This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Most of us are pretty clear now on Fizik's approach to saddle design, with its original spine concept which links a rider's flexibility with a saddle style that best suits their riding. The Arione is designed for the most flexible riders (Snake), the Aliante for the least flexible (Bull), and for those in the middle there's the Antares (Chameleon). After extensive research with pro riders and the University of Colorado, Fizik has now evolved this concept and are launching bibshorts for 2017.
Fizik's Link range of bibshorts uses the Snake, Bull and Chameleon standards as its basis, and looks to the rider's hip rotation (linked to spine flex) to dictate the shape that the chamois inside a rider's shorts should be.
The shaping of each chamois is different with not only the weight and density of the pad changing between models, but also the shaping of the individual pad elements and amount of contact and airflow between models differing too.
The Snake, for highly flexible riders with little or no hip rotation, has what at first glance looks to be the most simple pad design. The three stage pads found on the top level R1 model bonds an air base layer to a first layer of 120kg/m3 weight pad (10mm thick), then a second 4mm section is bonded and it's all sandwiched underneath a super-soft touch, seamless molded, breathable cover.
On the lower priced R3 bibshort the design has been simplified into a 2-stage layer, but using the same high quality, breathable, soft touch cover. The Snake design is almost free of channels (apart from a prominent central channel on the pad) whereas the Chameleon introduces deeper channels around the circumference of the main pads.
The Bull, for less flexible riders who exert more pressure on the saddle, has deep pronounced grooves running horizontally along the twin pads to maximize breathability and aid comfort.
Alongside the new Link shorts is an evolution of the Spine Concept for saddles; for the first time each saddle in the Fizik range will be available in two widths.
The results of Fizik R&D's and Colorado University's study demonstrated that saddle shape is not only linked to pelvic width but also power output, with riders putting out more power tending to need a narrower shape. So now the three existing road saddles have both a regular and large size.
To help you choose, Fizik has designed its own calculator to find your ideal width (once you know which shape suits your flexibility). By inputting your weight, average speed on a flat road, along with your power output it will calculate the saddle best suited to you.
Whist little has changed in Fizik's shoe range, aside from a cool new, all-red edition of the R1 road shoe, it has introduced a new flagship cross country shoe in the M3B.
The new design combines a one-piece upper with a single BOA dial. The sole is a lightweight unidirectional carbon fibre base onto which are bonded TPU grips and studs. The upper is constructed with a lightweight mesh and polyurethane injected sections to provide water resistance on the toe box, and thicker sections around the toe and fore foot for protection and abrasion resistance.
No pricing has yet been set for the M3B, but with a full carbon sole and lightweight upper construction we can't imagine these will come cheap.