Fi'zi:k are the biggest producers of racing saddles in the world, making a staggering 500,000 saddles each year in their factory in Bressanvido, in the northern Italian province of Vicenza.
What's even more impressive is that they do it without using much in the way of mass production machinery, preferring to rely on their modestly sized workforce of 40-70 people, mostly women and shared with parent company Selle Royal, to carry out the delicate task of creating high performance racing saddles. This ensures that quality and aesthetics are top notch, even if it does add to the prices.
Each saddle takes between 30 and 45 steps to make, from cutting the fabric to gluing on the rails and boxing. The entire process actually takes three days, due to the time required for the glue to cure. But Fi'zi:k's efficient and multiskilled workflow means they can produce up to 9,000 perches in that time. They definitely work fast, as we found out when BikeRadar toured their factory this week.
Fi'zi:k rotate their saddle production each day, so while today might be the Arione, tomorrow could be devoted to the Aliante or the Tundra. That's all dependent on demand and is carefully managed to keep efficiency high.
We followed the production of the Arione and Aliante saddles, which you can see in our image gallery on the right.