Fizik Monte S-Alloy Review
Cons: Only comes in one width, weight
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Our Analysis and Test Results
Fi:zi'k is an Italian cycling brand that makes shoes, handlebars, saddles, and various accessories. They've been in the saddle business for quite a while and seem to be more focused on road cycling, but they have a small line of mountain bike saddles including the Monte S-Alloy. Fi:zi'k claims the Monte is made for enduro and is a perfect blend of aggressive and relaxed. We wouldn't pigeon-hole it as just for enduro riding, as our testers found it be a versatile option that is suitable for any discipline. It has a well-rounded but decidedly average performance that was bested by some of the more comfortable and lighter weight models in this review.
The Monte S-Alloy is a relatively comfortable saddle. One of our testers claims it's the most comfortable Fi:zi'k model he's ever used, comparing it to one of their other models, the Gobi, that came on a complete bike he purchased several years ago. While we feel it is generally comfortable, it couldn't quite match the superior comfort of some of our highest rated models like the Tioga Undercover Stratum or the WTB Koda Team.
The Monte S-Alloy has a relatively standard teardrop shape with a 143mm width. It will be most comfortable for riders who measure in the medium to wide end of the sit bone width spectrum. Those with narrower sit bones may find this saddle to be a bit wide, and Fi:zi'k's other mountain bike saddles are all 127mm in width. The saddle has a slightly scooped shape from tip to tail which helps to cradle the rider somewhat and position you optimally for weight on the sit bones. It also has a somewhat flat side to side profile before dropping down sharply to the sides. People who prefer a more rounded side to side profile do well to look at other models like the Fabric Scoop Race Shallow or the Tioga Undercover Stratum. What works best for you depends on personal preference.
The saddle is topped with a Microtex synthetic leather cover on top of a moderate amount of medium density padding. Fi:zi'k calls the padding low-density, but it is much stiffer than the softer padding found on the WTB Koda Team. Under that padding is a carbon-reinforced nylon shell that is quite stiff like that found on the Fabric Scoop Race Shallow. It also features an anatomical pressure relief channel which extends from the tail about 3/4 of the way to the nose and is well shaped and placed to provide some relief on the perineal area.
The all-around performance of the Monte S-Alloy is good. The shape is pretty agreeable with a stiff carbon-reinforced nylon shell topped with medium density padding that allows for a pretty unrestricted pedal stroke with no loss of power through flex or soft padding. Because it has a similar length and width to many of the other saddles in this review, testers found it easy to move around this saddle both fore and aft and side to side. The Microtex cover is among the slipperier cover materials of the models we tested, though there is a little texture in the form of a logo up at the nose of the saddle that adds a little grip when you get way forward. One thing testers did notice about the Monte S-Alloy is that the Cordura used to protect the tail of the saddle is textured and much grippier than the rest of the saddle and could be slightly more prone to hanging up on your shorts, though this is typically avoidable with modern dropper seat posts.
Fi:zi'k has also integrated a saddlebag clip into the saddle between the seat rails at the tail. This clip system works in combination with their KLI:K saddlebags. We didn't have the chance to test one of these saddlebags, but we think it is a nice feature should you choose to use one. The Monte also has hash marks painted onto the drive side saddle rail to help make setting up and adjusting your saddle quick and easy. Overall, we can't complain about the performance of this saddle, and it ranks right up there with our top performers in this metric.
From a durability standpoint, the Monte S-Alloy appears to be solid. It has weathered our test period which included some especially muddy spring trail conditions and a couple of rainy drives on the bike rack, and it is no worse for the wear. The Microtex synthetic leather cover is in great shape and remains well attached to the carbon-reinforced nylon shell. The outer edges of the tail are also reinforced with a black Cordura material that seems tough and resistant to tearing in the event of a crash. The S-Alloy rails are strong and have remained straight and securely attached and haven't made a peep during testing. Fortunately, our testers never took any hard slams while testing this saddle to put its durability to the test, but it appears to be very well made and ready to provide several seasons of faithful service.
Fi'zi:k bills the Monte S-Alloy as "perfect for enduro." Enduro riders typically put less of an emphasis on how lightweight something is and opt instead for something relatively comfortable and durable. The Monte S-Alloy fits that bill, with a crowd-pleasing shape, medium density PU padding, and it's a little heavier than some of the competition. While we do feel this saddle is well suited to enduro style riding, to us that just generally means mountain biking. Trail, all-mountain, whatever you want to call it, this saddle is a solid option for any mountain bike rider. There's nothing especially exciting about its design or performance but it's well made, durable, and a relatively comfortable place to sit while you tick away miles. It also has plenty of crossover potential for road or adventure biking, but Fi'zi:k makes a full line of saddles for every specific discipline of cycling as well.
The Monte S-Alloy weighed in at 259g, 9g heavier than their claimed weight of 250g. It's one of the heaviest saddles in this review, second only to our heavyweight champion, the SDG Bel-Air Steel. That said, it's more than 40 grams lighter than that saddle, and only 10-20g heavier than some of our most highly regarded saddles in this review. The SQlab 611 Ergowave Active is a good example. It weighs 252g with one of its shock absorbing elastomers installed. On the other end of the spectrum, the lightest saddles in this test, the Tioga Undercover Stratum, Tioga Spyder Outland, and the WTB Koda Team all weigh just over 200g, roughly 20 percent lighter than the Monte.
The moderately priced Monte S-Alloy is less expensive than many of the other models in this review. While it doesn't win any awards against this stacked field of mountain bike saddles, there's no denying that it's well made and relatively comfortable. At this price we do feel that it represents a pretty solid value, although we'd probably be inclined to spend a few bucks more to get one of the higher scoring competitors, or go for our Best Buy Award winner, the WTB Volt Race, the best value in our test.
The Monte S-Alloy is a quality, durable saddle with a solid all-around performance. There's nothing especially exciting about it, but it's relatively comfortable and offers a competitive performance compared to the models in this review. It's far from the lightest model we tested, but it makes up for that with rugged construction and a reasonable price. Our testers would be happy to ride thousands of miles on one of these, though they might opt for a different saddle first.
Fizik makes a full line of saddles, shoes, and components for all types of cycling. They only make one version of the Monte S-Alloy which is reviewed here. They also make the Tundra and the Gobi, both of which are mountain bike specific and offered in three versions with different rail materials, weights, and price points. Both the Tundra and the Gobi come in a narrower 127mm width.
— Jeremy Benson