Reverence: Fi’zi:k Aliante

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 fizik 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 fizik 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.

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124 Replies to “Reverence: Fi’zi:k Aliante”

  1. @marko might argue that the seat post is the more important.

    On a more serious note, I’ve just found a, ahem…, triathlon shop, cough, near me that does a saddle trial service. £30 gets a three week trial with the saddle of your choice but with the option to swap as many time during that period as required. The £30 is also discounted against any future saddle purchases and they offer a nice discount to members of my local cycling club. They stock most of the fizik range so the next time I’m passing I’m going to pop in and pick up whichever of the saddles my body type is supposed to suit.

  2. I’m confused. Title is for Aliante. Picture is Aliante. Commentary regarding being a ‘bull’ implies Aliante. All the next relates to Arione. Which is it?

    Too much Belgian beer, perhaps?

  3. @Paul
    It’s been edited. I went in to do it but someone beat me to it. Your theory on too much beer, while sound, is short of the mark. It has more to do with Amsterdam exports. Cheers for pointing it out.

  4. @Marko

    I’m an Aliante fan myself – I have them on all my bikes. I’m tempted by the Antares or one of the new kurve saddles, but to be honest, a bit scared to move away from the tried and true.

  5. My LBS does trials as well. Previously, they only had WTB saddles, but in recent months (many since I bought my Arione VX) they’ve started demo’ing Fi’zi:k saddles as well. I love my Arione VX, but I’m interested in trying the Aliante as I’m not sure I’m flexible like “Snake”…

  6. @Chris

    Not sure where you are located, but many shops partner with Fizik (and in my area Specialized) to offer free saddle trials. For example, there are two LBS near me, both Specialized dealers, the allow you to test any of six different saddles (3 Fizik and 3 Specialized) for a week at a time for free – all you do is put down a deposit for the replacement cost of the saddle should you damage it.

    I went through the Antares, Aliante and then finally found my saddle with the Specialized Romin. I liked everything about the Aliante except that there was no relief channel. The carbon fiber flex portion in the middle just wasn’t enough relief for me unfortunately.

  7. @VeloVita
    I’m in Cambridgeshire in the UK. I’ve searched around there doesn’t seem to be anybody offering a free trial system, certainly not one within 10km of my house.

  8. @Chris
    Still, if they allow you to put it toward the saddle and you’re going to buying one regardless, its as good as free. Buying in shop is so much better than mail order with both saddles and shoes as I have found out the hard, expensive way.

  9. Turbomatic4. This was the gold standard. And, no, the new one with carbon rails is not the same. I’ll have to give the Fi’zi:k a try one of these days. In the meantime I’ll see if my new “son of” Turbo4 will eventually break in………

  10. @Chris

    @marko might argue that the seat post is the more important.

    Awesome! I’ve got a Chorus like in the photo and have no complaints. Mine, however, is not attached to a Aliante, but to a Selle San Marco ASPide as, @Paul – if it isn’t broken, no need to fix it. Especially when it comes to personal items.

  11. Yeah, my LBS also offered free fizik saddle demos as well for a week at a time, giving you a sweet purple saddle to try out. I settled on the fizik antares vs because it was more flat, like my previous saddle. Has worked well for me for the past year now.

  12. For the longest time I was a huge fan of the Avocet O2 Air, Ti rails. Fit perfect, but you can’t find a new one these days. So when it came time to replace the semi awful stock saddle on my new plastic bike, I checked out the Arione. Fits like a glove and is sleek too. I also have a old Pave on #2 that’s seen 15 years of service. It’s in great shape, and while the fit is a bit different, it works perfectly well for those 100+K winter training rides.

  13. @scaler911
    I rode an Arione on rollers and the total of my nether regions was numb in about 10 minutes. I too have a Pave that came with stock on my first Ridley and that now adorns my CX bike, but the only reason I can ride it is because its CX and I’m constantly in and out and off of the saddle. I really wish I could find a Fizik that works for me, because I like the aesthetic of just about everything they make.

  14. I’ve also got a carbon railed aliante, having previously had a series of selle italia flites on mountain and road bikes. I reckon the aliante is more comfortable when new than others, and doesn’t seem to need much of a break in period. It’s worth noting that fizik saddles don’t always obey the principle of silence out of the box, and can squeak a bit for a few hundered KM. This is a bit annoying but seems to go away once the rails have settled in.

  15. My saddle was a Selle San Marco Regal in Black with perforated leather for years… And then I found my soul mate, the Specialized Romin. I love this thing.

  16. @Calmante
    +1 I’ve got a Romin Expert with the titanium rails and the basic CroMo model. They both are the best saddles I’ve ridden – I’ve tried the Fizik Arione, Antartes, Aliante, and Pave, the E3 Form Titanium and Selle Italia MAX Flite Gel Flow and SL XC Flow. None of these were even close to being as comfortable for me as the Romins.

  17. Saddles are fickle mistresses. Rode a fizik saddle for years with great results. Also used a Spesh Avatar for a few months but the gel and shape tended to “force” me into one position. I tried the Selle Italia SLR TT and found my perfect fit. Minimalist saddle that doesn’t “get in the way” on long rides. Of course, others might find it to be a torture device. Took me seven years to find “the one”.

    Good hunting, everyone.

  18. @Paul

    If you like aliantes Paul I would be wary of the anteres. It’s a very flat saddle. I love it myself and find the aliante is like trying to balance over a log. Very different saddles.

    Isn’t it wonderful that we are all unique, like gentle snowflakes.

  19. @Paul
    Stick with what works. I’ve been on an Arione for 3 years and like it. Last summer I tried the Anteres which looked inviting and was a bit closer to what fizik’s touch your toes test suggested. Something about the Anteres did not agree with my back — with the Arione my back settles into a nice flat position but the Anteres made the lower back want to arch just a bit which was most uncomfortable. In retrospect I think the touch the toes test makes me seem less flexible than I am as I’m all legs. I’m very happily back on the Arione now.

  20. I have a base model Arione. great looking saddle. Do saddles have a life span? I ask cause I actually bought it used about 2 years ago.

  21. @RedRanger
    I suppose any bicycle component has a lifespan, but in the case of a saddle I wouldn’t worry too much about it unless there has been some kind of damage to it. I believe the standard rails are a steel alloy which should last a long long time. I would guess that the padding or covering would wear out and you would want to replace it out of comfort or aesthetics long before you would actually need to replace it due to a concern of failure.

  22. I wrote Fizik off 2 last year after trying out a Arione and the southern boys didn’t care much for it, even on short rides.
    Fizik owes you some props though, because I wasn’t even really in the market for a new saddle, well, not really anyways, I mean if there’s a market? I am in it, and I just bought a Aliante.
    Well done – good article.

  23. Ariones crack along the wing flex indents on the underside of the shell. Been through two of them like this, although may have got one back via warranty. I like Ariones enough to have stockpiled several via eBay purchases just in case they stop making them.

  24. @calves
    Biggest difference between Arione (132mm) and Aliante (142mm) is their width. Endured 1.5 years until I verified my sit bones (while in riding position) at 130mm. Arione offered too little support for my frame. Now my sit bones (my frame) is supported across the 142mm width — Aliante.

  25. Couldn’t agree more. I ride Aliantes as well after someone suggested them as a substitute for the Turbo (when they weren’t making those again). My Aliante with Titanium (yes, pre-K:ium) rails also stood up well on the roads to Roubaix. I also have an Aliante Gamma on a bike I don’t use much, but the ride there isn’t as nice as the ones with carbon shells. (Gamma has a plastic shell, hence the lower cost.)

  26. Crap. Now I’m going to have to try one out. Do any shops do the ‘try one, if it doesn’t work, bring it back for a discount’ kind of program?

    I miss those days…

  27. @packfiller
    None that I’ve ever seen. That is why its good to look for the shops that allow saddle demos, otherwise, finding the perfect saddle becomes a potentially very expensive endeavor.

  28. I love my Aliantes, I’ve taken to stockpiling them just in case. They spend a winter on the turbo bike and then are boxed up for that disastrous day when I write one off. Currently got five spares broken in – I know I’m nutty, but the right saddle is the right saddle!

  29. @schmiken

    I love my Aliantes, I’ve taken to stockpiling them just in case. They spend a winter on the turbo bike and then are boxed up for that disastrous day when I write one off. Currently got five spares broken in – I know I’m nutty, but the right saddle is the right saddle!

    Have you gone as far as to try the Kurve Aliante ?? Will find a deal this year and commit to one (think so).

  30. Aliantes all around for me as well. Great saddle. I was lucky enough to find it on the second try, never bothered to try anything else.

    Welcome back to the real world. Go easy for the first few days, re-compression is a bitch!

  31. @Vin’cenza

    How did you determine your sit bone width? I’ve been trying to figure this out in the hopes that it would help me determine which saddle I should be riding.

  32. I’ve recently acquired a Pave. It’s not bad, but I’m not sure it’s the “right” saddle for me.

  33. @MJ Moquin


    How did you determine your sit bone width? I’ve been trying to figure this out in the hopes that it would help me determine which saddle I should be riding.

    Bike shops that handle correct fits should have a device (memory foam) that measures the indentations made by your sit bones — as measured sitting in a crouched position with your feet somewhat elevated. These bones move in and out according to your position, so mimic your bike position as close as possible within reason. It is possible to lay a sheet of tin foil or a semi-dense layer of foam and sit for a minute. The foil “might” show you the center marks of the sit bones.

  34. Concerning sit bones, correct saddle width is the most important factor in finding a saddle.

  35. Note: lay the tin foil over the semi-dense foam — and sit. Not foil “or” foam.

  36. Alternate: remove left-over pizza from fridge which has been wrapped in foil.

    Sit on that. Measure sit-bone width. Consume pizza.

  37. Nice one, Brett. I’ve been hooked on the Aliante for a couple of years (and just got it a Fizik Cyrano seatpost as playmate). I opted it for the Aliante not because of any specific measurement, a la@Vin’cenza, but rather because I’m hung like a bull. Unfortunately, I also tend to be rather full of bull, too…

  38. Antares and Aliante are both 142mm. And when measuring sit bones, it is best to sit directly on the unwrapped pizza. Do not eat.

  39. I tried all the fi’zi:k saddles and all led to serious numbness inside of 30k. Switched to the Selle SMP Forma this past summer after test riding one while in Wichita on business (where it seems everyone rides Selle SMP) and I have found my saddle soul-mate. Fits me like a glove. Also, had one issue where the carbon railed saddle warped and the North American distributor replaced it without question. Great product and great warranty service.

  40. @Anjin-san
    With you all the way. Converted to Selle SMP (Stratos for me) a few years ago and have never looked back.

    Frank hates them – but because he can pick up bananas without bending down I discount anything he may think about bike fit

  41. had my first stack recently – all fine apart from major tear to my brand new white aliante carbon saddle ( which is doing it for me ), and one of the rear scuff protectors was smashed. Thankfully they sell replacements – went online, ordered and received today in post.

    got to hand it to fi’zi:k – quality packaging and service:

    The pack includes a set of three, so you can customise the colour set up – sweet – going for the black set over chrome or red.

    listen to me, for fuckssake..

    Thread hijack alert: here’s a shot of my view into work this morning – just because – from parriwi street in mosman, sydney – view out of the heads ( entrance to Sydney harbour from the pacific ocean ). have a good one allll

  42. @Calmante

    One day, I’ll gather the stones to break in a Brooks…

    Do it… the whole thing about breaking them in is rubbish in my experience. If it isn’t comfortable pretty much from the beginning then I doubt it will ever be.

    I’ve got Brooks on all my bikes… a Swift, two Team Pros and a B17.

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