On Test: fi’zi:k Arione CX Carbon k:ium

fi’zi:k is an Italian saddle company that was started thirteen years ago as an upper end brand for saddle giant Selle Royale. Where Selle Royale saddles are mass-produced, fi’zi:k saddles are hand made in Italy. Although fi’zi:k has many saddles in its line, most professional riders who are sponsored by the company tend to favor the Aliante or Arione. Third from the top in the Arione line is the Arione CX Carbon k:ium, which forgoes the carbon rails of the Arione CX Carbon and Arione K1 in favor of fi’zi:k’s k:ium alloy rails.

The top of the saddle is covered with Microtex fabric with a suede stripe running down the center. The exterior shell of the Arione CX is constructed of multi-directional carbon fiber, which suspends a bi-directional carbon/kevlar-woven insert that allows for controlled flex. The Arione CX Carbon k:ium also uses what fi’zi:k terms Wing Flex technology. The rear wings of the Arione CX Carbon k:ium are designed to flex to allow for the riders legs to move freely. This prevents the wings of the saddle from interfering with the downward force of the riders pedal stroke. The Arione CX Carbon k:ium features 85-millimeters of rail adjustability and features a UCI limited 300-millimeter length and 132-millimeter width.  It is available in black or white and weighs 180-grams.

The styling of the Arione CX Carbon k:ium is clean and modern, foregoing the classic rounded, soft edged appearance of most saddles. It features straight lines, sharper angles and a flatter profile with shaved off edges. The saddle is covered in Microtex fabric with a suede strip down the middle for added traction and a bit of style. To finish off the Arione CX Carbon k:ium, fi’zi:k adds a small carbon insert at the back of the saddle for a bit of flair. Though the top of the saddle is stylish the real beauty of the Arione CX k:ium is its carbon shell. The carbon base with carbon/Kevlar insert is well constructed and truly shows off the engineering work that went into the saddle.

Setup was easy and the long rails made finding the proper fore and aft position easy. However, we would like to see the rail markers have more indicators for smaller units of measurement for fine-tuning one’s position. Currently the rails only have markers at one-centimeter increments ? too large of gaps for micro adjusting. Another design element we noticed when setting up the Arione CX Carbon k:ium is that the top of the saddle is not perfectly flat, but rather has a slight downward bow to it. We set ours up level with the tip of the saddle and rear most point on the same plane. This provided what one tester described as a pocket that the rider’s body seems to naturally find when riding.

Despite being branded as a racing saddle the Arione CX Carbon k:ium is perfect for all day rides. The mixture of a flat top surface combined with gently curved edges resulted in most riders finding the Arione CX Carbon k:ium comfortable. The saddles long length gives the rider plenty of space to move forward during hard efforts or to slide back during long climbs. The padding on the Arione CX Carbon k:ium is firm, but combined with the two-piece shell design and Wing Flex rider’s opinions remained favorable.

We have no complaints about the fi’zi:k Arione CX Carbon k:ium, everything from the styling to performance scored high with testers. The Arione CX Carbon k:ium didn’t convince everyone to abandon their old saddles, but most saddles fall into categories of love or hate and the fi’zi:k Arione CX Carbon k:ium was almost universally accepted ? a rare and admirable feat.

PRICE: $269.95
INFO: www.fizik.com
BONUS POINTS: Style and comfort

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