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The Fizik Aliante VSX Kium saddle is a more comfort-orientated take on the original Aliante. It succeeds in delivering a very comfortable ride for hours on end and looks smart, but might be a little heavy for some.
First impressions of the Aliante VSX are that it feels a little bulky. It isn't in the realms of hybrid-bike-bulky but it does feel a little like an original Aliante that has put on a bit of weight over the winter.
The seat is adorned with a red Fizik graphic that spans the breadth of the saddle and, on first inspection, looks like it could be a sticker that should come off before use. On closer inspection (and after several weeks of wet winter use) it is clear that the graphic is very much a permanent feature. I quite like it, but can imagine that the bright red might not fit with all colour-schemes.
The Aliante I tested had the Kium rails which are claimed to be 8 per cent lighter than titanium. You can also go for the carbon braided rails if you want to save yourself an additional 41g.
The Fizik Versus (VS) range is aimed at consumers who like the idea of a Fizik saddle with a pressure-relief zone. Fizik doesn't offer a saddle with a cut-away section as many of its rivals do. It claims that this "weakens structural integrity" and "shortens product life". The VS range instead has a pressure-relief channel down the centre of the saddle. In the VS range it's a 7mm deep channel, while the VSX version, which I tested, offers extra relief with a 20mm deep channel.
In practice, the Aliante VSX offered a great level of support without ever causing any numbness and even seemed to prevent that nasty "Day 2" soreness you can get when you set off the day after a particularly long ride.
Saddle fit is a very personal thing, and what works for one rider might not work for another, so it is important to try before you buy when choosing. Five years ago, Fizik introduced the "Spine Concept" in order to help consumers identify the saddle that is right for them. The Spine Concept range now includes its handlebars too.
It uses rider flexibility and spine curvature to place you into one of three categories: Snake, Chameleon or Bull. In theory, this means that once you know which animal you are, you can choose the Fizik saddle that suits you without having to test too many. The Aliante VFX falls within the Bull range and should therefore suit a less flexible rider who prefers a more upright riding position.
The build quality of the Aliante VSX feels pretty good. It is solid, if a little hefty at 259g, which may be due in part to the bulky looking scuff guards under the sides and nose of the saddle, as well as a carbon-weave-style material that covers the bottom of the saddle. These little extras might appeal to some customers but feel a bit fussy for my liking.
One of my favourite things about the Aliante is the Microtex cover, which feels really grippy against Lycra shorts, even in wet conditions. It gives you the sensation that you are stuck to the saddle – which might not be for everyone – but I quite liked it.
The cover has held up to the winter really well and apart from the occasional built-up bit of dried road-grime that accumulates in the pressure-relief channel if you don't wash your bike, it's still looking as good as it did when I took it out of the box.
The Fizik Aliante VSX is a good-looking, well-made saddle that will appeal to people who want something comfy for longer rides, as well as users of the original Aliante who are looking for something to put on their training or commuting bike.
It is a little heavy to be used on a racing machine but that isn't really what it is made for, and, besides, it is always good to throw a bit of extra weight on your training bike.
It isn't the cheapest saddle in the world, and the plastic details were a little wasted on me, but on the whole I think the Aliante VSX is a great saddle that should last for ages and will leave you a lot less numb after a long day than some of its firmer cousins.
A good-looking, well-made saddle that will appeal to those wanting something comfortable for longer rides
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road.cc test report
Make and model: Fizik Aliante VSX Kium
Size tested: Length: 265mm Width: 140mm
Tell us what the product is for, and who it's aimed at. What do the manufacturers say about it? How does that compare to your own feelings about it?
Fizik says: "Versus X collection is meant for those consumers that have been asking fi'zi:k for a model with a relief zone.
Versus X includes a complete range of saddles that combines the Spine Concept, fi'zi:k technology and new consumers needs .
A 20 mm deep channel design allows a greater pressure relief maintaining the stiffness and durability of a solid base saddle."
Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?
Shell: Carbon Reinforced Nylon Twin Flex
Scuff Guards: Black
Padding: Low density with 20mm extra pressure relief channel
Cover: Black Microtex
Central Cover: Red Microtex
Weight: 270 g
Dimensions: 265x142 mm
Not the lightest saddle in the world, but then, it isn't meant to be. It is unlikely that the target user will be strapping this saddle to a lightweight race bike.
Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose
The Aliante VSX is built for comfort and it delivers in this department. It looks a little bulky compared to its older brother, the R1, but it still wouldn't look out of place on your training bike if you are looking for something a little more comfortable for the longer miles.
Tell us what you particularly liked about the product
The grippy material means there is a satisfying connection between your bum and saddle, even in wet conditions, and I quite liked the red detailing across the seat.
Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product
My least favourite aspect of the Aliante VSX was the plastic trim under the sides and the nose of the saddle. It looked a little cheap, and screamed "extra weight" at the racer in me!
Did you enjoy using the product? Yes
Would you consider buying the product? Yes
Would you recommend the product to a friend? Yes
Use this box to explain your score
The VSX's 20mm pressure-relief channel, combined with the low density padding and grippy surface, results in a good training saddle for racers who use the original Aliante, or a great all-round saddle for those who are more interested in comfort than speed.
About the tester
I usually ride: Rose Xeon CRS Road at the moment My best bike is:
I've been riding for: 10-20 years I ride: Most days I would class myself as: Experienced
I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, time trialling, cyclo cross, commuting, club rides