Product Test: Fizik Aliante R1 Versus Evo
If what the best racers in the world use has any impact on what you desire in life, then a Fizik saddle should be on your wish list given that they are the saddles used by both the Sky and Movistar teams.
Fizik was born 22 years ago under the Selle Royale roof when the more mainstream saddle maker decided to give it a go at building a performance-driven, handmade saddle. A visit to the massive parent factory in Veneto, Italy, will find one small section of the warehouse-sized space dedicated to the workforce who assemble the saddles one at a time.
The Aliante was the first model that came off the Fizik assembly line and it weighed 174 grams. Since then, the Aliante has been joined by two other models—Antares and Arione—and each has its own dedicated shape that falls under one of three of Fizik’s Spine Concept categories—Bull, Chameleon, Snake—which corresponds to the rider’s level of flexibility.
In addition to the shape, the latest development is their take on the growing trend of saddles focused on perineal pressure relief. Fizik has two of these Versus models available: the Open and the Evo. The Open features a rigid nylon shell with a cutout hole in the center of the saddle, while the Evo is built around a compliant nylon shell with a channel that runs through the length of the saddle.
Fizik puts the Aliante in the Bull category, which means it has a low, waved shape intended for riders with the least flexibility. Starting with the shell, Evo’s nylon base is engineered for compliance, and Fizik integrated a carbon fiber layer to maintain stiffness. Unlike the R3 model that uses round chromoly rails, the R1 version uses oversized 7mm x 9mm carbon rails that are bonded to the 280mm-long shell by hand.
The Aliante adds a deep foam for the padding and a hand-wrapped microfiber cover. The 139mm-wide saddle hit the RBA scales at 187 grams, Fizik offers a slightly wider 148mm version that offers even greater compliance.
The Evo channel is what sets this Aliante apart—14mm wide at the nose and 7mm deep—the channel stretches the length of the saddle. In unison with the flared padding, the channel creates a relief pocket no matter what position the rider is in.
Owing to Fizik’s sizing options, the Aliante fit our sit bones ideally. Fizik has more options to choose from than ever, and the use of Fizik dealer’s sizing charts and demo saddles is almost required to ensure the proper fit.
The Evo design proved ideal for test riders with a penchant for long days in the saddle. Its flexible shell and deep foam noticeably reduced the bumpy ride of imperfect roads. About the time sensitive parts typically go numb during a ride, our test riders were still pedaling comfortably.
For the performance-oriented rider, the Aliante Open model may be preferred for its stiffer base, but for those interested in spending more time on two wheels, the Evo maintains a higher level of comfort in the saddle. During our local crit practice, sliding up the saddle for more leverage while in drops, the Evo’s channel effectively kept perineal pressure to a minimum.
In addition to a regular version that has no relief system, there are actually eight versions of the Aliante, with the most price-conscious starting at $149 and going up to the $400 Aliante 00 Versus, which, at a claimed weight of only 20 grams lighter, seems a tad rich.
For more than a couple of pretty pennies, the Aliante Evo could keep you riding longer. Fizik enables its dealers to aid in the saddle search with its plethora of demo saddles and sizing charts.
We liked the Aliante’s all-day comfort and didn’t notice it holding us back in high-performance situations. When being comfortable is what keeps us on the bike, the Aliante R1 Evo kept us riding longer. That’s a good thing.
• Handmade in Italy
• Fizik’s latest comfort technology
• Same saddles the pros use
Weight: 187 grams