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Fi'zi:k's Plateau saddle: Grippy

By Tony Hawke

Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

Sitting in front of me looking rather stealthy in black and titanium is Fi'zi:k's new Plateau saddle. The Plateau is built around a carbon reinforced shell and your choice of either titanium or chromoly rails. On top of this is urethane foam and optionally, urethane gel to provide the cushioning. Next is a cover of Nytek, of which, two different variants are present, on the top is a grippy version to keep the rider from sliding around, whilst on the sides is a smooth version to allow the rider's thighs to slide past with ease. Add to this, scuff guards at the rear corners and a large variety of colour schemes - check out Fi'zi:k's web site for the complete catalogue - and you've got one awfully sexy looking saddle.

As for shape, it's probably best described as flat. It has a flat rear platform with a slight dip just in front and a nose which is smoothly rounded down. This shape allows for the rider to move around a bit as quite a number of positions on this saddle can be comfortable. I found the Plateau most comfortable when its nose was pointed slightly down.

I wonder who makes it?
Photo: © CN
Click for larger image

So, you know what it is now, how did I test it? Well, the best way to test a saddle is to sit on it, right? As you don't exactly do this for any long periods of time when you're mountain biking - If the idea of your mountain bike tyres touching anything but dirt offends you, just pretend not to notice the 'r' word - the Plateau spent about 50 hours riding time attached to my 'road bike'. Then, just for something different, about 6 hours riding time on the mountain bike - Yes, it was on dirt.

After the requisite few hours needed for my butt to get used to this saddle, I found the Plateau to be remarkably comfortable on my daily training rides, each of which is around 2 hours long. For rides that lasted longer than 2 hours, I did notice a bit of discomfort. The good news is that it never got to a level that I'd call bad, all I had to do was get off the saddle occasionally and everything was fine.

On dirt, all was well. Initially, I was concerned that the Nytek cover would be too grippy and cause problems when moving the bike under me, but the first ride was in some serious mud which dulled the grippiness to a level which can only be described as ideal. The cover is now grippy enough so that I don't move around when I don't want to, but when I move the bike under me, the saddle doesn't take my knicks with it.

One disappointing point though, is the scuff guards on the rear. After having a crash at speed, the Plateau was left with a nice line of small tears just above said scuff guard. Maybe Kevlar corners would have been a better idea.

Weight: 245g (claimed)
Recommended retail price: US$89.00 (as tested)
Pro: Remarkably comfortable for a conventional saddle, available in enough colour schemes to suit almost anyone
Con: Those scuff guards are little more than token protection for a mountain bike saddle
More information: Fi'zi:k's website
Cyclingnews Rating: Click for key to ratings

What do you think of the Fi'zi:k Plateau? Let us know

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