3D-printed padding mated to a carbon shell and rails
The Antares Adaptive capitalizes on 3D printing by creating a complex honeycomb-like structure that cushions and supports throughout the saddle. 3D printing allows Fizik to tailor which parts of the saddle cushion and which parts support. It's a promising idea and one we're looking forward to testing on the Belgian cobbles in April.
Years ago I visited a bicycle manufacturer, and one of the engineers touted 3D printing as a revolutionary new way to mock up products quickly and cheaply. At that point, the idea of actually making products that would reach consumers was a possibility but not yet a regular reality. Fizik’s Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive saddle seems to punctuate the notion that the days of 3D-printed products ready for consumer use are already here and steaming along in leaps and bounds. The Antares Adaptive is available now for $400, and I recently received an early sample to put through its paces this spring on Belgian pavé.
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Antares Adaptive construction
The web-like top of the Antares Adaptive saddle is 3D-printed, and while this is nowhere near the first 3D-printed bicycle product to reach consumers, it certainly is a notable one if for nothing else than its alien-like appearance. That aside, that Adaptive material is what Fizik calls Carbon Digital Light Synthesis 3D printing technology.
That mouthful of a name basically means the padding features a complex patterning that helps distribute your body’s weight more effectively. Just pushing a thumb on various parts of the saddle reveals that while the material looks uniform, it is softer in certain places and firmer in others.
The upper of the Antares Adaptive is mated to a carbon shell, with carbon rails beneath it. The entire works weighs in at just 157 grams by our scale (139mm width). The relief channel on top reveals the thin carbon shell, wider at the rear and narrower toward the tip of the saddle. This certainly seems like a minimalist saddle, which I would otherwise find worrisome — I’d much rather be comfortable than save a few grams — but the Antares Adaptive saddle looks quite comfortable, assuming the Adaptive material supports my weight sufficiently that I won’t sink into the channel itself. That remains to be seen, as this just landed on my desk yesterday.
Antares Adaptive testing
To put it to the test, I’ll be installing the Antares Adaptive saddle on the bike I bring along to Belgium in April. I’ll be doing the Tour of Flanders Sportive, and spending the rest of the week sampling some of Belgium’s classic cobbled climbs, so the Belgian cobbles will end up the true test for the Adaptive material. Check back here after the classics for my full review on the unique Antares Adaptive saddle.