Reviewed: Old school meets new school with the Fizik Volta R1 saddle
When it comes to Fizik, we never know what to expect. The Italian saddle maker got its start building saddles in shapes that no one else was using, and announced on Wednesday a new model, the Volta, which steps away from the norm once again.
The Volta harkens back to classic designs — saddles like the Regal, Rolls, and Concor — while still using modern technologies that we’ve come to expect, such as carbon rails, a carbon shell, and a synthetic cover (Fizik saddles are all vegan-friendly). The Volta is now available in two models. We got our hands on an early production model of the $300 R1, which comes with carbon rails and uses a carbon shell. There is also an R3 model that has alloy rails and a fiberglass shell.
When I first saw the Volta at Interbike, I was immediately interested. The shape was somewhat similar to the old Selle San Marco Concor, or the San Marco Regal that I have on one of my bikes, but my go-to road saddle is the current Fizik Antares 00. The Volta looked to fuse some of what I like about the Concor and the Antares into a single saddle. The Volta R1 is light, too, at just 165 grams. In three months of riding, I haven’t been disappointed.
The Volta R1 is a unique saddle, especially in today’s market. The Concor has now been redesigned and barely resembles the shape of its Volta-shaped forefather. The Volta looks as though it’s from the mid-90s. It’s long, at 290mm from tip to tail. The rails of the Volta R1 are set quite far back, and on some seatposts, such as the Specialized S-Works SL 2-bolt post, positioning is limited by the rail length and the saddle rail clamp.
The rail system is new on all Fizik R1 models. As with most carbon-railed saddles, the Fizik Antares R1 saddle’s rails are glued by hand into the carbon shell. However, the Volta uses a rail system that is a continuous piece, which Fizik claims allows the use of a softer shell, thanks to a stiffer rail system. This is similar to the technology Fizik uses on its Kurve saddles. On the Volta, the softer shell is welcome, as the ridge running down the length of the saddle is substantial, and will likely scare off some potential buyers. There is quite a bit more cushion, however, than what initially meets the eye.
Once set up, the Volta R1 is roomy, which may sound like a strange description for a saddle, but it does give the rider plenty of space to move around on the saddle. In that regard, the Volta is an improvement over the Antares and the Concor, because perching on the nose of the saddle while attacking downhill has nearly an identical feeling as sliding to the back while climbing. This roominess, ease of movement, and lack of any sort of back-end tail makes the Volta a good saddle for cyclocross.