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).
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.
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).
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).
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.
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
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road.cc 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
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.
About the tester
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 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 road.cc technical editor for over a decade, testing bikes, fettling the latest kit, and trying out the most up-to-the-minute clothing. We send him off around the world to get all the news from launches and shows too. 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 pushing 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.