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review

Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo saddle

8
£324.00

VERDICT:

8
10
A showcase for what is achievable in terms of performance and comfort, but at a price
Weight: 
167g

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Fizik has gone with the whole 'less is more' ethos with its Arione 00 Versus Evo saddle. Stripped back to a mere 167g with minimal padding and lashings of carbon fibre, it is still surprisingly comfortable with a great balance of stiffness and flex. You're going to have to pay for such performance, though.

  • Pros: Impressive comfort for something so minimal, awesome styling
  • Cons: Eye-watering price, takes a bit of bedding in

Fizik's '00' range is its showcase of what is achievable in terms of design with top end materials. The Arione 00 Versus Evo has a shell made from high modulus carbon fibre which is unbelievably stiff considering how thin it is, with the central channel literally just about a millimetre thick. Even the main sections either side of the channel are just 4mm thick too.

> Find your nearest dealer here

Though the whole shell feels stiff, it does a decent job of allowing just enough flex to take out any harshness or road vibration. This is helped by the Mobius carbon fibre rail. Rather than having two rails plugged into the front and rear of the saddle, the Arione 00 uses a single rail which makes up a complete loop around the base of the saddle. It adds stiffness front and rear but allows the shell to flex around the sides, so the saddle can move with you a little as you pedal.

Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo - underside.jpg

It looks cool but does make the fitting of some saddle bags a bit of a faff.

For pressure relief, most saddles use a cutout in the middle but Fizik has gone for a different approach with the Versus Evo models; there is an Arione Open model, if that's what you are after.

The Versus Evo has two sections of padding either side of the central channel. They are firm and did take a little bit of breaking in over the first hundred miles or so. When softened up, the padding offers plenty of comfort while the edges next to the channel maintain their firmness and shape to stop sagging and maintain that pressure relief.

Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo - rear 2.jpg

When it comes to saddle shape, Fizik designs its range around the Spine Concept, which takes spine flexibility and pelvic rotation into account. They are split into three categories: Snake for the most flexible of riders, then Chameleon, then Bull.

The Arione is part of the Snake range with its flat profile, and is ideally suited to hard and fast riding especially in a flat backed racing position.

Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo - detail.jpg

Three to four-hour rides were carried out in plenty of comfort on my own race bike, and I really enjoyed the balance of plenty of stiffness under heavy pedalling efforts and shock absorbance when the road surface was far from ideal.

The Arione's 299mm length gives you plenty of area to shift your body weight around on; for instance, when climbing I like to push myself further back to the rear of the saddle as I am more efficient.

Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo - rear.jpg

At £324, it's one hell of a lot of money for a saddle, but for high-end products like these, value for money is very rarely high on the list of reasons to buy. A similarly constructed carbon fibre saddle (albeit with some modularity) is the Repente Aleena 40, which costs £295.

Or there's Rapha's Pro Team Saddle at £295; you get a full-carbon shell and rails, although I don't think it has quite the aesthetics of the Arione.

> Buyer's Guide: 13 of the best high-performance saddles

If you wanted the Versus Evo design of the Arione but without the 00 price tag, the standard version costs £189.99 (we tested the Antares version here); you only get a carbon-reinforced shell and standard carbon rails, but it is only about 20g heavier.

On the whole, the Arione 00 Versus Evo is one of the best race saddles I've ridden. If you're happy to shell out the extra over the non-00 version you won't be disappointed; I'm not sure I could justify it.

Verdict

A showcase for what is achievable in terms of performance and comfort, but at a price

road.cc test report

Make and model: Fizik Arione 00 Versus Evo saddle

Size tested: 299 x 130mm

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 Versus Evo 00 is a full carbon performance racing saddle that delivers stiffness and light weight in a full channel design.

In this 00 edition of the Versus Evo construction, the benefit of pressure relief on the soft tissue is combined with a high module full carbon shell tuned for maximum power transfer.

The single carbon rail offers extremely stiff and seamless support in a Mobius configuration, a proprietary closed loop design that delivers better weight distribution and eliminates any pressure hotspots on the ischial bones.

The cover is applied to the padding with a vacuum process that enables a more progressive cushioning, while a surface texture provides additional grip for a more secure interface with the bibs.

Spine flexibility and pelvic rotation are inextricably linked to saddle comfort. The Spine Concept Evo fitting system helps determine which of the different Fizik saddle shapes fits you best. Arione is a flat profile saddle designed for Snakes, riders with high body flexibility and no pelvic rotation whilst pedalling."

I found the shape and padding of the Arione spot on for performance road riding.

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

Fizik lists these features:

Arione: flat profile saddle designed for Snakes, riders with high body flexibility and no pelvic rotation whilst pedalling

Versus Evo: full channel design for pressure relief on soft tissue area '

Vacuum applied texturized cover: progressive cushioning with added grip '

Mobius carbon rail: closed loop design for a balanced weight distribution '

High module full carbon shell: ultimate stiffness and light weight

PRODUCT SPECIFICATIONS

- Length: 299 mm - Width: 130 mm - Weight: 166 g

- Height at 75 mm width: 48 mm

- Length from nose to 75 mm width: 151 mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10
Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10
Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
8/10

Pretty good but there are lighter.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

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

When it comes to riding hard and fast in a race position you can't really fault the Arione for comfort.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

Impressive comfort levels.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

Massive price tag.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

There are a few other saddles on the market at the £300 mark with a similar construction. Saddles like the Rapha Pro Team are lighter too.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes

Would you consider buying the product? I probably couldn't justify the huge outlay over the non 00 models.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes

Use this box to explain your overall score

Excellent comfort for such a minimalistic saddle, but its massive price will be a sticking point for most.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 40  Height: 180cm  Weight: 76kg

I usually ride: This month's test bike  My best bike is: B'Twin Ultra CF draped in the latest bling test components

I've been riding for: Over 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

As part of the tech team here at F-At Digital, senior product reviewer Stu spends the majority of his time writing in-depth reviews for road.cc, off-road.cc and ebiketips using the knowledge gained from testing over 1,500 pieces of kit (plus 100's of bikes) since starting out as a freelancer back in 2009. After first throwing his leg over a race bike back in 2000, Stu's ridden more than 170,000 miles on road, time-trial, track, and gravel bikes, and while he's put his racing days behind him, he still likes to smash the pedals rather than take things easy. With a background in design and engineering, he has an obsession with how things are developed and manufactured, has a borderline fetish for handbuilt metal frames and finds a rim braked road bike very aesthetically pleasing!

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5 comments

Avatar
kiwiglider | 3 years ago
0 likes

My Aliante R1 Evo Versus failed after two years of use - just outside warrenty. The top cover split and unfortunately Fizik / Wiggle have said it's no longer covered. Surprised, because it wasn't cheap. Not sure I'd recommend / buy another Fizik after this experience. 

Avatar
simonmb | 5 years ago
0 likes

To be fair, a product review should be based on the 'how well does it do what it promises to do' approach. And only then should the reviewer add (but not judge on) the price component to leave readers to do the judging.

When written by a professional, the first part of the review can fairly be expected to be objective.

The second part should avoid any hint of subjectivity. This adds no more value to a conversation than a forum-poster chipping in that he wouldn't pay that much for whatever it is.

Part of my life involves driving and testing some rather gorgeous automobiles. I don't judge on price - because I'm not the target for manufacturers on £300,000 cars. But I know plenty of my readers are. 

Avatar
A440 | 5 years ago
0 likes

I really wish the road.cc staff got paid for what they do - every item that has even the slightest bit of quality is always written about as if it is too costly. Apparently the writers feel the highest quality should come at Aldi prices. As someone for whom cost is no object, it's tiresome to read time after time.

Avatar
sammutd88 replied to A440 | 5 years ago
0 likes
A440 wrote:

I really wish the road.cc staff got paid for what they do - every item that has even the slightest bit of quality is always written about as if it is too costly. Apparently the writers feel the highest quality should come at Aldi prices. As someone for whom cost is no object, it's tiresome to read time after time.

 

Respectfully, there aren't many people in your position, as fortunate as you are. Value has to come into a review, otherwise most top end products would get 4-5 stars and most lower priced products would be rated lower. Unfortunately, in the current market, especially when you can get basically the same saddle (albeit at a slightly higher weight) for a much cheaper price in the R3 and R1 versions, the 00 models are a niche product for only those who must have the lightest. 

Avatar
Joe Totale replied to A440 | 5 years ago
1 like
A440 wrote:

I really wish the road.cc staff got paid for what they do - every item that has even the slightest bit of quality is always written about as if it is too costly. Apparently the writers feel the highest quality should come at Aldi prices. As someone for whom cost is no object, it's tiresome to read time after time.

There are other websites out there who choose not to operate in the real world and don't consider price when it comes to reviewing items, go read them instead. 

I'm happy that road.cc consider value for money as it's a big factor for myself and 99% of it's readership. 

Often the greatest innovation comes from having to work to real world constraints, not from just endlessly throwing money at R+D.

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