fi’zi:k Tundra Saddle Review

by Brian Mullin on July 14, 2009

I have been out testing the new fi’zi:k Tundra for a couple of months now, and for a cross-country saddle I have been very impressed. It is not going to win any awards for the most comfy saddle in the world, but it is a specialty beast, and it competes well within its realm. It seems that the road-specific fi’zi:k Arione saddle has been tweaked as an off-road saddle, creating a minimalist cross-country saddle meant for the racer, cross-country rider and weight weenie.


Company
Per fi’zi:k, the company was “Born in 1996 as a brand made for high performance, fi’zi:k was designed in the USA, and handmade in Italy by the world’s largest saddle manufacturer, Selle Royal. Fi’zi:k is the phonetic spelling of the word physique, referring to the form or state of the human body.”

The new Tundra is fi’zi:k’s lightest mountain bike saddle, and it comes in 2 versions, the Carbon braided railed version in white (which I tested), and the K:ium railed (a Titanium alloy) version in black. My test Carbon version weighed in at 209.8g (2 grams less if you take off the ICS fi’zi:k logo insert), and it is supposed to weigh around 20-40g less than the K:ium version?

The Carbon braided rails are not round, but have a fat ovaloid shape (7×9 mm), so it might not fit all seatpost clamps. The carbon rails are wrapped with another layer of carbon fiber cloth, so they have a grabby feel to them, so when it fits into a seatpost and is clamped down, it stays put, which is a very nice feature. The carbon fiber cloth is also supposed to reduce any damage to the carbon rails.


The saddle is covered in Microtex, which is a synthetic leather, and has 3 sides that have an internal carbon framing. The framing wraps around from the rear sides to the front and helps to protect the material edges. The material has held up well, and has survived a couple of good crashes, in which my body suffered a lot more damage than the saddle, thank goodness for my Chiropractor. The Microtex material does not fade, and is water resistant, which was noticeable when I didn’t get a wet butt after the bike got soaked in a rainstorm.

The saddle has 2 sections of the material, a shiny slightly stickier/tackier section that runs along the center of the saddle (more pronounced on the nose), and then a normal section running along the edges and the wings. This differential allows you to move easily around the saddle, but gives you some added traction/grip when either climbing or putting the pedal to the metal.


The saddle has a carbon reinforced nylon shell and is 290mm long and 125mm wide, while the nose is 40mm in width. It has a flat top with the rear sides drooping off in the typical Fi’zi:k wing fashion, and it is sort of shaped like a Mandolin. The nose is slightly squared and nice and wide, so it is a great place to roll up onto for those tough steep climbs, although it could use a more padding since it is a bit too hard.


When I was playing around with the saddle, a small plastic fi’zi:k logo on the bottom of the saddle seemed a bit loose to me. I then realized the logo fit into a small plastic receptacle under the saddle shell and was the spot for the Integrated Clip System (ICS), where you can directly connect a fi’zi:k rear light or a saddle bag without the need for straps. The ICS is a very nifty idea, and what a great place to incorporate something in a usually unused space. I tested out the fi’zi:k Blin:k rear light, which popped into the ICS slot easily. The rear light uses two LED’s and has a switch on the back (the light itself) that allows you to choose either a constant mode, a blinking mode or off. With the long summer hours, I didn’t really get to test it out, but it will be a nice addition for Fall, Winter and Springs rides in the dark. I always ride singletrack trails at dusk with front lights, so it will be nice to have a light on the rear, mostly to alert chasing bears to keep their distance. I did not get to test the fi’zi:k Saddle Pa:k, which comes in 2 sizes, a medium and a small.


Bottom Line:
The fi’zi:k Tundra is a firm saddle, but if you keep your weight centered in the sweet spot, it rides nicely. The shape of the saddle worked well for doing technical moves, had plenty of maneuver room and the sides were decent for squeezing, and it had just enough slipperiness for moving around. The flat pointy nose is a great place to get up on for those steep climbs, but the nose was a bit hard and not the most comfy spot to sit on for extended climbs. I think that a tad more padding on the nose would really be a great addition. The carbon rails are very innovative and I really like the carbon cloth wrapping for gabbiness it gave to the seatpost clamp, but not all seatpost clamps might accept the somewhat fat carbon rails, so be forewarned. And let’s just say the seat is White!

fi’zi:k’s has another winner with the Tundra carbon in the cross country racing and weight weenie category, although it is a tad heavy for the weight weenie guru.

Strengths:
-Durable
-Tacky nose
-Square flat nose
-Carbon taped rails
-Lightweight
-Water resistant

Weaknesses:
-Nose needs more padding
-Firm
-White
-Expensive
 

fi’zi:k Tundra Specs:
Weight – 209.8grams (2 grams less if you take off the ICS fi’zi:k logo insert)
Color – White
Carbon railed – $199
K:ium railed – $159 Blin:k light – $19 Pa:k bag – $25

Value Rating: 3.5 Flamin’ Chili Peppers
Overall Rating: 4 Flamin’ Chili Peppers

fi’zi:k MTB url: http://www.fizik.it/products_mtbsaddles.aspx
fi’zi:k Tundra url: http://www.fizik.it/catalog.aspx?subid=Tundra_braided

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