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Fizik Arione R1 saddle



Lightweight and extremely comfortable – the only downside is the price

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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It might be expensive but the new Fizik Arione R1 saddle is lightweight and very, very comfortable.

Fizik released the first Arione back in 2002 and it has become a modern classic loved by many. It's a little risky, then, to redesign it, but Fizik have released three new models: the 00, this R1, and the R3. For details on the range, check out our previous story.

The R1 comes with a carbon themoplastic composite WingFlex shell. WingFlex? Essentially, the shell is designed so that the sides will bend a little when your thighs push down so as not to impede your pedalling. The nose is just the slightest bit wider than previously and there's a little more padding there.

The cover is Microtex – a synthetic material rather than leather – while the rails are carbon braided – 'a sleeve of braided carbon fibers filled with unidirectional carbon fibres' in Fizik's own words. They support the whole of the shell from nose to tail. In terms of weight, our review saddle hit the Scales of Truth at 148g – just a smidge higher than Fizik's claimed 145g.

That's light. If you want a lighter saddle you can find one but Fizik say they weren't willing to compromise comfort here - and they haven't. This is the most comfortable Arione I've ever used.

I'm recovering from a broken elbow at the moment (I know, tragic) and so when I'm riding I've been unable to get out of the saddle as much as usual. My arm isn't that strong yet so I'm spending a lot of time sitting down. Despite that, I've been really comfy on the Arione.

I find the amount of flex in the shell and the degree of padding to be bang on. The Arione softens the bumps and checks vibration just enough without isolating you totally from useful road feedback. I have an Arione here from way back that I've always found a little too harsh for long-ride comfort. The R1 is more forgiving; the padding on the nose is more effective. If you don't really notice the saddle too much on a long ride, that's always a good thing, and I've found that to be the case here.

I've got on well with the shape too, particularly the nose width. I'm never totally sure why the Arione needs to extend that far to the rear – it's 30cm long and I never use the whole thing – but it's there if you want to shift your weight all the way back there.

The Arione is intended for riders with a flexible spine. Fizik's Spine Concept is designed to put you on a saddle that's right for your level of flexibility so go to the website and see what they reckon is best for you.


Lightweight and extremely comfortable – the only downside is the price.

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Make and model: Fizik Arione R1 saddle

Size tested: White

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 say this is a saddle for those with good spine flexibility. Go to to find out all about that.

They say, "The new carbon Thermoplastic Composite WingFlexTM provides the best performance with optimized stiffness-to-weight construction.

Shell: Carbon Thermoplastic Composite WingFlexTM

Rail: Carbon Braided 7x9 mm

Cover: Black Microtex

Thigh Glides: Black Microtex

Weight: 145 gr

Rate the product for quality of construction:

It's very high quality – no doubt about that.

Rate the product for performance:
Rate the product for durability:

I don't see any reason for this saddle to be less durable than a more meaty one.

Rate the product for weight, if applicable:

You can get lighter saddles, of course, but you'll probably take a hit on comfort.

Rate the product for comfort, if applicable:
Rate the product for value:

Fizik are more about high quality than cheap prices. They don't really do entry level products.

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

Really well. Comfort is always a personal thing – you might not necessarily find the same as me – but I've found this an incredibly comfortable saddle.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The level of comfort on offer at such a low weight.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

The price is a tricky one to swallow.

Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.

Would you consider buying the product? Yes.

Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 41  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: time trialling, 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. 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 over 50, he's riding road and gravel bikes most days for fun and fitness rather than training for competitions.

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sorebones | 10 years ago

Fizik very kindly sent me one of these as a replacement after 2 broken Kurve models (phenomenal customer service by the way). I was sceptical as it looks quite minimalist for padding (other than the nose, which is a big improvement on the old Arione). There's no doubt it is firm, but once riding it is a very comfortable perch indeed, the wingflex really making a difference. 4 hour ride - no sit bone ache.

ch | 10 years ago

I spent too much money on saddles until I bought an old used Arione for 6000 yen = $72. I love it. And a used top rate saddle is a good deal.
Yes, secondhand underwear is banned from being sold in many places including Zimbabwe, but this is different.

FMOAB | 11 years ago

but really... £200!!!

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