If you haven't tried a short-nosed saddle the Fizik Tempo Argo R1 might just convince you. Supremely comfortable at all stages of a ride. It is certainly one of the most supportive and easy to forget saddles we have tested.
Better value than most brand's high-end saddles
Oval carbon rails won't fit every seatpost
Slightly trickier to set up than a standard saddle
I'm not a fan of Fizik saddles, there I said it. I know this is a bold opening statement for a review of a Fizik saddle but I've never fallen in love with any of their existing models even after spending years riding and racing on them in the past. This brand new Fizik Tempo Argo R1 saddle however has achieved the impossible and made me a convert.
So what is different about the Tempo?
The Tempo is part of Fizik's new Argo range of saddles that can be identified thanks to a short-nose, squat profile that is a bit of a departure from most of Fizik's range. It has been developed as part of a wider cross-disciplinary collaboration of leading industry experts and academics carrying out research and analysis on technology, design, physiology and bike-fitting shaping. The final shape is designed to stabilise the rider, provide minimum pressure around the 'soft tissue' area of a rider's anatomy and maximise ischeal tuberosity (sit-bone) support. The Tempo version tested is actually the more heavily padded version aimed at riders wanting more comfort on longer rides. It also has a few changes in the shape over the Vento R1, most obviously the squared off nose lacking any drop.
The R1 version combines a flexible carbon composite base with 9mm oval carbon fibre rails to not only reduce weight over the lower R3 version but also add comfort and stiffness in equal measures to the right places. Padding is slightly thicker around the ischial sit bones area to support a more upright riding posture. It's also softer and more progressive than the type Fizik use on its racing saddles, providing more long-distance comfort.
Setup is pretty straightforward but as with many short nosed saddles you will need to measure from the rails rather than the nose to position it correctly if moving from a standard style saddle. Failure to do this will place it too far forward and drastically skew your bike position. It also comes in two different widths so it's important to get the correct width for your body shape. A task your Fizik dealer can do or a rougher estimate via Fizik's online guide. The only thing I could fault is the fact the 9mm carbon rails are incompatible with some seatpost clamps. This however is the case with any carbon railed saddle regardless of brand and so not aimed specifically at the Tempo Argo.
Jump on the Tempo Argo and it can feel a little strange if you are coming from a standard length saddle in so much as it really does lock you effectively into one position. I would say if you are a serial fidgeter on a saddle you might find it a bit of a battle at first as it tries to lock you down. Luckily I have ridden my share of similar saddles such as Specialized's Power and am also a bit of a static rider so felt immediately at home on the Tempo Argo.
Within a few minutes I had found my happy place and as is the case with a truly comfortable saddle it was cast out of my mind pretty quickly. The thicker padding also does a fantastic job and makes you feel like you are sitting enveloped in a nether-region protecting bubble. To further the comfort of the saddle the shape and large cut out also contribute significantly to the armchair-like ride quality.
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James Bracey's career has seen him move from geography teacher, to MBR writer, to Cycling Weekly's senior tech writer and video presenter. He possesses an in-depth knowledge of bicycle mechanics, as well as bike fit and coaching qualifications. Bracey enjoys all manner of cycling, from road to gravel and mountain biking.
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