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Project 24 Review: Fi’zi:k Aliante Versus saddle

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Nobody likes the dreaded sleepy pee-pee.  Sure, it’s a nice sensation to stand and feel a warm rush of blood to one’s partner in crime after a long seated climb- but really it’s best if one’s happy parts aren’t allowed to drift off to never-never land.  With that in mind, fi’zi:k have recently introduced Versus (or “VS”) versions of a number of their well-regarded saddles- and offered to send a couple out to complete our Project 24 race bike.

With countless miles spent on the moderately padded Aliante Gamma- my favorite trail saddle- I was excited to try the plumbing-sparing version.  Hit the jump to find out if the groovy Fi’zi:k was able to fight off the knights of Nod.

With a proprietary K’ium rails (claimed to be 8% lighter than solid titanium), a carbon-reinforced nylon shell, and two-texture antimicrobial Microtex cover, the Aliante VS weighs in at a reasonable 260g (actual).  According to the company’s “Spine Concept,” the Aliante shape is made for riders who “make one major adjustment on the bike by dramatically rotating the pelvis forward and [sitting] in the pocket of the saddle.”  Or, bending at the waist and comparing one’s flexibility against images on Fi’zi:k’s website, not-terribly-flexible riders (“The Bull”).  With the standard Aliante, pressure on the nether regions is reduced by the saddle’s hammock-like center section.  The Versus version ups this protection by way of a full-length center channel, but the saddle’s shape is otherwise unchanged.

Though saddle choice is inherently personal, I fit Fi:zi’k’s “Bull” description well and already knew that the Aliante shape worked well for me.  Over the past six months, I’ve been on and off the Aliante VS, comparing it to my Aliante Gamma as well as the Antares VS that Fi’zi:k sent at the same time.  Despite big miles in training for and completing a number of big rides, the Aliante VS has held up very well- as would be expected with a $140 saddle.  Because the Aliante doesn’t accommodate a wide range of positions, taking the time to find its sweet spot will pay off.  I’ve been happiest with the saddle tilted down at 1-2 degrees (according to a free smartphone app) and am happier still not to report any numbness in the first 6 hours or so of riding with the Versus.

Though the Aliante isn’t really oriented towards riders who shift their positions (there just isn’t that much area at the back of the saddle), adding the VS channel seems to have reduced what little is available in other Aliante models.  This, possibly combined with a bit of reduced contact area, led to a bit of discomfort under my sit bones.  The solution was to shift to somewhat thicker-padded shorts than the Aliante Gamma demands- not a problem, but something to keep in mind.  Though anyone with a drawer full of densely-padded road-style shorts might want to stick with the softer (to my behind) Aliante Gamma, but riders who prefer thicker shorts will appreciate the relief the Versus allows man’s best friend.  The Aliante Versus is a well thought-out take on what’s quickly become a classic saddle.



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