With the brand-new Antares Versus Evo Adaptive, Fizik presents the first-ever digitally printed bike saddle. How well does the new production method work and what new opportunities could it open up for us? That’s exactly what you’ll find out in this first test!
With a bold “Welcome to the future” slogan, Fizik introduce their new Antares Versus Evo Adaptive saddle. In cooperation with manufacturer Carbon, the Italian component brand designed a 3D printed padding and combined it with its Versus Evo 00 platform. According to the manufacturer, this innovative method allows them for the first time to combine a total of four seamless functional zones, each with entirely different properties. Thanks to this technology, the saddle can either dampen or support the rider, depending on the area. The new method was also developed to address the limitations of more traditional production methods. According to Fizik, 3D printing gives better control over the density, damping and elasticity of the material. For the time being, the saddle is available in just one version and two sizes – Regular: 274 x 139 mm and Large: 274 x 146 mm. The Adaptive saddle is rated up to 170 kg and its design is based on data gathered from the biometric data of hundreds of amateur and professional riders. According to Fizik, the primary advantage of the new structure is improved damping and comfort. The new manufacturing technique allows the characteristics of the structure to be adapted zonally. Up until now, traditional saddles that are constructed from layers of varying densities of foam, the level of customisation possible has been limited. With their new design, Fizik claim that that the saddle should provide the same level of comfort for all riders, regardless of weight.
The next step of development is to take the connection between seat and bike to a new level and thus offer the first fully tailored bike saddle. Once the individual body measurements and ideal riding position are determined through a thorough fitting session, the 3D printer will spit out the perfect padding. The current green look of the saddle is not a color option, but the actual color of the raw material: thanks to the outstanding UV-resistance of the material the color shouldn’t fade over time. However, Fizik is planning to release the saddle in more color options in the future.
First ride review of the Fizik Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive
Straight out of the box, our test saddle strikes with a very futuristic look and only exceeds the specified weight by a few grams (size L, 146 mm width). Just by pressing the lime-coloured mesh of the padding with your finger, you can tell apart the different functional zones. After long wet rides, however, the moisture collects in the structure and stays there for an extended period of time. The saddle can be easily hosed down and any dirt is quickly washed away. However, compared with the ‘closed’ surface of a conventional saddle, this one can’t just be wiped down with a cloth.
As you probably already know, the fit of a saddle is a very subjective and personal matter: the perfect fit varies from rider to rider and is heavily influenced by factors such as the riding position and riding style. And that’s exactly why we intentionally ignore the saddle in our bike tests. With the Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive, however, we only had to ride for a few kilometres to understand that Fizik has launched a promising product with great comfort potential. The outer edges, which are cleanly processed and don’t cut into your inner thighs, provide a good degree of flex. The padding offers great internal damping and doesn’t wear down even on longer rides. It goes without saying that a good level of comfort always depends on the interaction between the bib and saddle. The Versus Evo 00 carbon platform is stiff (as it should be) and thus allows for very direct power transmission. It didn’t take us long to warm up to the new material under our butt, which isn’t always the case with bike saddles. The Versus canal we know from many Fizik saddles efficiently relieves the soft tissues. In our case, the pressure distribution worked very well which means none of our test riders had problems with pressure points. Having said that, all of us fall right into the 70–75 kg weight range the saddle is designed for. The honeycomb surface of the saddle offers sufficient support in both dry and wet conditions and never gets slippery. The saddle features a straight shape over its entire length and doesn’t have a raised tail.
With the new Antares Versus Evo 00 Adaptive, Fizik is paving the road to a whole new generation of bike saddles. It’s light, comfortable and yet stiff enough for performance-oriented riders – only the accumulation of moist and dirt clouds the first positive impression. Once the concept of saddle customization gets implemented across the board, we can all look forward to our dream saddle!
For more information head to fizik.com
Words & Photos: Philipp Schwab