Fizik Luce S-Alloy women's saddle review
A flexy rear end provides comfort but the cutout won't suit all
Fizik has conducted large-scale research to develop this saddle, and that's great news. Whilst saddle comfort is personal, I would suggest that there is a reason most popular women's saddle models have a wider cutout - I found this one too narrow, especially when adopting a more aggressive position. When in a more upright stance the rear flex provided comfort, but I'd like to see more width options available.
Flex zones at the rear
Limited width options
Fizik proudly proclaims that the Luce saddle has been "specifically designed for women", something I find a little odd as it seems like an obvious prerequisite for a women's saddle.
The Luce was however designed following "extensive research" by Fizik, as it sought to create a comfortable but high-performance line of women's saddles. Whilst comfort in this area is very personal, I would suggest this is a model suited to a more upright endurance position rather than an aggressive racing stance.
Fizik Luce S-Alloy women's saddle: construction
The Luce is available featuring carbon or aluminum rails, the latter being the model on test, retailing at the more wallet friendly £89.99 vs £164.99 if you opt for carbon.
In order to create it, Fizik says it carried out research over the course of three years. This included focus groups and surveying via an online blog. I visited the Fizik factory at the launch of the saddle, back in 2016.
The brand was candid about the fact that it had decided to exclude professional women from this research, with the needs of amateur women the focus in this case.
Having collected experiences and data, the brand concluded that it should create a narrow shape at the nose to reduce friction at the thighs, with a wider sitting area at the rear. IschialFlex 'wings' made from a thermoplastic elastomer feature under the sit bones, and are deigned to flex with movement.
A central relief channel has been included, which the brand says has a "unique shape that provides a perfect profile for female cyclists and maintains structural stability over time", meaning it shouldn't cave in and create pressure points over long-term use.
The saddle comes in two widths: 144mm and 155mm.
Fizik Luce S-Alloy women's saddle: the ride
Fizik's Luce saddle was initially released in grey, with orange or pink lines adding a splash of colour. It now comes in black, and I would say that this represents a vast improvement. The saddle looks smart on any bike, and the gentle curve at the rear alongside the Fizik logo is a nice touch.
The rear of the saddle, with its IschialFlex wings, bends easily under pressure from my hands, suggesting high levels of comfort to come. The fabric cover feels soft, plush and relatively resilient. The narrow nose is a plus for me, I've worn abrasion marks into plenty of pairs of leg warmers as my thighs move against the saddle so I'm pleased Fizik has noted and addressed this.
Saddle comfort is a very personal thing, but I can only report my own experience, which is that out on the bike the narrow cutout does not provide enough space for me, creating a chafing when leaning into a more aggressive position.
I tested this saddle when riding the Basso Diamante I built up over summer. This is a bike known for its long reach and short stack, so it does put a rider into a more forward rotated position. I did try sitting back on the saddle a few times, resting my hands on the top of the bars as opposed to the hoods. This immediately relieved the pressure, with my body weight moved more to the rear of the saddle where I could benefit from the gentle flex of the rear wings.
My experience would testify to this being a saddle more suited to riders on endurance bikes, with a shorter reach and higher stack.
I would however point out that the widths available - 144mm and 155mm - are not particularly inclusive, and this could cause issues for those putting more weight through the back of the saddle. The difference between widths for the men's and women's saddles within Fizik's range is not that great: the Antares and Aliante max out at 153mm and 154mm, despite women typically having wider bone structures in this area. Other brands such as Specialized offer a 168mm width, which will provide support for those with wider sit bones.
Fizik Luce S-Alloy women's saddle: value
At £89.99 for an aluminum railed saddle, there are cheaper alternatives out there - the Liv Alacara SL for example weighed in at 225g for £69.99. However, the Liv is particularly competitively priced. Alternatives such as the Specialized Romin Evo Comp (we reviewed the carbon railed option) retail at £95, so you're not paying over the odds with Fizik.
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Michelle Arthurs-Brennan is a traditional journalist by trade, having begun her career working for a local newspaper, where highlights included interviewing a very irate Freddie Star (and an even more irate theatre owner), as well as 'the one about the stolen chickens'.
Previous to joining the Cycling Weekly team, Michelle was Editor at Total Women's Cycling. She joined CW as an 'SEO Analyst', but couldn't keep her nose out of journalism and in the spreadsheets, eventually taking on the role of Tech Editor before her latest appointment as Digital Editor.
Michelle is a road racer who also enjoys track riding and the occasional time trial, though dabbles in off-road riding too (either on a mountain bike, or a 'gravel bike'). She is passionate about supporting grassroots women's racing and founded the women's road race team 1904rt.
Michelle is on maternity leave from July 8 2022, until April 2023.
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