Review: Fizik Thar 29er Mountain Bike Saddle
The concept was born from Fizik’s research that showed 29er riders tend to sit further back than others, so they redesigned the shell and rails to let the whole thing be mounted a bit more forward. That sounds counterintuitive, right? But it works, and the nose is snubbed short to keep it from looking ridiculous. In fact, on the bike, it looks a bit shorter that most saddles. Thanks to the protruding tip at the rear, though, dimensions are pretty similar to other seats.
After more than half a year on the Niner RIP 9 and plenty of XC-ish saddle time and big mountain action, here’s where it sits…
The details: The Thar has a carbon reinforced nylon shell with decent padding and a leather-like Microtex cover. The cover uses diagonally cut panels with the right rear getting a glossy section in either red or black. Rails are either K:ium (tested) or manganese (with white rear panel). Dimensions are 125mm x 265mm. Claimed weight for the K:ium model is 195g, but ours came in at 225g with the branded clip cover.
The cover pops out to open up the rear to hold their proprietary seat bags. It also has a replaceable insert at the front to tune the ride feel.
The top is perfectly flat, making it easy to scoot off the rear on aggressive descents. Despite my general preference for more rounded saddles like their Gobi or the PRO Turnix, I’m really digging the Thar for all-mountain type riding. The shape kept me sitting in a good pedaling position, which helped climbing on a bike like the RIP with a 150mm fork pushing the seat angle to a very slack lean.
Fizik’s research may indicate 29er riders sit further back, but I prefer a more forward position. With 95mm of rail adjustment, the Thar accommodates both styles just fine.
The Microtex cover is a good balance of smoothness and grip. As in, I could easily stay in position, but when it came time to move around for maneuvering the bike, it didn’t hinder the action. I couldn’t tell any difference in friction from left to right despite the varying slickness of the patches.
The only complaint I have is the delicate nature of the material. That’s not to say it’s any more delicate than similarly smooth materials on other saddles, but a Kevlar band around the back would be welcomed.
Other than that, the Thar has held up well. There are no creaks or wobbles or other other signs of wear. In fact, other than the scratched tail, it looks remarkably like new. Definitely worth a look if you want a saddle that both puts you in a powerful pedaling position and provides ease of movement. Retail is $149 for the K:ium model and $99 for the Manganese one, street price is a hair lower.