3D-printed top with tailored zones for support and others for cushion; carbon shell and rails
Very light; delivers a lot of comfort for a minimalist saddle
Big price tag; fairly traditional shape rather than more modern truncated design
The Antares Adaptive delivers on its comfort and support claims. It's a great saddle for racers with a full slate of races on their plates, but the price tag is sky-high. You get a lot for what you pay for, but you'll pay a lot.
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 have been riding it for much of the spring. It’s comfortable and light, but the question is whether it’s worth the $400.
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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.
Antares Adaptive testing
The best-laid plans were, unfortunately, nixed earlier this spring. I had hoped to test this on the Belgian Pavé during the Tour of Flanders Sportive, but as I’m sure you noticed, 2020 has been canceled. So I rode the Antares Adaptive on my home roads, as well as on some gravel, to get a sense of its comfort capabilities.
The Antares largely comes through on the comfort front. It’s certainly more cushy than the thin appearance would have you believe, which is certainly a testament to the effectiveness of the 3D-printed top. It feels like a saddle with twice the cushion, yet it’s half the weight than a saddle would otherwise be with more foam.
The Antares Adaptive still feels like a minimalist racing saddle, however. It’s light and low-profile, and carbon everywhere (except for the 3D-printed top, of course). A deep channel that runs through the center of the saddle keeps pressure off your sensitive areas, and the 3D-printed material doesn’t cause any pressure points anywhere. On some foam saddles, it’s possible to feel the edge of the saddle where it dips into the center channel, which can lead to discomfort. Not so with the Antares Adaptive. It feels like a complete system that’s structured to provide support where it’s needed and to essentially disappear everywhere else.
The one thing I would change about the Antares Adaptive, however, is the overall shape. It’s fairly traditional, with a long, thin nose protruding off the front. That’s not unusual, even now, in the era of truncated, snub-nosed saddles. Still, just about every other saddle I’ve ridden recently has featured the truncated design, and frankly, I think that’s the future for all saddles. It reduces materials, creates less potential friction points, and creates a more stable, planted feel for the rider while pedaling. It would be great to see Fizik mate its 3D-printing technology with a truncated design.
Antares Adaptive verdict
The Antares Adaptive looks cool and feels great. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it to racers with a full slate of races on the schedule, except for one hang-up: that price tag. It’s a neat technology and an incredibly light saddle, so if that’s what you’re after, the Antares Adaptive won’t disappoint. Just keep in mind you’ll pay for the privilege of this unique combination of light weight and exceptional cushiony comfort.