Review: Fizik Arione versus K:Ium saddle
Fizik have been going to some great extremes to ensure you’re sitting comfortably. In fact they’ve taken so much trouble over it that if you don’t find anything that suits you then you must have a very particular backside indeed.
There should be a Fizik saddle for everyone, which is all well and good provided you know which part of that everyone you happen to be. The Italian brand has thought about this and bracketed people according to their spines.
This study is known as the “spine concept” and Fizik has declared that you should be either a snake (flexible spine), chameleon (medium spine) or bull (rigid spine). To work out which one you are you have merely to attempt to touch your toes.
Such simplicity of process unlocks a vast treasure trove of information - once your flexibility has been decided there’s a targeted range of saddles, handlebars, and now shorts that have been especially designed with you in mind. Fizik have gone a step further and released a variation on each saddle which includes a groove along the centre, for those who would prefer not to be too pressured down there.
Like us. Possessing of a snake-like flexibility we went for the Arione versus K:Ium with a groove. It’s a style of saddle that also seems to aim at the more performance-orientated among us, being light, long and flat. But the ‘versus K:Ium’ element of the name is supposed to signify comfort, through extra padding alongside the trademark wingflex element. You know you are buying the grooved version because it has a very attractive red stripe going across it.
After all this effort in targeting of saddle design you’d think that to sit on a Fizik saddle would be an experience similar to being stroked gently with a feather, but you would be mistaken. At least for the first few rides.
Like any other saddle, the Arione needs a little time to wear in, or soften up. This might come as a bit of a surprise considering the flex when you give it a squeeze, but it is no more comfortable on the first ride than a Kasimax BMX saddle. Which given you will have just lavished north of £100 on it, might disappoint you. But just like a great Italian wine, it needs time to breath, to get used to its new partner.
Before long you will be as much a part of that saddle as you are your feet. It will feel remarkably comfortable.
This is before you will have tried the shorts that accompany the saddle, and you won’t have tried them because neither have we, and we don’t think they are out yet.
This is a first for a brand that produces saddles. Never before has anyone designed a pair of shorts that are supposed to specifically marry with your chosen saddle. It’s a development that Fizik, established in 1996, would have been more likely than others to make, and we have yet to find out if there was any point in it.
In the meantime, just get the saddle. It’s the nuts.
4 / 5
Available here http://www.fizik.com/uk_en/men/saddles-2/versus/arione-vs-kium-new.html