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I have been looking at the Fizik saddles for some time and I have no idea which one to try for cross. I am currently on a Specialized Toupe, which I like in road settings, but it is too minimal for cross abuse. What do you guys and gals see being used out there? The Arione? Gobi? Pave? Too many choices!!! I have used the old skool Selle Italia Flite for years...since 94, but traded it to a friend for a brooks for my 29er. I'm considering going with another old flite, but thought I would try some new technology.
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I have had success with the standard Arione as well as the Aliente. If you are fond of shaped saddles, go for the Aliente. It's still a light option even with the friendly padding and shape. On the other hand, I found moving around on that saddle (forward or back as well as hanging a cheek as I have a large femural leg difference) not so good on long rides. For cross I didn't have a problem but considering I now train on my cross bike long rides normally are part of it.

I personally run Ariones on both my Van Dessel as well as my pit bike and have not had any problems and I can move around comfortably. Just be careful remounting. If you push the saddle way back on the rails, that sharp rear end can sometimes be.... less than kind to the nether regions if you like cutting your remount close to the rear of your saddle.

When all else fails, test test and test. Saddles are the most personal and important part of any bike. If you can't sit and aren't comfortable, then you can go fast OR have fun. Who wants that!
I also have a toupe on my road bike and found that it wasn't cuttin it for cross. I was talked into a WTB Silverado, and since have had no complaints.
i like the arionne a lot. it's nice and flat and long - which is great for mounting and for different positions needed by the changing positioning needs for power, traction, and climbing. it's only missing the side bumpers to keep it protected when either I or my bike decide to lay it down.

then there's the nisene, available in stylish buffalo fur

i know someone who knows someone who can get you one cheap.

good luck!
That would be nice on the cross. I can hang some fuzzy dice off the drops!
Questions like this always take me back to the era of cycling when the racer wasn't inundated in mass regurgitation of product and gimmicks and the senses weren't bombarded with intense marketing campaigns for the latest and greatest matters-not. Man, It's hard to believe that the end of this era began as recently as the early late '90s. I'm not saying there weren't any gimmicks but it sure was easier to build a bike then. But I digress.

Saddles are a very personal preference, Cin. Why did my crotch revolt when racing on a Selle San Marco Concor but rejoice when I introduced it to the then new Flite? The reason is because of fit. It wasn't because I wanted it or of the fact that a white Flite with fresh white tape will ALWAYS trump black. (Begin the discussions, now, because I do have the answer for you and it does apply to 'cross.) Your solution lies in understood the relationship of shape and fit. Recalling my experience, it had to do with understanding where the problem(s), ahem, rested. No matter where I sat on the Concor I never felt like the saddle was made for me. And then came the Flite.

With the library of choices out there it is important to take a step back and take stock of what is working about your current model and, just as importantly, what isn't working about it. When I later tried a Selle San Marco Era to dispel any doubts I nearly crapped myself. I had less support under the sit-bones and thus increased pressure in the taint. How the hell Lance and the Postal boys were able to cover the distances he did on it is evident of how particular a fit can be. And so back to the Flite I went.

But before you go out shopping for that saddle take another step back and look at something I'm sure you've overlooked. And that is your fit. I say this because I see this on a daily basis. I'm a highly skilled paid professional bike fitter. The difference in comfort the fit makes is significant- whatever your discipline. So when I read about conditional comfort of a saddle rammed all the way back, forward or where ever I usually shake my head. Your saddle should never have to be mounted this way for two reasons. 1) it is a clear indication that something is off with your fit. 2) saddle rails were never intended to be ridden in this fashion much less remounted when clamped this way. When your rail bends or one pops out of the saddle body it is not because some 2nd generation Italian saddle maker took an espresso break mid-production. Boys and girls, It's plain physics. But I digress. Again.

Getting back to fit: I've raced the original flite since '97. But having gone through a few because of wear (no tears) I was in search for a replacement. To my crotch's horror the new shape does not fit well with me and so the search was on. I had two choices 1) go back to the old style, or 2) see what the boys at the other Italian factory were raving about.

At this point I new what shape did and didn't work. The "gel" Flite is crap, and the Gel Flow crappier still. I knew I wanted the length of the Arione but the contours of the Aliante. Moving around on the saddle in 'cross conditions is different for me than when I'm on the road and/or the oval. So I new I could sacrifice the length and settle for a saddle with a "mold" my body could handle with numerous introductions throughout the course of a race. Take a look at the Aliante's profile and ask yourself, "would I mount that?!?" (Not read, "would I hit that?") The technology there is pretty simple, really. Mix one part nominal padding with one part contoured and flexible saddle shell and you have a pretty good design. Stay away from the carbon body. Yeah it's hot. But that design was not meant for 'cross.

In the end you're going to have to put in some time on some different designs and see what agrees with you. As with coaching, I can't tell you what works. I can only tell you what works for me. Search for a dealer in your neck of the woods with a saddle demo program. They exist. Selle Italia is one of the pioneers in that market. If not, then go and test ride some rigs, man. Wouldn't it be fun to ride different bikes anyway? I'm curious to learn what you end up with.

Lastly, a hide finish IS pretty tits. But before you rush out and custom spec a hide Fi'zi:k of your choice, just remember that the hairs will not stay on permanently. And instead they are going to have a field day working their way loose and through your chamois with every remount. How awesome is that?!?!?!
Damn this was long!

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