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review

Fizik Terra Argo X1 saddle

8
£179.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Comfortable and high-quality gravel-specific saddle
Shape
High build quality
Comfort
10 x 7mm rails won't fit all seatposts
You can get lighter carbon-railed saddles for less
Weight: 
216g
Contact: 

At road.cc 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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The Fizik Terra Argo X1 saddle is designed specifically for gravel riding, with a shortish nose. It's very nicely made with enough padding to damp whatever road buzz is called when it's off-road, and isn't so soft that it mutes the terrain or causes numbness. I found it very comfortable on long gravel rides of both a relaxed and competitive nature, and though it's light, you can get lighter for less money.

Fizik's Argo saddles are all quite short nosed, and are divided into the Tempo models designed for endurance road riding, the Vento models that are for racing/performance, and this Terra line specifically designed for gravel riding.

How can a saddle be specific to gravel I hear you ask? I asked exactly the same question and the response was: 'The Terra Argo has been engineered with a compliant shell to offer a certain degree of flexibility. This controlled elasticity absorbs road chatter and vibrations, delivering the comfort needed for long distance riding over unpaved roads.'

> Buy now: Fizik Terra Argo X1 for £179.99 from Bike-Discount

The Terra Argo range comprises three different models: the 271g X5 is the most price conscious at £89.99 with S-alloy rails; the X3 is 12g lighter than that and costs £129.99 with its Kium rails; and then this X1 is the top of the range option with carbon rails, a claimed weight of 215g and that price tag of £179.99.

We found that claimed weight to be almost bang on, with this 150mm width version coming in at 216g on the road.cc Scales of Truth. The saddle is also available in a 160mm width if you have wider sit bones.

As with other short saddles, your position on the saddle is fairly limited – the short nose means you can't wriggle forward and backwards very far – although all of the Terra Argo saddles are 5mm longer than the Tempo Argo range.

The sides of the saddle drop away quite quickly so I didn't find that they interfered with moving legs, and the shape strikes a good balance of enabling you to sit in a more upright position when offroad and still allowing you to get down in the drops when attempting to be fast, the short nose in particular helping there.

2022 Fizik Terra Argo X1 - nose.jpg

That one position is a very comfy place to be, although, as ever with saddle comfort, it's 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.

Here, the width of the saddle provides a stable base and the single-piece synthetic upper is not only wipeable but also pretty grippy so I had no worries about slipping forwards on technical descents. You'll also notice that the central cutout, which is there to reduce pressure on soft perineal tissue, features a plastic splashguard.

> 10 of the best saddles you can buy for mountain bikes and gravel bikes

The carbon-reinforced shell with its designed compliance gets bolstered by Fizik's slightly thicker 'Type 2' padding. I'm not always a fan of softer saddles – some of the comfiest I've used are little more than a carbon plate – but the X1 does a good job of taking out the high-resolution buzz of gravel without muting all feeling from the terrain. Fizik says this is down to its 'progressive' foam which is softer at the top next to your bum and harder the lower down you get. Whatever it is, it does a good job of soaking up the bigger bumps of a broken road surface, making it comfortable on even my six-hour gravel rides.

2022 Fizik Terra Argo X1 - rear.jpg

And then we get to the rails, carbon ones in the case of the X1 that measure 7 x 10mm. That's not unheard of but could cause you some issues if you use a saddle clamp that clamps from the sides and not the top and bottom. For example, Specialized carbon clamps are designed for 7 x 9mm rails and so are incompatible; Trek uses a similar system but it does at least make adaptors, so you'd need to consider that in your overall costs.

2022 Fizik Terra Argo X1 - underside.jpg

The Argo X1 doesn't come cheap either. Its £179.99 rrp makes it the same price as the PRO Stealth Curved Team saddle, which Steve tested earlier this year, and that's also lighter at 168g. Obviously the X1 is designed for off-road use, so the additional padding and that splash guard will have added weight. However, the PRO Stealth Offroad saddle is designed for the same purpose and also weighs in less (207g), while also being cheaper at £129.99. (You can read Shaun's test of that one here.)

Buyer’s Guide: 10 of the best cycling saddles

There are plenty of more expensive options out there as well – the Cadex Boost saddle, for example, which Stu tested in 2020, costs £249.99. That is once again lighter, though narrower.

Conclusion

Overall, the Terra Argo X1 is a very well-made saddle that I found extremely comfortable. There are lighter alternatives available for the money, but I'd be happy to forgo that in the name of comfort. I would be tempted to save myself a few quid and go for the Terra Argo X3 or X5, though, as they borrow much of the same technology but with cheaper, if heavier, rail materials.

Verdict

Comfortable and high-quality gravel-specific saddle

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Fizik Terra Argo X1

Size tested: 150 mm

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: "A versatile short nose saddle specific for gravel with a combination of a ride-compliant, carbon-reinforced nylon shell and a highly stiff carbon rail.'

I agree that it performs well in a range of conditions and is excellently tailored for gravel. It's best suited to riders willing to pay a premium for gravel bike comfort but not necessarily weight weenies.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Fizik:

Argo: versatile short-nose saddle that encourages stability and relieves pressure on sensitive areas

X1: a combination of a ride-compliant carbon reinforced nylon shell and carbon rail

Mobius Rail: Closed loop design for added strength and weight distribution

Wingflex: The shell's side edges flex and adapt to a rider's inner leg movement

Type 2 foam: Progressive cushioning, with a lower compression modulus

Terra: All-terrain series designed to take you beyond your boundaries

Intended use: Gravel

Length: 270 mm

Width: 150 mm or 160mm

Weight: 215 g

Height at 75mm width: 47 mm

Length from nose to 75mm width: 113 mm

Rail: 7x10 mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10
Rate the product for performance:
 
9/10

Most importantly it's comfortable for a range of riding positions, the padding is excellent for gravel use, and it performed very well on long rides.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Very good, I had a topple and it survived with a little graze. Well built and good choice of upper that is grippy and wipeable.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
7/10

It's lighter than most alloy-railed saddles but the additional width means it's heavier than most carbon-railed saddles.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
9/10
Rate the product for value:
 
4/10

Not its strongest point; the X3 and X5 of the same range are much better in this regard. It is very comfortable but is pricier than rivals of a similar weight.

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

Very well. I was happily perched on it for long and short gravel rides, on twisty slow stuff and road efforts, and never felt uncomfortable on it. When you get home it wipes off and appears durable too.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The comfort.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

It's a light saddle, but still heavier than many other carbon-railed models.

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, you can pick up a short-nosed, carbon-railed saddle for a fair bit less. The Prime Primavera Shorty saddle, for example, is £119.99 and also lighter. Some of the off-road features of the X1 do increase the weight but this isn't enough to account for all of the difference.

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

The main job of a saddle is to be comfortable and this one excels at that. I'm not always keen on products being marketed as gravel specific but this one does cater to the sector very well, with increased padding over a road saddle while remaining performance focused. It's well built and well thought out, but heavier than competitors of a similar price.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 23  Height: 6ft  Weight: 74kg

I usually ride: Specialized venge pro 2019  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Under 5 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,

Jamie has been riding bikes since a tender age but really caught the bug for racing and reviewing whilst studying towards a master's in Mechanical engineering at Swansea University. Having graduated, he decided he really quite liked working with bikes and is now a full-time addition to the road.cc team. When not writing about tech news or working on the Youtube channel, you can still find him racing local crits trying to cling on to his cat 2 licence...and missing every break going...

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