At the top of the Fizik Argo saddle range, this lightweight gravel-specific saddle is comfortably cushioned for longer rides on unpaved roads
Flexible wings for comfort
Choice of widths
Requires compatible seatpost
No dedicated women's specific option
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Since the late nineties, Italian brand Fizik has specialised in perfecting the contact points for riders, from bar tape and footwear to a wide choice of saddle offerings. The Argo gravel saddle joins the mountain bike Aidon and Alpaca models, all sporting the Terra name. Fizik launched this Argo range of saddles a couple of years ago now, and the Argo was born from an evolution of the brand’s road racing Vento Argo saddle but with a mixed surface twist, aimed to sit squarely alongside the best gravel bike saddles on the market.
Originally Fizik offered two metal rail options to complement its established gravel-specific Argo series. The entry spec Argo X5 saddle with its alloy rails, the middle option is the X3 with the Fizik proprietary Kium hollow alloy rail technology to shave some grams, and now there is this carbon rail option - the Terra Argo X1 - to perch at the top end of the line-up, offering a further reduction in weight over its siblings. All three models share the same carbon-reinforced nylon shell and shape that boasts flexible wings for all-road comfort.
Design and aesthetics
The flagship Fizik Terra Argo X1 model features a short nose to offer riders a planted position and an improved rider weight distribution. The shorter nose of the Argo allows riders to sit further forward in the seat without causing unwanted and potentially painful pressure on your nether regions compared to a traditional design. To accommodate this, Fizik allows a substantial length of rail to adjust fore and aft, enabling you to perfect your position on the seatpost. A study from the side profile will show a slight rise in the rear of the section of the saddle, providing a base to push into during climbing efforts.
Fizik also claims to gather data and advice from medical experts and detailed analysis of the pressure points of riders whilst seated. All this research and development led to the ergonomic cut-out. The cut-out is plugged with a guard to prevent unwanted discomfort from debris being flicked up and it has a slot cut across it to prevent any water pooling. The Terra Argo comes in 150mm width (tested here) which is already pretty wide and it is also offered in an even wider 160mm to ensure you find the right fit for your shape and sit bone width.
The carbon-reinforced shell is designed to offer riders a compliant ride with the Fizik 'Wingflex' sides particularly when pedalling. Simply put the design allows your butt to flex and move during your pedal stroke. This controlled elasticity also goes some way to absorbing road chatter and vibrations, improving rider comfort on long distance rides over unpaved roads.
Featuring the Fizik Type 2 foam padding that is progressively cushioned, the upper layer has softer density than the lower foam layer. This is actually softer than the foam used on its racing saddles, and it's to provide all day comfort by increasing the padding particularly around the ischial sit bones area to support a more upright riding posture.
The aesthetics are subtle and the branding is minimal, allowing the saddle to pair with any gravel bike colorway. The dark carbon rails complete the stealthy approach, no shiny metal rails mean you get an uninterrupted side profile from the seatpost to the saddle top for a crisper looking bike in my opinion.
Sorry to say that there is no women’s-specific shape available in the Argo range and another point worth considering is that you should check to see if your seat post will take the beefy 7 x 9mm oval rails on this X1 model.
[Side note from Reviews Writer Mildred Locke: "I too have used the Fizik Terra Argo saddle and would argue that while there isn't a women's specific option on offer, the shape and design of this saddle naturally bodes well for most female anatomies. The short nose relieves pressure on the delicate tissues of the vulva, and the width lends itself well to wider sit bones, which women on average generally tend to have. I'd have no issue recommending this saddle to a woman."]
Finding the perfect perch can take an age and saddles are a very personal fit, making testing and review writing somewhat difficult. That said, I think the Terra Argo will tick a lot of boxes for a lot of gravel riders. It did however take a seat post change and a bit of time to tweak it to my preferred riding position before being able to take the Terra Argo X1 out on its maiden gravel voyage.
Testament to the choice in materials by Fizik and its robust handmade construction, the saddle remains looking new despite there being no guards on the corners as found on some off-road saddles. So far I’ve not suffered any scuffs or damage to the upper even during testing in muddy winter conditions.
Having been caught out in the worst of the winter weather and faced off more than my fair share of mid-ride squally showers, I feel I have proven that the saddle is easy to clean, the simple and smooth material comes up good time and time again, unlike other saddles with a textured finish. A textured type is great for grip in the wet but is a complete nightmare to remove the ingrained mud and can often look tired quickly, but no such issues here with the Argo X1. The little mud guard in the slot serves its purpose well with no more than normal amounts of grit that you would expect on a traditional shape (without the slot) finding its way onto the top of the saddle.
The shape of this saddle will be fairly familiar to racy roadies, even if you're new to gravel. Combined with the Wingflex design, the shape is a blend that will appeal to a broad spectrum of gravel riders looking to spend more than a couple of hours off road. The padding might be a touch on the softer side than what I am used to on my gravel bike, but I never suffered at all with any numbness or discomfort despite a few rides in old bib shorts with a worn and thin chamois pad.
The 270mm length is about right on the money for modern saddles, allowing you some space to move either forward or aft in an attempt to change position on the longer extended rides. I consider myself converted to this snub-nose seat, and this is one part I will be leaving on for the foreseeable and I look forward to even longer rides in the summer.
If you are looking to justify the cost, remember this is a premium saddle that is handmade in Italy. If you can't afford to stretch to the price of the top spec X1, most if not all of the features and the saddle shape is carried over on the two cheaper alternatives in the Terra Argo line-up. However, you will be giving up a few grams of weight as a penalty, but the entry-level X5 and mid-range X3 saddles have the more conventional size rails so you wouldn't need to change up your existing seatpost.
Admittedly, at first, I was sceptical about trying a gravel-specific saddle, but after eventually finding the right position with a shorter nose design I have to say I have been proved wrong. The Terra Argo X1 is a lightweight and comfortable seat, offering the right amount of flex and cushioning to help take the buzz out of long, arduous days on mixed surface rides.
If the price is a bit tough to swallow, check out the other two models in the Argo range for only a small hike in weight but with all the same impressive features.
Tech specs: Fizik Terra Argo X1 saddle
- Weight: 214g (150mm width)
- Length: 270mm
- Width: 150 (tested) or 160mm
- Price: £199.99 / €179.99 / $199
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Dean is a freelance cycling journalist based in Dorset. He's got the New Forest National Park and the Isle of Purbeck on his doorstep and enjoys anything on dirt. Dean has been fortunate to travel the world in search of the best trails - from summers spent in the Alps to exploring iconic locations such as Scotland, Aosta Valley, the Pyrenees, Finale Ligure, New Zealand and Whistler. While he's raced DH, enduro and XC he much prefers exploring with his gravel bike these days and can even be found on the bikepacking trip, too.
Rides: Open U.P
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