Review: Fi’zi:k Kurve Road Saddle
Fizik’s new line of Kurve saddles are designed to move with the natural movements of your body during pedaling. By using built in sensory receptors and a new type of base material that provides flex and comfort without the use of lots of foam padding, Fizik has created a new standard in saddle comfort for me.
I have been testing the Snake version of this saddle for the past two months and it feels as plush as day one with no visible signs of wear.
Click through for actual weight, specs and the review….
The new Fizik Kurve Concept saddles are a great example of using older proven technology with new modern materials. The result is a new interpretation of a classic masterpiece of style and function; the Brooks leather saddle. By using new material science and some old technology (perhaps borrowed from their sister company Brooks) they were able to create a saddle that moves with you during the pedaling motion. In place of using lots of foam padding to provide the comfort factor, Fizik chose to use a new material which they call Re:Flex that allows the base of the saddle to flex and provide comfort for the rider. While the saddle does have some foam under its shiney microtex cover the Re:Flex system provides the majority of the comfort. This new composite Re:Flex material allows the saddle to flex and follow the movement of the riders contact points much like the old Brooks leather saddles, but without the weight penality. To further help increase the riders comfort they also incorporated a Twin Flex system into base of the saddle. By using interwoven composite materials in this system they help to provide a hammock-like feel to the saddle. This gives you a type of suspension if you will for your soft tissue areas.
All this comfort and tuneability does come with a slight weight penalty, but not as much as the popular Brooks leather saddles. For comparison our test model weighed in at 227g while a traditional Fizik Arione CX saddle weighs 205g and a Brooks B15 Swallow with titanium rails weighs 370 grams.
Each saddle in the new Kurve family is made up of three parts. The Re:Flex base, Mobius rail and the tuner. When these pieces are assembled they comprise a very adjustable saddle. The amount of tension (or flex) can be adjusted to your specific tastes by swapping out a simple tuner insert (each saddle comes with both a hard and soft tuner). In order to help control all the flexing of the saddle Fizik uses an aluminum one piece circular “mobius” rail system that is attached to the saddle at the back and at the nose. This rail system uses the same size 9mm x 7mm rails as their braided carbon rail saddles. While this helps to keep the weight down and hold all the flexing in check it can prove problematic in finding seat posts that have the proper clamping mechanism.
I used the saddle on both my road and cyclocross bikes for the last few months and all I can say is wow! From the first moment I sat on the saddle it felt like it was not there. Even with the lack of foam padding it never left me wanting more on long road rides or even on the trainer! In the beginning I did have some reservations about using a saddle that flexed because I was worried it would just sag down in the center. However, the engineers at Fizik have managed to create a saddle that flexes along the entire length, not just in the center and this has been very comfortable.
On the cyclocross bike the hammock effect did have a springy feel when remounting the bike – similar to having a suspension seatpost on a hardtail mountain bike. I did not care very much for this, but the saddle is not designed for CX use. It does provide some dirty, abusive testing, though, and even after two races our test model still looked new.
This saddle has quickly become my go-to favorite for the long winter training rides. My other saddles do not feel quite the same anymore. My only gripe with the saddle is that it uses Fizik’s oval rails which require a seatpost clamp that does not clamp from the sides, but from the top and bottom. Other than that the saddle is awesome! While it won’t win any weight contests it makes up for in comfort. This saddle is best for someone who values both form and function with a highly customizable cushy ride over saving a few grams.
By using new composite materials Fizik was able to keep their traditional Italian style and provide a highly customizable saddle that would be at home on any bike from a classic lugged steel masterpiece to a new ultralight composite racer. I tested the snake version of this saddle, but it also comes in other lengths and widths corresponding to the different animals (Chameleon and Bull in this case) of their Spine concept model on their website, http://www.fizik.com/home.aspx
- Weight: 227g actual (220g claimed)
- Dimensions: 294mm x 135mm
- MSRP: €220 / $280