Gear

Interbike tech: Fi’zi:k uses new construction method on Kurve saddles

Nick Legan takes a look at fi’zi:k's new Kurve saddles


LAS VEGAS (VN) — Fi’zi:k has a new line of Kurve saddles use an entirely new construction method. After three years of development they are finally ready for unveiling. Originally fi’zi:k hoped to launch the new saddle along with its ad campaign which spelled out back flexibility and corresponding saddles: the snake, chameleon and bull for, respectively, the Arione, Antares and Aliante saddles. Because final touches were still needed, fi’zi:k held off.

So what’s so special about the Kurve saddles? First the rails. The Mobius rail is a circular one-piece unit made of forged aluminum. Its shape provides better support for the saddle’s base without adding unnecessary weight. A carbon wrap at the clamping area keeps the rail safe from seatpost heads. Mobius is stiffer than most carbon or titanium rails and forces the saddle base to flex more for the comfort of the rider.

Thankfully, fizi:k has an entirely new base, called Re:Flex. Instead of using foam, and its movement, for comfort, fi’zi:k’s Re:Flex base moves with the rider. They call it a “sensory receptor.” I call it a really cool saddle base that is more flexible in certain areas than most. Fi’zi:k uses interwoven fibers to form “a flexing hammock” for the rider’s contact points. There is still a thin layer of padding so fear not.

Because it would be impossible to assemble a normal saddle with a one-piece rail like the Mobius rail, fi’zi:k came up with an elegant solution: the Tuner. It is a bolted-in piece that attaches the rail to the nose of the saddle after the back of the rail is slipped into a channel at the rear of the saddle’s base.

Tuners are available in soft and hard and allow you to “tune” the stiffness of your saddle. The Tuner is an interesting idea, but not a new one. As fi’zi:k also owns Brooks, it should come as no surprise that Brooks saddles have had adjustable stiffness since at least 1910. Fi’zi:k seems to have made the most of a possible manufacturing problem, by adding adjustability to its latest saddles.

Fi’zi:k will offer Kurve versions of the Arione (which I used), the Antares and the Aliante. The ICS clip is designed into the new saddles, so if you use a fi’zi:k seat bag you won’t be disappointed.

How is it on the road?
The Arione version that I rode feels very similar to current Arione saddles. The saddle has a noticeably crowned appearance from side to side. But this compressed once I was seated. I didn’t find myself squirming around looking for a good position. Thanks to the flexibility of the saddle’s base, I found it (or perhaps it found me) quickly. Time will tell if the saddle rides better than current models over the long haul. The Kurve construction seems like it should last longer than Ariones of the past.

Details
Kurve versions of the Aliante, Arione and Antares will all be available by the end of November and will cost $280. All the Kurve saddles weigh approximately 220 grams.