Fizik Aliante R1 braided saddle review
Fizik launched its original Aliante back in 1989. This has set the standard for lightweight endurance-orientated saddles ever since, and is the saddle against which all other sportive saddles are judged.
So when the Italian company told us it had redesigned the Aliante, we couldn’t wait to get our hands – and backsides – on one.
Highs: Better all-round saddle than ever…
Lows: …but you need deep pockets
At first glance the new Aliante looks exactly like the previous model, except for a new and classy-looking matt/gloss-panel finish and a more understated livery, which has gloss black graphics on matt Microtex leather. But if you look a little closer, you’ll notice the rear of the hull has a little more kick to it. The narrower nose still features plenty of padding, while the hull – made from flexible ‘composite carbon co-injected nylon’ – has lost a few grams.
It now weighs 185g, which is 14g less than before. This isn’t quite as light as some other range-topping lightweights such as Fabric’s ALM Ultimate (120g), and San Marco’s Aspide Super Leggera, a super-svelte 105g, though it is a shade lighter than ProLogo’s Nago Evo Nack CPC (214g).
But your saddle choice shouldn’t primarily be about weight – your first consideration should always be comfort. After all, you could be spending a fair chunk of your life on it, when being comfortable will far outscore a few lopped-off grams. And when it comes to comfort the new Aliante really scores.
Half of our testers are devotees of the Aliante’s curvy ‘sit-in’ shape, others preferring flatter profiles like that of FizIk’s Arione. The new Aliante had more appeal for those riders too, as the slimmer shape of the front two thirds enables you to shift forward when pushing hard on flat roads. The kicked-up rear really comes into its own when you hit the steeper climbs, allowing you to lever against it.
Some things have stayed the same though. It still features Fizik’s unique ‘Twin Flex’ system, which allows sections of the hull to flex. The oversized 7x9mm carbon rails are also familiar. And as before, it’s best to check that your seatpost is compatible.
The new Aliante has very welcome plastic scuff guards on the vulnerable corners. We’d be mortified if we managed to cut or scrape such a premium – and great-looking – saddle. We also feel that the new shape represents an improvement over the old. It is both more comfortable and more race-orientated, which is pretty much the best of both worlds. That said, the price is still steep, so we’d consider waiting for the cheaper R3 (220g) or R5 (245g).