I've always been a big fan of Fizik's saddles having ridden various iterations of Ariones and Aliantes but I'd happily say this Kurve Snake Aluminium is the best so far. Performance and comfort in equal measures.
The Kurve saddles are a separate range in Fizik's line up containing three models, the Snake, Chameleon and Bull which embody their Spine concept. If you haven't come across before, this it is based on your flexibility; the shapes are designed to reflect where your bodyweight is positioned.
The Snake that we have here is the the Kurve equivalent of the Arione and is for the most flexible at the lower back. It's shaped to support the rider's weight mostly on the sit bones rather than the genital area. The flat profile works well allowing you to position yourself wherever in relation to where your hands are on the bars. Even in the racing tuck I didn't feel any pressure and that's on a bike with a saddle to drops depth of 240mm.
A lot of the comfort is provided by the main body, or lack of it. It's a composite construction including Kevlar which means its very light and strong. Strong enough in fact that it can have large sections removed at the sit bones and perineum areas.
As you pedal the whole saddle flexes, intensified in these areas which means the saddle is moving with you reducing any pressure points or hot spots. It's minimal though as the seat still feels stiff, in fact you can't feel anything at all even from the first ride the saddle just feels right. There is very minimal padding between the shell and the elastic cover but it's all you need.
Up at the nose end you get a choice of 'tuner' as Fizik call it. This is a plastic spacer that forms part of the overall structure bolting to the saddle around the rails. The two options - soft and hard - change the tension in the saddle body. The hard option makes the top stiff, while the soft gives you a couple of mm of movement when your weight's fully on it. It was this one I preferred as the little bit of movement just took the edge off rough road surfaces. Fizik even provide a little mini tool to change them over.
You also get the WingFlex feature that has been on saddles like the Arione for years where the side of the saddle flexes under pressure from the thighs during pedalling. Again it's subtle but on longer rides you do notice the difference.
Aluminium seems an odd choice for the rails on a top end saddle with most using titanium for a bit of comfort. When you look at the design of what Fizik call their Mobius rails you'll see that the one-piece loop provides structural rigidity to support the flexible saddle base. The tubular design is made from 2014 grade alloy hardened to T6. Unlike most saddles where the separate rails plug into the saddle either side this runs right around the outer rim with a strengthening bar across the rear. There is a carbon-railed version if the 220g alloy saddle is a little too heavy for you.
Overall the Kurve Snake is a brilliant option for racers and offers loads of comfort while being light and stiff. You don't want to be wasting power through a flexible saddle body and the Kurve just acts more like a gentle shock absorber allowing you to put the watts out without compromise. At 295mm its 5mm shorter than the Arione (which changed the rules when it came to saddle length) but it still gives you that length if you are a rider that likes to slide back for climbing.
The only sticking point is the price really. £189.99 is a lot of money for a saddle but this obviously comes down to your budget and the type of bike it's going on.
Interesting design that creates the comfiest race saddle I've tried; it'll cost you though.
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Kurve Snake Aluminium saddle
Size tested: n/a
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?
The Kurve is a separate range of saddles due to its differing design to the rest of the line up but in its Snake guise I'd say its up there on performance with the Arione but providing more comfort.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shell: Re:flex composite - Kevlar
Rail: Mobius Cold Forged Aluminum
Cover: Advanced Elastic Cover
Weight: 220 gr
Dimensions: 294 x 135 mm
Really well put together, no seams, staples or glue in sight.
Saddles vary loads between individuals but for me it was the most comfortable race saddle I've used. In fact it's probably the most comfy saddle, full stop.
I can't see any issues arising anywhere really as there is very little to go wrong.
Not the lightest at this price point thanks to the continuous rail but I'd take the weight penalty for the comfort.
Just brilliant for me.
It ain't cheap.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
As you can probably guess by now I really rate it. The shape and amount of flex in the saddle really suited me.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's about forty quid more than I'd want to spend.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Yes, especially if I could find a bit of a discount.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Anything further to say about the product in conclusion?
For me the Kurve is nearly the perfect saddle; the comfort is spot on and the shape really suited. It is on the pricey side though I do appreciate it is handmade and the weight is about 50-80g higher than others in this price bracket. I'd sacrifice that though for the comfort. It isn't perfect but its pretty close.
About the tester
Age: 36 Height: 180cm Weight: 76kg
I usually ride: Kinesis T2 My best bike is: Kinesis Aithien
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.