem to cost so much more than others? And what you should expect from those saddles as you move up the price range?

We partnered with Prologo to explain all the features in this five-part video series. For part one, we explore the different types of rails, why carbon fiber railed saddles cost so much, what the benefits are, and other things you need to know to buy the right seat for you…and your bike. We even break down the weight differences between the different rail materials, so you know how the rails contribute to the overall saddle weight.

The key takeaway is this: Carbon is the lightest and stiffest, which means it’s a great option for riders who already know what they want out of a saddle. Other materials are woven into the fibers to prevent catastrophic failure in the event the carbon does crack. If you’re opting for metal rails, the titanium or custom chromoly alloy rails you’ll find on mid-level performance saddles will provide a smoother ride without breaking the bank, but at about double the weight of carbon rails…but that weight is just for the rails, check the video to see how it all breaks down!

Check out the other Saddle Series videos here:

Be sure to subscribe to Bikerumor’s YouTube channel so you won’t miss a single episode!

whats the difference between carbon fiber rails and chromoly bicycle seat rails

Huge thanks to Prologo for supporting this series. Prologo makes a massive range of saddles, with different shapes, widths, curvatures and features to fit every rider and every budget. Check them out next time you’re looking to upgrade.


  1. BMX on

    I am no materials engineer but putting carbon in that place under compression from the seat guts never seemed like the best use of that material’s properties.

    • typevertigo on

      I would agree with you there. Metal rails seem to make more sense, at least to me. Am also not a fan of how carbon rails have to be ovalized.

      • PoorInRichfield on

        There’s little to no advantage to using carbon stems or bars either, short of the integrated bar/stem combos. In comparing the weight of aluminum stems and bars to the way more expensive carbon counterparts by the same brand, I’ve found the weight savings to be almost non-existent. Then there’s the whole crash safety issue… metal might bend, but won’t explode like carbon can.

  2. Dave on

    Love this series! First episode was great but it would have been great to best understand the difference in the ride characteristics b/t each material.

  3. MBR on

    Hard to beat the longevity of Ti saddle rails. Ti eventually eats up the Al it’s usually touching, due to bimetallic corrosion, but at least the rail doesn’t fracture and fail. Seems I just get 3-5 years out of a saddle with steel rails. Carbon rails? Such a poor materials choice for the typical 2-bolt clamping design with point loading and sharp edges…

  4. Ole_Blondy on

    You could skip about 1 meal a week, save $10, and cut the same amount of weight as spending an extra few hundred bills on a top end saddle…people are idiots. Unless you are somewhere in the 4-7% body fat percentage zone, there are much cheaper ways to cut weight.

  5. Sergei on

    Depends on intended use. For example Specialized Power ark pro Elaston cost $275 with TI rails and Carbon S-Works $300. Weight difference is 100g. Both price and weight difference are irrelevant to me.. I more concern about longevity but it is also subjective. I crashed my bike and bend TI rails few years ago..Not replaceable. Bought $160 Cro-Mo rails saddle. It developed horrible clicking noise in less then 2 years. Now I have to buy third overpriced saddle in 4 years. On other bike I have carbon rails saddle for 3 years and never had an issue even after a crash. Sadly cheap saddles are literally pain in an ass to ride.


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