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.
Highs: Comfort, performance, weight
Lows: Road spray collects in channel
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