Fizik Aliante R1 Open saddle review
The wave-shaped Aliante has been a staple of Fizik’s range for more than a decade now. The riding positions and comfort its swoopy profile offers have garnered the model an army of fans, particularly among those riders with limited flexibility and high pelvic rotation, or ‘Bulls’ as per Fizik’s Spine Concept classifications.
The company works on the principle that by finding out how flexible your spine is and by how many degrees your pelvis rotates it can determine the best fitting saddle for you.
Since its launch, the recipe for the Aliante hasn’t remained entirely unchanged. Most recently, extra ingredients in the form of deeper padding, a pressure-relief channel and a more flexible hull were added to create the Versus model, which some more aggressive riders found to be too soft.
The Open is Fizik’s latest reworking of the Aliante, and aims to provide pressure relief without diluting the saddle’s firm feel. Fizik has kept the Versus’s channel, albeit in a much shallower form, but added a hole in the hull. The hull has been strengthened along its central section to keep it feeling firm, but its flanks or ‘wings’ according to Fizik, are still flexible to provide pedalling comfort.
These new ingredients combine to give you a saddle that has the classic Aliante feel but is softer on your sensitive parts. It does feel a little weird to begin with, because the spine of the saddle feels rigid, which in turn makes the flanks feel more flexible than ever.
I didn’t experience any discomfort while riding, either from the rock-solid centre or the softer feeling sides. The presence of the hole takes all the pressure off your most delicate area, while the kicked-up rear provides a bit of extra leverage when you are climbing by allowing you to shift your weight back and push against it when the gradient goes up.
The Aliante Open is aimed at a small niche in the cycling market, specifically people who find the standard Aliante models intrusive around the crotch but don’t get on with the channel and soft feel of the Versus versions. If that’s you, then the Open might be just what you’re looking for — it’s a stiff race saddle that also provides pressure relief, and comes in at a very low weight (196g).