If you have just arrived on this planet from another galaxy, you will discover Fizik is an Italian manufacturer of high-quality saddles, shoes, bar tape, and other cycling goodies. And, while they do not pay me to say so, if you have not tried any of their products, you really ought to. And when you do take the Fizik plunge, I highly recommend you try one of their truly unique saddles.
I have been riding on their ever-popular Arione CX saddle for about six (6) months now, and I must admit, I am very, very impressed. With all of the bells, and whistles of open channels, fancy rail materials, and a rainbow of colors on the market, when you get something right, it is just right. Well, with the Arione CX, Fizik got it right.
The saddle material is made of Fizik’s durable Microtex material (which, like their bar tape, is breathable and easy to clean), and the rails are made from what Fizik calls “K:ium” (fancy name for alloy steel tubes, claimed 8% lighter than Titanium). However, I believe it is the dimension (shape) of the saddle which leads to its success. Compared to my Ritchey (and others I have tried, like Selle Italia, Bontrager and WTB), this thing is as spacious as a couch. Of all of the saddles I have tried, I have spent the most time on the Ritchey Carbon Streem, but in comparison, it was a like very small bar stool. Sure, you could get comfortable on it, but the “Sweet-Spot” was a whole lot smaller. I liken it to the whole “Big Bertha” driver movement in golf. Make the sweet-spot bigger, and more people can find the “Zone.”
The beauty of how the Arione CX feels is in the shape of the saddle, itself.
Fizik also built into the shell itself a system they call “Wing Flex.” These are small slots cut into the shell and cover at a specific angle to allow the saddle to move a little bit with the pressure from your inner thighs. And, while many cyclists fear anything with the word “Compliance” in it equaling power loss, well, nothing would be farther from the truth with the Arione CX. The Wing Flex system works, all without any discernable loss of seat rigidity.
Since the saddle is slightly larger than most, this can be a downside with riders of small stature. The saddle may have too much real estate for smaller backsides, however, I believe anyone whom cannot find a sweet-spot on the Arione is in a distinct minority. The other side of the coin is for riders north of five-foot eight (I am 5’-11”), the saddle is pure, couch-comfy bliss. Being wide and flat, finding a spot to spend some time pedaling was not a problem for me. You have choice of either staying in one spot or you can move around. Not many saddles allow you this kind of freedom.
Dimensions: Length: 300mm, Width: 120mm
Weight: 205 grams
Price: $169.00 USD (they can be had for much cheaper, though. Shop around)
There are other models of the Arione in Fizik’s line in addition to the CX. There is the “Regular” version, and there is also a version with carbon fiber rails. But wait, there’s more! Fizik has also unleashed an updated Arione called the “OO,” the “R1,” and the “R3.” All have updated shells, Microtex covers and graphics, and weigh 135 grams, 145 grams, and 185 grams, respectively. While the “OO” and “R1” have carbon rails, the “R3” get the “K:ium” rail treatment. While they are nice “Updated” versions of the original, my advice is to stick with the classic Arione or the Arione CX. You cannot go wrong with either, though the CX is a by far the sexiest of the bunch.