Since its debut in the 2003 Giro D'Italia under eventual winner Gilberto Simoni, Fizik's Arione has remained one of the most desirable saddles on the market. The combination of a slim profile and long length appeals to plenty of riders. The ability to shift weight further back to really pound the pedals on long seated climbs has always been its main benefit; that and the flex in the winged section that helps avoid any unwanted friction.
The Arione has remained pretty much unchanged over the years, just with lighter options and minimal tweaks. Until now, that is. Fizik have launched a new range of performance saddles named Kurve with three different designs â" Snake, Bull and Chameleon â" that follow the same shapes as the Arione, Aliante and Antares, respectively. The names correspond to the flexibility of the rider, helping you choose which saddle suits you best.
The Snake's dimensions of 297mm long and 134mm at the widest point are the same as the Arione's. Where it differs is in the use of a one-piece 'Mobius' rail. This aluminium structure loops around the rear of the saddle and connects up front much further forward than on a standard saddle. The front fitting comes with a choice of two connectors â" soft and hard.
Like on Selle Italia's Monolink, the Kurve's hull is unsupported through much of its length and this allows the whole saddle to flex under your weight; think more hammock than traditional saddle. It's this flex that provides comfort, rather than extra padding, and you can tune it using the two connectors. The hull itself is a thermoplastic composite with thinner sections under the sit bones and forward pressure points.
In use the Snake has a uniquely comfortable feel. We've given the saddle to people who couldn't live with the original Arione's flat top and all have reported that it offers much improved comfort. The Wingflex sides still move but they're less effective than before. This is because as the saddle sags, its body widens, which alters the angle of the sides. It's not an uncomfortable feeling, just noticeable.
At 221g the Kurve Snake weighs more than the similarly priced Arione CX with carbon rails (Â£159.99, 169g). But we'd trade the extra 50g for that marked improvement in comfort.
This article was originally published in Cycling Plus magazine.
Credit: BikeRadar.com Road Bikes & Gear