Sometimes, cycling products are designed specifically for a specific consumer, whether it be male, female, roadie, or mountain biker — but in some cases, the product transcends its intended use. So it was when Fizik introduced its Versus X line to the UnitedHealthcare women’s team.
The Italian saddle-maker sells a full line of women’s saddles, but when presented with a range of options, the UHC women raised their hands in a near unanimous vote for the Aliante VSX, which is not a womens-specific saddle design. Wholly by accident, Fizik realized it had an excellent women’s saddle on its hands.
What makes this Aliante, which uses the same basic shape as the Aliantes that came before it, different? Fizik has always combined traditional design with innovative features, but it never offered a saddle with a “relief zone.” That is, until now. The Versus X saddle line, including the Aliante VSX, was devised strictly for those who want that pressure relief, and in the search for a solid, comfortable women’s saddle, a cutout is key.
The Versus X line includes all of Fizik’s standard saddle shapes, such as the Aliante, the Arione, and the Antares.
Finding the right saddle, especially for women, whose choices are somewhat limited, is the most important component of comfort on a bike. Most modern saddles designed specifically for women have a cutout or relief zone, which allows for the pelvis to rotate forward, alleviating pressure around the soft tissue area.
The original Aliante features an ergonomic dip platform and is more padded than most other Fizik saddles. The Aliante VSX maintains the dip and padding, while adding a 20mm cutout. Using Fizik’s Spinal Concept Technology, a method of determining the best fit based on one’s flexibility, the Aliante is designed for less flexible riders (known as “Bull” in Fizik terminology) who prefer a more upright position.
After logging both short lunch rides and long base miles, the Aliante VSX is clearly good candidate for females who have a propensity towards a more upright, relaxed fit but want to maintain performance. The 20mm cutout makes all the difference in comfort. It is probably not be the best saddle for very low positions, or for women who tend to move around on the bike. This falls in line with Fizik’s Spinal Concept, which suggests that its more rounded saddles are best for slightly more upright riders who don’t move their hips about much.
The release of the VSX line has given women more variability in saddle choice; with the addition of the cutout on saddles such as the Aliante, women have the chance to try different designs, and the Aliante could very well be a great pick for a woman looking for a comfortable road saddle for endurance rides.
The Aliante VSX, featuring a nylon carbon shell and carbon braided rails, is somewhat porky at 259 grams (likely due to the above-average amount of padding) and will set you back $215.