Reverence: Fi’zi:k Aliante

Reverence: Fi’zi:k Aliante

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The saddle has got to be the most important piece of equipment for the cyclist when it comes to comfort and performance. If your ass is rubbing the wrong way, causing chafing and sores, or all circulation is cut off rendering you unable to locate vital organs for nature breaks, then it’s fair to say you don’t have the right saddle. And just as it is with significant others of the human kind, finding ‘the one’ is usually a trial and error process that can take years before you hit on the perfect companion for your nether regions.

Most pros will have a favourite saddle they will use throughout their career, and despite sponsorship commitments will often go to great lengths to ride the same model, perhaps disguised to try and fool the fans or appease said sponsors. Or they’ll just insist that their new team gets on board with the seat supplier to keep them happy. It’s that vital. Rumour has it that Mark Cavendish insisted on Sky teaming up with fi'zi:k when he joined them for the 2012 season. And having been riding on their Aliante for the last month, I can see why.

I’d had an early version of the Aliante on an old Giant TCR back in the mid 2000s, and it was a great fit for me. The curvy shape seemed to work with my riding style and/or body shape pefectly. I did a long road tour of Tasmania on it, riding 2500 kms in ten days with nary a grumble from downstairs. Then they released the Arione, longer, flatter and firmer, and I was attracted to it and switched over. While I never hated it, we just didn’t seem to get on as well and I consequently moved on to many more relationships, most not very long lasting and ultimately unsatisfying.

When the Keepers Tour partnership with fi'zi:k was in its conception, I was excited about their new shoes, but a touch apprehensive about the saddles; I checked out the website and looked into their Spine Concept, where you can enter information about your body type and riding style and be recommended one of the three shapes on offer. All my characteristics pointed me back to the Aliante, as I’m apparently a ‘Bull’. The shape and profile of it also was most compatible with the older school styling of my Profetta. I requested a black cover with braided carbon rails, as the weight weenie in me influenced my decision. But how would it handle the cobbles and long days ahead in Flanders and northern France?

Well, I think if I ever find the perfect woman, she’ll be a lot like the Aliante. Shapely, sexy, reliable and great to sit on. Ok, maybe not the last one. This sadlle is awesome. To be able to ride for over five hours in a sitting (pardon the pun) on the roughest ‘roads’ in Europe and still be able to tell what’s going on down there at nature breaks is all you can ask for. I didn’t get a hint of a saddle sore or any chafing, even without chamois cream. The carbon rails survived the constant pounding and the cover endured some pre-tour crashes with flying colours. When my seatpost head loosened and slipped a cpuple of times on our second Roubaix ride, our mechanic Matthias was leery of cranking up the bolt onto the rails. He asked what the torque was, and not knowing I replied “as far as you can go”. It was torqued so hard that when I tried to loosen the bolt to fix the seat clamp, it took an extra long allen key with a pipe on the end to budge it. That’s some serious torque, but the carbon wrap didn’t even have a mark. Impressive.

I think I’ve found my perfect match in the Aliante. At least that’s what my boys are telling me, and in this case it’s better to be doing the thinking down below than up top.

// Accessories and Gear // Product Review // Reverence

  1. @minion

    @Marcus

    @Vin’cenza

    @Marcus @minion Both of you could attempt to do some research concerning sit bones — on your own merit. And then apply to your saddle as you see “fit” ((pun intended here)) and avoid sounding petty.

    Calm down Champ. You obviously haven’t been around these parts long enough to understand the symbiotic relationship that Minion and I share. Our “petty” exchanges are a key part of this website.
    And on that score things have been too nice around here for a long time. I couldn’t give a fuck about a bunch of losers’ having some shit trip to the bowels of Europe. I would like to argue with people about cycling matters. To that end I say that Australia is now the finest all-round cycling country in the world.

    Can’t win a a team pursuit or match sprint to save your freckly country though can you.

    Keep up princess, I AM in your country, residing in the retirement village you call Canberra, tuning your women and bludging off your social welfare.

    Yeah Australia would be a good place to ride if New Zealand wasn’t better. And there was a fucken hill within 200km of anything including other hills.

    Two things:

    Canberra is not in Australia. It exists in a parallel plane known only as satans bottom. Anything of any nature that has anything or anyone to do with it does not really exist. There is simply no excuse for living there – none – bar the fact it is 1.5 hours drive from the tallest mountain ( kosciusko ) in Australia – and some spectacular cycling country. But you knew that.

    Carry on.

  2. @Marcus

    @minion

    It’s like an antipodean Jerry Springer show.
    Can’t wait to see who knocks over the furniture to bitchslap the other first.

  3. @mouse

    @Marcus

    @minion

    It’s like an antipodean Jerry Springer show.
    Can’t wait to see who knocks over the furniture to bitchslap the other first.

    The Aussie will. Kiwis Butchslip.

  4. @frank
    Sorry! I am not the one to post on someone else’s site all my junk…

    To give @Frank some credit, he does a better interview ‘lubricated’ than most do ‘dry’!!!

  5. @smithers
    Bwahahahahhaa! That does seem an apt description as far as I know. @Blah

    @mouse

    @Marcus

    @minion

    It’s like an antipodean Jerry Springer show.
    Can’t wait to see who knocks over the furniture to bitchslap the other first.

    The Aussie will. Kiwis Butchslip.

    Damn straight. I’d rather be bitchslapped than slapped by Butch.

  6. @smithers

    @minion
    I think you sell Canberra (aboriginal word for fucked place equidistant from Melbourne and Sydney where we shove all our politicians) short. It is the nation’s capital in not only politics, but also Porn and Fireworks.

    Minion, seriously, what the fuck made you move there? Although you should go riding with Stephen Hodge’s bunch (he can tell you what it was like to be JaJa’s domestique).

  7. @Marcus

    @smithers
    @minionI think you sell Canberra (aboriginal word for fucked place equidistant from Melbourne and Sydney where we shove all our politicians) short. It is the nation’s capital in not only politics, but also Porn and Fireworks.
    Minion, seriously, what the fuck made you move there? Although you should go riding with Stephen Hodge’s bunch (he can tell you what it was like to be JaJa’s domestique).

    SWMBO is a rather well paid public servant who works for the Federal govt, and so can’t work in the other big cities. We have a handful of mutual friends here, and teh cycling round here sold itself.
    My best mate lives in Melbourne, he’s a debauched fucker so I can nip down there quite frequently to stock up on the heroin and live kittens that make my existence here tolerable.

  8. @minion
    We needs a Melbourne Cogal.
    Dandenongs climbing fest.
    Yell out when you’re in need of more kittens.

  9. @mouse

    @minion
    We needs a Melbourne Cogal.
    Dandenongs climbing fest.
    Yell out when you’re in need of more kittens.

    Make it some time late June or in July and I’ll be in town, too. School holidays are awesome. Get to visit the home town for six to eight weeks a year.

  10. @Blah
    Hmm, yes.
    The weather should be suitably shit by that stage as well to really make it properly Belgian.
    Hands up any other Velominati interested.

  11. @mouse

    @Blah
    Hmm, yes.
    The weather should be suitably shit by that stage as well to really make it properly Belgian.
    Hands up any other Velominati interested.

    Crap weather indeed. One of my hesitations when buying my Melbourne bike was that it’s white. Oh well.

  12. @Blah
    Yeah, don’t worry. It’ll be raining hard enough that no dirt will stick to it.
    Had some absolute cracker rides this year through some deluges up there. Had on one ride an inch and a half of water running down the road I was climbing up.
    Good times.

  13. @mouse
    You know, I am actually looking forward to coming home over the break so I can ride in the rain. Rain here in Singapore is so ridiculously heavy so often that you (I) just don’t go out in it, and I’ve had to pull over an wait out the heavy stuff when caught out over 5km from home. Motorbikes pull over and wait it out under overpasses. Just can’t see anything, and I know through experience that drivers can’t see anything either.
    In Melb, though, different story. Last July I remember heading out into the Dandenongs in drizzle and just keeping on going when it got a bit heavier. It really is a bit of fun. Looking forward to wet and cold weather gear, too. Knicks and short sleeves here all year ’round. My rain jacket just leaves me wet through sweat as the temperature is 30 when it’s raining. Rather be wet with water.

  14. …and less heels too

  15. Just replaced the Antares on the ‘cross bke (a temporary measure) with an Aliante. Nice to see direct comparison and that the Aliante is probably more comfortable

  16. Aliante gets kudo’s from me.. 127 miles on Saturday on my new Aliante.. not as comfy as the other setup – Brooks B-17, Steel CoMotion, Fat Tires, and 95psi, vs Giant Defy Advanced, 110psi, and the Aliante, I’ll take it for a 15% speed improvement, and a setup that’s 10 lbs lighter.

  17. @RedRanger
    Most things are okay with those CDALE photos except those piece of shit FSA seatpins. Shit.

  18. Just popped a rather fine looking purple Antares on my bike. I haven’t gone mad, it’s a test saddle from my local, ahem, tritard shop. £30 gets me three weeks and as many saddle changes as I want and the money is discounted from any purchase I make at the end. The Cannondale branded saddle on my CAAD 8 tends to leave me numb on longer rides so I thought I’d try to find something that didn’t. It’s not bad but could be better.

    In terms of fitting/positioning, when people talk of a level saddle do you mean from front to back (over the whole length) or are we talking about the front portion only – the Antares is long and flat to the point where the sides flare out then it tilts up slightly. Level from front to back has the nose pointing up a bit.

    How does the white microtex covering hold up in terms of longevity and cleaning, is it as good as the bar tape? Is the 00 Wingflex version that much better or comfortable than the braided rail version?

  19. @Chris

    Due to shape and construction of Antares saddle when properly levelled the nose of the saddle should be pointed up slightly.Most people I know who uses this saddle say that’s the best way it works for them.Arione for example can be perfectly levelled cause it’s a flat saddle.If for some reason you’re not used to ride on a saddle with the nose pointed up then maybe it’s not the saddle for you.However I know many who said with this particular saddle nose up is the most comfortable set up even though the previous saddle they used were flat and levelled.Few test rides will give you the answer.Take a multi tool on a ride and play with the tilt adjustment a bit to see what works for you.

  20. @Chris

    Yeah, what @TT said.  Some saddles are ‘flat’ along their central axis, some are more ‘saddle’ like.

    For me, level saddle means level based on the mean horizontal line taken from the top of the front to the back.  Just use a spirit level, or use a countertop or brick courses to check.

  21. @TommyTubolare@mouse

    Thanks chaps. At the moment I got it flat front to back using a spirit level as suggested. My wife’s away with work so a good bit of the testing process will be done on the rollers which brings on the numbness quicker than when I’m out on the road so I soon know whether I’m on the right track or not.

  22. This is harder than I thought. The Antares was good but not entirely pain free so I’m testing the Aliante at the moment which seems to be slightly easier on my backside in what I call my primary position but it’s more of a one psotion saddle. With the Antares, there were several positions, the primary plonk-yer-‘rse-down-in-the-middle. on the rivit TT style and slide-to-the-back-climbing. The Aliante does offer that sort of freedom of movement.

    The testing has been a mixture of road rides (38-56 miles) and sessions on the rollers up to 1:15 hours although that feels like more as there is less moving around and no out of the saddle work.

    I think it may be a step in the wrong direction but I think I’ll give the Arione a go next.

    Also turns out that the test deal isn’t three weeks long but three weeks with each saddle.

  23. @Chris

    Have you checked out fi'zi:k’s website?  They suggest choosing the saddle based on how flexible you are (i.e., can you touch your toes?  If not, how close can you get?)  I think it’s a reasonable starting place — I’ve been on an Arione for the most part, and I can usually touch my toes.  I’ve all leg, so I think that means I’m pretty flexible.  I tried an Antares last summer, and something about how it’s shaped encouraged me to have a bit of bend in the lower back, whereas the Arione for me encourages a flatter back.  The kink the Antares put in my back was no good and I’ve been back on the Arione for the last year, more or less satisfactorily.

  24. @Nate I did look at their website before starting the process but may have underestimated my flexibility. if you were to randomly ask me to touch my toes I come short by about 1 cm but when I’m warmed up I an do it no bother. That suggests that I’m probably more flexible when I’m on the bike. We shall see next week when I put the Arione through it’s paces.

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