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Showing posts with label Wingflex. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wingflex. Show all posts

Review: Fizik Antares 00 Wingflex

I've always liked Fizik (Fi'zi:k) saddles. Started with the Aliante, then the Arione but settled with the Antares. Aside from the comfort generally associated with Fizik, they look pretty damn cool! 


Let's start with what all we cyclists know: My butt is different from your butt. And what fits my rear end may or may not fit yours.

With that in mind, here's the shape which my left and right glutes can't do without. I've been so pleased with the Antares over the years that when I had to get a new saddle, there was no doubt in my mind which one to get. 




Based on Fizik's Spine Concept theory (to which I do not agree with at all), the Antares should fit riders in the middle of the spine flexibility spectrum. Those riders who are neither snakes nor bulls...Chameleons. Mark Cavendish banners this saddle for Fizik.... and I am pretty much sure he's a Snake. Heck, I love the Antares and I'm a Bull. Oh well. Marketing will be Marketing. 


                                                                                  
Back to the topic on hand. The Antares shares quite a few features with its fellow Fizik Stablemates: the Snake saddle Arione and the Bull saddle Aliante. The slim nose section inherited from the former while the upward flaring rear comes from the latter. 

As with all Antares saddles, you get a few centimeters of fore-aft sliding room, but not anywhere near the sliding room possible with the Arione. This should give most riders enough positions to rest different parts of their butts during long rides. The wide, upward-curving rear secures you should you decide to move all the way back: a feeling which you will appreciate on seated climbs. 


BUT WAIT! This is no ordinary Antares! Carbon braided rails aside, the Antares 00 has two tricks up its sleeve. This gives this saddle extraordinary comfort but bumps the retail price to nearly TWICE that of normal K:ium railed Antares'.

First is 300% more padding. You can press the leather surface with your finger to verify. Yes, it's a lot more plush. Not saddle sore plush, but rather, noticeably plush enough. 


Second is Wingflex. This technology was first introduced in the Arione. But what exactly is it???Fizik markets it as the saddle is adapting to the rider as opposed to the rider adapting to saddle: Custom Fit. For the rest of us, it's a feature where the saddle's sides give way to the rider's inner thigh during a downstroke. In theory, this allows the rider to sit all the way back and not have to worry about his thighs having to hit the sides of the saddle. (The Wingflexing area is marked 'Wingflex' above. Those Fizik engineers must be A+ students)


The picture below shows the bottom part of the Carbon fiber sandwich which makes up the underside of the 00. This endows the saddle some give when sat upon, aiding comfort and enables the overexplained Wingflex feature. 



On the road, the Antares does what any good saddle will do: Stay unnoticed. The additional padding won't really be felt until hours and hours of riding, at which point you may start to notice that your sitbones still feel normal; no pressure points. The hammock effect afforded by the carbon sandwich soaks up small bumps but is still firm enough to provide support when powering up a hill. The added padding in the nose area makes sitting there a viable option.

Functionality wise, this saddle is hard to fault. At a scant 137 grams, gorgeous Italian looks and daily driver comfort, this is saddle is worthy of a recommendation and easily the best saddle ever to grace our buttocks.

Downsides? THE PRICE! Oh, and the lack of Fizik ICS compatibility. Your old ICS bags are now rendered useless with this saddle. 

[UPDATE 20 January 2013] - Changed my saddle to .... another Antares 00! This time in black. As tested, the black 00 is faster than the white model on matching bikes. ;-) 




Verdict

Extremely light and comfortable once broken in. Crazy expensive. 






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