Fizik Arione VsX saddle review£164.99

Light relief from a redesigned perch

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Fizik doesn’t believe in saddles with a split shell or holes that might weaken the structure, but following on from its Versus (Vs) saddles – with their shallow pressure-relieving channel – it has launched the VsX, which expands the concept even further. It’s available in Aliante, Antares and Arione versions, and we decided to see how our favourite Arione would perform in VsX configuration.

    There are two rail options: Kium, which is said to offer most of titanium’s benefits but with lower weight, and higher-priced (in the UK, £40 more) carbon braided, which saves around 30g. We tested the latter, but do check your seatpost clamp first, because unlike the round rails of conventional saddles, Fizik’s 7x9mm carbon rails demand a clamp that is designed to accommodate oversized rails. The carbon is wrapped in the clamping area and offers 70mm of fore and aft adjustment.

    The carbon-reinforced nylon shell is very supportive and retains the Wing Flex system, allowing greater pedalling freedom – but it’s the channel that sets the VsX apart from its siblings. This is around 5mm deep at each end and over 15mm deep in the middle, with an upper internal width that flares from 15mm at the front to 35mm roughly three quarters of the way back, and 55mm by the tail – a virtual ravine compared with the Versus. The channel itself is unpadded, but each side has a generous helping of foam.

    Whereas the pressure-relieving effect of the Arione Versus was subtle at best, the far deeper VsX manages to markedly reduce unwanted pressure without the pronounced cushioned edges creating additional discomfort. Support is virtually indiscernible from a standard Arione, with no less performance potential or alteration in pedalling style. As well as stiffening the shell, the rigid carbon rails also serve to reduce road vibration, further increasing ride comfort.

    The Arione’s 300mm length and 128mm width maintain its trademark flat, narrow and long shape, and our sample weighed just 222g. The channel did have a slight cooling effect and on wet roads it collected water – but the VsX offers a useful comfort benefit, especially for those prone to pressure-induced discomfort.

    Prices for the Kium rail option: £124.99 / US$180 / €149 / AUD$199

    This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine, available on Apple Newsstand and Zinio.

    Robin Wilmott

    Tech Writer, Tech Hub, UK, Procycling Magazine
    Robin began road cycling in 1988, and with mountain bikes in their infancy, mixed experimental off-road adventures with club time trials and road races. Cyclocross soon became a winter staple, and has remained his favourite form of competition. Robin has always loved the technical aspect of building and maintaining bikes, and several years working in a good bike shop only amplified that. Ten years as a Forensic Photographer followed, honing his eye for detail in pictures and words. He has shot at the biggest pro events since the '90s, and now he's here, drawing on all those experiences to figure out what makes a bike or component tick.
    • Age: 45
    • Height: 178cm / 5'10"
    • Weight: 75kg / 165lb
    • Discipline: Road, cyclocross, time trials
    • Beer of Choice: Sierra Nevada Pale Ale

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