Fizik have redesigned the humble saddle from the rails up to give riders the Fizik Kurve range - a more comfortable, tuneable place to sit and pedal the miles away - but it doesn't come cheap.
Fizik have carved out a position as one of the more forward thinking saddle companies, and their launch of a range of elite level saddles, dubbed Kurve, proved the point with a ground breaking series of design concepts all aimed at making sitting on the saddle a more comfortable and efficient experience.
Here's some more about how the range has been designed.
We tested the most curvy profile model, the Kurve Aliante, the Kurve version of our preferred Fizik hull shape. It's the one Fizik reckon is perfect for our less than perfectly flexible lower backs. If you're more mobile in that area Fizik also make Kurve versions of their flatter Arione and Antares models. Saddles are a personal a choice as well, so rather than take their word on the Kurve, we let a few hundred miles of tarmac tell us the truth.
Fizik turn convention upside down and design their Kurve saddles with a one piece flexible composite hull relying on the ability of the hull to flex and move with rider weight and pedalling movement, to deliver a ride which is extremely compliant without ever feeling soggy. Of course there's some conventional padding albeit a very slim slither and, being Fizik, that's covered in durable weather resistant Microtex synthetic leather.
The new design includes the rails too. Called Mobius, the rails are a single cast alloy 'loop' structure onto which the hull is attached which Fizik claim absorbs more vibration than conventional rails which terminate directly into the hull material. We'll be honest and say that we're not convinced about the rail element; I struggled to sense the difference, though the hull is something you can feel working.
Once you've tuned the firmness of the saddle, by using the supplied soft or hard wedge, which fits into the nose of the saddle, you'll be aware of a saddle which feels initially quite firm, possibly firmer than you normally ride. Give it a few miles. We think you'll notice the same sensations we do, in that the saddle feels active. It works with your weight and pedalling action, rather than being a lump of passive foam glued to a plastic or carbon shell. Instead of foam getting squished and staying squished you can feel the hull moving in a controlled way to help your weight remain applied firmly to the saddle surface. By doing this more effectively it's allowing you to turn the cranks more smoothly – improving form and efficiency. Granted, it's not a massive night to day difference, but riders who can feel the difference between tubs ad clinchers will feel it straight away.
You'll need to make sure that your seatpost can accept oversized, oval profile rails - not every seatpost will work with the larger diameter Kurve rails.
It's worth remembering that saddles are intensely personal items and riders become strangely attached to specific feels and nuances, even if that means using a saddle which might not actually be best suited to their physiology or riding style. Some will find the Kurve saddles too firm, even in soft setting, so might want to stick with their 'regular' padded models. However if you're in the market for a new saddle and are prepared to spend what is, for any saddle, quite a lot of money, you ought to try the Kurve technology from Fizik – most Fizik dealers run a test ride offer. You never know, you might like it.
Subtle it may be, but with small gains can come large improvements… they don't come cheap though
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Make and model: Fizik Kurve Bull
Size tested: One size
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, "Kurve is a saddle that helps your every twist and turn'
If you pack in the miles and are in the market for a top end saddle the Kurve series saddles are worth a look.
It's a lot of money for a saddle whichever way you cut it.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Aliante Kurve delivered the feel which we think Fizik intended. We liked it and felt it worked for us, though it's a performance rather than a luxury feel.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Fizik have a great reputation for high build quality and the Kurve is no different. Solid well made and great attention to detail.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
There will be some for whom the concept just isn't obvious enough.
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes.
Would you consider buying the product? Probably not, on price grounds.
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes.
Age: 41 Height: 5'9 Weight:
I usually ride: My seven titanium My best bike is:
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: cyclo cross, club rides, sportives, mtb, A bit of everything