Fizik has been busy developing products for the 2018 model year; there's a new top-of-the-line shoe, two new saddles ranges and a host of other additions.
Fizik’s top of the range R1B pro-level shoe will be superseded in 2018 by the all-new Infinito R1. The R1's design is based around a new closure concept that uses twin Boa dials.
The lower dial controls the volume control that was introduced on the previous R1, but now it has a reconfigured path for the Boa wires, which not only pulls the shoe around your foot but also decreases the height of the outer. Fizik claims this will give a much closer, controlled and more comfortable fit.
The second Boa controls the Dynamic arch support. This dial is fixed to a central spine of the shoe, which blends into the arch support. As you adjust this dial, it grips you mid-foot and adds stability to the arch with it.
Microtex and knitting
The Infinito R1 comes in two distinct flavours, the first uses the standard Microtex material, and Fizik says it's the perfect year-round shoe (just like the R1B). But the real story is in the knitted version.
Fizik told BikeRadar that it has been working on a knitted fabric design for a year or so, and while the original was based on the R1B, the company found that the knitted fabric didn’t offer the stability and support riders were looking for during testing.
So the knit shoe was developed with a rigid exoskeleton and a new dynamic arch support design to add stability and rigidity where needed. The two-layer knit fabric is used in places where you want the flexibility and softness that fabric provides to add both comfort and breathability.
The knit fabric is subjected to a water repellent treatment to add some all-weather protection, but when you consider this upper is mated to Fizik’s lightest, thinnest and stiffest carbon sole and finished with a new high-mesh insole for maximum breathability, then what the R1 Knit really is, is a super light, super breathable pro-level climber's shoe that's ideal for hot weather rides.
Pricing is yet to be confirmed, but expect the R1 Infinitos to be in line with current R1B pricing.
Winter is coming
Not set on just providing a shoe for the hottest days, Fizik has also designed a new boot for the coldest days on- or off-road.
The new R5 Artica and X5 Artica share much of the same technology, but the difference between them is in the choice of sole for either on-road or mountain bike use.
The Artica R5 uses a lightweight carbon composite sole (so that’s a carbon nylon blend rather than full UD carbon). The upper combines a fleece-lined inner shoe with a draw cord closure, which is all wrapped in a fully enclosed outer and a full waterproof membrane over a breathable internal mesh.
The actual outer is made from a reinforced and protected microtex shell. Interestingly, inside the Artica Fizik has equipped the shoe with a special aluminium foil coated insole for proper protection against chills.
For the off-road X5, Fizik basically uses the same upper and reinforced carbon sole and bonds a large PU heel section to it with a textured tread pattern, as well as a toe section (with stud mounts).
The sole is completed with both instep and outstep protectors and textured tread patterning.
The new Terra X5 is Fizik’s most stylish looking off-road option. We can see it becoming a favourite among gravel grinders and bike packers.
The upper is designed with the same volume control functions as its road shoe. The asymmetric opening and path of the Boa wire are designed to control the fit exactly, while the secondary Velcro fastener offers further adjustment.
The upper combines perforated Microtex sections and PU reinforcements with a luxurious highly-breathable natural suede, which gives the shoes a more outdoor hiking style than a traditional mountain bike shoe.
The sole has large PU-bonded grip pieces from front to back, making them a sturdy and supportive shoe that is easier to walk in than many traditional mountain bike shoes.
Neat details such as the reinforced woven heel loop mean you can hang them from your tent to dry, further adding to the X5’s more adventurous design.
Fizik has added another dimension to its choice of saddles with two new additions to its existing models. With the new Versus Evo and Open ranges, the company has taken the idea of pressure relief designs to two distinctly different places.
The Versus Evo continues on from the full-length channel Versus design, but with new construction techniques and an all-new pad material Fizik has been able to change significantly what the saddle does.
For a start, the new pad material is more progressive in its cushioning (soft at first then becoming firmer the more it compresses without squishing side to side) and it needs much less volume, so the padding is significantly smaller.
Also, the base is now much more flexible where it's needed. By shaping the base to provide the stability it needs through a shaped and ridged structure the company has been able to make the flexible wings and mid-section very compliant.
With all the Arione, Aliante and Antares designs available in this new, more comfortable option — one that’s also significantly lighter than previous Versus models — it looks like you can finally combine flyweight and comfort.
The Open range goes the other way. It's aimed at riders who like the traditional and solid Fizik shapes and appreciate the rigidity and stiffness of them, but do want some relief in the most sensitive of areas.
The Open design has been created to have the stiffness of traditional saddles while still enabling a full cut-out.
Fizik tells us it's engineered the hull with a hole to be every bit as rigid as the standard saddle, as Fizik says plenty of cut-out saddles on the market suffer from being unstable once you’ve chopped away the central section.
Both the Versus Evo and Open ranges will be available in both R1 (carbon railed) and R3 (Kium (alloy)) versions.