The Vesta Manganese saddle is one of three distinct styles for women from Fizik. It's relatively narrow, not too heavy and in the mid-range of firmness. It's a good saddle at a decent price for a premium brand.
Testing a saddle is always an incredibly subjective exercise. The most important first step in the quest for a comfortable seat is to get fitted and have your sit bones measured. Beyond getting the width and position right, it's mostly luck of the draw and about your style of riding and whether your personal preference is for softer or firmer.
Unlike Fizik's higher end saddles, which come with rails made from Kium material, the Vesta's rails are heavier manganese, enabling a bit to be shaved off the price for those not quite so fussed with a few extra grams of saddle weight. The main body is carbon reinforced nylon and uses Wingflex technology, which allows the saddle to flex where it meets the thighs for added comfort.
Despite the very slight weight trade-off over Fizik's other saddles, it's not exactly a heavyweight, and still plenty light and sleek enough for racing. The design features a central channel, which runs between the flexible 'wings' to the very slightly downward curving nose to alleviate pressure where you don't want it.
Out on the road, the width of the rear of the saddle (150mm – in the mid range of most women's saddles, but wider than many race-orientated ones) was neither too narrow nor too wide, suiting my sit bones very well (I was measured at 143mm). The channel at the centre did a great job of preventing a saddle-related undercarriage hot spot and the nose was nicely shaped and cushioned to not be intrusive even when riding on the drops.
Those flexible wings did a good job when I was working hard, yet not so much that I felt a load of my energy was disappearing into the seat.
The only niggle I had was with the firmness of the padding supporting the sit bones. My sit bones felt nicely cradled by the saddle, but the padding in that area was quite firm. When coupled with slightly heavier duty padding in my shorts it was more comfortable, but with lower profile padding, I started to feel my sit bones quite quickly. Racers would probably love the firmness coupled with the pressure-relief channel, but for longer rides it really was a little hardcore without super-plush shorts.
Being synthetic, the body of the saddle is super-easy to take care of and keep it looking at its best, and the surface is great for subtle shifts of position without any risk of randomly sliding forwards or backwards when riding along.
The Vesta Manganese isn't a cheap saddle but nor is it especially expensive when put up against other high quality Italian models. If the width, shape and firmness suit, it's a good purchase.
Well-shaped, flexible, supportive and cost-effective women's saddle, but a touch on the firm side for really long rides
road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Vesta Manganese
Size tested: 270x150mm
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?
Aimed at female road riders.
"Vesta: fi'z:k's women-specific saddles are all designed specifically to suits women's cycling needs of performance and comfort. Shapes, sizes, profiles and features are all combined to make the best possible designed for women's anatomies.
The Vesta features one of three fi'zi:k women's saddle shapes: is wider at the back and centre than the Donna, and shares the same width (max 150mm) and tapering with the Vitesse.
It also features a central relief channel spanning the length of the saddle. Vesta features a carbon reinforced Nylon shell – with Wing Flex technology which enables flexibility where the rider's thighs meet the saddle, and a manganese rail combining strength, light weight and durability."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shell: Nylon Carbon Reinforced WingFlex
Cover: Black Microtex
Thigh Glides: Black Glossy Microtex
Scuff Guards: Chromed
Stated Weight: 279 g (Road.cc tested weight 295g)
Dimensions: 270x150 mm
Integrated Clip System compatible
Very well made and high quality materials and finish.
Smooth, flexed nicely and well shaped.
The synthetic cover is super-easy to take care of.
Neither light nor heavy for a performance women's saddle.
Comfortable and supportive over short distances, but for me requires additional padding (thicker chamois!) for longer duration rides. Good choice for racers.
Not a bad price at all for a well-made and nicely shaped Italian saddle.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Performed very well.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Flexible wings, shape, surface texture.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Firmness of sit bone supports.
Did you enjoy using the product? Most of the time.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably if I raced.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? For shorter, faster rides, or those who like thick padding in their shorts.
Use this box to explain your score
This is a good option for racers looking for something more accessible price-wise than many race saddles. For me it's a little on the firm side for long distances, but if you tend to wear shorts with thicker padding you might get on fine.
About the tester
I usually ride: Boardman Hybrid Fi My best bike is: Specialized Ruby Elite
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, touring, sportives, general fitness riding, mountain biking
Lara has been riding bikes for longer than she'd care to admit, and writing about them nearly as long. Since 2009 she has been working as part of the road.cc review team whilst championing women's cycling on the side, most notably via two years as editor of the, sadly now defunct, UK's first and only women's cycling mag, erm, Women's Cycling.
Believing fervently that cycling will save the world, she wishes that more people would just ride a bike and be pleasant to each other.
She will ride anything with two wheels, occasionally likes to go fast, definitely likes to go far and is always up for a bit of exploring somewhere new and exciting.