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Fizik Arione R1 Versus Evo saddle review

18 Apr 2018
Verdict:

Fizik has totally reimagined its channelled-saddle range with some impressive results

Cyclist Rating: 
Price: 
£210
For 
More forgiving than Fizik’s regular Arione - the unique construction offers genuine benefit
Against 
Hull may be a little flexible for some

In an attempt to cater for cyclists of all shapes, sizes, ages and riding styles, most saddle brands now have a dizzying array of designs and equally dubious saddle-choice calculators.

It is no different at Fizik: it offers 47 separate road saddle variations and uses its ‘Spine Concept’ calculator to provide estimations on what shape is likely to offer a good fit for a given individual.

I advise taking any recommendations from any calculator with a pinch of salt and base buying decisions off something more reliable, like bike fit data, as although costly it is a far more accurate way to determine what shape suits your anatomy.

Buy the Fizik Arione R1 Versus Evo saddle from Merlin Cycles

Taking my experience as case in point, Fizik’s calculator suggests a large Antares Versus Evo as my optimal saddle, but from fit measurement data and plenty of riding experience I would say a regular Arione Open is best suited to me.

It serves to highlight just how individual saddle choice is, because Fizik’s Versus Evo line differs from its Open line significantly.

Where the Open saddles adopt a cut-out design the Versus Evo maintains a solid base design but combines it with a 7mm-wide channel running the length of the saddle, which is created by the separation of the ‘Comfort Core’ foam padding from one piece into two individual segments.

This is a distinct step forward from previous iterations of Fizik’s ‘Versus’ channel concept, as before there has simply been a depression running down the middle of the foam.

Fizik says that by separating the segments there is better scope to shape them more intricately to promote pressure relief and sit-bone support.

Knowing the general Arione shape suits me I found myself happy on the saddle straight away, despite the difference in design and ride characteristics between the regular Arione and the Versus Evo being appreciable.

For more see extra.co.uk

It is immediately apparent that the composite-reinforced nylon shell is a lot more flexible than that of a regular Arione. Combined with the pressure-relief channel, the saddle had a hammock-like quality that cosseted my delicates and remained comfortable no matter the length of the ride.

However I do fear that by introducing such flex to the Arione design may alienate the type of rider the saddle shape is intended for. The Arione shape has long been the province of flexible, powerful racers that usually value a stiff and stable saddle.

Despite being far from a racer I do value the solid attributes of the regular Arione - I like to feel I’m sat on a saddle rather than in it. I’ve no doubt others would feel differently, but riders that usually place comfort at the top of their priorities, by Fizik’s own admission, are usually better suited to the Antares or Aliante range of saddles.

It puts the Arione Versus Evo at risk of being left high and dry, without an ideal demographic to cater for - too flexible for racers yet too aggressively shaped for sportive types.

Having said that I don’t think that is the most likely outcome though. There is genuine merit in the Versus Evo concept so for many I suspect it may well provide a nice compromise between racy shaping and vibration-damping flex.

Buy the Fizik Arione R1 Versus saddle from Merlin Cycles 

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