Until recently, I was sporting a Selle Royal Respiro Pro Sport saddle on the Ridley. I’ve now upgraded to the Fiz:ik Antares VS.
I liked the Respiro because it was wide and flat…not necessarily soft, but wide and flat. It also had a nice cutout channel in the middle, for…uh…optimal male comfort. I don’t have any great pics of it, but here it is, on the Ridley.
With my recent emphasis on increasing my cadence, I’ve noticed that on the Respiro, the small amount of padding that there is…is just enough to encourage me to bounce when hammering at a high cadence. That is not a good thing…and quickly becomes uncomfortable. The Antares has padding that is thinner and better distributed, which in this case works better both for long distance comfort and for high cadence spinning. The Respiro was certainly more of a comfort-oriented saddle. It was a good choice for transitioning from a thick gel saddle to a hard, race-oriented saddle. That transition is now over.
When saddles are peaked in the middle and lower on the sides (like many road saddles), I find them very uncomfortable. I do not like the pressure in the middle/rear of the seat. The Fiz:ik doesn’t have that issue at all–it is very comfortable for me. It also has the nice cutout channel (a feature of the VS) and a nice ride on the K:ium alloy supports (8% lighter than titanium, in addition to being stronger and having better vibration dampening). The nose is nice and wide (45mm), and gives great support.
How did I come to decide that I liked the Antares? Test rides. North Central Cyclery has a nice selection of demo saddles, and they loaned me the Antares for long enough that I could put a few hundred miles on it and determine that it was ass-worthy. I can’t imagine how someone buys a saddle without first riding it–working with a local shop is critical on fit issues like this.
Other benefits of the Fiz:ik? It’s about a quarter pound lighter than the Respiro, in real, measured weight. Also, it has the lovely matte/gloss black finish, which looks great on the Ridley, and which happens to match some of my other favorite things:
Honestly, there is some significant aesthetic improvement in moving from the Respiro to the Antares VS. The Antares just looks at home on a fast bike. Separate from that aesthetic improvement, the significant weight loss, increased comfort, and less ‘bouncing’ associated with the Antares are huge improvements. Harder saddle, more comfortable. Must be the new math.
As noted above, between the demo saddle and this new saddle, I now have a few hundred miles on Antares VS. I can’t comment on long-term durability, but I love it thus far. This weekend, I did back to back Sat/Sun rides and knocked down just about a century–much of it rolling pretty hard. The Antares VS has been great for my riding…I highly recommend it. More to the point, I highly recommend going to a bike shop that you can test ride from. I tried the Aliante, Antares, and a couple other saddles before I settled on the Antares VS. It is very, very nice. Thanks, NCC!