fi'zi:k Saddles Put to the Test |
LeRoi Smith & Team DirtWorld.com
Thursday, September 13, 2001
It's time to get personal. There's nothing more personal than saddle choices. Let's face it, when it comes to dealing with that area, everyone has preferences unique their own physiology. So instead of telling you how a fi'zi:k saddle is going to fit your butt, we'll tell you about our experiences with the saddle and the company.
fi'zi:k saddles are designed in California and hand-made in Italy. Some of the finest materials available are used for creating the 7 distinct models. Each major discipline of cycling is represented; Road (Poggio, Dolomiti, Pave & Chrono), Mountain (Nisene), Downhill (Atlas), Women's (Vitesse) plus team replica saddles for Saeco/Cannondale, Vini Caldirola & Team AG2R.
Using a Y-shape gel pad, fi'zi:k is able to extend the saddle's comfort zone without increasing weight. In the Y-shaped pad, fi'zi:k uses a urethane gel in the nose area and a foam in the region that supports your buttocks. fi'zi:k calls this technology "Twin Tech." In scientific terms, pressure on the pudendal artery and nerve is reduced resulting in greater comfort. Numbness results from saddles and sitting positions that don't relieve pressure on this area of your body.
The company incorporates "Thigh Glides" into the saddle. While the upper cover provides an excellent grip the smooth leather glides allow for thighs to slide freely while pedaling without chaffing or damaging shorts. The synthetic upper cover is water-resistant made from Nytek and offers exceptional wet weather gripping.
DirtWorld.com team riders use several models from fi'zi:k. Below are what we think after riding for several months in all types of terrain and conditions.
NISENE – Moutain Bike Saddle
Nose guards offers support for "hike-a-bike" situations and doesn't catch your short when dismounting. Included are 74 mm titanium frame for extended range of adjustment and increased flexibility. Scuff guards protect the side of the saddle and facilitate pedaling.
We've been quite pleased with the Nisene. It's held up through horrendous weather and riding conditions. But most importantly, the saddle does not induce discomfort on long jolting mountain bike rides. One small gripe, when riding the nose while climbing, the saddle tends to creak. The Nisene is a high quality product at a fair price.
Specifications: 130mm width and 288 mm length. 5 degree rise from level rails, 265 g.. Custom price 119 Euros or $108 USD.
ATLAS – Downhill MTB Saddle
Key characteristics of the Atlas include a dropped nose to allow for sliding on and off the front. The long shape allows for "steering" and positioning of the bike as is common in downhill riding. Nose scuff guards with elastomer padding offer better grip and comfort. The 8 mm diameter CrMo frame allows for more durability to the rigors of DH-ing.
Our riders found the saddle very comfortable overall. Unlike some over-sized saddles, the Atlas has the right mix of dimensions and padding that improve the ride. Ideally the plastic scuff guards would be repositioned or extended to protect against tearing. This was our only issue but didn't adversely affect performance.
Specifications: 308 mm in length, 128 mm width, 460 g. Custom price 79 Euros or $72 USD.
PAVE – Road Saddle
Similar to the the Nisene, 74 mm ti rails are used as a support design. The rear is reinforced and includes a carbon reinforced shell to reduce deformation over time and increases stiffness. The rear is split for increased support and improved air-flow.
Remember my statement about personal physiological preferences? Well one of our riders prefers the Pave on any bike he rides. Obviously he's found a match. The Pave is more streamlined than the Nisene but incorporates many of the same features and sheds 15g.
Specifications: 264 mm in length, 130mm width, 3 degree rise from level rails, 250 g. Custom price 119 Euros or $108 USD
What do you do when your favorite saddle is unavailable at your local dealer? What do you do when you want to get yourself something unique? With the help of fi'zi:k's website you can build and buy a custom designed saddle. Here's what one of our riders had to say about his experience with fi'zi:k's online custom service:
I had the opportunity to build my Pavé from a plethora of options. Do I want the gel insert? How about slick thigh glides for the sides of the saddle? Which of 9 colors do I want for the thigh glides? Which of 3 colors do I want for the main portion of the saddle? How about the scuff guards? Ti or CroMo?
In 5 minutes and I had a totally custom saddle ready to buy. My next surprise was the price. I had to go to another site to do the Euro to US$ translation, but it turned out with the current exchange rate to be ever so slightly cheaper than most stores and no sales tax! My final surprise came only 11 days later when my personalized saddle arrived straight from Italy.
If you want a excellent saddle, I highly recommend a Fi'zi:k and if you don't want to settle for whatever the local shop has in stock, try www.fizik.com.