The Arione is built for the flexible racer who can tolerate hours in a very low stretched position. It is long and allows for multiple effective positions. Very firm with little padding, no effort is lost to flex or material compression. If you race it on the road, it will also suit you well for cyclocross, the lack of an anatomical cut out will save your kit, and the performance benefits will carry over.
The Arione does not receive as high marks for comfort as some of the other saddles in our test group. The Arione has a unique shape, being relatively flat from nose to tail, and having an almost dome-like shape from side to side. Fizik places the Arione in their Vento Performance Racing Series of saddles, designed with professional cyclists in mind. We liked the many available seating positions provided by the long profile of the Arione. For the rider who likes to move around a lot or move forward on the nose while in the drops, this is a great feature.
The Arione incorporates what Fizik calls "wing flex technology" that, in theory, allows the lateral aspects of the saddle to flex under the movement of the inner thigh, creating a more comfortable ride. We found this difficult to discern during use. While the Arione provides a platform for multiple comfortable positions, our test saddle was equipped with a strip of rougher material running down the center of the saddle. We found this to inhibit easy movement fore and aft on the saddle, limiting the benefit of multiple position options.
The Arione received high marks for performance. It is an excellent platform for putting power to the pedals. It truly shines with the rider in the drops, putting in an all-out seated effort. There is no hint of power-robbing flex. Many riders shift their weight forward onto the nose of the saddle when riding in the drops, and the Arione is well designed for this position and feels much more natural than some of the saddles we tested with a shorter nose, such as the Fizik Aliante. We did not like the Arione on long climbs; our testers struggled to find the sweet spot for extended seated climbing efforts.
We did not find the Arione to be an extremely versatile saddle. While it shines on the road under the proper rider, we found it ill-suited to the more upright position held by most mountain bikers, commuters, and touring riders. It does have a niche for the cyclocross racer, where the lack of a cutout can be of benefit for muddy races, and the position is similar to a road bike.
The long strip on suede-like material running the length of the Arione made position changes difficult.
The Arione scores high marks for durability, using the same Microtex cover material as the other Fizik saddles in our test group. The Arione does have a strip of Microtex with a more suede-like texture running its length, and while we did not prefer this feature, it was not a detriment to durability. A muddy, sandy pair of shorts rubbing on a saddle can cause quite a bit of abrasion, but we saw no signs of abrasion to the cover following extended use on the Cyclocross bike. The Kium rails and the nylon carbon-reinforced shell held up well with no structural integrity issues.
Despite its long length, the Arione only weighs 241 grams. Marketed as a high-performance racing saddle, we expect the weight to be low. It does not score as highly as some of our lightest models, which have a smaller overall size or utilize carbon rails.
Arione on the scale; at 241g it is built for racing.
Like the other Fizik saddles in our review, the Arione is not cheap, but Fizik saddles are well made last a long time. We feel the Arione presents a good long-term value.
The Fizik Arione is ready to race. High-quality and lightweight, it's just the ticket for aggressive riders.