The lightweight Fizik Antares R3 saddle provides a great balance of comfort and freedom of movement. The use of more affordable construction materials mirrors the fit of high-end versions without the sky-high price tag.
The Fizik Antares R3 was selected for an Editor's Choice award in 2020. This year's list contains 78 items which scored a 9 or 10/10 with our tech team - this gear is the best of the best, and has received the Cycling Weekly stamp of approval.
When Fizik unveiled the first 3D printed saddle at Eurobike last year, the collaboration between Fizik and Silicon Valley-based digital manufacturing company, Carbon, understandably made cycling headlines.
But what was interesting that behind all the flashy technology, Fizik had chosen the Antares saddle to be the first for this futuristic technological partnership demonstrating that the range, despite being around for over 12 years now, still gets a lot of love.
Position in range
In terms of saddle pecking order, the Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive with its 3D printing technology (once it's actually available to buy) will be somewhat higher than that of the Antares R3 we have on test, which following the Fizik naming convention sits at the other end of the spectrum, the R indicating Road, and the number the position in range.
There are also fit options in the Antares range, with the Versus coming with a pressure-relieving central channel, and Open going one step further with a pressure-relieving central cut-out. The Antares R3 is more traditional in its make-up, in that it's a standard common-or-garden saddle with simply the positioning of padding doing all the relieving work.
Technically the Antares R3 falls in the men's side of the Fizik saddle range, and is available in two widths, 142mm and 152mm. I was testing the larger of the two, and even though I'm a lady, still found it perfectly comfortable on top of the BMC Alpenchallenge AMP Road e-bike.
Spine concept fit
The key to this Fizik Antares R3 saddle working so well for me is that clearly I 'fit' its 'fit' - which in this case means I'm what the brand calls a 'Chameleon'.
There seems to be less promotion of Fizik's spine fit concepts these days, with the least flexible of riders being named a Bull, most flexible Snakes and if you're somewhere in the middle, a Chameleon.
While the Fizik website saddle finder app doesn't seem to make animalistic references these days, those of you who have been around for a while will remember the animal pose adverts. The concept still very much holds value and makes it easier to filter down saddle choices, helping to lead you through the minefield of saddles to narrow down the best for you, so it's certainly worth giving it a whirl before committing headlong into a purchase after reading this review.
Back to the saddle in question.
The wide and slightly curved shape of the Antares saddle is a constant throughout the range, with just the construction materials changing. So even though you might consider your riding more sporting enthusiasts and less professional, you will in fact still find common ground with, according to the Fizik website, riders such as Chris Froome and Egan Bernal of Team Ineos.
Vital statistics wise, the Antares saddle is 275mm by either 142mm (regular) or 152mm (large). It's one of the longest saddles on the market, with the nearest comparable probably being around the Selle Italia X-LR Ti 316S in a size large, but even that is a good seven millimetres shorter and over 10mm narrower.
Lightweight and comfortable
The Antares R3 uses a composite glass co-injected Nylon shell which comes with the much revered Wing Flex system at the side. It gives a slight amount of flex to the sides of the saddle, not enough to concisely notice when riding, but combined with the Microtex thigh glides, means it's a constant comfort factor, especially on long rides.
The alloy Kium rails help keep the saddle to a lightweight 205g (for a size large). It's impressive for a saddle this price with similar weight saddles costing around £35 more, such as the Scion Elan Power Ergo Saddle or cheaper saddles weighing significantly more, such as the Specialized Oura Expert Gel Women's saddle which is £100, but weighs 277g.
The whole package works very well. The riding that I did on the aformentioned BMC was a real mix bag of terrain surface-wise, both paved and unpaved, and there wasn't one point where I questioned the Antares R3's comfort factor, with the sweetspot of padding versus freedom of movement. Add to this the low weight and price point means it's a great saddle, assuming you are a Chameleon and the fit works for you.
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Hannah is Cycling Weekly’s longest serving tech writer, having started with the magazine back in 2011.
She's specialises on the technical side of all things cycling, including pro peloton team kit having covered multiple seasons of the Spring Classics, and Grand Tours for both print and websites. Prior to joining Cycling Weekly, Hannah was a successful road and track racer, competing in UCI races across the world, and has raced in most of Europe, China, Pakistan and New Zealand.
For fun, she's ridden LEJOG unaided, a lap of Majorca in a day, won 24 hour mountain bike race and tackled famous mountain passes in the French Alps, Pyrenees, Dolomites and Himalayas. She lives just outside the Peak District National Park near Manchester UK with her partner, daughter and a small but beautifully formed bike collection.
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