Firstly I want to thank Suzette at Fi:zik for sending me the saddle. Yes I didn’t buy it, but I’ll give you my honest opinion on this new(ish) perch from the Italian maestros.
For those not in the know Fi:zik is a new company starting around 1997, and is an off shoot from its parent company Selle Royal. In the very early days those early adopters may remember that the saddles used to have ‘designed by Giro’ on the sides. As a company it wanted to break free from the traditional forms taken from the Italian school of saddle making. My first foray into their saddles was the Nisene, and adorned many MTB bikes that I had owned. To this day I lament the loss as it was a cracking saddle for this rider who never got on with a Flite it came as a welcome relief and a perch I really got on with. From a Road point of view I was using the Pave and Poggio. The comfort of the Pave was great (I managed my first centuary on one) but the Poggio was too stiff, probably due in part to being developed with Cippolini in mind. So my history is long and varied, and over the years I have sung the praises of the heroes and told tales of woe on those saddles which where closer to an instrument of pain, rather than comfort.
The Antares has been marketed as the ‘Third Way’, in part reference to the saddle being the third to bear an A as its starting letter. What is important to note is that each saddle has it’s own difined shape. The Aliante, hammock like, supportive and with a wider back is very comfy. I’ve used this on MTB’s, Road and Cross bikes. For me it’s best home was off road, whether it was on my MTB or the Cross bike. It was very unusual for the time as it had a Carbon Kevlar shell, it was both flexible and stiff. Comfort levels were off the chart and mile munching was never an issue.
Next came the Arione, the saddle that transformed the company from something quirky to world beating tech. When it came out it had to have the UCI rule book changed, up until then a saddle could only be 270mm long (no width restrictions). The saddle had lots of rider input from Gilberto Simoni and was used by him and members of the Saeco team. If I am correct Simoni went on to win the Giro that year and instantly gave the saddle some kudos.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the Press launch of the product, I was working for the then distributor. It was it Switzerland at the UCI centre. They had us lined up to go on the track, with the next day being out on the roads around the Lake. The best thing that I can say about that day was that I never noticed the saddle. It’s a great perch and Fi’zi:k have sold thousands since it was brought out eight years ago. For me the comfort is great and I’ve always enjoyed the extra length of the saddle.
So when the Antares came out I was very interested to see how the new ‘A’ would fit into the big picture. Most importantly as Fi’zi:k had a pretty good hit rate in the comfort department I was curious to how it would shape up against the others.
The first thing I noticed out of the box was the weight, it was light, and this was the heavy one. Although the saddles front to back measurement is a lot shorter than the Arione, what is similar is the amount of rail adjustment that it has. I’d go to say because that the sides do not come down as far as the Arione (with it’s Wing Flex system) it has slighty more adjustment. This is very noticeable when using seatposts like Thomson, with it’s wider squared off clamp.