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Fizik Arione R1 saddle



A very good lightweight saddle that manages to pack in loads of comfort

At every product is thoroughly tested for as long as it takes to get a proper insight into how well it works. Our reviewers are experienced cyclists that we trust to be objective. While we strive to ensure that opinions expressed are backed up by facts, reviews are by their nature an informed opinion, not a definitive verdict. We don't intentionally try to break anything (except locks) but we do try to look for weak points in any design. The overall score is not just an average of the other scores: it reflects both a product's function and value – with value determined by how a product compares with items of similar spec, quality, and price.

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The Fizik Arione R1 is lightweight and very comfortable, designed for riders with plenty of flexibility who need a flat saddle.

First, I need to tell you a little tale about how I ended up with this saddle. Fizik has a Saddle Fitting Guide app to match you to the model that the brand thinks suits you best. It's straightforward. You stand up tall and put your mobile flat on your chest, then you bend over as far as you can. The app measures the angle through which you bend and tells you whether you're a snake (high body flexibility and no pelvic rotation while pedalling), a bull (low body flexibility and high pelvic rotation while pedalling), or a chameleon (medium body flexibility and low pelvic rotation while pedalling).

> Find your nearest dealer here

Fizik has been using this Spine Concept to distinguish between saddles for a few years now. It turns out that I'm a snake, and we snakes need flat saddles, apparently.

But we're not done yet. Next you input your bodyweight and your average speed on a flat road (it doesn't say over what distance) and the app gives you a suggested saddle size. In my case, it was regular.

The app said that the best saddles for me are the Arione R1 Regular or the Arione R3 Regular. I went for the R1 because, well, I'm gert posh and all.

Fizik Arione R1 Regular Road Saddle - logo.jpg

If you want to find out which of Fizik's saddles is most suitable for you, download the free app. The iOS version is here and the Android versions is here.

Okay, so on with the show...

The Arione R1 has a composite carbon co-injected shell, a thermowelded Microtex synthetic cover, and braided carbon rails. It's 130mm across at its widest point and a whopping 300mm long. That's a foot, near enough! Despite its prodigious length, our review model weighed in at just 166g (Fizik's published weight is 165g, so we'll give 'em that).

Fizik Arione R1 Regular Road Saddle - underside.jpg

I get on really well with the degree of flex offered by the Arione's shell and the amount of padding used, which is quite generous for a saddle of this kind. It's soft, but not too soft, helping to cancel out vibration and take the edge off lumps and bumps in the road without being so squishy that it moves about as you pedal. The padding on the nose is much more generous than you get with many other performance-type saddles out there, so if you're looking for a little more plushness in your seating, an Arione is worth checking out (as long as you're a snake, like).

Fizik Arione R1 Regular Road Saddle - profile.jpg

I've been using this saddle loads over the past few weeks, both with Fizik's new Link R1 Snake shorts – which are designed specifically for use with an Arione saddle, and which we'll review separately – and with other shorts, and it has proven to be super-comfortable. I've not given the saddle too much thought even on long rides, and that's always a good sign. Chances are, if you're thinking about your saddle while you're riding it's because you're uncomfortable.

> Buyer's Guide: How to find the best saddle for your bottom

I've got to be honest, though, I've never understood why the Arione extends so far out the back. I mean, I know the reasoning. Fizik says, 'The Arione is longer than any other saddle, flat from nose to tail and with a narrow nose, so you can move around to find your power spot.'

But if I actually sit on that back bit my legs are in the wrong place for pedalling. I've experimented and everyfink! I guess I could move back there for descending, but I never do. I'd be equally happy if Fizik chopped 3cm off the back of the Arione. Still, if you want to make use of all your real estate and shift your weight back there, you can.

Oh, just one more feature to tell you about: the Arione is Integrated Clip System compatible, which means that you can easily click accessories such as Fizik lights and saddle packs into place without any tools.


A very good lightweight saddle that manages to pack in loads of comfort test report

Make and model: Fizik Arione R1 Regular Road Saddle

Size tested: Dimensions: 300x130 mm, Black

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?

Fizik says: "Arione R1: a saddle that delivers the best for those who demand lightness and flexibility.

"The Arione is longer than any other saddle, flat from nose to tail and with a narrow nose, so you can move around to find your power spot.

"Arione R1 features a composite carbon co-injected shell – with Wing Flex technology which enables flexibility where your thighs meet the saddle – and a Braided Carbon rail.

"It's light, flexible and agile, enabling you to perform at your optimum. It's designed for pros, with pros and raced by pros. Made for Snake."

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

Fizik lists this specification:

Shell: Composite carbon co-injected Nylon WingFlex

Rail: Carbon Braided 7x9 mm

Cover: Thermowelded Black Microtex

Thigh Glides: Black Gummy Microtex

Weight: 165 gr

Dimensions: 300x130 mm

Integrated Clip System compatible

Rate the product for quality of construction:
Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
Rate the product for value:

This is actually £25 cheaper than the Fizik Arione R1 saddle that we reviewed in 2012; £175 is obviously a lot to spend on a saddle, but this one is unusually good.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Saddles are a personal taste but I find the Arione exceptionally comfortable.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The comfort provided by such a lightweight saddle.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price means you have to be pretty sure this is the right saddle for you before you buy – which is where Fizik's app comes in (see body of review).

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? Yes

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your score

It's a really good saddle at a premium price (although we've reviewed more expensive saddles). I think an 8 reflects that.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 43  Height: 190cm  Weight: 75kg

I usually ride:   My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Most days  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding,

Mat has been in cycling media since 1996, on titles including BikeRadar, Total Bike, Total Mountain Bike, What Mountain Bike and Mountain Biking UK, and he has been editor of 220 Triathlon and Cycling Plus. Mat has been technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. He has won his category in Ironman UK 70.3 and finished on the podium in both marathons he has run. Mat is a Cambridge graduate who did a post-grad in magazine journalism, and he is a winner of the Cycling Media Award for Specialist Online Writer. Now over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

Add new comment


tritecommentbot | 7 years ago
1 like

£104.86 at shopto

Have to back order it, but it will arrive, sometime.

beezus fufoon | 7 years ago

you can google one for about £110 these days, and even get the 00 for £185 - careful though, the 00 squeals when you clamp her in.

KoenM | 7 years ago
1 like

I have this exact saddle and I absolutly love it, i'm very comfortable on it even after 200km!
For this price it's very lightweight but still comfortable.


Anthony.C | 7 years ago

According to Fizik I am a chameleon but I am about as flexible as a wardrobe. I have gone from an Arione to an Antares and now an Aliante and my hips, back and prostate are thanking me for it. My arse isn't quite so sure but it will get used to it. 

davel | 7 years ago
1 like

I've tried all manner of saddles: the R3 Arione with k:ium rails is my new favourite. I'm a sucker for the top-of-the-range/upgrades, but I don't feel the need for the R1 or fancier rails - the R3 Arione is the best saddle I've had, and versatile too. And I wouldn't consider myself particularly snakey.

After about 6 months on turbo,  and outdoor (short & fast and long & slowish, mix of flat and hilly) rides, I'll probably stick one on my tri bike if I ever get round to doing more half/ironmans.

surly_by_name | 7 years ago

Saddles are a personal thing but I switched to Arione (from Flite) about 15 years ago - which I think predated the Snake/Bull/Unicorn nonsense; I don't think I qualify as a "snake" but I really like this saddle all the same - and won't change until they stop making them. (And I am sufficiently concerned at that prospect that whenever I see one on sale I tend to buy it, just in case.) Not sure the carbon railed version is worth the added expense over the cheaper version with "K'ium" (whatever that is) rails. The only downside that I've experienced is that after a couple of years use the nylon shell cracks at the wing flex grooves, at which point your saddle stops being so flat front to rear (and becomes more banana hammock). I think this is a bit of a design flaw - if the wing flex grooves terminated in a circular hole I think it would help prevent the groove propagating into a crack that renders the saddle unusable.

TypeVertigo replied to surly_by_name | 7 years ago
1 like
surly_by_name wrote:

Not sure the carbon railed version is worth the added expense over the cheaper version with "K'ium" (whatever that is) rails. 

Seems like that's their "awesomesauce" name for titanium rails.

KoenM replied to TypeVertigo | 7 years ago
1 like
TypeVertigo wrote:
surly_by_name wrote:

Not sure the carbon railed version is worth the added expense over the cheaper version with "K'ium" (whatever that is) rails. 

Seems like that's their "awesomesauce" name for titanium rails.

I have both the R7 and this R1 and i find the R1 a bit more comfortable, probably because of the carbon (it's a bit better against vibration).

mikecassie | 7 years ago
1 like

Great saddle, this is my choice after buying a bike with one fitted and finding it comfier than the Antares I used on the other bike.  I ended up buying an Arione for the other bike to replace the Antares.

I'd use the Fizik app with a hint of caution though.  I just tried it and it says I'm meant to use an Antares!  Yes I'm not exactly flexible but for some reason my arse and other bits prefer the Arione.

Think I'll stick to what I know works for now.  

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