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review

Fizik Tempo Aliante R5

8
£109.99

VERDICT:

8
10
Functional and comfortable endurance saddle with extra width to accommodate all behinds
Wing Flex does improve comfort
Available in two widths
Good combination of give and firmness
Decent price
Comfortable for outdoor and indoor riding
Longish nose won't be for everyone
Not that light
Weight: 
229g
Contact: 

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The Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle is the latest model in a range that's been around since just after the millennium, and at £109.99 it sits around halfway up Fizik's catalogue in terms of price. It's designed for long-distance riding and performed admirably during testing, keeping my backside comfortable during long spells of seated riding on the indoor trainer as well as four-hour outdoor rides in challenging winter conditions. It's not a spectacular saddle in any particular area but is a consistently strong performer, with a good design that offers comfort and promises durability.

Our best road bike saddles buyer's guide rounds up our favourite road saddles, while our sister site off.road.cc has a mountain and gravel bike saddles buyer's guide. 

It lacks the snub-nose design preferred by many endurance riders and modern saddle designers, but that never became an issue during my test rides. The saddle has varying levels of padding in different areas, Fizik using what it calls a 'double-density foam, firmer on the ischial bones and softer on the nose'. This works well in conjunction with the extra width at the rear and Fizik's Wing Flex feature, which allows for some flex in the saddle's sides when you're pedalling. The resulting saddle looks pretty inoffensive and isn't overly heavy, which makes it a good endurance option at a reasonable, if not exactly cheap price.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - top.jpg

With the Christmas ghosts meting out some spectacularly bad weather a while back, the Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 got put through its paces both indoors and out. I spent a lot of time literally planted in the saddle, tapping out low-intensity efforts, trying to burn through some of that excess Stilton.

I'm not the most precious person when it comes to saddles, but I have to give the R5 its due in the comfort stakes. I experienced no numbness or discomfort, even on the indoor trainer, where I spend the vast majority of my rides seated. My normal setup requires me to get out of the saddle just to vary my position a little and get some blood flowing but there were no problems of that kind with the R5. So a lack of pain, even on softer tissues, with the longer nose of the Aliante was a great start.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - from rear.jpg

The saddle feels pretty firm to the touch – especially in the midsection that extends beyond the cutout – but it does get softer and more malleable towards the nose. Fizik says this mixed firmness is for the comfort of your ischial bones – more commonly known as your sit bones.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - nose.jpg

As you'd expect, the carbon-reinforced nylon undercarriage is almost totally rigid, but Fizik has included some flex on each wing, so that when you're pedalling your legs don't brush against an immovable object. This helps to minimise any chafing. Since the saddle is pretty wide at 145mm, and it's also available in a wider-still 155mm width, this was a welcome addition.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - underside rear.jpg

You can see how far these wings extend if you flip the seat over and view the cutouts.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - underside.jpg

The saddle has been moulded into a subtle wave shape, which gave me something to push off and hold me up a little bit on steep climbs. Measurement lines are printed on one of the seat rails to help you position the saddle correctly. This printing does look a little insubstantial and it's only on one of the rails, so I could imagine it wearing off over time. That said, it's not as if most of us swap saddles over very often once they're correctly positioned.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - rear.jpg

There is a central cutout to aid with blood flow, but it's short compared with those on some other saddles and it doesn't extend to the rear end of the seat – and that lack of a cutout contributes to the Aliante's reasonably substantial weight.

This is not a snub-nosed saddle, so if you're looking for a short-nosed saddle to aid with comfort when you're riding in the drops, then you'd be better off looking elsewhere. I wasn't exactly putting pedal to the metal on my winter rides so it was comfortable for me – but if you are going to be shifting your weight forward for long periods then you will really need to check how your nether regions respond to a saddle with a longer nose. This was never an issue for me, but saddle choice is of course highly subjective.

2024 Fizik Tempo Aliante R5 saddle - underside nose.jpg

During the test period, I took care to put some extra pressure in my tyres to see how much the Aliante would take care of road buzz – and I was very pleasantly surprised. Even a saddle like this, which doesn't have a huge amount of give when you press it, feels really shock-absorbent when you're riding. It wasn't enough to make me feel like the road was being muted, but when – at other times – I paired it with softer tyres, it did make for a cushioned ride.

Value

Fizik is a well-respected brand, and the Aliante R5 sits pretty much slap-bang in the middle of its range. The saddle gave me no issues at, and I found I didn't really notice it – which is exactly what you want from a saddle. And I think it represents decent value at £109.99, though there are cheaper options out there, some of which feature snub noses.

Stu liked the Prologo Dimension AGX 143 T4.0, though at 248g it's 19g heavier than the Fizik, but he does reckon it's a great choice if you like a saddle with a bit more padding.

Stu also rated the £119.99 Prime Primavera Shorty Carbon Saddle very highly. At 175g it's significantly lighter than the Aliante, and Stu thought Prime had perfectly gauged the softness of the padding.

The Prime Doyenne Shorty Saddle with Ti Rails costs just £59.99 and Tom thought it was an excellent option with materials usually found in more expensive saddles. It's available in narrow and wide widths and one of the few downsides is that he found it a bit squeaky when wet.

Conclusion

What it lacks in bells and whistles, the Fizik Aliante R5 makes up for with a simple, functional design that kept me and my behind happy during both bleak midwinter rides and indoor turbo training sessions. Even though Fizik likens the saddle to a sofa, the padding isn't over the top and I felt nicely in tune with the road surface when I was riding.

Verdict

Functional and comfortable endurance saddle with extra width to accommodate all behinds

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road.cc test report

Make and model: Fizik TEMPO ALIANTE R5

Size tested: 145 mm

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?

From Fizik:

A comfortable, resilient endurance cycling saddle, designed with a waved profile and engineered to provide lasting comfort on even the longest bike journeys.

Aliante features an ergonomic cutout, developed using detailed analysis and input from medical experts, that helps to relieve pressure and facilitate blood flow. Additionally, the generous padding has been engineered with a double-density foam, firmer on the ischial bones, softer on the nose, to provide every rider the right support, regardless of riding position, without creating undue pressure.

Tell us some more about the technical aspects of the product?

From Fizik:

ALIANTE: Waved profile saddle designed to maximize comfort, support and pressure relief

R5: Combination of a ride-compliant, carbon-reinforced nylon shell and an S-Alloy rail

WINGFLEX: The shell's side edges flex and adapt to the rider's inner leg movement

DOUBLE DENSITY FOAM: Firmer on the ischial bones, softer on the nose, for optimal comfort in every riding position

SPECIFICATIONS

ALIANTE R5 145mm

Length: 277mm

Width: 145mm

Height at 75mm width: 44mm

Length from nose to 75mm width: 141mm

Weight: 230g

Rail: 7x7mm

Rate the product for quality of construction:
 
9/10

The underside looks very neat and there are no clear binds or joins between the chassis and the padding.

Rate the product for performance:
 
8/10

Kept me comfortable throughout the test period – both indoors and out.

Rate the product for durability:
 
8/10

Looks and feels strong and secure in every way except for the slight measurement marking on the rail.

Rate the product for weight (if applicable)
 
6/10

230g isn't particularly light, especially next to carbon alternatives.

Rate the product for comfort (if applicable)
 
8/10

Both indoors and outdoors it kept me comfortable for multiple hours in the saddle. The padding did not get close to interfering with helpful feedback from the road surface.

Rate the product for value:
 
5/10

Middle of the road in terms of Fizik's range, but £110 is still a decent investment in a saddle. There's a lot of competition around 100 quid but I would not feel short-changed purchasing this well-made saddle.

Tell us how the product performed overall when used for its designed purpose

Comfort is the main aim, and it succeeds in this goal. I used it happily throughout December and January for different types of rides.

Tell us what you particularly liked about the product

The Wing Flex sides are a clever comfort-enhancing touch and I like the fact that the saddle is available in two widths.

Tell us what you particularly disliked about the product

If I'm being picky I'd prefer subtler branding.

How does the price compare to that of similar products in the market, including ones recently tested on road.cc?

The Aliante R5 is one of Fizik's cheaper saddles and is pretty competitively priced against similar competitors, like the Prologo Dimension AGX 143 – but that is a slightly more adventure-leaning saddle. 

You can certainly spend much less and still get a good product, with the £59.99 Prime Doyenne a good example. 

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 overall score

There is not an awful lot wrong with Fizik's Aliante R5. For a long-nosed saddle I found it comfortable in all scenarios and its clean design suggests that it should also prove durable. The flexible wings are a nice touch, and contribute to a saddle that delivers comfort without muting feedback from the road.

Overall rating: 8/10

About the tester

Age: 34  Height: 187cm  Weight: 80kg

I usually ride: Pearson Hammerandtongs  My best bike is:

I've been riding for: Over 20 years  I ride: Every day  I would class myself as: Expert

I regularly do the following types of riding: road racing, commuting, touring, club rides, sportives, general fitness riding, Ultra endurance

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2 comments

Avatar
Surreyrider | 2 months ago
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"Functional and comfortable endurance saddle with extra width to accommodate all behinds".

This makes no sense. A wider saddle could actually reduce comfort. A saddle needs to suit sit bone width.

Avatar
Rendel Harris replied to Surreyrider | 2 months ago
0 likes
Surreyrider wrote:

"Functional and comfortable endurance saddle with extra width to accommodate all behinds".

This makes no sense. A wider saddle could actually reduce comfort. A saddle needs to suit sit bone width.

Think they probably meant "available in two widths to accommodate all behinds" rather than that one with extra width can do so.

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