According to Fizik, value doesn't even get a look in when designing the saddles of its flagship range, which is why the Aliante 00 costs a cool £280. Thankfully its superbly comfortable ride, weight and looks go a long way to justifying its mental price tag.
Fizik's 00 range has been going for a good few years, and each iteration of a product uses some of the material knowledge and design ideas that the Italian company has gained over the last 12 months or so. A bit of an ultimate tuning department if you like.
There's a lot of carbon fibre in the build of the Aliante 00. Beneath the Microtex cover and padding you'll find the first of two high modulus carbon fibre shells, both of which sandwich a flexible foam compound to create the Wingflex effect.
Wingflex is Fizik's design that allows the sides of the saddle to flex as your thighs go through their full rotation without hindrance. It does make a big difference to comfort and being able to get the power down in all positions.
These three layers really work together, with the carbon layers being thin enough to flex, promoting comfort, but also still feeling stiff when you're really going for it on a seated climb.
Attaching the saddle to your seatpost is a full-carbon rail. It's a complete unit running right the way around the seat rather than separate rails clipping into the saddle base, as you'd see on most saddles. This improves strength and stiffness without adding too much weight.
On the subject of weight, all this adds up to 165g, which is impressive considering you still get a decent amount of padding beneath the upper.
Comfort is the most important factor for most of us when choosing a saddle, and I certainly wasn't disappointed when it came to riding the Aliante 00. It's part of the Bull range in Fizik's Spine Concept line-up (riders with the least amount of flexibility), but it's still a performance saddle.
I've ridden a lot of Fizik saddles over the years, many of them Aliante models, and I've got on with every single one, but none to the level of this test model. It is unbelievably comfortable. It's like you're sitting in a chair rather than on a saddle.
My first ride on it was a quick blast around for about 90 minutes and I was suitably impressed, but it was the next day when it really blew me away.
Thanks to some poor nutrition choices and 2,500m of climbing, a 126-mile trek to the coast and back saw me pretty much a broken man in every department except for one. I hadn't even noticed the saddle for the entire ride. I got off the bike without the slightest bit of discomfort in the chamois region.
The Aliante had absorbed everything from the road before it made it to me, and yet for all of those miles of ascending I never felt it flexing or bobbing around.
The shape just really suited me, from its curved mid-section through to the rounded nose. And that was in every position too – climbing, cruising or hunkered down in the drops for miles when the wind came to my assistance.
To my mind, Fizik has achieved exactly what it set out to: create the ultimate saddle without compromise. Of course, for me and probably the majority of you reading this, that 'without compromise' means there is one big drawback: price. Is the Aliante 00 worth it? It's a silly amount for a saddle, but I'm convinced it justifies it, especially if you do a lot of long distance rides but still want a narrow race model.
When you look at its lightweight construction, and the resulting comfort, you can kind of see where the money is going. And if you can't justify laying out this kind of dosh on a saddle, it's good to know that over the coming years all this technology will start to trickle down to more affordable levels.
Money no object design – Fizik proves what can really be done with the humble saddle through shape and materials
road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Aliante 00
Size tested: Length: 265mm Width: 140mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Saddles in Fizik's 00 range are no compromise products combining everything the Italian company has learnt about materials and design. Value isn't even a consideration.
Fizik says: "Every 00 saddle is conceived and designed with a no-compromise approach to create the ultimate saddle.
"The 00 saddles are the lightest, fastest and most desirable saddles made for the greatest cyclists in the world, across all disciplines including: specialist sprinters, climbers, time trialists and general Classification all-rounders."
I love the Aliante shape and in this guise it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever ridden and one of the lightest too.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shell: Full Carbon double shell construction Wingflex
Rail: Mobius Carbon 7x9 mm
Cover: Black Microtex 00 Design
Weight: 165 g
Dimensions: 275x140 mm
It's got a level of finish you'd expect from a £280 saddle, absolutely faultless.
For me absolutely stunning, a saddle you can ride hard or steady on for hours and hours on end.
So well made it should last, although with so much carbon involved in its construction there is a higher risk of failure in the the event of an impact.
Not the lightest out there but considering the padding and size of the saddle to get it down to 165g is impressive.
Saddles are very personal (according to Fizik's spine System I'm more suited to the racier Arione) and I always get on with the Aliante, but the 00 version is on a different level.
It's £280 for a saddle, but an absolutely awesome one. Saying that, though, value isn't even in the design brief for Fizik.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
I've yet to find a better saddle.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The shape, comfort, flex... do you want me to continue?
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
The cost is going to be prohibitive for most.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, it'd hurt but for the ultimate comfort I could justify it.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The 00 range is a money no object, ultimate performance project, so this overall review reflects that. While Fizik doesn't consider value an element of its design, we the consumers do. Saying that, if you are considering a £280 saddle its cost probably isn't your main priority.
I'd buy it purely because it is the most comfortable saddle I've ever sat on and for that reason alone its value swings back into balance for all of those comfortable miles.
About the tester
I usually ride: This month's test bike My best bike is: Mason Definition
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: time trialling, commuting, club rides, sportives, fixed/singlespeed
Stu knocked out his first road.cc review back in 2009 and since then he's chucked the best part of seventy test bikes around the West Country, a couple of them quite literally! With three alloy and two steel bikes in his fleet he's definitely a metal man (that'll be the engineering background) but is slowly warming to that modern carbon fibre stuff along with fat tyres & disc brakes.
It's not all nostalgia though, after spending the last few years in product design Stu keeps banging on about how 3D printing is going to be the next big thing and he's a sucker for a beautiful paint job too.