Cool Gear: Fi’zi:k Arione Saddle
First seen between Giro winner Gilberto Simoni and his seatpost last May, the Fi’zi:k Arione saddle was most noticable for its, erm… length. Of course you’re wondering, “does size really matter?” The folks at Fi’zi:k think it does, and in this case that bigger really is better.
The saddle was developed over the past couple of years, with Simoni being the active ingredient and lab rat. Fi’zi:k did pressure distribution tests with Simoni seated on a special lab saddle that assisted in shape design and also in development of their Wing Flex (TM) technology. Basically they studied ways to better distribute rider weight across the saddle to improve blood flow, circulation, and comfort.
The sides of the saddle have “wings” built into the seat base, that bend and flex according to various rider sizes and pedalling pressures, allowing the seat to take on a custom fit feel for each rider. The flexibility also allows for more and freer thigh movement, which ultimately translates into better pedalling efficiency and more power.
What’s It Made Of?
It weighs in at 220 grams, the result of construction from the expected space-age materials. The shell is carbon reinforced… fibres, the rails are titanium, the cover is Microtex with a suede-like strip down the center – which does good job of keeping you in place. It’s pretty much weather proof, washable, and won’t fade.
Bigger is Better
The folks at Fi’zi:k really do believe that size does matter, and in this case, bigger is better. The idea being that a larger surface area distributes your weight over more places, so there is less concentrated pressure points to encourage cultivation of saddles sores.
The Arione is longer than most saddles you can find (excluding the banana model on your old Mustang Fastback) -in fact it’s 30 cm long. Fi’zi:k actually had to get the UCI to change their restrictions on saddle length to allow the Arione into competition. Based on this success, perhaps we should nominate Fi’zi:k as the next riders’ representative to the UCI?
The longer length (it’s about 3 cm longer than other saddles it measured) allows more seating positions fore and aft, but still not enough to double your sweetie to the soda shop. (Bet you wished you’d kept the ol’ Mustang now, huh?). Finally, the rails are 85 mm long – longest in category – which makes for lots more options in fore- aft positioning. The rails did not come with any markings to assist in positioning, something I prefer, but I still got it set up in not time.
And Onto the Roads
I’ve now logged about 5 hours “in the saddle” and must say it’s pretty comfy. I’m told the Wing Flex shell will comform somewhat to your own anatomy over time, so this seat could start feeling even better. It feels good on the road and under my butt, which is for me the mark of a keeper. Suggested retail is $125.00 US, but if it feels this good for you, can you really put a price on riding comfort?
Get more info on the Arione saddles at Fi’zi:k’s website www.fizik.com
A great place to buy the Arione is online from Glory Cycles – and they’ll ship it for free.