Doing it all the hard way...

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Fizik Aliante Review SIMPLY AWESOME That is my final answer !

A Blind taste test ??

I started life, as we all did, on a cheap saddle. I went to a Specialized Body Geometry back in 2000. The following year I was intrigued by a Koobi advertisement and tried one. Koobi makes great saddles. I had good luck for years. Last summer on a very long, very hot ride I concluded the saddle fit me a little too well and I needed a replacement. How can a saddle fit too well? If you subscribe to the Hank school of saddle classification there are hammocks and benches. The Koobi was a hammock and it has a ridge down the middle (just like I do) and to make a personal story shorter (and so I don’t feel violated), I’ll end the anatomy discussion right here. That much contact can’t help but lead to a lot of friction. Without revisiting the anatomy portion of our one sided discussion, some places deal with friction better than others. Thus the search began.

Try it, you’ll like it:

Several of my fellow riders sit on various models of the Fizik Arione. I read the marketing hype (alas I am a junkie for the propaganda) and tried one. It felt like I was sitting on a hula hoop. Just to clarify, on a hula hoop, not inside one. The saddle didn’t feel flat, it felt like the curve was reverse of the hammock saddles I had before. I did enjoy the freedom of leg movement. I could almost get used to the saddle, but I never once sat down and thought, man, that is comfortable….

WTB Silverado
This felt like a padded wedge of wood, but it was a good platform for power. I had one on my cross bike, but the plan view felt like it had straight sides and it seemed to cut into my thighs. Not a bad saddle, just not perfect for me….

Never has something looked so uncomfortable right out of the box. The edges felt sharp and the padding was soft where I needed it hard and vice versa. I read all the marketing hype around this one and have concluded that anyone who likes this saddle must have the ability to ride using a baseball for a saddle and not complain. By now I was getting picky and I knew after ten minutes this one was going back where I got it (eBay).

Selle An Atomica
I considered this one. Spinner John loves his. A lot of the Brooks B-17 crowd like these. They weight an absolute ton. A web search will yield great reviews. A longer search will reveal complaints as well. I decided I would try it if the Aliante didn’t work.

San Marco Concor light
Lance rides one. Since we are pretty much the same, I figured this might be one to try if the Aliante and the Selle An Atomica failed.

This was curvy on top, just like I am on the bottom. It was the plain wrap of the Fizik line. Hank had actually recommended it to me last year in Bend. I had hoped one of the “cool” saddles like the Arione or the Antares would work, and I held the Aliante as a final hope.

Johnny, tell him what he wins…. The Aliante
Out of the box it looked good. On the bike it felt good when I installed it and rode it wearing jeans. On my first ride it was a dream. I had no pressure points and essentially no break in period. I can hammer in the drops, cruise on the tops or sit up and all is well. I feel solid and I am sure that allows me to pedal harder. Here is a test for your saddle that takes place in your head. Imagine if you were riding your bike and your best friend jumped on you piggy back style. How would your saddle feel then? I imagine an Arione would feel like I was sitting on a pizza pan on end and would slice me in half. The Aliante would be my best friend.

If you want to impress your friends with a fast looking saddle I’ll point you elsewhere. If you want a saddle that feels good and lets you forget about it, you would be a fool not to consider the Aliante.

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