By Stefan Abram published
Short-nosed saddles with large central cut-outs have been booming in popularity, largely thanks to their pressure relieving qualities and amenity to aero positions.
But these coveted qualities are no longer the preserve of roadies alone; Fizik has introduced a pair of gravel bike specific saddles to its Argo range of short, wide saddles which promise “pressure-free forward rotation and better power transfer.”
The standout feature of the Terra Argo saddles is the vented mudguard. Although there are many benefits to be gained from a central cut-out, grimy water spraying directed up into your undercarriage certainly isn’t one of them. The inclusion of an insert here is intended to retain the pressure relieving and air circulating qualities of a cut-out, while dispensing with the drawbacks.
Other features include a raised tail at the back to assist with weight distribution and rider position on steep climbs, while the elongated 7x7mm circular rails allow for a wider range of fore-aft positions. This should enable it to better accommodate the multitude of gravel geometries.
Fizik has used their propriety Type 2 foam for the padding—which is softer than the Type 1 foam used in their racing saddles—to provide greater comfort over long distances and rough terrain. The inclusion of Fizik’s “Wingflex” technology means that the edges of the saddle have a degree of engineered compliance. Fizik claims that this allows for “an unimpeded pedal stroke”, even though the width is greater than that of a traditional saddle.
What differentiates the X3 saddle from the X5 is that the former has lighter hollow Kium saddle rails, whereas the latter are constructed from “ultra-strong S-Alloy.” Interestingly, both utilise the same carbon reinforced nylon shell.
The saddles come in two widths, 150mm and 160mm, with the X3 weighing a claimed 238g and the X5 250g (both in their 150mm guise). But their difference is cost is great than their weight with the X3 retailing at £129.99 and the X5 at £89.99.
Starting off riding mountain bikes on the South Downs way, he soon made the switch the road cycling. Now, he’s come full circle and is back out on the trails, although the flat bars have been swapped for the curly ones of a gravel bike.
Always looking for the next challenge, he’s Everested in under 12 hours and ridden the South Downs Double in sub 20. Although dabbling in racing off-road, on-road and virtually, to date his only significant achievement has been winning the National Single-Speed Cross-Country Mountain Bike Championships in 2019.
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