Aug 16 2005
A stripped down model of the super-pimp Aliante this saddle might just only be available as an OEM part. No matter. It might be on a bike you want, it might turn up on Nashbar next month. It weighs 263g with Ti rails, cost is probably around $70 retail? Anyway, let’s get down to business (on a scale of 1-5 as always, with 3 being the industry average.)
Cost: 3. At my guestimated retail price, it compares favorably with other saddles in that price range. Ti rails keep it light, rest of the saddle is cheap: plastic, foam and faux leather.
Comfort: 4. Is there really any other criterion to judge a saddle by? Unlike many seats, which require a few moments for the backside to adjust before they feel ok, the Aliante is immediately cozy. Seriously, I sat down and was like like “Hellooooooooo.” After about 90 minutes of uninterupted sitting, things get less comfy, but still without numbness in the bits, and no worse than on any other saddle I’ve ridden. Perhaps the super-advanced carbon shell under the padding on the top-end Aliantes addresses this issue?
Weight: 3. More than an SLR, less than a (cheap) Concor. I really don’t care about weight, but if you do, my guess is you’ll probably want something a little easier on the gram scale; the high-end Aliante will definately scratch that itch a little better.
Shape: 4. What’s this you might ask? Why, it’s an assesment of the saddle’s ability to let you ride in different positions to adapt to different speeds, road conditions and just for plain old comfort. The Aliante does pretty well, with a slightly raised/widened nose, which aids comfort while time trialling (ouch), and the back flares up nicely, letting you get back for comfort on cobbles or to get flat-backed without aerobars. Only problem is the cheap plastic bit under the nose has pointy ends that snag your shorts (if your thighs are as huge as mine).
Style: 3. Pretty Plain Jane as these things go. Fizik really held off on the sweet Italian styling that made their Arione so classic. Nothing here but boring old black and a tiny “Arione sport” written on the side of the nose. Plus is doesn’t have those kevlar cloth edges, so a crash or two is sure to tear this thing open and make it a sponge. Bummer.
Final Thoughts: A clear winner for cheapskates like me who love to stand up every once in a while. My only caution is that I have a pretty girthy backside (I mean, it’s all muscle, but still, pretty big). I weigh a fair amount (165lbs, 75kg), but that pressure is well distributed. I’ve only come across one saddle that I ever couldn’t stand, and people have told me on numerous occasions that my previous saddles have sucked. So take my advice at your own discretion.