Fi’zi:k Arione R1 Review

Our Review

4.5/5
If you’re in the market for a racy saddle and you have good flexibility then the Arione R1 should be at the top of your consideration list.
Pros
  • Design
  • Weight
  • Comfort
Cons
  • Only for the flexy
  • Price

About the Manufacturer

Fi’zi:k (we’ll be using Fizik from now on thanks) is an Italian saddle manufacturer created out of the Selle Royal family in 1997. The brand was launched as a high end marque focusing on delivering the right ergonomics for different riding styles – Fi’zi:k is the phonetic spelling of physique of course.

Initially launching with the “Spine Concept” their approach to saddle design has changed over the years as has their product range expanding into all cycle touchpoints including handlebars, stems, seatposts and bar tape. What hasn’t changed is the brand’s focus on quality – Fizik saddles are still some of the most highly regarded out there and have adorned the bikes of many of cycling’s greats including Froome himself.

Review

By cycling standards, the Arione is now an elder statesman being around pretty much since the inception of the Fizik brand itself. So why, you might ask, are we reviewing a saddle that’s newest iteration is a couple of years old? There’s two simple reasons for that.

Firstly this writer just bought one. This isn’t something we were sent, I went out and spent my dwindling coronavirus dollars on one of the most princely of perches because my old saddle was looking sad and I’ve been lusting after one of these for quite some time. Secondly because in the era where everyone’s new saddle seems to be a shorty, we wanted to see how a decade old design and one of the longest saddles out there, would hold up against the competition.

Certainly time has not made the Arione any less handsome, in the R1 version this is still a premium saddle and it looks the part with raw carbon finish on the shell and rails and the older “suede” looking microtex mid section replaced with a more glossy material and rougher finish on the sides. The saddle still includes those slashes and the muted logos which all adds up to making a saddle that looks very purposeful and something akin to a stealth fighter.

Our R1 in a large size comes in at 140mm wide and a runway like 300mm long. Even with the size this is still a light saddle, coming in at a touch over 180g. There are also different versions of the Arione available with the R3 and R5 using cheaper materials for rails and shell and the open versions which contain a cut out.

All of that saddle might seem like it would get in the way on the road, but for this rider at least it’s near perfect.

Fizik have moved away from the “Spine Concept” that they initially launched with the Bull, Chameleon and Snake fits. The Arione fell into the Snake category and was designed as a super flat race orientated design for those with high flexibility and a large degree of motion in the hips. For this Snake it’s a great design with the shape offering plenty of freedom to move around the saddle and the carbon hull and flex in the wings giving just the right amount of compliance and comfort. I’ve now used it for everything from interval training to 4-5 hour ride outs and it suits me perfectly.

That isn’t to say it’s for everyone, because the long shape and the flatness just doesn’t work for everyone. There’s also the price which currently runs for a RRP of around $300, although if you shop around you can get that down – we got ours online for a pretty reasonable $225.

If you’re in the market for a racy saddle and you have good flexibility then the Arione R1 should be at the top of your consideration list.

Key Specifications

  • Width: 140mm
  • Weight: 180g
  • Material: Carbon rails, Carbon injected chassis, Microtex upper

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