PezCycling News - What's Cool In Pro Cycling : Fizik Saddles: Road Shapes & A New Kurve

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Fizik Saddles: Road Shapes & A New Kurve
The Aliante, Arione and Antares have been a huge success. We take a comparative look at the shapes that make up the spine concept and get a peak at both the new Kurve base and Fizik’s HQ.

FIZIK still sit in my mind as “that new saddle company”. The “new” factor is down to 2 things… 1) I’m older than I wish I were, and 2) the “Fizik” name hit the streets in 1996. But the brand has much deeper roots…

Fizik were created by Selle Royal who were founded in 1956 and were the largest bicycle saddle producers in the world through the 70’s, 80’s and entering the 90’s. While Selle Royal did get into Racing for just a few years, they’ve always been more focused on recreational saddles. They decided that there was no proper way to get into high performance than to strip away all of the recreational influence and start a separate entity that could get fully focused on performance.

With that came Fizik and the line of saddles they have developed are now among the top of the food chain…



Fizik’s profiles have generated a few fit and feel questions over the past couple of years and the best way to describe them might be by using Fizik’s Spine Concept tag…



The premise here is that your saddle shape has to do with your flexibility and they class their saddles as such. The Arione is the snake / The Antares is the Chameleon / The Aliante is the Bull… And the profile difs for the opposite ends of the scale are pretty plain to see…



I will say that I’ve seen folks choose these saddles and be very happy on them and not necessarily match the flexibility of the suggested creature, especially at the higher end of the cycling spectrum where better trained people are fairly flexible in general but have an on bike profile that simply works with a saddle that doesn’t fully match. But the majority of communication and experience I have is that the Spine Concept works.

With that though, we’ll run through the shape range because it’s one hell of a lot more useful to see a few different views of these saddles so that you folks can determine based on experience which of these might match your historical shape success.


Let’s start up front…
Don’t pay attention to the nose… Look at the shape of the saddle side to side across the rear of the saddle where your sit bones strike and your legs move…

The Arione is the most popular saddle in the line and has a bit of a flat surface in the center but a fairly aggressive arch shape out from center as it transitions toward the edge.



The Antares is a much more flat saddle with a slight arch and more abrupt drop off at the edge



The Aliante is also a more substantial arch with not much of a flat spot until you’re back a ways on the saddle. Very rolled edges…




The front view of how much (or little) arch there is across the saddle gets a little more perspective when you look at the side profiles of each.


The Arione has almost no dip front to back…



The Antares has slightly more dip



The Aliante has plenty of dip…



What do these shapes mean to you?

Really, you decide that for yourself…

Saddles are pretty dang individual things and I know folks that can’t make any of these shapes work for them… Then there’s me that can ride 2 of the 3 and be happy (though my fave is the Antares).

Of course Fizik are also running different padding and the Versus product addresses folks looking for that bit of extra relief down the middle.



The Versus is shown here with the Arione but you can have it in the three different shapes.

Really though, any saddle review claiming to know what’s best for you should be tossed out (likely along with anything else from that reviewer)… About the best you should hope for in a review is that you’re shown the profiles and maybe mentions a bit about flex and it’s there that Fizik are tossing in a change up… The new Kurve.

The Kurve is going to run in the three road shapes we’ve covered…



And while it looks fairly similar on the surface…



The bottom up view brings you a whole new rail and platform…

Our standard Antares looks like this…



The Kurve Chameleon takes a new form…



The Kurve brings a couple of new changes. The rail is a single piece of Alu that is designed to contact the saddle base at the front and at the very rear of the saddle rather than ending the rails close to the sit points as many do now. That allows for a lot more shell movement and suspension versus having had contacts nearer your sit points.

The shell itself is now a multi-layer, multi-material laminate that tunes the amount and location of movement and support.

That leaves the nose, reading “Soft” in this case…



You can swap the nose piece and it grabs the rails and shell differently to allow for more (soft) or less (hard) flex of the shell overall.



Maybe the best news is that rather than trying to tell you that a couple of different widths of the same saddle shape should work for everyone, Fizik make a few different shapes that should work for a greater audience. And the Kurve will come in the different shapes.

So far I’ve only had em in my hand and not under my cheeks, so the effectiveness remains to be seen, but the principal is pretty simple and composite tech should allow for these to perform if the research and craftsmanship is there.

And it should be. Fizik are saddle makers rather than saddle resellers and they know their stuff.

Their HQ is a pretty slick affair in Pozzoleone…



It’s typical upscale Euro…



With a design atmosphere that speaks to your creative side.



But the real heart here is still in manufacturing…



Detail is attended to in every part of the manufacturing process from layering the padding and stitching the covers to cleaning between processes…



to bonding in the composite rails…



Speaking of comp rails, this has been one of Fizik’s biggest successes. The combination of a solid rail design that seems to be far less subject to damage gets the enhancement of a coarse weave wrap that means lower clamping force can be used versus more slippery rails…



Of course they run metal rails that work very well but given the larger, solid cross section and anti slip surface, their carbon rails are, in my opinion, the best available right now in terms of user friendly durability.


So what’s to review besides shape, material and build quality?
Not much really.

Saddle function is really down to you to evaluate. So far I’ve had both good durability and good function from the couple of saddles I’ve had… The latest has been seen in a few publications on the ACDC Parlee Z5SL that I’ll post shortly.


Antares 00 on board

One of the other things that I like about Fizik is that their standard saddles are very easy (relative to more complex shapes) to cover with a custom leather to match projects.


Fizik have been producing a good bar wrap for quite a while and that means they covered 2 of the 3 contact points on bikes, so it was a logical next step to go 3 for three and roll out some pretty popular shoes lately.

They also have another release that might pop around interbike time so we’ll likely have some follow up later on that.

All of Fizik’s products can be found at FIZIK.IT and there are relatively few quality shops now that don’t have a couple of their products in hand. Availability of their standard products is very good and the new Kurve should be ready any time now.


Have Fun,
Charles Manantan



Thanks for looking. If you have other experiences with gear, or something to add, drop us a line. We don’t claim to know everything (we just imply it at times). Give us a pat on the back if you like the reviews, or a slap in the head if you feel the need!

PezCycling News and the author ask that you contact the manufacturers before using any products we test here. Only the manufacturer can provide accurate and complete information on proper use and or installation of products as well as any conditional information or product limitations.

Send your comments to: manager@pezcyclingnews.com


 

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