Fortunately, Fizik’s Spine Concept is an online guide that helps you whittle down the choice depending on rider flexibility and comfort versus performance. If you go through the tool on Fizik’s website you’ll get suggestions based on your preferences. In my case the suggestion was a Arione Versus K:ium which falls under the ‘Snake’ selection as (on a good day) I’m flexible enough to touch my toes, but still rank comfort above performance.
Fizik’s Versus family of saddle are made for comfort as all have extra padding – although calling it extra only goes to show just how little padding there is on standard Fizik saddles as we’re not talking inches of foam. The other feature is the recessed channel running down the centre of the saddle. The idea is that it reduces pressure on the perineal area, which is a common problem for a lot of riders, and as I’ve been using the saddle for a while and experienced no such symptoms, it’s fair to say that it does its job.
One immediately noticeable feature of the Arione Versus is the very flat profile of the top of the saddle. Most other saddles I own have a dip either at the front or in the middle, but this one doesn’t. This doesn’t make it uncomfortable – even though you might think it should – but I did need to angle the saddle’s nose slightly downward compared to my usual setup.
When putting the miles in on the Arione Versus I realised that comfort isn’t necessarily dependent on having a saddle with a curved profile. In this case, comfort has more to do with the Wing Flex technology in Fizik’s saddles. The widest parts of the seat are designed to flex slightly, exactly where my thighs are brushing the sides as I pedal. Flip the saddle over and you can see that there are cut outs in the carbon-reinforced nylon shell to provide the flex. That same area on the top of the saddle has a very shiny Microtex covering which ensures your shorts slide over it, whereas the rest of the cover has a slightly textured feeling to prevent you slipping around.
The rails on this version are Arione Versus are made from K:ium, Fizik’s own blend of chromoly steel which they claim is eight per cent lighter than the equivalent in titanium. I can honestly say that doesn’t worriy me as much as the issue of longevity – as long as the rails don’t bend or break over time I’ll be happy. On the subject of weight, the test sample weighed in at 247g, 8g heavier than the claimed 239g, although that’s hardly something to be concerned with.
Much more interesting is the integrated clip system underneath the saddle. Flip it over, unclip the little Fizik badge at the rear and it exposes a small mount that will accept a range of Fizik accessories including lights and saddlebags.
There’s always an element of subjectivity when it comes to saddle comfort, as what suits one rider may not suit another and the choice can be overwhelming, but Fizik’s Spine Concept helps whittle down the options. I’ve managed to get plenty of miles in on the Arione Versus and while it’s not been the most comfortable saddle I’ve ever used straight out of the box, it’s far from the most uncomfortable either. It’s a saddle which gets more comfortable as it wears in and the more time I spend on it the less I notice it. Of course, part of that could be my adjusting to the saddle as much as the saddle’s Wing Flex permanently flexing to match me as Fizik claim. All in all, the Fizik Arione Versus strikes an excellent balance of comfort, weight and cost, though it takes a little time to break in.
– Wing Flex sides, extra padding and central channel are all good comfort-oriented features
– Light/saddlebag mount at the back is a smart feature
– Takes a little time to break in