Fi’zi:k Aliante


Somewhere deep in the recesses of Rube Goldberg’s excessively geared, pulleyed and levered heart was a burning desire to improve everyday life. He is the only person on the planet who could turn Macchiavelli’s most basic truth—that the ends justify the means—into the punchline of a joke, and accidentally at that.

There was a time when every bike I owned had one detail in common … aside from dirt. They were all equipped with Flite saddles. It was the negative to my hind quarters’ positive and its soft plastic shell gave in a noticeable and pleasant way on the frost-heaved roads around my home.

Somehow, in the course of reviewing scores of bikes, I lost track of my love (and ownership) of the Flite and my ischial tuberosities were forced to adapt to a greater variety of shapes than I would weave into a work of fiction. Trying that many saddles doesn’t even make for good humor.

In 2003 I was introduced to the Aliante by Fi’zi:k. When I tell you it was love at first site, I’m serious. I beheld the object of my affection from a dozen years before, only reimagined in greater design. I braced myself for comfort.

Since my first ride on the Aliante it has been my saddle of choice. And while the Arione is Fi’zi:k’s more popular model (the most popular saddle on road bikes worldwide, in fact), I can’t imagine why they even make it. But there you have it, everyone’s ass is shaped differently and that’s why I’ve been loathe to give saddle advice.

So while I will advocate some products, believing that if you use them the quality of your cycling experience will be improved, I’ve always stopped short on saddles. It’s ironic that while I know not everyone will agree on saddle comfort, I find the Aliante so comfortable I wonder how anyone could choose another saddle. Its comfort is seemingly universal. To say this saddle is uncomfortable is tantamount to saying you didn’t shake your thing to Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.”

Where were we?

Unlike some saddles, the Aliante comes in a few iterations, meaning you can spend as little as $139 at retail or nearly double that, depending on which rails and other materials are employed. Naturally, as the price goes up, weight drops; my carbon-railed version weighed only 175g. If only the leather was as undying as my love; I’ve had one recovered, twice.

We can discuss the engineering brilliance of the twin-flex carbon-kevlar shell, the gentle curve of the saddle’s pocket or its surprisingly low weight despite its generous padding, but there’s not much point. At the end of the discussion a saddle either works or you try another. I’ll keep trying saddles and there are some good ones out there, but you’ll always be able to tell a bike I own from a bike I’m reviewing. Just check the what’s mounted to the seatpost.

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  1. Pietra

    I was wondering where you get your aliante’s recovered

    i’ve been fortunate in that the local distributor (in Australia) has been replacing mine pretty much annually for the past 3-4 years as the suede thigh glides wear out but they refuse to order in an all leather model without the thigh glides for me.

    Many thanks

    1. Author

      There’s a luggage and shoe repair place near me that has done some very work on shoes for me. Years ago I used to take my Flites to Tunstall Leather in Northampton, Mass., and they would re-cover them with better leather than the original. I’ve considered sending them back there again because the work Tunstall did was so good. Just ask the women you know who does great shoe repair.

  2. Rich Land

    I can get very evangelistic about saddles. I remember my first Fi’zi:k back in ’98, it was a Nisene. Wow I thought comfy and pretty, and I loved the fact that you could customize them.

    I tried the Aliante, when it came out, and because all bums are different it never really worked for me on a road bike but ironically I loved it on a MTB or Cross machine.

    Aliante, I was lucky enough to be invited to the European launch which was held at the UCI centre. The best thing for me about the Arione was that I never realised I was riding one. That’s probably the best statement anyone can make about a new saddle.

    I’m currently testing the third A, the Antares . . . more to follow after plenty of miles.

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