The Fizik Tempo Argo R3 is part of Fizik's new short nosed saddle range and is not only well made but also, more importantly, very comfortable. Looking at the materials, though, it is at the upper end of the price bracket compared with many of the opposition.
Fizik's Argo range contains two models, the Vento, which Mat has tested recently, and this Tempo that I've been putting through its paces.
The main difference between the two is the amount of padding, with the Tempo being a little thicker, making it more suitable for endurance riding than the firmer Vento, which is the racier of the two according to Fizik.
That's not to say the Tempo is at all squishy as it still delivers a firm ride, but I like that. The density of the padding is very supportive, which means even when you are pedalling hard you aren't bouncing on the seat.
There is enough plushness to take out road buzz, and while I wouldn't say I bonded with the Tempo straight away, once I'd done a few miles and adapted to its shape and the padding had broken in a little bit, we started to get along.
Heading out for longer rides of three to four hours, I basically didn't notice the Tempo at all, which is a good thing. I certainly didn't suffer from any discomfort or numbness, which is impressive because with a short saddle like this you are kind of locked into a fixed seat position. At 260mm, the Tempo is longer than some saddles of this type, but basically it doesn't have a nose section compared to a traditional shaped saddle, so you can't move around to relieve pressure.
The width of the Tempo (a choice of 150mm or 160mm, ours is the 160mm) gives you a large surface area to push against to get the power out, and the large cutout in the middle of the saddle helps to reduce any pressure points.
The shape of the Tempo and Vento varies slightly, especially at the front where you can see that the latter has a much more pronounced curve to the nose as it drops away, to suit riders in a more aggressive position.
The Tempo is flatter but I never found it to be restrictive when riding in the drops, thanks mostly to that lack of length at the front removing pressure from soft tissue areas.
There are two options of the Tempo: the R3 that we have here with a carbon fibre-reinforced nylon shell and Kium (Fizik's own alloy) rails, while the more expensive R1 version (£179.99) comes with carbon fibre rails instead and sheds a little weight.
Value-wise, an rrp of £129.99 for the R3 puts it up against some tough opposition. It is very well made and nicely finished, mind, especially underneath where you can't see any of the edges of the upper material, staples or glue residue as everything has been hidden away by a separate layer beneath the shell.
I rode a lot of miles on the Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic saddle which is a very similar design to the Fizik and I really liked it. It, too, has a carbon fibre-reinforced shell, and manganese rails, which equates to a 50g saving over the Fizik; it's 30 quid cheaper as well.
For the same money there's the Syncros Tofino 1.0 Cut Out saddle, which comes with full carbon fibre rails and weighs just 184g. The padding is quite firm, though; I'd say the Fizik has a better ride quality.
Overall, the Tempo is a very nice place to be, especially on longer rides where the shape and padding worked perfectly. It is pricier than a few other options but sometimes it's worth the extra investment for a comfortable day on the bike.
Great comfort and overall quality but it's at the pricier end of the market
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Tempo Argo R3 saddle
Size tested: 160mm
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, "TEMPO ARGO R3 is a versatile endurance road saddle with a short-nose design and generous ischial support that encourages stability.
"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.
"Tempo 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 endurance riding option, Tempo Argo has been engineered to deliver a riding feel that suits the balanced geometry of today's all-purpose road machines.
"The padding is made from fizik's proprietary Type 2 foam formulation, slightly thicker around the ischial sit bones area to support a more upright riding posture. The cushioning is slightly softer and more progressive than the type we use on our racing saddles, providing more long-distance comfort.
"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."
It is a very comfortable saddle for long distance riding and those shorter blasts.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Fizik lists these details:
Argo: versatile short-nose saddle that encourages stability and relieves pressure on soft tissue area
R3: a combination of a ride-compliant carbon reinforced nylon shell and a Kium hollow rail with high strength-to-weight ratio
Wingflex: the shell's side edges flex and adapt to rider's inner leg movement
Type 2 foam: progressive cushioning, with lower compression modulus
TEMPO ARGO R3 150
Length: 260 mm
Width: 150 mm
Weight: 229 g
Height at 75mm width: 43 mm
Length from nose to 75mm width: 103 mm
Rail: 7x7 mm
TEMPO ARGO R3 160
Length: 260 mm
Width: 160 mm
Weight: 235 g
Height at 75mm width: 45 mm
Length from nose to 75mm width: 103 mm
Rail: 7x7 mm
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
It is a very good saddle for those who are happy to remain in one position.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Excellent comfort levels.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As I've mentioned in the review, other decent saddles like the Selle San Marco Supercomfort offer similar materials and quality for around £30 less, and there is the Specialized Power Expert with a similar build but with titanium rails for just £105.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Possibly
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your overall score
On the whole the Tempo is a very good product, especially when it comes to comfort and overall quality, but I've ridden a few other saddles that deliver very similar results for a lot less money.
About the tester
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
With 20 years of road cycling and over 150,000 miles in his legs it's safe to say Stu is happiest when on the bike whatever the weather. Since writing his first review for road.cc back in 2009 he has also had a career in engineering including 3D-CAD design and product development, so has a real passion for all of the latest technology coming through in the industry but is also a sucker for a classic steel frame, skinny tyres, rim brakes and a damn good paintjob.
His fascination with gravel bikes is getting out of control too!