The Fizik Vento Argo R1 is a short saddle that's suitable for those who like to ride in an aggressive position without moving around much. It's lightweight and features a cutaway centre to keep pressure off sensitive tissues. The padding isn't especially deep but it is comfortable and the build quality is high, which is something we've come to expect of saddles from Fizik.
- Pros: Lightweight, great shape, high build quality
- Cons: The 10x7mm carbon rails won't fit all seatposts
Fizik's new Argo saddles are divided into the Tempo models that are designed for endurance road riding, and the Vento models that are for racing/performance. Go to our news story for an overview of the range.
As with other short saddles, the Fizik Vento Argo R1 pretty much dictates your seating position without discussion. You can't wriggle forward and back very far along the nose during your ride because that nose is too short to allow it. Comparisons are bound to be drawn to the shape of Specialized's Power saddles, and it's true that they're a similar shape.
The Type 1 foam that Fizik uses on top of its carbon-reinforced shell isn't as deep as the Type 2 foam that it specs on its Tempo Argo saddles but it's not miserly thin or unforgivingly firm either. Far from it. This is a saddle that emphasises stability but there's still a healthy amount of cushioning on offer.
Equally important, the shell flexes enough that hitting sharp-sided holes in the road doesn't result in a battering. In fact, you get a surprisingly smooth ride here without any noticeable movement caused by the motion of pedalling.
The tip of the nose is dropped – the padding heads steeply down to the shell rather than gently curving away. Fizik says that this allows the saddle "to support the pubic ramus [part of the pubic bone] when the pelvis rotates forward to add power or to get more aero". You might or might not be aware of this aspect of the design in use but the fact that the nose is so short means that there's nothing to impede your pedalling movement.
Fizik says that the cutaway centre has been developed using pressure analysis and input from medical experts, which is pretty much what you'd expect. I find a cutout particularly valuable on a short saddle where you're likely to be pitched forward with your weight concentrated on quite a small area. As cutaways go, this one is a generous size and it worked for me. I found it comfortable and didn't experience any numbness, even on long rides.
The build quality is high throughout and there are no signs that this saddle will prove to be anything other than durable, despite the strips of shell on either side of the cutout being narrow. Even if you flip the saddle upside down, there are no ragged edges to be seen. You might not care a great deal what the underside of your saddle looks like, but it gives a little reassurance that no shortcuts have been taken here.
The Vento Argo is available in this R1 version with 10x7mm carbon rails and in an R3 model with round 7mm hollow Kium (alloy steel) rails. Each is 265mm long, which is a little more than some short saddles. The Specialized Power Expert is 240mm, for instance, and the Prologo Dimension Nack is 245mm.
Both the carbon-railed and Kium-railed Vento Argos are available in two widths: 140mm and 150mm. The Kium-railed versions are £50 cheaper and, according to Fizik's official figures, 34g heavier.
The Specialized Power Expert saddle that we reviewed here on road.cc is now priced £120 but that model comes with hollow titanium rails and, with a 233g claimed weigh, is heavier than the Fizik Vento Argo R1. If you want a Specialized Power saddle with carbon fibre rails you have to go all the way up to the S-Works Power model at £230 (currently reduced to £154).
The Prologo Dimension Nack that we reviewed is a fairly similar proposition to the Fizik Vento Argo R1 in that it comes with carbon rails, a central cutout and now has a £179.99 price tag. The Dimension Nack is a little lighter too, our review model having hit the scales at 157g, although I wouldn't get too excited about a 29g weight difference.
Overall, the Vento Argo R1 is a really strong addition to Fizik's range. As long as you're happy not shifting your position much during rides, it offers plenty of comfort and a high quality build at a decent weight.
High-quality shorty saddle that'll suit those who like to ride in an aggressive position
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Vento Argo R1 saddle
Size tested: 140mm
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, "Vento Argo R1 is a performance racing saddle with a short-nose design that improves stability and allows for a more aggressive, aero riding position.
"Where a traditional saddle shape encourages riders to shift their position frequently for better leverage, Argo puts the rider in a more planted position, making for greater stability and better weight distribution.
"Vento Argo's short length allows the rider to sit further forward without placing undue pressure on sensitive tissues. It also features an ergonomic cutout that was developed using detailed pressure analysis and input from medical experts.
"Argo is our most versatile saddle shape and each version suits different riding styles. As the racing option, Vento Argo has been engineered to deliver a riding feel that suits race bikes with aggressive geometry. The padding is made from Fizik's proprietary Type 1 foam formulation, which has a lower profile and is reactive and springy for instantaneous response and optimal power transfer.
"The purposeful shape of its design helps you achieve a better riding posture: the dropped nose supports the pubic ramus when the pelvis rotates forward to add power or to get more aero.
"Argo is a product of the Fizik Concepts programme, a cross-disciplinary collaboration of leading industry experts and academics carrying out research and analysis on technology, design, physiology and bike-fitting in search of ways to improve cycling performance."
Fizik doesn't reference its Spine Concept (the idea that every rider is either a bull, chameleon or snake in terms of flexibility) in its marketing for the Argo saddles. We understand that the brand is about to announce a new measurement system which we'll tell you about when we have the relevant details.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fizik lists these features:
Argo: versatile short-nose saddle that encourages stability and relieves pressure on soft tissue area
R1: a combination of a ride-compliant carbon reinforced nylon shell and a highly stiff carbon rail
Type 1 foam: low profile, reactive and springy for efficient power transfer
Fizik gives these measurements:
Length: 265 mm
Width: 140 mm
Weight: 179 g
Height at 75mm width: 41 mm
Length from nose to 75mm width: 114 mm
Rail: 10x7 mm
Ours hit the scales at 186g - so just a smidge heavier than Fizik's figure.
The saddle is well made and neatly finished.
Saddles are always a matter of personal preference but I found this to be a comfortable shape with padding that strikes a good balance between cushioning and support.
The size of the central cutout means that your weight is supported by two fairly narrow strips of shell. That might concern you but all I can say is that I've been using this saddle for several weeks and nothing bad has happened!
There are lighter saddles out there but this is a good weight.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It provides a comfortable perch, especially considering the small size and light weight.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The shape and the padding – which provides more cushioning than looks would suggest.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
It's not so much a dislike as something you need to bear in mind: the 10x7mm rails won't fit all seatposts.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
The Specialized Power Expert saddle that we reviewed is now £120 although it comes with hollow titanium rails and at 233g it is heavier than the Fizik Vento Argo R1. The Specialized S-Works Power saddle has carbon fibre rails. It has an RRP of £230 although it is currently reduced to £154 on Specialized's website.
The Prologo Dimension Nack that we reviewed comes with carbon rails, a central cutout and now has a £179.99 price tag.
Considering the build quality and the prices of other carbon-railed short saddles, £185 is a good price.
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 overall score
This is a really strong product and the price is comparable to that of other carbon-railed short saddles. I think this equates to an overall score of 8.
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 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 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.