The new Arione R1 Versus Evo saddle has a deep relief channel to help with pressure issues for some riders and it remains a comfortable performance lead saddle
It is now fair to say that Italian brand Fizik covers off most rider’s needs when it comes to saddles. Using its Spine Concept Evo system you’ll either fall into its Snake, Bull or Chameleon parameters and should find a saddle to support the type of rider you are. The new Fizik Versus range takes that a step further.
If you are the type of rider that enjoys a relief channel in your saddle, but have found Fizik lacking in this department, the new Versus range could fix the problem.
Saddles in the collection have a full central relief channel running the length – this applies to the Snake, Bull and Chameleon versions at a number of price brackets including the top end Fizik Arione R1 Versus Evo Regular saddle we have here that will set you back £210.
Video: A saddles buyer’s guide
Being a super fan of the Arione range (which featured in our Editor’s Choice awards) the new Fizik Arione R1 Versus Evo saddle should suit me and I’ve tested the regular size as opposed the the larger width Fizik now on offer. The regular measures 132mm, large is 142mm – they’re the same length but one weighs four grams more.
The Arione falls into the category of the Snake, which by Fizik’s own explantation is a rider ‘with high body flexibility and no pelvic rotation while pedalling’. It also is the longest saddle in the Fizik range and is totally flat, meaning as an aggressive low down rider I can find the power sweet spot either on the hoods or drops.
Thankfully, with the new deep relief channel you can still utilise the Arione saddle as a performance lead and aggressive style saddle without hinderance. It still has Wing Flex technology too which enables flex where the thighs meet the ‘wings’ of the saddle. However, this area is still pretty firm and its ability to conform to my thighs was low.
Although being a long and flat saddle, time spent sat back on the rear of the saddle is limited.
The Fizik Arione R1 Versus Evo saddle uses something called Comfort Core foam along with a grippy and durable Microtex cover. Fizik claim this to be comfortable and to a certain degree it is, but I found after a long five hours to be a little sore in the undercarriage area.
I also found that I went a little numb too, especially when I’m riding on the turbo. Although this isn’t a major problem it can provide some discomfort. I haven’t experienced these two sensations with the standard Fizik Arione and it’s not an issue I’ve had with other saddles with relief channels either.
I must stress though, saddles more so than most other kit, is very personal and different for each rider.
Topped with the £210 price point for the regular rider I struggle to see why you would spend this amount of money when the lower R3 option will service most of you needs, albeit 30 to 40 grams heavier. You can buy the Arione R1 without the channel for less money too and the comparison between that and the standard R3 isn’t as big.
At £210 you are paying a lot of money for a saddle and I can't see what this offers over the lower model to support that price. Though it is a lovely saddle, lightweight too.