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In the quest for long-distance comfort, the Fizik Tempo Argo R5 saddle is a short-nosed design with an ergonomic cutout to reduce pressure on sensitive areas and offers more cushioning than Fizik's more aggressive Vento range. It's well made, comfortable, and sensibly priced given the materials used.
Fizik's new Argo range is divided into Tempo models for endurance riding and Vento for performance. The R5 model is the cheapest in this range and sits below the R1 and the R3 that Stu tested back in November.
That's not to say it has been made on a budget. As with all Fizik saddles I've used, the build quality is excellent, and despite only a month of solid use there's no reason to suspect the saddle will be anything but durable.
The Tempo R5 is available in two widths, the 150mm that I've been testing and 160mm. The 150mm variation has a claimed weight of 241g and tipped the road.cc scales at 245g. It's worth noting that despite being 40 quid less expensive than the R3 model, it's only 12g heavier.
As with all short-nosed saddles, set-up is slightly trickier than standard designs as there's not a nose as such to measure from. Instead, measurements should be taken to the rails, and after about five minutes with a tape measure I had it where I wanted it.
If you've never used a short-nosed saddle before, it might feel a bit odd to begin with as you're locked into a more permanent position. There's simply less saddle to move about on. This is supposedly for greater stability and weight distribution, and although I can't say I felt any more stable, it was certainly comfortable even on three to four-hour rides. I never felt like I needed to change my position. Rather than shuffling about to find somewhere comfortable, the Argo Tempo helps to put you in a secure position that, for me at least, felt very natural.
Although I found the Tempo comfortable, it does have quite a flat profile which might not suit all; as ever, saddles are a personal choice and what works for one person may not work for the next.
The R5 features a carbon-reinforced nylon shell and foam with a low compression modulus (more spongey) to add compliance. The combination does a good job of alleviating road buzz and was impressive even when I swapped the saddle over to my gravel bike.
One area where the R5 does differ from the R3 is the rail material. This cheaper version gets an S-Alloy rail rather than more expensive Kium, which has better damping properties. Having ridden the R5 for a month, I really couldn't say whether the difference would be noticeable given the comfort of the R5.
Value-wise, the R5 fares well. The ride quality and build quality are both excellent, and it's 15 quid cheaper than the very popular short-nosed Specialized Power Expert, and only a few grams heavier (235g vs 245g).
There are lighter options out there, but many will cost you more dollar. The Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic saddle, for example, weighs 191g but will set you back a tenner more.
Overall, the Tempo manages to do everything that the R3 did so well while squeezing out more bang for your buck. The R5 is aimed at endurance road riding and this is where it excels – the softer padding and squared-off nose might not be as well suited for die-hard racers but on long, steady rides the shape and padding worked perfectly. As with all saddles, try before buying if you can, but for me the Argo R5 would be well worth the investment for a comfortable day on the bike.
Comfortable, supportive and good value saddle for long road rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Tempo Argo R5 saddle
Size tested: Length 260mm Width: 150mm
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 R5 is a versatile endurance road saddle with a short-nosed design and generous ischial support that encourages stability. Argo is our most versatile saddle shape. 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."
After a month of use on a mix of short and long rides, I've been impressed with the comfort of the R5. The short nose puts you in a supported and fixed position which I found natural but may not suit everyone.
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Length: 260 mm
Width: 150 mm
Weight: 241 g
Height at 75mm width: 45 mm
Length from nose to 75mm width: 103 mm
Rail: 7x7 mm
Type 2 foam: Progressive cushioning with lower compression modulus
It's not the lightest, but lighter alternatives often cost more both financially and comfort-wise.
Really came into its own on long rides and does a good job of reducing road buzz. Less comfortable if you're looking to get in to a racy position but this isn't what it's aimed for – there's the Vento range for that.
It offers almost all the features of the R3 while costing 40 quid less.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
Comfortable and supportive. A great saddle if you don't mind being locked into one position.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
Comfortable and well made.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
Setting it up is slightly harder than standard length saddles.
How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?
As mentioned in the review, it's cheaper than most of its direct competition. The Specialized Power Expert weighs pretty much the same but will set you back an extra 15 quid. The R5 may be below the R3 in Fizik's range but it offers a near-identical spec for a lot less money. However, if weight is your prime concern then the Selle San Marco Shortfit Supercomfort Dynamic saddle will save you nearing 50g for only a fiver more.
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
Although £90 is by no means cheap, it's one of the more affordable options if you're looking at venturing into the short-nosed saddle market. Despite being cheaper than competitors, comfort or build quality have not been sacrificed.
About the tester
I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019 My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 5-10 years I ride: Every day I would class myself as: Expert
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, mtb,