This article originally appeared on BikeRadar
Fizik has revealed a ground-up redesign of its popular Aliante saddle at Eurobike. The Aliante debuted 16 years ago and has become the benchmark saddle for sportive/gran fondo and endurance riders.
The full saddle range has now been reordered to fall in line with Fizik's shoe range and bar and stem lineups. The latest range of saddles is topped by the R1 series, mid-range saddles are now all R3 models, with the lineup now starting with the R5.
Fizik's brand manager, Alberto Fonte, explained: "We needed to make the range easier to understand, and as we have moved into other areas (like shoes, bars, stems and seatposts), it's important to us that our Fizik riders can fully coordinate everything for their riding."
The new flagship Aliante has been slimmed down and reworked to shed some weight. It now tips the scales at a scant 185g. Alberto was quick to point out that "with our studies and research through the University of Boulder Colorado, we've gained plenty of knowledge about physiology and rider position in relation to saddles. The research shows that it's not as easy as wider sit bones, wider saddle. The rider's position and the rotation of the hips is a huge factor in creating a comfortable performance seat".
Fans of the Aliante will be glad to read that the actual seat area of the saddle is unchanged - if you take a measurement from the nose to tail, and the width too, this triangle has the same dimensions as the original. The shape is the same iconic waved design too. Essentially, the new Aliante looks similar to the original but is a little longer and slimmer and has a much lower overall height.
The new shell is constructed from a carbon composite co-injected with nylon, this new material means that the shell doesn't have to have the same cutaways and surface machining as the old saddle to gain the same flex as the old twin-flex design. The new cover is thermo-welded over a new high-density yet super light padding that's unique to Fizik. The new Aliante is completely handmade in Italy, as is the rest of the range.
The R3 version uses a composite (fibre) glass hull co-injected with nylon to provide the flex and is finished with the same thermo-welded cover as well as Fizik's own K:ium rails. The R3 tips the scales at 220g. The base model R5 shares the new design of the R3 and R1 but has a carbon-injected nylon base, K:ium rails and a microtex cover. It weighs 245g.
New Kurve saddle
Fizik has also redsigned the Kurve saddle range. The Kurve's unique Mobius rail design debuted as a 3D-forged alloy piece but it's now been reworked in braided carbon-fibre. We never really got the point of the original Kurve line - yes, it was a different way of constructing a saddle but compared to the original range, the Kurve saddles were identical in performance, yet weighed a little more.
With the new Kurve range, Fizik aims to make a clear distinction between the two. Alberto explains: "We aim to find the very best saddles for competitive riders where light weight is as important as performance, but most cyclists (who aren't pro tour riders) want and need a more comfortable and flexible saddle, with the new Kurve range we have that. Our new carbon Mobius rails are lighter and more forgiving than the alloy and the new hull has strategic cutaways to offer a more comfortable riding position especially for endurance riders."
The new hulls 'Re:flex' carbon material offers plent of flex within whilst the large cutaway sections are re-inforced with a super-tough kevlar based fabric. Its far lighter than the original material used in the cutaways but also much tougher and thinner, so the new Kurve range like the standard range is much reduced in overall height and volume too. The new Kurve carbon snake (Arione style) is 180g, the Kurve Bull (Aliante) 185g and the Kurve Chaemeleon (Antares) 185g.
2015 shoe range
Fizik's Italian handmade shoes remain unchanged for 2015 - they still feature the traditional two velcro straps and aluminium ratchet buckle. The R1's kangaroo leather finish, sail cloth straps, and carbon fibre buckle mean they are still the pinnacle of the range.
Fizik has added a parallel line of shoes, however, in both the R3 and R5 range, with the latest BOA IP1 dial. With a single sailcloth-tensioning velcro strap at the toe, the new R3 tips the scales at 230g (for a size 43). The IP1 BOA offers two-way micro adjustment on its dial and still has the pull-out fast-release function of the previous BOAs.
Alberto says: "We could have used a different BOA dial that is a little lighter and a little slimmer but we think that the IP1's two-way adjustment is a much better system meaning that you can adjust the fit as you ride easily, and for the extra 2mm in depth (overall on the one-way BOA ratchet), we think its more than worth it in terms of performance."
Its not only the road R-series that gets the new IP1 BOA; the mountain bike M range now has a dial option too.