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Designed for riders who have little flexibility, the Fizik Aliante R3 Open is a comfortable saddle whose shape offers a platform to push against to get the power down, helped by the firm and supportive padding. I did find the nose takes a bit of breaking in, though.
At 278mm long and 141mm wide (153mm for the large version), the Aliante is a typically sized road saddle and with a narrow nose gives plenty of clearance for your thighs as they pass through the pedalling circle.
As with any saddle review, when it comes to comfort it's entirely subjective – what I find comfortable might, to you, feel like sitting on a bed of nails, or what is uncomfortable for me might make you feel like you're floating on a cushion of air.
The swoopy shape works well, I found. The raised back gives you something to push against when you want to get the power out, and if like me you like to move back in the saddle when climbing, there is still plenty of padding there for it to be supportive and comfortable.
The nose is dropped, and while Fizik has designed this Aliante for riders with limited flexibility, should you want to go down into the drops this means you aren't being pressed into the front of the saddle.
The padding is firm throughout – the nose section especially so, I found, which caused some discomfort when riding to start with – but after about 300 miles it seemed to soften and mould to my shape.
From then on, I found the Fizik comfortable on shorter, high-intensity rides, and longer ones at slightly less effort.
This Open model comes with a central cutout which I can't directly say had any effect as numbness isn't something I normally suffer with. The firmness of the padding does at least stop it compressing into the cutout, which can happen on some softer saddles.
It's well made, comprising a Microtex cover wrapped over the Comfort Core foam, before being attached to the underside of the carbon-reinforced nylon base.
The underneath isn't as neatly finished as some saddles that hide the excess cover material between the base and another layer. Here you can see the edge of the Microtex fabric and the glue – in fact ours was a bit rough around the end where some of the fabric hadn't stuck down. It's only minor, but not what I'd expect on a £130 saddle.
The scuff guards are a nice touch, though, protecting the widest part of the saddle when resting your bike against a wall, or if it gets dropped.
The Kium rails are corrosion resistant, and their 7mm diameter will suit any twin-railed saddle on the market.
Priced at £129.99, the Aliante R3 is 40 quid more than the PRO Griffon Performance saddle that I tested last year. It's also been designed for the less flexible rider, and is a tiny bit lighter, 210g against 244g, and uses a similar construction method.
The Fabric Scoop Race Radius is designed for less flexible riders too, and comes with the same build but titanium rails, all for just £69.99.
I'm not saying that the Fizik is massively overpriced, but although the comfort is great once the padding has settled in, and the shape works well on all sorts of terrain, there's some very good competition out there for less money.
A great shape that gives a platform to get the power out while maintaining comfort
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Aliante R3 Open R
Size tested: 142mm
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, "With an anatomic cut-out shape and advanced technology, materials and craft, Antares R3 Open is a performance road saddle for riders who want a medium saddle profile and a cut-out to avoid pressure and numbness.
"Made for Bull riders with low body flexibility and high pelvic rotation while pedaling, the Aliante is a waved profile saddle, with support and flexibility so you can ride in comfortable support and always get the power down."
I found it to be a comfortable saddle whose shape lends itself well to riders who like to have the option of being able to move around.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Open central cutaway
Shell: Carbon-reinforced nylon
Rails: 7mm k:ium
Integrated Clip System compatible
- Dimensions: 278x141 mm
- Weight: 235 g
- Dimensions: 278x153 mm
- Weight: 245 g
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The shape offers plenty of riding positions while still allowing me to get plenty of power out.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
There is enough hull flex for comfort without sacrificing power output.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Quite a firm nose section when new.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
Considering the materials used, the Fizik is more expensive than some, such as the PRO Griffon Performance saddle at £89.99 or the Fabric Scoop Race at £69.99, which gets titanium rails too.
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
It's good: an all-round good quality saddle that allows you to move around a bit and get the power down. There are cheaper alternatives, but it is well made and I found it very comfortable once the nose bedded in.
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!