Back in August, BikeRadar got a sneak peek at the next generation of Fizik’s legendary Arione saddle, with the flagship 00 (£299.99 / €350), middle-of-the-line R1 (£199.99 / €199) and cheaper R3 (£129.99 / €169) on show. We’ve spent the last few days riding the Fizik R3 in the Italian hills, and our first impressions are good.
The idea behind the Arione redesign was to take the shape forward but also encompass new technologies, with the latter mainly found on the high-end 00. All saddles in the line use the same basic shape, which is broader and rounder at the nose, with a much slimmer rear profile and a lot less depth overall.
The sleeker profile featured on the new Arione saddles
Whereas the 00 is constructed from co-moulded carbon fibre and the R1 uses a thermoplastic carbon composite hull, the R3 has an aluminised fibreglass and plastic shell, with Fizik’s K:ium alloy rails. Like the R1, the R3 has a thermo welded Microtex cover, but a claimed weight of 185g rather than 145g.
The slimmer rear shape and more rounded nose certainly fit the bill in the shape stakes, and the repositioned Wing Flex portion of the hind-quarters is noticeably larger than before, offering much more flex and comfort.
We also like the new, smoother cover – it’s a big improvement over the previous stitched model because it’s ridge free.
The shoe has a new all carbon sole, with a less aggressive shape and a lower overall profile. The upper now features large meshed panels to complement the kangaroo leather, with more venting than before.
The R1 is aimed at the serious rider looking for stiffness and comfort in equal measure, so we’d say it’s Fizik’s high-end sportive (or, more locally, gran fondo) design. That purpose is reflected in the R1’s understated styling and the inclusion of 3D Flex heat mouldable insoles.
The R1 (Uomo for men, Donna for the girls) comes in black or white
The comfort level provided by the R1 is impressive – the super stiff sole certainly feels positive when you’re hammering on the pedals, while the soft upper offers enough support to keep your foot stable. The slimmer fit in the toe box and lower overall profile is reminiscent of a Sidi shoe, and that’s not a bad comparison to make.
Keep an eye out for full reviews of the new Arione saddles and the redesigned shoes on BikeRadar over the next few months.